Steady as he goes ...

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

LEDUC -- Bryan Young is not the offensive, puck-moving, power-play quarterbacking defenceman the Edmonton Oilers covet heading into this NHL season.

But he's the steady, stay-at-home defensive defenceman every team requires.

Young, 20, was the Oilers' sixth pick - 146th overall - in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. In three years with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, the six-foot-one, 191-pound blue-liner scored just one goal.

"Like I told Mac T today, it was a beauty though," said Kevin Prendergast, the Oilers' vice-president of hockey operations.

Young, a native of Ennismore, Ont., anchored the Petes' blue-line on their way to an OHL championship and ensuing trip to the Memorial Cup tournament.

"He's just a steady player," Prendergast said. "He's one of those players that doesn't get into trouble. He's physical, he takes care of business in his own end and there is certainly nothing wrong with that."

It's Young's reliability that could earn him an NHL job in the near future. Good defensive defencemen, although often under-appreciated, tend to have long, albeit, quiet careers.

All you have to do is look to Oilers assistant coach Charlie Huddy and general manager Kevin Lowe for evidence of that.

"Bryan is very physical and he keeps his game simple," Prendergast said. "He's one of those kids that when you go to games, you leave after the game and you don't really notice that he's even played, which means he hasn't gotten himself into any trouble."

Now at his third rookie camp, he is hoping the team notices enough to award him a pro job.

"Last year I got a taste of main camp," Young said. "I would say my goal this year is to get in an exhibition game or two. I think the key is to try to learn something each camp and try to take it along with you."

Heading into this year's camp, there is uncertainty where Young will play this season.

Like most of the players attending rookie camp, Young's performance will dictate how far up the ladder he begins his pro career. Having turned 20 last month, Young could return to junior as an over-aged player.

"That's one of the biggest differences this year, is not knowing where you're going to play," Young said. "In the past you knew coming in that it was 99% (certain) that you were going back to junior."

Having played 219 games with the Petes, Young would like to think his junior days are behind him. "He's a kid that wants to play, wants to play bad," Prendergast said.


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