The Young Stars tourney in Penticton is about to start tonight and the Oilers and Flames are first up. This blog was inspired by some talk from the other teams like Vancouver especially that believe their team is poised to win this tournament. And why? Because they have a incredible talent and top end skill from players some of us have never really heard of. No offence if your a Vancouver Canucks fan but other then 3, maybe 4 players this team is not a strong team. I guess when I see teams being touted as good with very few top end prospects it does get me going.
On the other hand, this year the Oilers are going into the tournament very low skilled up front but definitely tougher and bigger. Where the Oilers should dominate is now on defence! This blueline entering this tourney is exceptional, at least on paper. This will make for a very interesting game tonight to see what I call '5 SOLID reasons the Oilers should win the young stars tournament'.
Here are the 5 SOLID reasons...
78 MARTIN GERNAT 6'5 , 191 lbs
This guy is graduating into the pro's this year and has a wealth of experience and skill to compliment any team. With a good stick and a flair for offence, Gernat may very well surprise a lot of people this year.
84 OSCAR KLEFBOM 6'3 , 201lbs
Oscar will be a man among boys but he is recovering from a major surgery. The Oilers are hoping he is all ready to go for game action and doesn't try to over complicate his game in Camp. Klefbom is highly ranked among rookie d-men this year and not only in the Oilers organization but among the NHL. He will have a big step to take though if he hopes to crack the Oilers roster this year. It will take a big camp to show coaches he is ready.
80 MARTIN MARINCIN 6'4 , 187 lbs
Marincin is another big defencemen who can be deceptive with smooth skating and great outlet passes to the forwards. Still developing his defensive side of the game, he has looked good this past two years developing into the mold the Oilers are wanting to see him move into. His experience pro last year should show early and quick this tourney.
87 DAVID MUSIL 6'4 , 203 lbs
This guy turning pro this year will mean he will need to do what he does best. Just play his simple game. His size is a bonus in the system but his skating will need to step up some. His punishing checks and physical play will be tough to play against for any team in this tourney. Only question is, has he made improvements in his speed?
74 DARNELL NURSE 6'4 , 185 lbsDarnell is coming into his 1st rookie camp and may feel somewhat overwhelmed but if he can handle the pressure and excitement he will definitely show well. With his size, defensive positioning and offensive touch, Nurse may very well be a top 2 player of the future.
Having said all that, these prospects are highly rated and are enormous. This defence (these 5 players) average height of 6'4 and 193 lbs. Considering they still have lots of room to put on some lean muscle these boys stand to be a potentially dangerous group. The Oilers system has never looked some primed for growth and hopefully we will see some dividends start paying off year after year in their development. Obviously, they can not all turn out as A-Grade players but even hitting 2 out of 5 would be a blessing to any team.
Enough talk, it's time we turn the corner on the blueline and no time better to check out some action tonight at 5pm.
In the meantime, keep your stick on the ice!