EDMONTON, AB - Tonight marks the close of Oilers Orientation Camp as the club’s young prospects and camp invites battle in the annual Billy Moores Cup at Rexall Place. The Blue vs. White 4-on-4 scrimmage takes place at 6:30 p.m. and admission and parking are free to the public, although donations are being accepted on behalf of the Constable Woodall Family Fund.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the crowd is going to be like,” said Team White’s Greg Chase. “There has been some pretty big crowds throughout the week with practices and stuff, so I’m looking forward to that. Obviously, I’m really looking forward to watching Connor (McDavid), especial myself with being on his team. And also seeing how these guys play. I think we played 4-on-4 for five minutes (during morning skate) and the pace was pretty high. Hopefully we can keep that up going into tonight and get some rest this afternoon then have a fun time with it.”
Defenceman Joey LaLeggia thinks the 4-on-4 format will lead to more open ice and, as a result, lots of offence.
“It should be pretty high scoring,” said LaLeggia. “For myself, as a defenceman, let’s hope Team Blue doesn’t give up too many. But it should be fun for all of us. There are a lot of guys here with a lot of skill and they’ll get to showcase it.”
The prospects are encouraged to go out there and get the competitive juices flowing, but understand that it’s not an evaluation.
“People are going to read into it,” said Team White defenceman Darnell Nurse. “The big thing is to just go out there and work hard and push yourself. I think it’s been a long camp so far, but at the same time we’re really excited to go out there and be able to put all these things we worked on so far over the course of this week into game action.”
“The biggest thing is that this isn’t an evaluation for anyone,” said Chase. “It’s just to learn and grow as a player and kind of develop as a team and grow together as prospects. A bunch of us could be coming up together in the next couple of years or a couple of guys coming in next year. You never know. They want us to feel like part of the team and part of the organization. I think that’s what this week is about. It’s not about evaluating the player or teammates or anything like that. It’s about going out there and having a fun experience. That’s what training camp in September is for. It’s to evaluate.”
Leon Draisaitl - The Oilers spent the third-overall pick in the 2014 Draft to select the big German centre. Draisaitl is coming off a season in which he began the year in the NHL and finished with a run to the Memorial Cup Final. The centre played 37 games for the Oilers, scoring two goals and adding seven assists. His offence was ignited upon his return to junior, as the centre compiled 53 points (19-34-53) in 32 games with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Draisaitl added 28 points (10-18-28) in 19 playoff games as Kelowna took home the WHL Championship. He was also named the MVP of the Memorial Cup and the tournament’s leading scorer. Returning to Edmonton for his second off-season with the club, Draisaitl is in the thick of competition for a spot on the Oilers out of training camp. He is by far the highest skilled forward on Team Blue.
Connor McDavid- Edmonton fans get a chance to watch the 2015 first-overall pick in game-like action tonight at Rexall Place. The former Erie Otters centre put up big numbers in the OHL this season, recording 120 points (44-76-120) in 47 games. He also added a whopping 49 points (21-28-49) in 20 playoff games for the Otters. McDavid was the consensus top pick heading into the draft. Scouts and NHL prognosticators feel like McDavid could be a franchise all-star centre someday. He won gold for Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old is expected to make the Oilers out of training camp. McDavid isn’t the only high-profile prospect on Team White. 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse will be manning the blueline.
•Two 20-minute halves with seven minutes of 3-on-3 at the end (with regular rules and stoppages)
•Off Side: Clear the blueline (regular delayed off side)
•Icing: Clear back to the centre red line
⁃To start a period
⁃Penalties (Clock stops)
⁃Goals (Clock stops)
⁃Puck out of play (Clock stops)
⁃Injury (Clock stops)
•Goalies are encouraged to keep the puck moving, if not, face off with no line change
⁃One minute duration
⁃If a second penalty occurs, team at full strength adds a player (5-on-3), and at the next stoppage of play it resets to 4-on-4