Rhett looks ready

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Last season, Rhett Rachinski got a taste of what life is like in the WHL.

The local product was called up to play with the Edmonton Oil Kings for two games at the end of the year.

So far during training camp, Rachinski, 17, is playing like someone who wants to stay for the whole season.

"I commend him. He did an outstanding job getting ready for us during the summer," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.

"He got bigger, he got stronger. He's drawing confidence from that and it's transferring to the ice."

Rachinski scored 13 goals and added 20 assists in 34 games in Midget AAA with the South Side Athletic Club last year.

He was originally listed by the Medicine Hat Tigers before GM Bob Green brought him to Edmonton.

"This year it's going to be really tough to make the team because there are a lot of good forwards," Rachinski said. "But that's my goal coming in.

I'm here to lay it all out on the line try to prove myself and that's basically what I'm going to try and do."

Although Rachinski failed to register a point in his two appearances with the Oil Kings last season, he did take something with him in order to prepare for this year.

"It helped me get to know the speed and what you need to prepare for and what you need to do in your game to make yourself better so you can play at that level," he said.

"For me it was basically the physical aspects getting bigger and stronger and that's what I focused on this off season."

Rachinski will get another opportunity to showcase his talents at the intra-squad game tonight (7 p.m.) at the Jubilee Rec Centre in Fort Saskatchewan.

The Oil Kings then host their pre-season tournament starting Saturday in St. Albert.

"He used that experience last year in a positive way," Pleau said.

"Some kids, it can take away from them. They can come in a little overconfident, thinking they were their last year and they are automatically going to be a part of this program.

"He did the opposite."


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