SUN Hockey Pool

Plante primed to play

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

EDMONTON - Despite being a first-round draft pick, Alex Plante raised some eyebrows in his brief stint with the Edmonton Oilers last season.

Having struggled with injuries the year after the Oilers selected him 15th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Plante almost became an afterthought.

However, he was able to climb his way back into the picture as a solid prospect with a strong showing in four games as a call-up.

"That was a dream, getting a chance to come up here and play in the NHL," Plante said. "It felt good to get out there and realize that you might be closer than you think.

"Playing in the minors, you don't really know how far away you are. You hear about it a lot, but you don't really know what it's like until you experience it."

Plante, 21, played most of last season with the Oilers AHL affiliate in Springfield, scoring two goals and adding seven assists in 49 games with the Falcons.

He's expected to play with the Oilers AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City this year, although the road to the NHL may not be as long as it once seemed.

"Coming into camp, the thought process shouldn't change," Plante said. "I just want to show that I'm willing to work and willing to learn and am trying to improve wherever I can to try and stay in an Oilers uniform."

Roster trimming: The Oilers have reduced their numbers after the first three days of training camp.

The club sent eight players back to their respective junior clubs, released four from their amateur tryout contracts, assigned five to Oklahoma City and released another three, offering them tryouts with their AHL affiliate.

Training camp continues today with the Joey Moss Cup, the team's annual intrasquad game, at Rexall Place.

On Wednesday, the Oilers begin their exhibition season by travelling to Vancouver to face the Canucks. On Thursday, they'll play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning.


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