The Oilers and Flames have released their rosters for the 2016 Penticton Young Stars Tournament, and so it’s time for Part Two of the preview.
GAME 1, CALGARY VS WINNIPEG, SEPT. 16 @ 4:00 PM
GAME 2, VANCOUVER VS EDMONTON, SEPT. 16 @ 7:30 PM
GAME 3, CALGARY VS EDMONTON, SEPT. 17 @ 7:30 PM
GAME 4, VANCOUVER VS WINNIPEG, SEPT. 18 @ 2:00 PM
GAME 5, EDMONTON VS. WINNIPEG, SEPT. 19 @ 11:00 AM
GAME 6, VANCOUVER VS CALGARY, SEPT. 19 @ 3:00 PM
Team Roster Link: http://flames.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=892364
Strengths: The Calgary Flames might have the most well-rounded roster in the tournament. They don’t have the depth of Winnipeg, but they have great prospects at every position. Goaltending is particularly deep, and their defense is monstrous.
Weaknesses: The Flames lack top-end talent outside of Matthew Tkachuk. This is probably the roster with the least star power, and will have to get things done by committee.
Matthew Tkachuk – Canucks fans will keep a critical eye on Tkachuk’s progress for the next few seasons, because the team could have drafted him, but didn’t. Tkachuk is easily the most notable Flames prospect, and should provide some highlights at this level.
Hunter Smith, Keegan Kanzig, Riley Bruce- Size has been a focus of the latest Flames regime, and it shows in their roster. This trio, all standing at 6’7”, lead the way on a team full of large individuals.
Jon Gillies and Mason McDonald- Thatcher Demko might be the best goaltender in the tournament, but the Flames have two high-end goalie prospects in Gillies and McDonald. Both are 6’6”, and will battle each other for ice time over the next few years.
Mark Jankowski- Jankowski became a bit of a joke when current Canuck executive John Weisbrod pronounced him the potential best player in his draft year, but he’s far from bust-status. Jankowski just wrapped up a good NCAA career, and finished last year with a successful stint in the AHL. He could surprise.
Team Roster Link: http://oilers.nhl.com/v2/ext/roster/20160913_RookieCampRoster.pdf
Strengths: The Oilers have a lot of firepower up front, including the best prospect in the entire tournament. They’re not a one-man show, however, and have more than a few players who can score.
Weaknesses: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, the Oilers are weak on the backend. To be fair, this time it’s the goaltending instead of the defense that is worst off, but the D is also pretty top heavy. There’s not a lot there outside of Markus Niemelainen, Ethan Bear, and Caleb Jones.
Jesse Puljujarvi- With Patrick Laine busy at the World Cup, Puljujarvi is definitely the best player in Penticton. Puljujarvi is a good bet to perform well at the NHL level right away, so he should dominate in a prospect tournament.
Drake Caggiula- Brock Boeser and Troy Stecher’s North Dakota teammate, Caggiula was courted by the Canucks but ultimately chose to sign with their rivals in Edmonton. Canuck fans are already annoyed at him, and his pesky style will help make him a public enemy in Penticton.
Matt Benning- Another free agent courted by the Canucks, Benning’s decision to sign with the Oilers was a bit more surprising, given that he is Jim Benning’s nephew. Benning doesn’t appear to be a great prospect, but he has room to shine on this Oiler blueline.
Tyler Benson- As a former Vancouver Giant, many Canuck fans had Benson pencilled in as the team’s 2nd round draft pick, before the pick was dealt. Ties to Vancouver aside, Benson also happens to be one of the most talented players on the Oilers’ roster.