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DEV CAMP: Fresh opportunity awaits Rodrigue in final junior season

The 18-year-old will play out his final season in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats after being traded from Drummondville, and is setting his sights on World Juniors in 2019-20

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - After what would be his last season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL, Olivier Rodrigue's jam-packed summer leaves no time to dwell.

The 18-year-old's season was bookended by hard times that limited him to 48 regular-season games despite still being able to post a 35-9-1 record with a .902 save percentage and 2.43 goals-against average.

"It was a tough start," Rodrigue, speaking from Oilers Development Camp, said. "A couple things happened in my life and in my family, so it hurt me a little bit at the beginning of the season. At the end of the season I pulled my groin for seven weeks and couldn't play in playoffs, but it's part of the game."

Soon after, the netminder celebrated his first professional contract after signing his entry-level deal with the Oilers in May as his first big step towards playing professional hockey.

"It was pretty special," he said. "I lived that with my family, so I enjoyed the time with the family. We went for dinner, and it's the next step to the big leagues and I just have to keep working."

Video: DEV CAMP | Olivier Rodrigue

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DEV CAMP: Skinner and Wells balancing healthy ECHL, AHL rotation

The two rookie netminders split time between Bakerfield and Wichita before earning their first postseason starts with the Condors in the AHL Playoffs

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Goaltenders Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner rode the carousel in their first year of professional hockey.

The netminders split time in the ECHL and AHL with the Wichita Thunder and Bakersfield Condors in their debut pro seasons, dipping their toes into the water at both levels to gain as much experience and playing time as possible.

"It was nice to have Wellsy with me, being able to push each other and getting called up and down with each other," Skinner said Wednesday at Oilers Development Camp. "I think it was a good experience for both of us to get our feet wet in our first year to really understand how the pro mentality works.

"As weird as it sounds, it was a lot of fun moving up and down and seeing the different levels. It was hard work on both sides, so it's good to get a lot of games in the ECHL and then be able to get called up to the AHL and play some games there."

Video: OILERS TODAY | Masked Men 06.26.19

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DEV CAMP: Kemp gets World Junior redemption

"It definitely felt good when I made the team but I didn't want to just make the team. I wanted to be a crucial player," said Oilers defence prospect Phil Kemp of his 2019 World Junior experience

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Last year at Oilers Development Camp, defence prospect Phil Kemp was fired up.

The 2017 seventh-rounder entered 2018's Camp with a chip on his shoulder for the 2018-19 season after getting a last-minute snub from Team USA's World Junior roster.

This time, it's not like that. 

The Yale University defender has since gotten his redemption, making the USA squad and helping the club win a silver medal at the 2019 World Juniors.

Kemp spoke to EdmontonOilers.com at Day 3 of Oilers Development Camp and commented on his World Junior experience.

"It definitely felt good when I made the team," Kemp, who notched three goals and five assists in 30 games with Yale last season, said. "But I didn't want to just make the team. I wanted to be a crucial player on the team. I played my role to the best of my ability and tried to contribute to my team."

Indeed, the 6-foot-4 rearguard did. In the semifinal match against Russia, Kemp made a game-changing defensive effort to stop a puck from crossing the goal-line. Team USA went on to win the match then earn silver in the final. 

Video: DEV CAMP | Phil Kemp

Kemp recalled the play on Wednesday.

"(Dmitri) Samorukov has actually been giving me some flak for it," he said. "It's been awesome. It was a great play, I guess, but I kind of just got lucky. We had a great goalie so I was just trying to do whatever I could to help him."

Although he didn't complete the circuit with a gold medal around his neck, participating in the tournament was a valuable experience and benefitted the blueliner going forward.

"I definitely gained a lot out of it," Kemp said. "It was heartbreaking at the end but we had a great group of guys and it was a great tournament to be a part of."

Kemp will return to the NCAA for 2019-20 and is using this Dev Camp as a precursor for the upcoming campaign.

"I'm just trying to be a sponge out there," he said. "I'm just trying to apply everything I can from this camp to my upcoming season to try and have a big year."

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DEV CAMP: Siikanen attending his first Oilers Development Camp

"I'm a big strong forward who likes to stay on the puck in the offensive zone and I like to score goals," Siikanen said.

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - There's typically a couple of fresh faces every Oilers Development Camp, and this year, Patrik Siikanen is one of them.

The Oilers 2018 seventh-round selection has been playing in Finland and paid a visit to Edmonton for this year's camp.

"I'm a big strong forward who likes to stay on the puck in the offensive zone and I like to score goals," Siikanen told EdmontonOilers.com.

Siikanen was selected 195th-overall in 2018 but was unable to make it to Dev Camp. That's not the case this time around as the Finn is soaking it all up, meeting fellow Oilers prospects and developing under the guidance of the franchise.

"It's been great," said the 6-foot-0, 198-pounder. "When I got here I didn't know anybody. It's been nice to meet the other guys."

Suiting up for the Blues U20 of Jr. A SM-Liiga the past two seasons, Siikanen finished '18-19 third on his team in scoring with 17 goals, 22 assists and 39 points in 41 matches - playing 17 more games than the season previous and scoring 22 more points.

Video: DEV CAMP | Patrik Siikanen

The forward is expected to dress for JYP of Liiga next year and thinks he'll be ready by rounding out a few areas of his game. Mainly, skating and defence.

"Skating is my biggest weak point," Siikanen said. "I got to improve that a lot."

Oilers Skating Coach David Pelletier - an Olympic gold medalist as a pairs figure skater - is a good resource in that regard. He's been been putting Oilers prospects through some difficult drills and Siikanen is learning how "quick your feet need to be," in today's game.

"I'm impressed with how good of a skater he is," Siikanen added of Pelletier.

The 19-year-old has experience with the Finnish National U20 Team and commented on the state of Finnish hockey. Finland won the 2019 World Junior Championship then defeated Canada to earn gold at the 2019 World Championship.

"Finnish hockey is improving all the time," he said. "It comes from the hard work the coaches and staff do there. We got to improve all the time and they know that.

"They say, 'We play as a team, win as a team and lose as a team."

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DEV CAMP: All videos and articles from Oilers Development Camp

Get all news, videos and more as EdmontonOilers.com and OilersTV provides coverage of this year's Oilers Development Camp

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The NHL Draft is over and 21 Oilers prospects, including four from this year's Draft in Vancouver, have arrived in Edmonton for Development Camp.

Stay tuned all week for news, videos and more as Oilers TV and EdmontonOilers.com provide coverage of the annual event.

JUMP TO:  Day 2 CoverageDay 1 Coverage | Full Prospect List | Schedule Breakdown

Video: OILERS TODAY | Masked Men 06.26.19

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DEV CAMP: Czech mates

Best friends Matej Blumel and Tomas Mazura shared the whirlwind experience of being drafted together by the Oilers and their journey to Edmonton to attend Development Camp

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Everything's always better with your best mates by your side.

That was the case on Saturday for Czech forwards Matej Blumel and Tomas Mazura - two best friends who shared their draft-day experience with their closest companions in their hometown of Pardubice, Czech Republic with some pool-side grilling.

"Me, Tomas, and a couple other friends," Blumel said. "They said like, 'Hey guys, let's watch the Draft tonight and get some barbecue and enjoy the night.'"

With no expectation of when, or even if, they'd both be drafted, they hit the pool before the first phone call came for Matej to inform him he'd been selected in the fourth round (100th overall) by the Oilers from the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks.

"[Matej's] phone rang and I was like, 'Great!'" Mazura said. "Then I was getting a little bit nervous. I want to be drafted."

Mazura's nervousness turned to jubilation alongside his best friend almost an hour later, with the message of him being selected by the Oilers in the sixth round (162nd overall) being relayed from his roommate from prep school back in New England at Kimball Union Academy.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Czech Mates 06.25.19

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DEV CAMP: Kesselring physically prepared for college hockey

"I think I grew another inch and a half or two and then I gained probably 15 pounds since last year... I think I'm ready to go for college," said defence prospect Michael Kesselring

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Beware. 

Scrumming Michael Kesselring could cause a sore neck.

The Oilers sixth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft is listed as 6-foot-6 but with his skates on, hovers around the 6-foot-8 range. There's no question that the former USHL defender - who will join the Northeastern Huskies next season - has grown since his last go-around at Oilers Development Camp. 

The 203-pounder confirmed it on Tuesday after the Oilers defence prospects finished their on-ice session. The defenceman believes it will bode well for him when he transitions to the NCAA in 2019-20.

"I think I grew another inch and a half or two and then I gained probably 15 pounds since last year," said the Manchester, NH, product. "It was a big year for me development-wise and I think I'm ready to go for college."

The 164th-overall pick moves into summer school next Monday, so getting prepared physically for the upcoming campaign was a major goal. And much like his scale, Kesselring's offensive game has taken off. 

The 19-year-old finished '18-19 with nine goals and 25 assists split between the Des Moines Buccaneers and Fargo Force but saw his offensive output skyrocket with Fargo.

Video: DEV CAMP | Michael Kesselring

After posting just two goals and 12 points in 33 games with Des Moines, the tall rearguard compiled seven markers and 22 points after being traded.

"I think in Fargo they just let me play," Kesselring said. "I learned a lot on how to move the puck and join late because in prep school I could carry it around a little bit more. 

"I think I could carry that into Northeastern next year."

College hockey is a big step but given his body's maturation, Kesselring believes he's ready for it. What will also help with the transition is guidance from coaches Jim Madigan and Jerry Keefe, plus friendly advice from Northeastern alumnus and Oilers defender Matt Benning.

"Jerry Keefe and Jim Madigan are doing a very good job," Kesselring said. "Matt Benning's here, he played for them and I talked to him. He had nothing but good things to say. I know they're going to let me play. 

"There's a good opportunity for me next year."

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Hockey Helps the Homeless event has record year in Edmonton

Oilers Alumni, volunteers and participants help make this year's event the best yet with $230,000 raised

by Jessica Kent / EdmontonOilers.com

As Canadians, there are many things that unite us coast to coast. The game of hockey is one of them. Whether you play it, watch it, or live for it, hockey keeps us warm on those bitter-cold winter nights, and for the past two decades, hockey has been helping the homeless.

"In Canada hockey is the game and anytime you can lace up your skates and head out on the rink with two guys who played in the NHL, whether it be our alumni or others for charity, it's a winning combo," said Ron Low, Oilers Alumni and Honorary Chair for Hockey Helps the Homeless. 

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BLOG: Oilers extend qualifying offers to Khaira, Puljujarvi

The Edmonton Oilers extended qualifying offers to forwards Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi on Tuesday

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Jujhar Khaira and Jesse Puljujarvi on Tuesday.

Khaira appeared in 60 games in his second full season with the Oilers in 2018-19, recording three goals and 15 assists. In 154 career NHL games across four seasons, the forward has produced 15 goals, 27 assists, and 105 penalty minutes in an Oilers uniform.

Puljujarvi, 21, is coming off a shortened season of 46 games with four goals and five assists with the Oilers after being shut down due to hip surgery in late February. The Finnish forward has 17 goals and 20 assists in 139 career NHL games.

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RELEASE: Oilers announce 2019-20 schedule

Oilers are set to open their schedule at Rogers Place against Vancouver on October 2 before closing out the regular season on April 4 in Calgary

by Press Release / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers will open their season on a two-game homestand at Rogers Place starting on October 2 against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Oilers October home schedule features many marquee matchups. The Oilers will host the Los Angeles Kings on October 5, the Philadelphia Flyers on October 16, the Original Six Detroit Red Wings on October 18, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on October 24 and the Florida Panthers for the first matinee game of the season on October 27.

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