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BLOG: Bouchard earning praise early

"His play with the puck on his tape and poise to make passes is elite. He's already ahead of some people in that area," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - Evan Bouchard has turned some heads early in Training Camp.

The 6-foot-3, 194-pound defenceman had a team-high 22:50 of ice time during his first home game of the preseason on Thursday. With an assist against the Winnipeg Jets, Bouchard has scored one point in each of his two preseason outings (1G, 1A).

"His play with the puck on his tape and poise to make passes is elite," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "He's already ahead of some people in that area."

Video: Evan Bouchard comes in at No. 19 on the list

However, he hasn't only caught the attention of his coaches. Teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - who registered two goals on Thursday - echoed McLellan's comments.

"For a young guy [who has] just been drafted, he's got a lot of poise with the puck and a lot of poise defensively," explained Oilers Centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "He's got such a good, quick, hard snapshot.

"He doesn't look like an 18-year-old kid. He definitely plays a lot older than that, which I think for a defenceman in this league starting out, goes a long way."

Along with comfortability, McLellan mentions the growth he has seen in Bouchard's game since the beginning of Rookie Camp.

"Growth for him comes from graduating up against better and better opponents," McLellan said. "Growth for him also shows up in grasping concepts, feeling like he fits in with his teammates, getting comfortable with his coaches and his surroundings and he's done those things.

"We need to see how well he can defend, how the pace of the game affects him and so far, he'd be in that passing grade group."

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BLOG: Cam, cool and collected

"He never quits on anything. [That save] gave us a little bit of life, a little momentum at that part of the game. He's a tremendous goaltender," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

by Tony Brar /

Vancouver, BC - Cam Talbot was dialed in.

The 31-year-old netminder turned aside 22 of 23 shots during his first preseason action on Tuesday. However, none were bigger than his first period save on Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin.

"You don't want to use those up in preseason," joked Talbot. "I reached my glove out and just [wanted to] take away something. It's a confidence builder moving forward.

"I kind of settled myself down there, so it was nice."

Video: EDM@VAN: Talbot reaches back to rob Goldobin

The netminder had to use all of his 6-foot-4 frame to reach across with his glove hand and rob the Canucks forward on the doorstep.

"He never quits on anything," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "[That save] gave us a little bit of life, a little momentum at that part of the game."

Ty Rattie - who also enjoyed a productive night by netting two goals - didn't shy away from an early-season prediction.

"That could be save of the year right there," said Rattie. "[It was] something special and that kind of changed the game for us."

When asked about the save, Oilers centre Ryan Strome shared what Talbot said in the locker room during the first intermission.

"He said he wanted to save that for the regular season," laughed Strome. "He looks really good this year. He's hard to score on in practice and had a great showing tonight.

"It's a good sign for our team."

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BLOG: Yamamoto excelling early

"The puck went in. I thought he played with some real determination and fire tonight. That's a good sign," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

by Tony Brar /

CALGARY, AB - Kailer Yamamoto had himself a game.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old notched two goals and added an assist in the team's 7-4 victory on Monday night.

Yamamoto, who played alongside Ryan McLeod and Tyler Benson in the Oilers opening pre-season game, utilized his speed and quickness to break away from Flames defenceman for both goals.

Video: POST-GAME RAW | Kailer Yamamoto 09.17.18

"Most of his offensive talents have shown up on the scoresheet as assists and playmaking," said Head Coach Todd McLellan. "It was nice to see him finish. He's had numerous chances in his time with us. Finally, the puck went in.

"I thought he played with some real determination and fire tonight. That's a good sign."

In 2017-18, Kailer recorded an NHL-high five goals in the pre-season - tying Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine in that regard - while tallying an assist in five games. The Spokane, WA product attributes last season's NHL-stint as a big factor in being more comfortable on the ice.

"Playing against older guys, I had never done it until last year," said Yamamoto. "I think playing those pre-season and regular season games really helped me out a lot [tonight]."

Linemate Ryan McLeod has enjoyed building early chemistry with the 5-foot-8, 154-pound forward.

"He did really well last year and made the team," said McLeod. "He's picking up right where he left off.

"He's a real special player and it's fun playing with him."

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BLOG: Rattie Relishing Opportunity

"This game is so much about confidence and telling yourself that you can be there and that you can play with those guys," said Oilers forward Ty Rattie

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - Ty Rattie will not take this opportunity for granted.

Day 2 of Oilers Main Camp saw the 2011 second-round pick skate alongside captain Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins during the team's first on-ice session.

"For the coaches to show confidence in me right off the bat and put me in that spot, I appreciate that," said Rattie. "Now, it's in my hands and the ball is in my court.

"I need to prove I can be a player there."

Video: CAMP RAW | Ty Rattie 09.14.18

The 5-foot-11, 184-pound winger was called up by the Oilers on March 15th during the 2017-18 season. Playing in the team's final 14 games, the Calgary, AB native produced five goals and four assists while playing significant minutes with McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins.

"[McDavid] is the best player in the world and everyone wants to be in that spot," Rattie said. "This game is so much about confidence and telling yourself that you can be there and that you can play with those guys."

For the chemistry to continue, Rattie acknowledges he needs to play a role on the team's top line heading into the pre-season.

"I've got to be a shooter, get in the dirty areas and get that puck back for those guys. I have a pretty good understanding of what my role is on that line," Rattie continued.

"Now, it's just a matter of getting it done."

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BLOG: Calming the nerves

"We held our sticks a bit tight during the first couple of periods," said Oilers rookie Ryan McLeod

by Tony Brar /

­EDMONTON, AB - After dropping a 7-3 decision to the Calgary Flames Rookies on Sunday, the Oilers prospects were back on the ice for Day 5 of Rookie Camp.

Following a practice that primarily focused on the defensive side of the puck, the players admitted to nerves playing a factor in Sunday's Battle of Alberta.

"We learned a lot," said 2018 second round pick Ryan McLeod. "For a bunch of us, it's our first game out there, so obviously there's a lot of nerves.

"We held our sticks a bit tight during the first couple of periods."

Video: RAW | McLeod 09.10.18

2017-18 WHL standout Cameron Hebig, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers on Dec. 28, echoed McLeod's words.

"Personally, I was nervous," Hebig said. "First pro game, so it's nice to get the first one out. You know what it's like and you get more comfortable and more confident.

"[We] have to learn from it and move on quickly, because we have another shot tomorrow to prove ourselves and show them what we got."

As the game winded down on Sunday, Bakersfield Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft explained the team loosened up and found their game in the latter half of the final frame.

"In that situation, we knew we couldn't control what was given up already," said Woodcroft. "We put our focus on trying to win that last 10 minutes. It was nice to see us score a few goals down the stretch.

"I'm looking forward to what the guys bring tomorrow."

The Oilers prospects will take on the NAIT/MacEwan All-Stars at Rogers Place on Tuesday for game two of Rookie Camp.

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BLOG: Marody hopes to earn NHL spot by focusing on details

"I watched and clipped every one of the Oilers goals [from last season], powerplay and even strength."

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - Cooper Marody has made it clear: he hopes to earn an NHL roster spot come October.

"I'm just trying to prove how hard I've worked throughout my career and I think I'm ready for the next step," Marody said.

The Brighton, MI native began last season in the Philadelphia Flyers' system, who drafted the skilled centre 158th overall (sixth round) in the 2015 NHL Draft. The pivot put up 51 points (16G, 35A) in 40 games for the University of Michigan to lead the Big Ten in scoring.

The Oilers signed the 21-year-old to a three-year entry-level contract on April 8th, after acquiring him three weeks prior.

"It's a tremendous opportunity, it's something you dream about your whole life," Marody said. "I had success in Michigan and it was a dream to get that NHL contract."

Marody finished his 2017-18 season with the Bakersfield Condors, recording three points in three games with the Oilers AHL club.

Video: CAMP RAW | Jay Woodcroft 09.07.18

"It was huge for me, you never really know how to play with the pros until you actually do it," Marody continued. "I felt very confident and I played my game. The way I was effective in college, I was effective in the American league.

"[My game] has translated well into the American League and I feel it will even better into the NHL."

The 6-foot, 184-pound centre feels he's never been a hyped player through high school and junior hockey. Now, at Oilers Rookie Camp, he feels a productive summer will help him inch closer to earning an NHL roster spot.

"I watched and clipped every one of the Oilers goals [from last season], power play and even strength," he said. "I broke them down and really tried to learn the structure and learn about each player on the team.

"I learned about the style of game the Oilers like to play and any tendencies I could pick up on."

Marody and the rest of the Oilers Rookies take to the ice again on Saturday before heading to Calgary for a road game versus the Flames Rookies on Sunday afternoon.

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BLOG: Garrison will lean on experience, defensive game in training camp

"Edmonton has a lot of skill up front and on defence. Hopefully, my game and role, being a bit more defensive, will help," said Jason Garrison.

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - The Edmonton Oilers signed defenceman Jason Garrison to a professional tryout contract on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old blueliner spoke to 630 CHED's Reid Wilkins on Tuesday evening, talking about the dynamic of the team and a potential role he can fill.

"This team has a ton of offensive talent," said Garrison. "In my mind, you want to break the puck out as clean as possible and follow up the play. The less time you play in your end, the better for the team."

With 538 NHL games under his belt, Garrison hopes to "shed some experience" while playing a steady, defensive role in training camp.

"In all of my career, I've been a two-way player. Hopefully, my game and role, being a bit more defensive, will help."

The White Rock, BC native split time between the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League in 2017-18, recording one assist, four penalty minutes and a -2 plus-minus rating in eight NHL games last season.

Garrison had back-to-back 30-point seasons in '13-14 and '14-15 with Vancouver and Tampa Bay, respectively.

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