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Stauffer Stuff: Storylines Developing

by Bob Stauffer / Edmonton Oilers
Monday afternoon the Edmonton Oilers trimmed their roster by twenty players with some interesting storylines developing.

Jared Aulin, 28, was a second round draft pick in 2000 who is looking for a second chance at the NHL with the Oilers this season.
(Photo: Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Jared Aulin, a 28-year-old playmaking centreman from Calgary has survived the first round of cuts. Aulin is the physical embodiment of the old saying that life is not a destination but an experience, as it has been seven seasons since he has played in an NHL game.

Aulin was second-round draft choice of the Colorado Avalanche in 2000 after putting up 55 points with the Kamloops Blazers.  In 2000-01 he led the Blazers in scoring with 108 points on a team that produced several other NHL’ers including Scottie Upshall, Shaone Morrisonn, Erik Christensen and tough guy Colton Orr.

Aulin’s rights were then moved to LA along with Adam Deadmarsh in a multi-player transaction that netted the Avs Rob Blake, a significant piece of their Stanley Cup Championship team in March of 2001.

After helping Canada win the Silver Medal at the 2002 World Junior Championships with an impressive nine points in seven games, Aulin was seen as a star on the rise.

He had a strong campaign in his first pro season picking up 44 points in 44 games for the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester and got into 17 games at the NHL level for the Kings which was highlighted by a two-goal performance one night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Unfortunately for Aulin he has not gotten into an NHL game, let alone score an NHL goal, since that 2002-03 season.

In the 2003-04 pre-season Aulin suffered a serious shoulder injury, one that ended up requiring surgery and he was eventually traded to Washington for former Oiler Anson Carter. He would then spend parts of four seasons in the AHL without a recall to the NHL.

After re-aggravating his shoulder problem at the start of the 2006-07 season Aulin was released from Springfield in the AHL, and then things took another turn for the worse.

Playing in a Men’s Summer League game in Calgary in the summer of 2007 the two-time WHL All-Star, who was leading the league in scoring, was brutally attacked when a player two-handed him across the neck leaving Aulin convulsing and unconscious on the ice.

That event almost resulted in Aulin quitting hockey, but instead he chose the surprising option of joining the University of Calgary Dinos for the 2007-08 season, becoming the first former NHL player to play in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) in 20 years.

“I fell in love with the game again playing for Scott Atkinson at Calgary,” said Aulin who picked up 34 points in 16 games.

“The passion re-kindled and I wanted to keep the dream alive,” he added.

Last fall, Aulin surfaced again in pro hockey as he was able to make and stick with the Columbus Blue Jackets, AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch, where he picked up 16 goals and 37 points in 64 games to finish third on the team.

The 6’2”, 190 pound Aulin is looking to impress in a pre-season action and open some eyes in Edmonton with an AHL contract in Oklahoma City a distinct possibility.

“Jared has a tremendous passion for the game, and he has endured a lot in his career. He has always had skill and the ability to create and make plays, and he is here to compete for a job in our organization,” said Oilers Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor, who ironically drafted Aulin many moons ago in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft when he was then General Manager of the Blazers.

One thing that will work to Aulin’s advantage is that he has played under 320 career NHL/AHL games so he theoretically is not considered an AHL veteran for this upcoming season.


Tyler Pitlick (photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
No surprise that Tyler Pitlick remains in Edmonton through the first cuts and has not been sent back to Medicine Hat.

Though a lot of the focus at the Penticton rookie camp was on the Oilers big three of Taylor Hall (#1 overall in 2010), Magnus Paajarvi (#10 overall in 2009) and Jordan Eberle (#22 overall in 2008), it was Pitlick who showed the strongest all-around game. The Oilers' second round pick (31st overall) in the 2010 draft won virtually every one-on-one puck battle he engaged in and can skate.

Pitlick will probably get a pre-season game for the Oilers, and certainly will be a welcome addition for Tigers Head Coach and former Alberta Golden Bear Shaun Clouston, the older brother of Ottawa Senators Head Coach Cory Clouston.

Two other drafts from the 2010 class Martin Marincin and Ryan Martindale showed vast improvement over the course of the last week before being assigned to their respective junior teams.

Marincin is a gangly defender who is not afraid to step up and take some chances offensively. The top overall pick in the 2010 CHL Import Draft will be a welcome addition for Head Coach Dean Clark and the Prince George Cougars.

Martindale had a poor showing in the Oilers Rookies’ opening game against the Vancouver Canucks’ Rookies but was a different player in the next two games, dramatically improving his compete level and picking up three assists and engaging in a scrap. Martindale will return to Ottawa where the Oilers' third rounder picked up 60 points last season.

Bob Stauffer is the Colour Analyst for the Edmonton Oilers Radio Network and Host for “Oilers Lunch” which is heard daily from Noon until 2:00PM, on the Team 1260 Edmonton Sports Radio. Click here to listen live to Oilers Lunch during the week from 12-2.
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