The Edmonton Oilers Rookies are 2-0 so far at the Young Stars Tournament and they wrap things up on Monday with a game against the Winnipeg Jets prospects.
Here are five things to watch in that game.
1. THE RETURN OF DRAISAITL AND NURSE
Both of the Oilers first-round picks are expected to be back in the lineup when the Oilers play against the Jets. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse sat out Saturday night’s win over the Calgary Flames Rookies.
Draisaitl was taken third-overall in this year’s draft, while Nurse was taken seventh-overall in 2013.
Oilers fans had an opportunity to watch Draisaitl play for the first time in the Oilers jersey on Friday night against Vancouver. He missed a few shifts due to leg cramps but is expected to be fully healthy and back at it Monday.
2. KHAIRA BACK AT IT
Jujhar Khaira is another Oilers player expected to return to action after sitting out Saturday night. Khaira, the 63rd overall pick in 2012, is 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds. Khaira gives the Oilers another big centre option in Penticton with the other two big guys being Draisaitl and Bogdan Yakimov.
Khaira feels like he is ready to compete for a spot with the Oilers in main camp.
“I have some confidence that I think I can make the squad this year,” Khaira said. “If I don’t and the management thinks I need another year of development then that’s fine. But my main goal is to make the team this year.”
Khaira knows the Oilers are looking to bulk up in the middle and he hopes he can bring that.
“It’s very exciting. It’s nice to know that they need a player like me. I’m going to try my best to fill that need and work my hardest to get a spot on the team.”
3. FRANS’ FIRST
Goaltender Frans Tuohimaa will get his first start of the tournament on Monday. The Oilers took Tuohimaa in the seventh round in 2011 (182nd overall).
“Of course I am excited,” he said. “It’s actually my first real game with an Oilers jersey on. That’s one thing I am really excited for and for sure, it’s the first game of the season for me. That’s another thing too.”
Tuohimaa got his first taste of North American professional hockey with one game in the American Hockey League. He made 38 saves in the shootout win for the Oklahoma City Barons.
His debut is interesting because there may be a goaltending battle brewing in Oklahoma City this season.
4. MORE MORRISSEY
Like Nurse, Josh Morrissey is one of the best defensive prospects at the Young Stars Tournament. Should he play against the Oilers, fans get an opportunity to watch the 13th overall pick in 2013 in action.
Morrissey played for the Prince Albert Raiders last season and was a teammate of Oilers Draisaitl. He had 73 points (28-45-73) in the WHL. He played eight games in the AHL for St. John’s, and then played 20 playoff games for the Jets affiliate. In the playoffs, Morrissey scored nine points (2-7-9).
Morrissey represented Canada at World Junior Championships as well.
He is an exciting prospect to watch in this tournament.
5. EXCELLENT EHLERS
Ehlers is the second-highest drafted Danish player in NHL history. The Jets took him ninth overall in this year’s draft.
Ehlers lit the QMJHL on fire with 104 points (49-55-104) in 63 games last season with the Halifax Mooseheads. His 49 goals were more than any draft-eligible player last season.
This offensively gifted rookie has had a good tournament and, should he play against the Oilers, is someone to watch.