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MAIN CAMP: Tippett puts stock in scrimmage

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett used Sunday's scrimmage to gauge the Main Camp participants ahead of Edmonton's first pre-season match

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Sunday's Downtown Community Rink open scrimmage wasn't purely made for entertainment.

For Head Coach Dave Tippett, it was a key evaluation period, as the bench boss witnessed Team White crush Team Blue by a score of 7-1.

The coach came away impressed with a handful of players and noted how some elevated their stock after the scrimmage. 

"You saw today, (Evan) Bouchard stepped out. (Colby) Cave stepped out," Tippett said. 

"You got that next level of guys that pushed themselves ahead of other guys. That's what you're looking for. That's how you evaluate them. Now, they got to go to the next step. How far can they push up on the NHL guys?"

Bouchard notched four points, scoring two goals and two assists, while Cave tallied once in the scrimmage and again in the closing shootout.

Tippett decided to ice two lineups devoid of regular NHLers, using the scrimmage to gauge where some of the Oilers prospects and invites are ahead of the first pre-season match, which will be on Monday when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place. 

Video: MAIN CAMP | Scrimmage Highlights 09.15.19

"You take the NHL players out, the majority of them," Tippett started. "There's a lot of players that would be a question mark whether to get an exhibition game or to play themselves into an exhibition game. It's just another way to evaluate. You put them in an element where you can hopefully see the best of them."

Tippett, who has used this methodology in the past, elaborated on how NHL players can impact evaluations during Camp.

"You get into a scrimmage and if you have all the top NHL guys, you end up focusing on those top NHL guys," said Tippett. 

"You take them out and the next layer you see where the separation is. When the NHL guys are there, between the top and the bottom, the separation is huge. So, you take that top out so the separation is less. There's still separation but it gives the middle guys a chance to see them and what they bring."

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