The Edmonton Oilers had 10 players that
spent the year in one of the three major junior leagues in Canada during
2005-06. Some of them had disappointing
campaigns while others blew expectations out of the water.
Rob Schremp, C – London
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 188
2004 1st round pick (25th overall)
At the beginning of the season, most were just
hoping to see Schremp equal his previous year’s output as many felt the
graduations of Corey Perry (ANA) and
Danny Syvret (EDM) might adversely
affect his point totals. If he’d
managed to match the 90 points from 2004-05, the year might have been
considered a relative success.
Not only did Schremp annihilate the bar set at that
level, but he nearly broke the 150-point plateau in the process. He scored 57 goals in 57 games and improved
his personal assist record by 39 helpers to a total of 88. His +17 rating was second highest on the
team behind only defensive defenseman Scott
“He seemingly had something to prove,” said one OHL
scout referring to the performance Schremp had after being a late cut from
Oiler training camp.
The 19-year-old was a dominating force for the
Knights and logged an incredible amount of ice time, upwards of 40-plus minutes
on some nights, and was the obvious leader of the team. Along with teammate David Bolland
(CHI), Schremp was on top of the league scoring after his first dozen games and
didn’t look back.
In the annual OHL coaches poll, Schremp was named
as the top player in his conference in three categories; hardest shot, best
shot and most dangerous player around the net.
Next year Schremp appears well positioned for a NHL
job, but beginning the year in the AHL is a distinct possibility as well should
the organization wish to bring him along slowly. However, GM Kevin Lowe likens Schremp to another offensive-minded
youngster who was able to stick with the team as a scorer before learning to
play defense as a pro.
“Ales Hemsky was able to step in,” Lowe said. “I think if Robbie puts the time in this
summer and gets a little stronger and a little quicker… he’ll be here.”
Slava Trukhno, LW – P.E.I.
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 196
2005 4th round pick (120th
A coaching change in PEI was expected to benefit
Trukhno, but few expected the breakout year that the Russian-born forward
delivered for the Rocket this year. Trukhno was described earlier this year as “the only beacon of
light” for the QMJHL squad and considering he finished with 29 more points than
the next closest forward on his team, that statement rings fairly true.
Setting new careers highs in goals (28) and assists
(68), Trukhno finished at the edge of the top 20 in QMJHL scoring with 96
points while playing just 60 games for one of the weakest teams in the
league. A nagging groin/hip flexor
limited his effectiveness in some stretches of the schedule and Trukhno also
dealt with a sore shoulder early on and then sustained a concussion in the
playoffs that knocked him and the Rockets out of contention against
The 19-year-old is expected to return to the Island
next year and if he gets some helpful teammates, could challenge for a top 10
finish in league scoring.
Stephane Goulet, RW – Moncton
Ht: 6’3 Wt: 200
2004 7th round pick (208th
As predicted by some, 2005-06 was a breakout year
for 20-year-old Goulet with Moncton. Some will point to his age and argue that he should be putting up
the numbers he did this season because of his physical and mental maturity
advantage, and that is a fair critique to make. However, the fact that he did reach and probably surpassed the expectations
anyone set for him should also be recognized.
Goulet was second on his team in scoring with 93
points, behind only Philippe Dupuis
(CLB) who had 108 points. Behind Goulet
were Adam Pineault (CLB), Martin Karsums
(BOS) and Keith Yandle (PHO) although it should be noted that the two
forwards named played fewer games than the Oiler property.
Goulet will be too old to return to Moncton next
season so will make his professional debut somewhere in the minor leagues.
Liam Reddox, LW –
Ht: 5’11 Wt: 185
2004 4th round pick (112th
Expectations were much higher for Reddox this
year. Playing on the top team in the
OHL’s Eastern Conference, most thought Reddox would flourish and lead the team
in scoring as he had the two previous years.
However, a drastic drop in goal scoring and an altered role on the team
led to a severe drop in production for the 20-year-old.
After two consecutive 30-goal campaigns, Reddox
failed to reach the 20-goal mark this past year falling one short. His 19 goals is almost half as many as the
36 he recorded a season ago. Reddox
ended the year with just 64 points, well off his 82 from 2004-05 and just
enough to match his total from his rookie season.
“Part of it had to do with the power play and how
he was used on it,” argued one area scout.
“Here’s a guy that’s never scored a goal from
outside 10 feet of the net and yet they put him on the point on the power play
and I really question that.”
Unless Reddox can kick his bad habit of starting
each season off so slowly, it would not be a surprise to see the Whitby, ON
native begin next year in the ECHL.
Troy Bodie, RW – Kelowna
Ht: 6’5 Wt: 210
2003 9th round pick (270th
Bodie spent his over age year back in Kelowna
thanks to the AHL problems the Oilers had this season. However, that wasn’t a bad thing for Bodie
to do as he was able to go back to the Rockets and take on a leadership role in
the absence of Tyler Spurgeon who did not play until Christmas.
Bodie continued to improve his personal point
records for the fourth consecutive year and finally surpassed the 50-point
plateau with a modest total of 53. His
28 goals were second highest on the team as were his 117 minutes in penalties.
With a contract already in his pocket, Bodie will
have to turn pro next year and will likely do so in the AHL, assuming of course
Edmonton has enough roster spots to earmark one for him. There is a slim chance that Bodie could play
a game or two in Hamilton this year should the Rockets bow out early in the
second round of the WHL playoffs.
However, it appears more likely that the Bulldogs will be golfing much
sooner than Kelowna will be.
Fredrik Pettersson, LW – Calgary
Ht: 5’10 Wt: 183
2005 5th round pick (157th
He shot out of the gates like a sprinter, but
Freddie Pettersson wasn’t prepared for the marathon that is the 72-game WHL
schedule. Pettersson scored only seven
points in the remaining two months of the regular season as was passed for the
team scoring title by Brodie Dupont and Ryan White. Still, 43 points in his first WHL campaign is a solid outing for
the Swedish-born forward especially considering injuries and illness limited
him to 59 games.
His willingness to play through traffic and into
the tough areas on the ice made him a fan favorite in Calgary and his heart
seems to be cramped for space in such a diminutive frame. Still considered a question mark for the
NHL, if he fails to get there it certainly won’t be for a lack of effort or
Expect Pettersson to be back with the Hitmen next
year and another appearance at the WJC for Sweden is practically a guarantee
for the 18-year-old.
Roman Tesliuk, D – Kamloops
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 195
2004 2nd round pick (44th
Proof that stats don’t always tell the whole
story. That’s probably the best way to
describe 2005-06 for Roman Tesliuk, at least according to the scouts who spoke
with Hockey’s Future about him.
One called him “terrible” and said that “all he
wants to do is shoot the puck.” Another
watched said that his physical play has not been as noticeable as it had been
in the past and that he also wasn’t reading the play nearly as well this year.
Statistically Tesliuk set a new personal best with
14 goals and 30 points, but that was only enough for the Russian to reach the
goals he had set for himself two years ago as an 18-year-old. Surely much more was expected from the
20-year-old Tesliuk in 2005-06.
Next season will largely depend on how Tesliuk
spends this summer; if he reports to camp in the fall in top physical condition
that it should make for a better start to the year and a better placement in
the AHL as opposed to the ECHL. For the
most part, Tesliuk’s future is in his own hands. First though, he’ll have to hope that the Oilers choose to extend
him a contract offer and considering roster spots might be at a premium next
year, that might not be a certainty.
Tyler Spurgeon, C – Kelowna
Ht: 5’10 Wt: 188
2004 8th round pick (242nd
Offseason shoulder surgery kept Spurgeon in the pressbox
until Christmastime, but once back in Kelowna with the Rockets, the captain
found a way to make a positive impact on his club. Obviously having missed half the year there would be the expected
rust to knock off. Still, 24 points in
39 games is a good total when all things are considered.
His career WHL stats are not that impressive. However, Spurgeon is extremely well thought
of by the organization. It would be
surprising if he was not tendered a contract this summer before the two-year
deadline passes, but Spurgeon already knows he’s headed back to Kelowna for
If the Oilers do not offer him a deal this summer,
Spurgeon would be a free agent and would hope to attract a suitor with a strong
season in 2006-07.
Bryan Young, D – Peterborough
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 195
2004 5th round pick (146th
It’s easy to forget about Bryan Young because his
personality is so quiet and his stats certainly don’t make a lot of noise
either. But knowing what he brings to
the table night after night will make Young a solid pro player that any team
would be happy to have in their organization.
It would be a travesty if the Oilers farm scenario next year prevented
them from signing Young to a contract this summer.
Every scout that has talked to HF about Young has
had nothing but glowing remarks about the way the 19-year-old plays the
game. One described him a “a great
penalty killer,” another said that Young was “the best open ice hitter in the
OHL” and the annual coaches poll listed him as one of the top three defensive
blueliners in the conference.
The OHL is an option for Young next year as he
could return for his 20-year-old season and at this point that appears to be
the most likely scenario.
Devan Dubnyk, G – Kamloops
Ht: 6’5.5 Wt: 215
2004 1st round pick (14th
A season of highs and lows might best describe the
year that Devan Dubnyk experienced with Kamloops in 2005-06. He played very well for most of the year
although poor outings seemed to randomly pop up from time to time which
adversely affected his stats. He made
the Canadian World Junior team, but then was not given the nod to appear in a
single tournament game.
Dubnyk’s 2.54 goals against average had him finish
in the WHL’s top 10, but his decent .912 save percentage was 12th-best
in the league. His 27 wins were ninth
highest in the league, but he only posted a single shutout, which was well off
his pace last year when he recorded six.
One thing playing behind a poor team did was allow
Dubnyk to see a lot of rubber, something he said was a good thing.
“You can never complain when you get a chance to
face a lot of shots every night because it’s such a learning experience,”
Dubnyk said. “At times it does wear on you mentally and maybe it would have
been nicer to be in a better situation but I think I got better on the ice and
mentally because of it.”
For his efforts Dubnyk took home the ‘3-Star Award’
as the team MVP and was also given the C.H. Day
Memorial Trophy which recognizes an individual player for his ability, leadership
Next year is a huge question mark for Dubnyk. The last thing the Oilers want to do is put
another goaltender through the scenario that Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers faced this
past year, a test he failed and was probably hurt by. If they have their own team than for sure Dubnyk will play for
the AHL affiliate of the Oilers. If
not, it is possible that he’ll return to Kamloops for one last overage season.
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