Fans watch rookies battle for spots – Metro US

Fans watch rookies battle for spots

Edmonton Oilers prospects hit the ice yesterday morning to impress coaches and fans alike.

The Oilers Rookie Camp was open to the public at Rexall Place, and dozens of fans came out in Oilers jerseys to watch young hopefuls battle for an invitation to the main training camp — and a possible spot on this season’s roster.

“It’s really neat to see all the rookies play,” said Dalton Schamehorn, 16. He thinks Jordan Eberle will make a good addition to the team. “We need some scoring up front,” he said.

This is Eberle’s second run at rookie camp since Edmonton drafted him in 2008. The 19-year-old forward said he’s worked hard with the Oilers’ skating and skills coach, Steve Serdachny, to improve his speed and strength.

“I feel a lot better and stronger out there, and definitely more aware of what’s going on,” said Eberle.

Despite all his efforts, Eberle said he faces some stiff competition. “They have a lot of young forwards and a lot of guys that play similar to how I do,” he said. “I’m going to try and make the coaches make it a tough decision to send me back.”

Eberle said if he goes back to the WHL, he’ll get a chance to win the Memorial Cup and play in the World Juniors in his home province of Saskatchewan. “It’s a win-win for me,” he said.

While Eberle appeared to be the fan favourite, Mike Daigle said defenceman Alex Plante and right-winger Burke Gallimore looked strong on the ice.

“I pick whoever my dad picks,” said Daigle’s six-year-old son, Jamie.

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