The Edmonton Oilers Rookies challenge the Winnipeg Jets Rookies on Tuesday, Sep. 13 in Penticton. Who are the opponents and how do the Oilers stack up?
Mark Scheifele– 1st round, 7th overall in 2011
He was a surprise pick at seventh overall, but his talent is undeniable. The 18-year-old has incredible touch around the net, but complementing his production is a balanced arsenal between the boards.
He’s a two-way centre that plays like Pavel Datsyuk, with a touch of Joe Thornton; intelligence, size and playmaking ability all combine to create an unstoppable game. Following a summer in which he hoped to build size and strength, the 6'3", 175-pound pivot should impress in his Jets inauguration.
Klarc Wilson – Camp Invite
Fans of the Edmonton Oil Kings will be accustomed to Wilson’s energetic style, but he’ll get the opportunity to bring it all together against NHL competition in Penticton.
Wilson scored eight goals and 22 points in 66 WHL games last year, but his season was highlighted with 109 penalty minutes. With a chance to make an impression and earn more time in Winnipeg, Wilson will be eager to produce on the scoresheet in one way or another.
Adam Lowry – 3rd round, 67th overall in 2011
Adam Lowry has hockey in his blood. Father Dave played 1191 NHL games over the course of 19 years in the league. And like his dad, Adam brings an intense drive to succeed, along with the willingness to pound the crease and battle tooth-and-nail to gain a scoring chance.
At 6’4” and 187 pounds, he could stand to build some strength, but his smooth-skating stride will help carry the load until everything comes together. In 66 games with the WHL’s Broncos last season, Lowry scored 18 goals and 45 points.
Zach Redmond – 7th round, 184th overall in 2008
The 2011 Young Stars Tournament will showcase scoring prowess across the board, and you can bet mobile rearguard Zach Redmond will be leading the Jets’ charge from the blueline.
With a cannon from the point and an equally as deadly pass across the box, the mobile defenceman can be especially dangerous on the power-play. Expect Redmond to dominate at times, controlling the pace by handling the puck up-ice and moving it with precision on the breakout.
Cody Sol – 5th round, 125th overall in 2009
This man will be impossible to miss. The 6’6”, 240-pound blueliner casts a shadow whenever he’s on the ice. Although he lacks mobility, his best asset is to play a stay-at-home style, all the while intimidating his opponents and challenging them physically.
At one point or another, Sol will likely be exposed by some of the tournament’s higher-skilled players, but keeping his positioning in check will help reduce those chances on the other side. Sol accumulated 114 penalty minutes with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers last season, but he also showed some touch by scoring four goals and 17 points, in addition to a respectable -7 rating.
The Winnipeg Jets are back, but no one knows what to expect from the team’s youngsters at the 2011 Young Stars Tournament. On paper, you'll likely see much of what the Oilers will be bringing: young, skilled players, recently chosen in the upper echelon, looking to make a strong impression as the team builds an identity.
Given the question marks and near-equal matchups, there’s a strong possibility that the game will become a battle of the netminders. It’s here where the Oilers may hold an edge statistically, but the Jets’ rookie ‘tenders (Chris Carrozzi and Edward Pasquale) combined to play 84 pro games in 2010-11 (ECHL and AHL). Experience at this level could be invaluable.