PENTICTON, B.C. – The Edmonton Oilers didn’t need the club’s top prospects to edge the Calgary Flames 5-3 in the Young Stars Tournament on Tuesday.
Without Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle or Magnus Paajarvi in the lineup, the Oilers improved to 2-0 in the five-team rookie tournament.
Alex Plante scored twice, including an empty-net goal, with Mike Thomas, Tyler Pitlick and Chris Vande Velde also scoring for the Oilers. Ryan Martindale contributed a pair of assists. The Flames (1-1) got goals from John Negrin, Greg Nemisz and Keith Seabrook.
Tyler Bunz made 34 saves for the win, while Leland Irving stopped 30 shots in the loss.
The Oilers said they’d always planned to rest Hall, the first overall pick in this year’s NHL entry draft, as well as first-round draft picks Eberle and Paajarvi at least one game out of their three during the rookie tournament. Edmonton faces San Jose on Wednesday.
“They’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow night,” explained Todd Nelson, coach of Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. “We have 29 guys here and they were all going to just play two games.”
Paajarvi, drafted 10th overall last year, had two goals in Edmonton’s opening 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. Eberle, the 22nd overall pick two years ago, had a goal and Hall contributed an assist.
Hall was born in Calgary and played minor hockey there before moving to Kingston, Ont., at age 13. He says he would have liked the chance to play against his Windsor Spitfire teammate Nemisz.
“It would have been nice to play all three games, but there are a lot of players there that have to show their skills a little bit more than some other players,” Hall said. “I don’t mind practising and sitting out and hopefully I can have a good finish-off game tomorrow.”
The Vancouver Canucks (1-1) versus the Anaheim Ducks (0-2) is the second game on Wednesday’s schedule. The Flames and Canucks conclude the tournament Thursday afternoon.