One and one

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:04 PM ET

Mark Pysyk and Rhett Rachinski are tying to impress at Edmonton Oil Kings rookie camp for different reasons.

One wants to prove worthy of being the team's top pick in the WHL draft.

The other wants to make the team.

"It's pretty exciting to be here," Pysyk said.

"We came here in the spring and got a little exposure to what camp was going to be like. So coming here we have a bit more background then some of the guys that are here. Just getting comfortable can be tough, but I think I'm getting there."

Pysyk, 15, is the future of the franchise.

As the Oil Kings first pick in the WHL draft, there are some weighty expectations on the Sherwood Park product.

However, he's still too young to play in the league on a full-time basis and is simply getting his feet wet at rookie camp.

"It's been fun," Pysyk said. "It's good to see some of the guys again. I'm just out here to work as hard as I can and go from there."

It's likely Pysyk will get an invite to the Oil Kings main camp starting tomorrow in Sherwood Park.

Following that, he'll head off to play midget hockey in Sherwood Park for the season. As an underage player Pysyk can be called up to play five games with the Oil Kings during his midget team's season.

However, it's too early to tell whether that's a feasible option for the upcoming season.

The first thing to do is see how Pysyk handles himself against the older players at main camp.

"You never want to put too much pressure on a 15-year-old kid," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.

"You want to let him come in and work his way up and make sure he deserves it, so when he gets to main camp he feels like he's earned it and he can earn the respect there.

"It been fun to see him play so far.

"I like his size. For a kid that big, he's got great mobility. There is a lot to work with there."

Rachinski, meanwhile, is eyeing a roster spot.

The Edmonton native has been impressive through the first two days of rookie camp and has all but assured himself a spot at main camp.

"It's been a lot of fun so far," Rachinski said.

"It's a good opportunity for a lot of us younger guys to show what we have.

"It's the first time a lot of these younger guys have done this kind of thing. I got a chance to do it last year in Medicine Hat, so I have a little bit of experience."

Rachinski, who turned 16 on Friday, was placed on the Oil Kings protected list in October.

He was passed over in the WHL bantam draft the previous year, but did get an invite to the Medicine Hat Tigers rookie camp last season.

"My goal is to make the team this year," Rachinski said.

"I'm just trying to go hard while I'm out there. You can't not show up to rookie camp and expect to get an invite to main camp."

Last season Rachinski played midget hockey with the South Side Athletic Club. The versatile forward finished the year with eight goals and eight assists in 30 games.

He credits speed and play-making abilities as his strengths. He also has good vision on the ice.

"It would be great to play my junior hockey here," Rachinski said.

"You wouldn't have to move, you'd be familiar with things.

"Growing up in Edmonton, everyone dreams of getting a chance to play in Rexall Place, and this would be a great opportunity."


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