When four of the Edmonton Oilers top young players opened the 2012-13 season in Oklahoma City during the lockout, they were touted as some of the best future stars in the National Hockey League.
Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz return to OKC for an NHL preseason game Friday night at the Cox Convention Center when the Oilers play the Dallas Stars.
The Oilers will practice Thursday at the Cox Center from 12:30-2:30 p.m., which is open to the public.
“It will be a lot of fun to go back and have some time to see some of the places we went to all the time last year when were in Oklahoma City,” Eberle said. “We all have some good memories there.”
Earlier this week, ESPN ranked the top 25 players in the NHL under the age of 25.
Edmonton was the only team with more than two players on the list. The Oilers had four.
Hall was ranked No. 5, Eberle No. 12 and Nugent-Hopkins No. 17.
The other Oiler to make the list was Sam Gagner, who was ranked No. 25 but will be sidelined early in the season after suffering a broken jaw in a preseason game. Nugent-Hopkins, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, also will start the year on injured reserve.
Hall, 22, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Only Patrick Kane (230 points) and Alex Ovechkin (198) have scored more points from the wing from age 19 through 21 than Hall (145). Due to injuries, Hall is moving to center, a position he played in juniors.
Eberle, 23, has scored 156 points in 195 NHL games. He put on a show during his three-month stint in OKC. Eberle scored 51 points, including 25 goals, in only 34 games with the Barons. Eberle was so dominant that he remained the AHL scoring leader for six more weeks after the NHL lockout ended.