Top 5 Rookies To Watch
Ryan Frankson | edmontonoilers.com
Preparations for the 2013-14 season officially kick into high gear this week as Oilers Rookie Camp commences with medicals and fitness testing on Wednesday at Rexall Place. The team's top prospects then fly to Penticton, B.C., to compete at the 2013 Young Stars Classic, with Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and San Jose's rookie squads also participating. We highlight five key Oilers prospects to watch this week, with the spotlight shining on the defencemen, a change-up from previous years that saw the likes of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins competing.
The Oilers selected Roy in the second round (56th overall) at this past June's 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey after the right-winger produced some solid numbers in the QMJHL last season. The 6'1", 180-pound forward scored 29 goals and 67 total points in 65 regular season games with the Blainville-Broisbriand Armada, chipping in 19 more post-season points as his team advanced to the league semifinals. The Young Stars Classic in Penticton will be Oilers fans' first chance to see the 18-year-old in action.
Davidson was one of the top shut-down defencemen last season for the Oilers AHL affiliate squad in Oklahoma City. Not only did the 22-year-old rearguard battle back from a testicular cancer scare earlier in the campaign and return to finish the season with the Barons, he was one of OKC's go-to blueliners that helped the team reach the Western Conference Final for the second straight year. Davidson chipped in with five regular season points in 26 games and added six more in 17 post-season contests.
Speaking of solid Oilers defensive prospects down on the farm, Slovak rearguard Marincin was also a major contributor with the OKC Barons last season. The 21-year-old, picked 46th overall by Edmonton at the 2010 Draft, racked up 30 points in 69 AHL regular season games last season. Marincin also chipped in with seven points and a +8 rating in 17 playoff games. With 93 professional games played, he is the most seasoned Oilers prospect slated to compete at the Young Stars Classic.
With the seventh-overall selection at the 2013 NHL Draft, the Oilers landed a bruising defenceman with some offensive upside in Darnell Nurse from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. Like his draft-class counterpart Roy, the 18-year-old Nurse will also make his debut in Oilers silks at the Young Stars Classic. The 6'5", 192-pound blueliner will look to showcase the skills that allowed him to tally 41 points in 68 games with the Greyhounds last season, in addition to his sterling shut-down abilities.
With names like Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov in the mix, it's not surprising that Klefbom is often over-looked when recent Oilers first-round draft picks are discussed. But after three seasons in the Swedish Elite League, the 20-year-old defenceman is ready to bring his highly-touted game to North America this season. Edmonton's 19th overall selection at the 2011 Draft, the 6'3", 201-pound blueliner is expected to contend for a spot on the NHL roster this season. Klefbom heads to Penticton as one of the most talked-about prospects among all five teams in attendance.
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