Jordan Eberle knew he was a longshot to make the same giant leap that Sam Gagner made last year, but he's convinced the lessons learned in training camp will serve as a launching pad next fall.
So are the Oilers.
"He was highly impressive, the way that he thinks the game," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who sent Edmonton's first pick in the 2008 draft back to junior in the first set of cuts. "I don't think he's that far away, he'll be knocking at the door next year for sure.
"And he's going to have a big year in junior."
This is pretty much what Eberle expected given all the rookies who made the team last year and the level all of them are playing at this year.
"The Oilers are pretty deep, so coming in I kind of knew there weren't many spots open," he said.
"It was kind of a learning experience, trying to get my feet wet, seeing what it takes to play with these guys. I felt like I learned a lot.
"Even playing (one game) with Kyle Brodziak in Vancouver, the tips he gave me were amazing. Just being around them and seeing how pro-ish they are, in the dressing room, how they act, I'm definitely going to take that back to my junior team."
He'll go back to Regina before attending the Canadian World Junior training camp in December.
"I'm going to go back to my junior team and hopefully be one of the leaders there," he said. "Hopefully get some confidence and come back and try this again next year."
Heading to the Springfield Falcons are goalie Andrew Perugini, defencemen Sebastien Bisaillon, Josef Hrabal, Jake Taylor, Cody Wild and Bryan Young, and forwards Hans Benson, Justin Chwedoruw, Garet Hunt, Bryan Lerg, Colin McDonald, Sean McMorrow, Ryan O'Marra and Geoff Paukovich.
Super heavyweight cut
McMorrow could have provided some NHL heavyweight calibre muscle, but MacTavish says he doesn't have the rest of the package yet.
"He just needs to play a little more," said the coach.
"His skating was a bit of an issue. We've got enough toughness that we didn't need to put him in.
"I've put guys like that in in the past, who had a hard time playing, and I've regretted it."
Friends and foes
While Gilbert Brule and Rob Schremp are fighting a high-stakes battle for the same roster spot, they're getting along pretty well off the ice.
"Me and Schrempie talk all the time," said Brule. "I told him 'Good game,' on Wednesday night. I think we're supportive of each other. We're just going out there and trying to work our hardest and do the best we can and whatever happens happens."