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Prospects Unlimited: Summer camp with NHL an eye-opener for Oilers pick Wells

The 21-year-old is part of a solid assortment of goalie prospects in Edmonton’s system, which includes Shane Starrett, Stuart Skinner and Olivier Rodrigue.
Ed Bailey

Ed Bailey

Goalie development is crucial for any organization, so the Oilers must’ve been pleased with how Dylan Wells spent his summer. The 2016 fifth-rounder worked with Stanley Cup champion Jordan Binnington of St. Louis and Cup finalist Malcolm Subban of Vegas, taking part in the annual BioSteel Camp run by trainer Matt Nichol in Toronto.

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Some of the skaters included Edmonton superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, so the competition was top-notch.
“It was cool to work with some of the best players in the world,” Wells said. “You get the pace up, get the feel, and those players are pushing you every time you’re on the ice or in the gym.”

And the youngster made sure to watch the NHL campers closely. In Binnington, Wells saw a technically sound stopper who tracks pucks and rarely gets beaten on the first shot. In Subban, he saw a netminder with “off the charts” athleticism and incredible lateral movement.

Wells can use all of that to help build his own game. The 21-year-old is part of a solid assortment of goalie prospects in Edmonton’s system, which includes Shane Starrett, Stuart Skinner and Olivier Rodrigue. Since Rodrigue is the only one in junior, the Oilers shuttled the other three between ECHL Wichita and AHL Bakersfield last season. Wells spent most of his time in Wichita. “I didn’t know what to expect as a first-year pro, so I just went in and played my game,” he said. “You’re living on your own for the first time. I had never had to cook for myself or do laundry.”

Skinner was in the same boat, and the pair helped each other out. Starrett was the starter in Bakersfield, but the Condors needed Wells to bail them out in the second round of the playoffs when the first game of a back-to-back went to quadruple overtime. Wells got the nod in an eventual 4-1 loss to San Diego. “I was really grateful to get into the game and happy with how I played,” he said. “But it would’ve been nice to get the win.” – Ryan Kennedy

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