Future Watch: Cam Abney
Oil Kings enforcer discusses development, Oilers future, WHL post-season & more
Cam Abney is ushered off the ice by a WHL official following a melee vs. Regina (Photo by Dylan Lynch / EOHC).
Such is the case for Aldergrove, BC native Cam Abney. The 19-year-old Edmonton Oil Kings forward remains focused on the 2011 post-season, as his team looks to embark on the comeback trail against the rival Red Deer Rebels.
Although Abney has played in four full seasons in the WHL, a trade from the Everett Silvertips in Dec. 2009 brought the bruising winger to Edmonton, where he hopes his upcoming professional career will flourish.
After being drafted by the Oilers in the third round, 82nd overall earlier that summer, Abney was immediately immersed in the Oil Country development path.
"It was a really nice feeling [to be chosen]," Abney said. "I didn't know much about the draft beforehand. My agent said it could happen, but maybe not. It was nice to hear it was a Canadian team and Edmonton especially, but just to get drafted was huge."
Becoming a student of the Oilers organization has already proven valuable. As Abney explains, the opportunity to attend the various camps and participate in pre-season games with the Oilers has had profound impact on his development curve.
"Every time I go I learn so much and there's always such a high caliber of players and top prospects there to learn from. The coaching is always really good, so those have been excellent experiences for me. Overall, I feel that I've been able to develop my game through each session. I want to make sure that continues."
Like any young player, Abney has some areas in need of improvement. Separating the bad from the good has never been a challenge for the 6'5" 200-pound bruiser, as he diligently works to improve his varied skill-set.
"I don't want to be a liability in my own end," said a focused Abney. "I want to be able to play well at both ends of the ice. In terms of improvement, I want to continue to develop my foot speed and things like that. Getting pucks in and hammering the body is a big part of my game."
The Oilers, meanwhile, have kept an eye on Abney as he continues to progress.
"I'm so close to the Oilers, which is really good. They say they like my development so far and like what I'm doing. They keep telling me to play my game and try not to overcomplicate things."
Keeping his game simple has been his bread and butter, which has helped him get to this point in an increasingly successful career. It's the kind of game that Abney hopes will translate well to the NHL style one day soon.
"I love battling in the corners and being strong on the puck; dumping the puck in deep and putting fear into the defenders. I think those things will help me be a good NHLer someday."
"I think the simpler I keep my game, the better I am." Abney continued. "I try not to over-handle the puck. I want to get the puck in and use my strengths to be successful in the offensive zone. Those are the things the Oilers are teaching me to do."
While Abney certainly recognizes that offence is a secondary component to his game, it has been an area that has seen a marked improvement in recent years. In 60 games with the Oil Kings this season, Abney recorded seven goals and 20 points, along with 72 penalty minutes and a respectable minus-three rating.
All things considered, his 2010-11 campaign has been a successful one as he looks to continue this upward trend. Although he has typically been revered as one of the WHL's most dexterous fighters, he wants to stem the trend of being known as a player with such a simplistic role.
"One day I want to be a guy who puts up 20 points and 20 fights in a season. It's the way I like to play and the way that I think I can be successful. I'm not a one-dimensional player."
While Abney brings an undeniable swagger on the ice, his modesty away from the rink has, perhaps, helped contributed to his rising development path.
"I haven't really changed much [with my game]. I've always stayed with the same style. … I could probably attribute that to getting older, a little more mature. Just part of the development process," Abney said with a smile.
Naturally, the current season is reaching its most vital point. The Oil Kings are currently down 3-0 to the Rebels in their best-of-seven matchup, with game four set to face-off tonight at Rexall Place.
"I think we've got to outwork them," Abney said of the Rebels. "They obviously have a lot of skill and they have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, which helps. We want to eliminate him, or try to anyway, because he's obviously going to get his points."
"We need to get pucks deep and work hard in the trenches, as our coach (Derek Laxdal) likes to say. At this point, we're truly working one game at a time. Our focus is on Thursday night and we're going to do our best to get back in the series."
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com
2010-11 OILERS PROSPECT STATS
|19||60||7||13||20||-3||72||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
|22||21||9||7||16||E||2||OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)|
|20||55||6||11||17||+2||8||Oklahoma city barons (AHL)|
|18||68||13||30||43||+9||78||kootenay ice (WHL)|
|23||36||13||22||32||N/A||26||university of maine (h-east)|
|26||43||13||9||22||+2||98||stockton thunder (echl)|
|29||66||30||41||71||-5||61||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||62||26||56||82||+48||22||saskatoon blades (whl)|
|20||66||17||25||42||-1||27||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|20||38||8||14||22||E||33||quinnipiac university (ecac)|
|21||73||10||12||22||-1||33||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||49||11||15||26||-14||38||timra ik (sel)|
|23||62||5||7||12||-10||20||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||65||34||49||83||+38||28||ottawa 67's (ohl)|
|26||75||34||14||48||-7||59||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|31||75||20||47||67||-4||36||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||53||2||20||22||+9||49||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|24||26||14||17||31||+7||32||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|28||75||6||13||19||-10||68||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||63||14||19||33||+11||29||edmonton oil kings (WHL)|
|19||56||27||35||62||+4||31||medicine hat tigets (whl)|
|19||44||9||13||22||-3||4||ilves tampere (fnl)|
|24||37||18||15||33||+14||16||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|24||69||6||9||15||-11||104||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||67||12||4||16||-17||45||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||62||3||21||24||+1||42||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||35||2||4||6||+5||112||stockton thunder (echl)|
|21||33||2||6||8||E||127||merrimack college (h-east)|
|18||40||2||35||37||+17||48||acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)|
|23||46||3||13||16||E||22||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|19||72||8||43||51||-5||71||regina pats (whl)|
|19||29||0||1||1||-12||32||sioux city musketeers (ushl)|
|18||67||14||42||56||-12||65||prince george cougars (whl)|
|21||34||1||3||4||-7||30||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|28||61||0||14||14||+10||46||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|23||41||7||17||24||-6||18||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|21||68||1||14||15||+4||122||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|18||56||35||13||8||3||2.47||.919||medicine hat tigers (whl)|
|26||31||13||13||4||0||3.13||.898||Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)|
|36||41||20||15||4||4||2.51||.914||oklahoma city barons (ahl)|
|22||34||18||10||4||0||2.90||.901||stockton thunder (echl)|
|19||45||29||13||2||2||2.79||.911||acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)|