Remember Bryan Young?
He was the inexperienced defenceman the Edmonton Oilers were forced to call up during the injury-filled, sputtering end to the forgettable 2006-2007 season.
Two and-a-half years later, the six-foot-one, 191-pound native of Ennismore, Ont., is trying to get back on the team’s radar.
“I got a taste of it, which was good,” Young said. “But at the time they were pretty decimated with injuries that year. I probably shouldn’t have been up here. It was just one of those things. The key is to try and keep improving a little bit each year.”
Young, 23, was selected in the fifth round – 146 overall – of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. A former member of the Peterborough Petes, he was called up to fill in during the Oilers sputter to the finish in 2007.
That year, the bottom fell out of the campaign after then general manager Kevin Lowe was forced to move Ryan Smyth at the trade deadline or risk losing him at the end of the season, unable to come to terms on a contract extension.
Shortly after the deal, the Oilers were plagued by a number of injuries on their back end and needed to dig deep into the system for replacements.
Young ended up playing 15 games with the team at the end of the year.
“They can exploit your weaknesses pretty quick at that level,” Young said. “It did give me a taste and pointed some stuff out, so every year it’s the same things your working on to try and get better. You’re always trying to get a little quicker, a little stronger and work on the finer details of the game.”
Called up for just two games the following season, Young has not had a taste of NHL hockey since. This summer he signed an AHL contract with the Oilers to play with the Springfield Falcons.
“I didn’t get ahead of myself when I got called up, I knew that in a different situation, it probably wouldn’t have been me that got called up,” he said. “I know there is still a lot of work to be done in order for me to get back here.”