In each of the last two Septembers, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames played exhibitions against each in lieu of a rookie tournament. This was on the heels of the Penticton Youngstars Tournament flaming out. In September 2020, the Oilers will return to British Columbia.
The Vancouver Canucks announced on Tuesday that the Penticton Youngstars Tournament will return in eight months. The tournament will feature the Canucks, Oilers, Flames and Winnipeg Jets.
Per the official release from the clubs, the tournament will run from September 11th through the 15th and will be a round-robin style event. The Oilers will play their first game on September 12th against the Vancouver Canucks.
They will also play the Flames on the 13th, and finish up against the Jets on September 15th.
One of the main concerns in recent years was a watering down of the product. The Oilers, Canucks and Flames simply did not have strong enough prospect systems to warrant the tournament, according to sources. That clearly has changed.
The Oilers could have 2019 first-round draft pick Philip Broberg in Penticton in September. He could be joined by 2019 second-round pick Raphael Lavoie, the club’s 2020 first-round draft choice and potential rookies like Filip Berglund (SHL), Philip Kemp (NCAA), Aapeli Rasanen (NCAA) and Olivier Rodrigue (QMJHL).
Some of Edmonton’s top players in recent memory have begun their NHL journeys in Penticton. Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, Jeff Petry, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse have played in this tournament in years past.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland played a key role in bringing this event back. Holland talked to Thomas Drance of The Athletic about what went into bringing this tournament back.
“When I got the job in Edmonton I reached out to Jim Benning, to Brad Treliving and they reached out to Kevin Cheveldayoff and we all worked together, ramped up,” Holland told the publication. “There’s an expense to it, but I think it’s like research and development. If you’re going to draft and develop players, then this is one piece in the puzzle.”
The Oilers last went to Penticton in 2017. That team featured prospects like Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Dmitri Samorukov, William Lagesson, Tyler Benson, Joe Gambardella, Kirill Maksimov and Kailer Yamamoto.