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Training Camp Begins - 5 Stories Going Into Camp

September 21, 2022, 4:34 PM ET [21 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As training camp and physicals get under way we are that much closer to watching the puck drop on opening night. It's an exciting time of year, brimming with possibilities and potential. Much of the team that made the Western Conference Finals last season has returned along with some new faces.

Here are five stories that fans should be paying attention to over the training camp and as we enter the pre-season.

1) DYLAN HOLLOWAY

Holloway was a player a year ago that had a chance to crack the Oilers roster, prior to a wrist injury which kept him on the sidelines. Now the soon to be 21 year old is coming off of a great rookie camp where he led in scoring and looked like the best player on the ice. That is exciting to see but now the bar gets raised again as he needs to do this against NHL players. The Oilers forward core is deep enough right now that Holloway has to battle his way onto the roster and prove he belongs. Right now he looks like he has the tools to do it.

2) VIRTANEN/DEMERS

Demers and Virtanen have been signed to PTO's and will both need to outbattle other players in order to make it onto the lineup. From Holland's presser today we know that Cody Ceci will miss the first few days of training camp with a pulled hamstring (though he is being kept out more precautionary). That just goes to show that you can never plan for injuries and having depth helps to mitigate those risks. If Demers can show he still has some legs he would be a solid depth add.

As for Virtanen there is far more controversy around the player and he will need to really go above and beyond in order to earn a spot in my opinion. Regardless, neither of these players can take a single day off in training camp or pre-season. They need to stand out, not just settle into the mix.

3) SIGNINGS AND TRADES

Right now the Oilers remain over the cap with Ryan McLeod still needing a contract. We've discussed at length where Edmonton could save cap space, from Foegele, to Puljujarvi, to Barrie and others. As training camp continues and we start seeing how Jay Woodcroft puts his lines together, we will start getting an idea of who the coach maybe thinks is more expendable than others.

4) A JAY WOODCROFT TRAINING CAMP

Woodcroft came in in February and from then until the end of the regular season the Oilers had one of the best records in the NHL. The changes on the ice were noticeable immediately under Woodcroft and that was with almost no practice time due to the condensed schedule. Now the Oilers coach will have ample time to practice and lay out his systems for all of his players. With players already being familiar with Jay along with this extra time we should see a better oiled machine right from the get-go.

5) OTHER SURPRISES

One of the fun aspects of training camp and pre-season is seeing a guy come in and surprise. Whether it is a roster player who is looking poised to breakout or a younger prospect who plays spectacular, this is the time of year where these types of surprises happen. Most of us are penciling in Philip Broberg on the opening night roster but perhaps Samorukov is looking amazing, or Niemelainen, or Desharnais, or someone else. James Hamblin had a great rookie camp and maybe he can keep that up and earn a spot as a 12 or 13th forward. Maybe that player is Tyler Benson. The sky is the limit around this time and it'll be fun to discuss with all of you and see what happens.
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