Oilers junior prospects 2009-10 update

By Daryn Duliba

The Edmonton Oilers have six prospects in junior hockey, four in the WHL and two in the QMJHL. They are comprised of one goaltender, one left winger, two centers and two right wingers 
Jordan Eberle is garnering the most attention for his blazing start with the Regina Pats. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles goaltender Olivier Roy has struggled out of the gate and fellow QMJHLer Philippe Cornet has had a good start to his 19-year-old season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

Jordan Eberle, C – Regina Pats
Acquired: 1st Round, 22nd Overall, 2008
May 15, 1990, 5’11”, 184 lbs

Eberle is building on his very impressive showing at Oilers camp this year by dominating the WHL. With 30 points in only 15 games, Eberle only finds himself sixth in WHL scoring as a result of missing the Pats’ first five contests while in Oilers camp. Eberle’s efforts during the month of October won him the Husky WHL Player of the Month award and  Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month. 

Although he possesses NHL-level skills right now, Eberle is building confidence by building success in junior hockey and becoming the main component in Canada’s march towards a sixth consecutive World Junior Hockey Championship. Confidence is the key ingredient in taking those tremendous junior level skills and translating them to the NHL-level. Eberle will also be representing the WHL in the Subway Canada-Russia Super Series.

Much like many Oilers, Eberle has had his turn with flu symptoms this season, but he hasn’t let that slow him down. Eberle didn’t miss a game and put up three points against Medicine Hat while playing through his illness.

Milan Kytnar, C – Vancouver Giants
Acquired: 5th Round, 127th Overall, 2007
May 19, 1989, 6’1”, 180 lbs

Kytnar’s season was shaken up early when he was traded from the Saskatoon Blades to the Vancouver Giants for a third round draft pick in 2010. Kytnar was disappointed at leaving a team and city he came to love but the Blades had too many overagers and were forced to move one of them. Kytnar became the odd man out after having suffered an abdominal injury which kept him out of the Blades lineup for close to two weeks.

Off to a bit of a slow start offensively with six points in 12 games, Kytnar’s two-way play will be a welcome addition in Vancouver where the first-place club has its sights set on a WHL championship. 

Toni Rajala, RW – Brandon Wheat Kings
Acquired: 4th Round, 101st Overall, 2009
May 29, 1991, 5’10”, 163 lbs

After missing the first seven games of the Wheat Kings season due to a knee injury suffered in a U20 event in August, Rajala is making his debut in North American hockey this year. Scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace, Rajala appears to have made the adjustment to the speed and physicality of the WHL.

Rajala has acknowledged that he needs to be stronger to succeed this side of the pond and has stated he has begun to spend more time in the gym to address that. Rajala has six goals and 14 points in 15 games this season.

Cameron Abney, RW – Everett Silvertips
Acquired: 3rd Round, 82nd Overall, 2009
May 23, 1991, 6’4", 194 lbs

Abney, drafted for his physical play and toughness, has picked up right where he left off with the Everett Silvertips last season. Abney has 34 PIM in 16 games with the ‘Tips so far this season and has chipped in with some limited offense, picking up a goal and two assists. 

Abney is well-known around the WHL as a pugilist, but he does bring more to the table than just his fists. Abney is a punishing checker and has some decent speed. Although he will likely never be a significant offensive contributor at the professional level, he is capable of creating havoc in front of the net and helping to create offense with his size.

Philippe Cornet, LW – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Acquired: 5th Round, 133rd Overall, 2008
March 28, 1990, 5’11”, 182 lbs

Cornet is in his first season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies after spending three seasons with the Rimouski Oceanic. Beginning the season on fire with 18 points in his first 10 games, Cornet has cooled off picking up only 12 points in his last 13 games to put him fifth in QMJHL scoring with 30 points.

Being one of the premier players in the Q, Cornet has been selected to participate in the Subway Canada-Russia Super Series for a second consecutive season. Cornet is a hard-working, effective fore-checker who is beginning to develop a nice touch around the net.

Olivier Roy, G – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Acquired: 5th Round, 133rd Overall, 2009-11-09
July 12, 1991, 6’0”, 179 lbs

Roy has struggled to find his game this season – his third with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Despite being one of four goaltenders auditioning for a spot with Team Canada in the 2010 World Junior Championships, Roy has not yet elevated the level of his game on a consistent basis. The Eagles are winning games, but thus far it has been a result of their offense rather than defense.

Roy became the Screaming Eagles all-time wins leader this season by earning his 66th career QMJHL victory with a 6-2 win over Montreal in October. In his three seasons in Cape Breton, Roy has been able to pass former Eagle greats and current NHLers Marc-Andre Fleury and Ondrej Pavelec on the all-time wins list.

Despite his early struggles – 3.22 GAA and a .891 save percentage – Roy has been selected to represent the QMJHL in the Subway Canada-Russia Super Series.