Edmonton Oilers: Here’s the start of a new series where once a week I’ll be looking at a prospect and doing a deep dive on numerous types of attributes from speed and agility, to playmaking ability, to the likelihood of NHL employment. Today I’m starting with Cameron Hebig– who is doing some nice things down in Bakersfield.
Edmonton Oilers: Cameron Hebig, the undrafted forward who signed with the Oilers on December 28, 2017, has made quite a name for himself this season in Bakersfield this year. So far, he has amassed 10 points in 9 games at the time I’m writing this, but just who is Cameron Hebig?
Well, Hebig was born on January 21, 1997, in Saskatoon, SK. He stands at even 6 feet and weighs a slim 183 pounds. A sniper by trade, Hebig is a center who has a nose for the net, notching 41 goals in his last WHL season. While he may find himself on the wing on the big club, experience at center is a big asset for Edmonton’s team.
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An interesting tidbit to note about his career, he missed the entire 16/17 season due to injury. Well, it is not known what the injury was he was quoted in an interview as saying:
“I’ve had that question (about what type of injury it is) a lot, and I don’t know how to explain it. I went to a lot of doctors and went to see a lot of people. I never did get a clear diagnosis. It was always weird symptoms. I worked hard at the physio that they gave me, and I think that helped me. It was definitely a long year. I learned a lot from that. Facing that adversity helped make me stronger. I feel confident now, and I’m definitely glad I can put that behind me.” – Cam Hebig
How this affected his draft standing or his ceiling only time will tell, but very similar to Tyler Benson it seems as though Edmonton may benefit from a players injury history. As there is higher risk with signing or drafting (Looking at you Mark-Antoine!) a player with a history of injuries. However, with Hebig, his injury issue appears to be behind him completely.
As for specific aspects of Hebig’s game I defer to Jameson Ewasiuk of ISS Hockey:
“Hebig is a hard-working player with strong skating who uses his speed effectively on the forecheck. Despite his size, he isn’t afraid to engage physically and overall has a solid compete level. Throughout his WHL career, he has been utilized in all situations including he penalty kill. Last season, his overage season, where he played for both the Blades and the Pats, Hebig recorded his best season statistically with 41 goals and 90 points, both of which were tied for 15th in the WHL.” -Jameson Ewasiuk
While primarily used as an offensive threat, this scouting report indicates that he was used in all facets of the game which is another feather in his cap. The more ways you can expand your skill-set in anything the better, and for Hebig, versatility is the name of the game. Being able to take draws, kill penalties, and do work on the power-play will all help him in a big way when it comes time to crack the NHL roster. Speaking of.
NHL Role and Arrival
Hebig is a difficult prospect to project. Many overaged prospects have spikes in production due to physical/mental maturation compared to their peers. Again, using the Marc-Antoine Pouliot comparison, there’s every chance that the lost development time Hebig suffered due to injury derails him. Like Pouliot, there’s a chance he ends up bouncing between the AHL and NHL and eventually flaming out.
That’s not to say that is what I believe will happen, a player with that many tools in his metaphorical toolkit should be able to make an impact in the bottom 6 at least, no; the message I’m trying to send is this: don’t expect CHL and AHL stats to transfer to immediate success. While I would almost guarantee he gets a look either late this season (no playoffs, garbage time), or he gets an audition next year.
As for what his role on the team long term will be, I’m cautiously optimistic that he can emerge as a middle 6 RW. I think that there is a 40 point player that plays in all three disciplines of the game in there. I look at him and watch film and am reminded a lot of Andrew Cogliano and how he plays. I think the ceiling for Hebig is more than likely a third line grinding winger with some scoring ability that can amass 35-40 points scoring 10-15 goals.
Hopefully, more players like Marody, Benson, and Hebig can come through Bakersfield and emerge but is exciting to see success from young players in the minors. I’ve been a fan of the team personally 8-12 years, and this crop of prospects has to be the deepest we’ve had since before I can remember.
For Hebig, you hope for the best, but with how tough it can be to break into the NHL you prepare for the real possibility of him flaming out in the AHL. Hopefully, that was informative, so far I have 5 of these planned and am looking at doing more. Let me know either by DM on twitter or in the comments who you would like to see covered next week.
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Just as a little postscript, here’s a quick highlight reel of Cameron Hebig courtesy of the Western Hockey League: