The Edmonton Oilers had nearly 30 players and prospects on ice Monday for an informal skate at Millennium Place at Sherwood Park. The big turnout delighted veteran forward David Perron, who was among those on the ice.
"We've been done playing since April and it's something we're trying to change," Perron told the Oilers website. "With more and more teams, their veteran guys are showing up earlier and earlier so as soon as camp starts they are ready to go. Three days after camp starts I think we have an exhibition game so it's something where we have to be as ready as possible.
Left Wing - EDM
GOALS: 28 | ASST: 29 | PTS: 57
SOG: 220 | +/-: -16
"When I asked the trainers a couple of days ago about how many guys were in town they said roughly 30. I thought he was kidding at first but it's a nice showing of veteran guys and prospects. We'll see who is going to be able to make the team."
Perron tied Jordan Eberle for the team lead with 28 goals but had to pass on an invitation to play for Canada at the World Championships in May because of a hip injury. He said he was able to deal with the injury during the summer and is ready to go as camp approaches.
"My offseason was different though as far as training," Perron told the website. "With my hip, I had to miss the World Championship. I had some inflammation in there. It has kind of dragged on for a lot of the summer actually. I got to do a lot of upper body stuff but not too much lower body to start. I've been doing a lot more lately and it is starting to feel good.
"I had a real good session out there on the ice today. I'm going to just try and keep building off of that and try and get as good as possible for camp."
The Oilers haven't made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since losing the Final to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, and there are jobs to be won. Perron said it's up to the young players to show coach Dallas Eakins and his staff why they're ready to make the team.
"I think for them personally, if you're going to want to make the team then you are going to have to make an impression," Perron said. "It's not going to be just tiptoeing around. You have to come in and really make a big impression and work the veterans respectfully but work them really hard. You're trying to show the management that either you are ready or you're going to be ready very soon. It's a good strength for an organization to have when a lot of young guys are pushing."