Well the Oil went at it again last night, this time against the Winnipeg Jets. Yet again the Oilers roster seemed overmatched by a significant margin.
The biggest Star for the Jets, Mark Sheifele, didnt score on the porous Oilers but was buzzing all night and Jacob Trouba was a dominant force from the blueline making some great passes from back there.
What Went Wrong
What went wrong is a pretty big list but it starts in net. Philippe Cadorette played particularly poorly allowing way too many by him. With 30 shots on target he allowed 7 goals. That simply isnt good enough. It’s no wonder MacTavish targeted the Goaltending as an area of weakness if these are their “young stars”. The undrafted Goalie had an .892 save percentage with Baie-Comeau last year after 50 games played. To say he had a rough night would be an understatement.
Moving from there the Oilers forwards remained underwhelming save for 3 players playing on separate lines from each other, we can get to them in a second. As far as the poor Oiler kids go it’s not as if a few made glaring errors so much as they all lacked the requisite skill to affect the game in any way shape or form.
It’s a damning statement based on a meaningless preseason tournament, but outside of the 3 who showed well, the invitees to this Young Stars event are late round or undrafted depth players. Seeing Kale Kessy out there with a plethora of other less talented “Disturbers” makes the fact that he cost the Oilers a much more offensively talented Tobias Rieder all the more painful.
These past games have really highlighted just how bare the Oilers are at the forward positions organizationally. What’s worse is that the 3 who actually did play well are all likely playing in the CHL again this year, leaving the AHL club woefully undernourished.
What Went Well
In an effort to remain positive and not let this tournament ruin my weekend I’ve decided to stay “glass half full” on 5 or 6 of the prospects wearing Oiler silks. Let’s start with the Forwards who played well then get to the Defenders.
Marco Roy – Showed his speed and/or quickness off well. With the puck on his stick in the offensive zone he darted around giving himself better scoring opportunities. He was notably better than his companions in this regard. He ended the night with 3 shots but Eric Comrie was up to the task for all of them.
Greg Chase – Chase also ended the night with 3 shots but was rewarded with a goal for his effort. Getting some PP time he showed some deft touch and a willingness to stay in the hard areas when he deflected a Marincin shot into the net. 7th round pick looking like he’s playing above his draft number already.
Jujhar Khaira – Do I know how to pronounce his name? No, but I’m not sure Gene Principe does either. No matter, big kid didnt get much done on the score sheet but finished even on a night when the Oilers allowed 7 against. Small victories.
Martin Marincin – Had a couple shots, picked up an assist, and continued to be the Oilers best Defender out there. Todd Nelson should be proud that the kid he coached all year is the Oilers best player so far. He’s big, calming, makes a good pass, and isnt afraid to shoot it. Based on how bad the rest of the team has been he must be playing out of his mind to even look this good.
Oscar Klefbom – This player got some mixed reviews but I’m staying positive right now so shut your filthy mouths. He is just a couple days removed from his first game action in almost a year and I thought there was a marked improvement. He was exposed on one goal because of a great Jacob Trouba pass up the middle, but generally he was better. I especially liked what he and Marincin were doing on the PP. For a few shifts he looked like the player he was advertised as.
I also liked Marty Gernat but I was much more focused on the other five I mentioned. Again, I’m staying positive about those prospects but the quality of the others on the Oiler roster are making it hard for them to look good.