July 08, 2010

Ryan Martindale at Oilers Development Camp

In the 30+ years since I left Edmonton, I have made that long trip from the airport countless times without giving the scenery a second thought. This trip I tried to see it through the eyes of the Oilers prospects coming to town for this week’s development camp. This is definitely a blue-collar city with the attendant industrial look and feel.

Having played in Windsor for the last three years, this might look a little more familiar to Taylor Hall than it does for Brooklin native Ryan Martindale who played in white-collar Ottawa for the last three years. But it’s likely that neither of them looked past their hopes to worry what the scenery looks like. This is the big league and this is a hockey city as evidenced by another full house to watch the 28 hopeful prospects do their best to impress.

I just happened to be in Edmonton visiting family and thought I would check out how Ryan Martindale was doing.

The Oilers certainly have favoured western Canada in their drafting with 12 of the prospects coming from the WHL or BCHL. There are three guys from the Q and two from the O (Hall and Martindale). The rest are from Europe, NCAA, one out of high school or already in the AHL.

It was a fast-paced hour and a half of skating and team drills led by Steve Serdachny for the first 40 minutes or so and then on to the other pad at the Clareview Arena with all of the coaching staff, including Head Coach Tom Renney, leading the rest of the on-ice workout.

They ran out of player lists and there are no names on the jerseys so it was really hard to figure out who was who. I recognized Ryan, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle but was at a loss for the rest of them. The D wore red jerseys and the forwards were divided between grey and blue jerseys.

I am certainly no expert but you could tell there is a range of skill out there. Again, not knowing the prospects out there, I couldn’t tell you who did well other than Eberle is pretty darn good as is pretty much a lock to make the team. Ryan did not look out of place but I would not be surprised if his take-home instructions centre on skating and gaining weight and strength and sustained intensity (given the scouting reports).

Rob Thomas from the Oilers organization politely advised me that they were unable to allow full media access to “alternate” media outlets (i.e. bloggers) but he was kind enough to allow me behind the media lines at the rinks to get decent shots through the glass for which I am grateful. It was packed in there and it would have been impossible to get a good spot otherwise.

So, without further ado, here are some shots of Ryan Martindale, first pick in the third round at his first professional hockey camp. Blue and Copper looks good on him. Last day of camp is on Friday and scrimmages are planned. I may make it out for that.

Best of luck to Ryan as he does his best to stand out from 27 other prospects.

Eager Oilers fans

Skating and skills drills with Steve Serdachny

Practicing fancy moves around an opposing player

Getting instructions for the next set of drills

Paying close attention to Head Coach Tom Renney

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