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FUTURE WATCH
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Oil Kings' Ewanyk ready to return

Oilers' third-round selection in 2010 is set to return from a lengthy shoulder injury

Thursday, 23.02.2012 / 8:30 PM / Future Watch
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com
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Oil Kings\' Ewanyk ready to return
Travis Ewanyk had a breakout campaign in 2010-11, scoring 16 goals and 27 points (Photo by Andy Devlin / EOHC).
Edmonton, AB - Missing even a single game can be detrimental on a young athlete's mindset, especially when his body is the one saying no.

Hockey players aren't used to that. The sport is a full-bore, give-it-your-all game that's built on intensity throughout its 60-minute war. But to this point in the season, Travis Ewanyk has missed 61 games – 3660 minutes of on-ice development time that's been spent as a spectator, both at home and in Section 118 at Rexall Place.

"It was the labrum in my shoulder," said the soft-spoken 18-year-old, describing the culprit that's kept him out since the start of the season. "The cartilage was torn, so a surgeon had to go in there, completely tear it apart and then put it back together. Really, it was a wear and tear thing. It was happening over time and it was causing my shoulder to slip out during games. It got the point where it would slip out multiple times in a game and I couldn't play any longer with it."

While his shoulder worsened over time, Ewanyk was determined to complete his season, help the Edmonton Oil Kings' post-season quest and to participate in the summer's U-18 tournament in Germany. He did, impressing scouts while playing upwards of 20 minutes a night as one of Canada's most reliable skaters.

With a hobbled and disintegrating shoulder, no less.

"I battled through it and didn't think too much of it," he said with a smirk. "I was hoping that over the summer I'd strengthen it and it would get better, but I came to camp and it didn't happen. It was the same thing and at that point, we decided to get the MRI done and we saw that there really was something wrong."

Surgery was the only option to properly repair the torn labrum, which was earmarked with a six-month recovery period.

"It's gone really well," said the Oilers' third round, 74th overall selection in 2010. "It's been ahead of schedule the whole time, though. My range of motion and getting back on the ice to participate in contact has been accelerated a little bit. It's about a month ahead, and I'm now ready to go. It's game-by-game and day-to-day right now."

"It's about time."

Ewanyk, along with fellow Oilers prospects Kristians Pelss and Martin Gernat, have the unique luxury of playing in the same city and building as their parent club, with close-knit personnel and resources on hand to assist in whatever way possible.

"They've played a huge role [in my rehab]," he said, explaining the Oilers' help this season. "I'm really lucky that, not only is the team local and I can touch base a lot easier than others, but the help they've given in general has been amazing.

"They set me up with all the physio (therapy), and to have the MRI and surgery done during camp, they were a huge help with that, too. The communication they've had has been great. In addition to all that, they continued to give me weekly check-ups with the player development group, so it's been really good."

While at practice, Ewanyk glared longingly at the ice 12 rows up in the stands and during games, his perch in the press box was 200 feet higher than he'd prefer. Five months later, he's back practicing with his team and has been involved in contact drills for over a week.

"It's my third year here, so I wanted to stay being a leader," Ewanyk explained. "It's a big part of my game and being one of the older guys now, I wanted to keep being close with the team, no matter what the circumstances were.

"Other than being out of the ice for the games, I was how I normally would be; around the guys every day and at practice, even when I wasn't skating, I was around the room and watching from the stands. It's been long, at times, but the team's playing well and it's a lot easier to watch when they win."

His return couldn't come at a better time, too. The Oil Kings remain in the No. 1 spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference, collecting 39 wins and 85 points in 61 games. With mid-season acquisitions (such as Tyler Maxwell, Henrik Samuelsson and Cody Corbett) and an already sound base of supreme young talent, the Oil Kings are poised to end strong and embark on a long post-season run.

"Since being out, I've seen it as well as anyone," Ewanyk said. "We've really grown as the year as gone on. I don't think anyone expected us to be playing this well. We've always been at or near the top of the standings and ranked in the CHL's Top 10 pretty much every week. All that has been really good and it's all coming together here. We're excited. And I'm excited to come back and be a part of it all."

-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com - Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick

Prospect Stats Updated as of Thursday, February 23, 2012.

Forwards


Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Cameron Abney   20 28  2 3 5  -2 117 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Mark Arcobello   23 51  11 21 32 +15 20 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Alexander Bumagin   24 43  5 10 15    -4 10 Novokuznetsk Metallurg
Philippe Cornet   21 44 22 10 32    8 15 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   19 40 14 18 32  +7 46 Kootenay ice (WHL)
Travis Ewanyk   18 - - - - - - edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Josh Green   34 29  9 14 23  +12 27 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Curtis Hamilton   20 41 5 6 11   +2 8 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Teemu Hartikainen   21 39 13 12 25   -2 10 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Tanner House   25 48 4 10 14  +9 21 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kellen Jones   21 28 10 15 25   0 35 quinnipiac university
Ryan Keller   27 51 17 24 41 +21 26 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Milan Kytnar   22 6 0 2 2   -3 6 HPK Hameenlinna (sm-liiga)
Ryan Martindale   20 34 6 9 15  -13 10 stockton thunder (ECHL)
Linus Omark   24 13 4 8 12  +3 4 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Ryan O'Marra   24 40 8 9 17 +15 58 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kristians Pelss   19 52 22 18 40 +31 76 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Tyler Pitlick   19 40  5 6 11  -5 22 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Toni Rajala   20 45 14 12 26  -11 18 ilves tampere (sm-liiga)
Liam Reddox   25 49 11 17 28  -8 32 vaxjo hc (SEL)
Tobias Rieder   18 49 35 34 69 +23 21 kitchener rangers (OHL)
Hunter Tremblay   25 50 12 11 23  +8 35 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Antti Tyrvainen   22 32 2 7 9  +7 29 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Chris VandeVelde   24 52 4 10 14  -4 25 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Defencemen
Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Kyle Bigos   22 27 3 11 14   0 82 merrimack college
Jeremie Blain   19 19 3 18 21 +14 20 Victoriaville tigers (QMjhl)
Taylor Chorney   19 35 3 14 17   12 21 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (AHL)
Brandon Davidson   20 60 12 23 42 +24 73 regina pats (wHL)
Martin Gernat   18 49 8 37 45 +34 44 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Oscar Klefbom   18 30 0 0 0   -1 4 farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)
Martin Marincin   19 18 5 10 15   +2 6 regina pats (WHL)
Johan Motin   22 29 0 1 1   -3 16 Timra ik (seL)
David Musil   18 50 4 18 22  +13 94 vancouver giants (WHL)
DYlan YEO   25 27 4 4 8  +3 19 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Alex Plante   22 33 1 11 12 +13 72 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Dillon Simpson   18 31 1 13 14   0 4 u. of north dakota
Colten Teubert   21 27 2 6 8 +8 41 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Goalies
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
Tyler Bunz   19 52 34 14 4 2.58 .922 medicine hat tigers (WHL)
Yann Danis   30 33 21 10 1 1.98 .926 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Samu Perhonen   18 9 - - - 3.79 .889 Jyp ht jyvaskyla (sm-liiga)
Olivier Roy   20 32 12 15 5 2.44 .927 stockton thunder (echl)
Frans Tuohimaa   20 17 6 5 5 2.59 .900 jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)
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