EDMONTON OILERS BLOGShttp://www.edmontonoilers.com/rssEDMONTON OILERS BLOGSNHL Enterprises, L.P. (c) 2015 NHL. All Rights Reserveden-usSun, 26 Apr 2015 16:48:15 EDTBLOG: Soo takes on Erie on Sportsnet 360 tonighthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39351Oilers fans can watch prospect Darnell Nurse's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds take on Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters tonight on Sportsnet 360 starting at 5:00 p.m. MDT. The best-of-seven Ontario Hockey League Conference Final is tied at 1-1. Sault Ste. Marie won the first game 6-3 despite a natural hat trick from McDavid. Nurse had an assist in the Soo's victory. In Game 2, Erie bounced back to win 5-2. McDavid had two goals and two assists to lead the way for his team. Nurse has two goals and three assists for five points in 10 playoff games so far for his team. McDavid has 16 goals and 30 points in 11 games.Marc CiampaSun, 26 Apr 2015 16:28:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644396eriesoo.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3935139351BLOG: Jones completes comebackhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39318The Oklahoma City Barons continued their comeback ways in game two against San Antonio, battling back from down 3-0 to tie in the game’s final minute, and Connor Jones made no mistake in overtime, netting the winner and lifting OKC to a 2-0 series lead. The Barons got the 4-3 win, but it was a tough road to that finish. For the first few shifts of the game, the Barons seemed to have the jump. Right off the opening draw, 10 seconds in, Jason Williams had a breakaway on the new Rampage starter, Michael Houser. Dan Ellis started in San Antonio’s game one loss. Despite the quick start for OKC, the Rampage took over in the first period. Connor Brickley tipped a shot in past Laurent Brossoit at 9:16. Brett Olson and Corban Knight earned the helpers. On the power play, San Antonio took a 2-0 lead at 12:34 of the first. Knight put away a rebound, assisted by Brickley and Jesse Blacker. Brossoit had his work cut out for him in the first, as the Barons were outshot 18-9 in the opening 20 minutes. It didn’t get much easier in the second. John McFarland worked his way around Martin Marincin and put the puck through Brossoit’s legs for the 3-0 Rampage lead at 6:44 of the middle frame. Edmonton native Alex Petrovic recorded the lone assist. Brossoit was pulled in favour of Richard Bachman, in the hopes that a change would spark a reaction from the team. The Barons hit the post moments later, with players celebrating as if it was a goal. Unfortunately, it never crossed the line. Bachman made a good save following a scramble in front with six minutes remaining in the second period. Andrew Miller set up Barons Captain Ryan Hamilton for OKC’s first goal of the game at 17:27 of the middle frame to make it 3-1. Joshua Winquist earned the second assist on the power play goal. The Barons inched even closer when Jordan Oesterle struck on the man advantage with 3:17 remaining in the third period. C.J. Stretch and Williams had the assists. Matthew Ford netted the equalizer with a tip in front of the Rampage net with 36 seconds remaining in the game. It was Jones who scored the winner at 4:01 of the overtime period, assisted by Ford and Oesterle. The Barons hope to get the sweep, of the best-of-five series, in game three on Wednesday night.Chris WescottSun, 26 Apr 2015 00:09:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150425_jones1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3931839318BLOG: Keeping track of the moveshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39327The Oilers announced some significant changes to the structure of their organization on Friday. Newly appointed CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group Bob Nicholson introduced Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager at a press conference at the Hotel Macdonald. “We are delighted to bring a person of Peter’s considerable hockey knowledge and experience to the Edmonton Oilers,” said Nicholson. “Peter has had success at all levels of the game and we look forward to his leadership.” In addition, it was announced that Kevin Lowe would have his responsibilities transition out of hockey operations, but he remains Vice Chair of OEG. “I support Bob in the changes he has implemented and I am very excited about the bright future for the Edmonton Oilers, the City of Edmonton and Oilers fans everywhere,” Lowe said in a press release. “It has been an honour to represent the Oilers both on and off the ice, and I look forward to my new role in the organization. Nicholson says the transition with Lowe was not difficult. The two were in the meetings with Chiarelli together and both decided to bring in the former Boston Bruins GM. “It was not difficult at all,” said Nicholson. “I can tell you that Kevin was in those discussions, with myself, when we talked to Peter and we both agreed through the process that Peter should be the guy that runs hockey top to bottom in this organization. I can’t say enough, the help Kevin has given me through this process and it’s very, very clear that Peter should have the title of President of Hockey Operations and General Manager.” Former General Manager Craig MacTavish’s role is yet to be defined. OEG also announced that Patrick LaForge has stepped down as President & COO. “We thank Patrick for his dedication to the Oilers and Oil Country over the last 15 years. He made a significant mark on the organization and was the driving force behind many successful initiatives,” Nicholson said in a press release. The trio of executives helping Nicholson grow OEG will be Stew MacDonald, responsible for marketing and revenue, Darryl Bossenkool, who will oversee finance and OEG transition business, and Bob Black, who will continue as Executive Vice President of the Edmonton Arena Corporation, and will head up new business for OEG.Chris WescottFri, 24 Apr 2015 19:48:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150424_chiarellinicholsonv2644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3932739327BLOG: Chiarelli not afraid to make tradeshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39328The Oilers new President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli doesn’t shy away from taking phone calls from his peers. When it comes to making trades, Chiarelli has a history of being willing. “In this business, you can’t be afraid to make trades,” he said. “The parity is developing. The way the cap is closing in, the margins are really small so those are ways to improve your team. I’m not afraid of doing it. It has to be the right moment. There are some very good young players on this team. It doesn’t mean I’m going to trade any of them. But those are deals you can’t be afraid to make. They have to be well-measured, you have to be well-informed.” His most publicized trade is likely the one that sent Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to Dallas, in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser. The trade showed he is willing to trade a player of Seguin’s talents if it seems like the right time and fit. “That deal, obviously he’s a very good player and there were reasons for doing it,” he said. “I’ve actually made a few trades of good, young forwards so that’s something I won’t shy away from. That was a trade that had underlying reasons that I won’t get into, but (Seguin is) a terrific player. He was our leading scorer. That’s what I’ll say about that one.”Chris WescottFri, 24 Apr 2015 19:43:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150424_chia2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3932839328BLOG: Hockey Canada relationships come up bighttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39326The process to hire Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager happened very quickly. Chiarelli became available on April 15. Bob Nicholson became the CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group on Monday and by Friday, Chiarelli had a new home. The two were very familiar with each other from their time together at Hockey Canada. Nicholson is the former President and CEO of Hockey Canada, and worked with Chiarelli at the 2014 Olympics. “I really got to know him when we went to Sochi, through the Olympic games, and I really like the way he communicates,” said Nicholson. “He’s a clear communicator, he’s obviously worked in Ottawa and worked in Boston and built those teams together. And how he looks at the game, he sees the game changing and I think he’s going to be flexible to make sure he makes the right changes to put this team going in the right direction.” OEG Vice Chair Kevin Lowe, who was also part of Team Canada’s management team at the 2014 Olympics, was sitting next to Nicholson in the meetings with Chiarelli. It seemed like the right match for the former Bruins GM. “One of the reasons it happened really quickly is because I’d known them from before and I really like them, I respect them and I respect their hockey minds and I respect them as people. It made it very easy to be comfortable with the situation,” said Chiarelli. The process was fast-moving and that’s just fine for Nicholson. “This has gone so quickly, one of the keys that we talked about was how is your team going to play? If the team is as quick as we got this contract done I think that will be great for the fans,” said Nicholson.Chris WescottFri, 24 Apr 2015 19:42:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_nicholson644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3932639326BLOG: Barons take game one against Rampage, 5-2http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39288A big third-period goal by the Barons captain helped spark Oklahoma City to a 5-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage, giving them the 1-0 series lead in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Quarterfinal. “I thought overall, our game was good,” said Barons Interim Coach Gerry Fleming. “The chances that we created or gave them, I think we created ourselves. We just turned the puck over. Then we started managing the puck and sticking to the game plan, and our special teams were good tonight. We were fortunate, got some bounces and hopefully we’ll get some guys rested up and ready for Saturday.” The Barons scored on a power play at 12:04 of the opening period for the 1-0 lead. Although Brad Hunt was credited with the goal, it may have been tipped in front. Vincent Trocheck tied it up at 15:56, assisted by Shane O’Brien and Garrett Wilson. The Rampage outshot the Barons 12-8 in the opening period, but OKC led 38-31 in that category at the final buzzer. Oilers prospect Laurent Brossoit made 29 saves for the Barons. “It’s a lot of emotion. We’re very happy, but at the same time we’re trying to stay as even-keeled as possible,” said Brossoit. “You don’t want to have your emotions ride high and low too much. You’re trying to keep it even. I was just glad that I was seeing the puck, and when they did come I made a couple timely saves and I’m glad I contributed.” A turnover at the Rampage blueline went the other way and San Antonio potted their second of the game to take a 2-1 lead. That goal, at 8:01 of the second, came off a tip by Rocco Grimaldi, assisted by Jonathan Racine and Quinton Howden. Hunt fired a great chance off the crossbar later in the period that could have tied things up. OKC did tie the game following the midway point of the third. Barons Captain Ryan Hamilton toe dragged out in front of the Rampage net, forcing Greg Zanon to take a slashing penalty at 9:33 of the third. Winquist walked in from the point to the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot past Dan Ellis at 10:22, on the power play, to tie the game at 2-2. Hunt and Andrew Miller each earned assists. Hamilton put home his own rebound with a great individual effort, with 5:55 remaining in the third, giving the Barons a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, a questionable hit would take the Barons captain out of the game shortly after. Hamilton beat Shane O’Brien to the puck behind the net by a wide margin and the Rampage forward sent him into the boards with a heavy hit. O’Brien took a boarding penalty and a game misconduct, and was escorted off the ice. Hamilton had to be helped off by teammates. Connor Jones scored on the empty net at 18:39 of the final frame for some insurance. The Barons, visibly upset by the O’Brien hit, engaged in some pushing and shoving in the game’s final minute. With 7.6 seconds left in the game, Matthew Ford potted a second empty-net goal for the 5-2 win. “I don’t think we went into this series thinking they’re a better team than us,” said Brossoit of the team’s confidence, following the win. “They beat us more (in the regular season) than we beat them, but I honestly think it was because we were short staffed and had injuries and all that. When we’re a full lineup and we’ve got all our players back I think we have the edge.” Game two is on Saturday night at 6 p.m. MDT in Oklahoma City.Chris WescottFri, 24 Apr 2015 00:10:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150423_post1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3928839288BLOG: Draisaitl enjoying the playoffshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39246Leon Draisaitl is having fun in the WHL, and why wouldn’t he? It’s a chance to play longer, with the Oilers out of the playoffs, and it’s a real shot at winning a championship. The Kelowna Rockets have advanced to the Western Conference Final and Draisaitl is headed there with them. “It’s been good. It’s been very good,” said the Oilers 2014 third-overall pick, who joined Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now on Wednesday. “Obviously, winning is a lot of fun. We have a special group this year and so far the playoffs have been great for us.” Draisaitl and the Rockets are a good team that got even better as the season went on. There are expectations that they could go all the way, even competing for a Memorial Cup. The Oilers prospect feels the pressure. “Yeah, there definitely is (pressure),” said Draisaitl. “Teams, or people around the league, always say the Rockets are stacked and it’s almost unfair. For us, it’s playing with pressure that’s for sure. But I think so far we’ve been doing a very good job. All we do is take it game by game and try to not look too far ahead.” Draisaitl has 15 points in nine games this post-season. After playing 37 games for the Oilers this season, Draisaitl went down to junior and lit up the scoresheet, tallying 53 (19-34-53) points in 32 games.Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 18:18:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644draisaitl3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3924639246BLOG: Draisaitl on lottery & looking aheadhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39245Leon Draisaitl was nervously watching the draft lottery a year ago, without knowing where he would be selected in the first round. The centre was taken third overall by the Oilers in the 2014 Draft. Flash forward to this year, and Draisaitl was able to watch casually as a fan. He did so on Saturday night and was wide-eyed at the outcome as the Oilers won and will now draft first overall in June. “I was surprised a little bit, but at the same time I think it’s great for the Oilers and the organization to most likely get a game-changing player. It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead,” said Draisaitl, who joined Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now, Wednesday afternoon. The consensus is the top two players on draft boards across the league are Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Selecting one of those two adds another young centre to the Oilers mix, which could mean someone plays on the wing or has a harder time immediately making the roster out of camp. Draisaitl isn’t worried about that. “I think that comes down to camp when the time (comes),” he said. “That’s all going to show with the way we are, the way we play in camp, the way we present ourselves. There are obviously going to be battles there for spots and, no matter what for me personally, wherever that will be if it’s on the wing or as a centre I think I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be on that team.”Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 18:16:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141028_draistop5.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3924539245BLOG: Gretzky & Coffey on McDavidhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39243A pair of Oilers legends have expressed high praise for 2015 NHL Draft top prospect Connor McDavid this week. On Tuesday, Wayne Gretzky told the media that McDavid is the best to come into the draft in a long time. "He's as good as I've seen in the last 30 years, the best player to come into the League in the last 30 years, the best to come along since (Mario) Lemieux and (Sidney) Crosby," Gretzky said. "He can definitely change a franchise's fortunes.” The Oilers won Saturday’s draft lottery and the right to choose first overall in the draft. McDavid is NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater. Gretzky’s old teammate, Hockey Hall of Famer and former Oilers star defenceman Paul Coffey, also has great things to say about McDavid. The 18-year-old played minor hockey with the Toronto Marlboros of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. It just so happens that Coffey, who has coached the Marlboros AAA team, has watched McDavid play for a while. “I’ve watched him for four years,” said Coffey. “He was a Toronto Marlie and I coached the Marlie team all the way up to a couple years younger than him. Marlie night is Marlie night. It’s Friday night and we play and my boy, who is a year younger, would always want to stay and watch those guys play.” His observations fall in line with the public opinion. “Connor is special. He’s the real deal,” Coffey said. “I’m not saying this to put any added pressure on him or say things people have already said, but he’s definitely the real deal. Great kid, great family. It’s exciting. I sent him a note that, as a former Oiler, we’d be happy to have him here for sure.” If he is an Oiler, Coffey says it’s just more motivation for him to continue watching McDavid’s career. “I’m not big on staying up anymore, because I get the early start in the morning. But I’ve got to tell you, I’ll be staying up and watching more than a period now that’s for sure. I used to try and catch one period of Oilers games but (there would be) a reason to stay up longer for sure.” When asked if McDavid is the game-changer for a franchise that most believe he could be, Coffey leaves no doubt to his opinion but stresses the need to surround a talent like him with the right support. “100%, but he can’t do it by himself,” said Coffey. “Wayne (Gretzky) couldn’t do it by himself. That’s the way it is. You can’t do it by yourself. Everyone has to (help). When you get a talent like him or you get a talent like Wayne or a talent like Mario (Lemieux), it’s up to everyone else to keep up and get going because you don’t want him to come back down. You don’t want the special talent to come back down to anyone’s level. It’s up to everyone else to pick their game up higher. You get those special players in any sport and it’s up to everyone else to pick up their game and keep pace. Nobody can do it by themselves.”Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 18:01:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/644mcdavid1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3924339243BLOG: Coffey on his inductionhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39240On Wednesday, it was announced that Paul Coffey was named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015. The former Oiler star defenceman has seen and done a lot of things in his life, including four Stanley Cups and a sport in the Hockey Hall of Fame. This new recognition is not just one to add to the pile. “It’s not just another achievement,” Coffey said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “The Hockey Hall of Fame is great, getting your number retired by a team is great, but Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, involved with all sports across the country, is not better but it has a different ring to it.” Coffey looks back on his career, and when asked to rank his memories and achievements he couldn’t just pick one. “They all rank the same,” said Coffey. “I said to somebody today, ‘as you get older and you’re lucky enough to achieve different things, it always comes back to the places you’re most comfortable and the championships you won.’ You could lead the league in scoring every year and get a billion goals, but to be a champion you share something with (others). The city of Edmonton, the Canada Cups, the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh, (those are) to me, the most special.” Coffey is a three-time Norris Trophy winner and four-time Stanley Cup champion (’84, ’85. ’87 with Edmonton and ’91 with Pittsburgh). He played in 14 NHL All-Star Games and won four Canada Cups in ’84, ’87 and ’91. Coffey was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, following a NHL career in which he played 1409 regular season games and 194 playoff games.Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 17:38:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644coffeey1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3924039240BLOG: Coffey’s memories of Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39241Paul Coffey was named as a member of Canada’s Hall of Fame Class of 2015 on Wednesday and had a chance to reflect on his time in Edmonton in a phone interview following the announcement. “That’s where we all cut our teeth, so to speak,” Coffey said of Edmonton. “That’s where we all learned to do a lot of things on and off the ice. Your independence. We were all young, we were learning as we went. There are no instructions, no directions, there’s no book on how to act as an 18-year-old playing hockey in the NHL, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself.” Coffey said the city of Edmonton and playing for the Oilers is a long list of memories he keeps close to him even now. It was the team that drafted him sixth overall in 1980, and gave him a chance to become a professional. The Hockey Hall of Famer and superstar defenceman returned to the city this past fall for the 1984 Stanley Cup reunion at Rexall Place. “You know what the best part was? Nobody has changed,” said Coffey of the reunion. “Everybody is the same. We’re all older, but everybody is the same. Everybody has the stories and fortunately or unfortunately, everybody remembers them a little different. But the conversations were easy. The genuine concern about how everybody is doing was real. Everybody was interested in other guys’ families and how they’re doing, where they’re living and what they’re doing to keep busy. I enjoyed that the most. I don’t need to chat to a guy about what happened 30 years ago. That’s all fun for a short chuckle, but I think the interesting thing for me was to chat with everybody and see how they’re doing. Everybody is great and everybody was proud to come back to Edmonton.” Coffey finished his career with over 1400 regular season NHL games under his belt, along with four Stanley Cup championships and 194 playoff games.Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 17:38:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644coffey2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3924139241BLOG: MacTavish talks McDavid & Eichelhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39239Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish joined Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now to discuss winning the draft lottery and the path ahead for the club. MacTavish was asked to describe the runaway top two prospects in the draft, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. McDavid is NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater for the 2015 NHL Draft. He recorded 120 points in just 47 games this season for the Erie Otters of the OHL. He leads the OHL in playoff scoring with 23 points in nine games. He also helped lead Team Canada to gold at the 2015 World Junior Championships. “I think the most productive player the CHL has had in a number of years, but the most dynamic, the most electrifying,” said MacTavish of McDavid. “He is a guy that he looks like a shark when he’s playing hockey. He’s just looking to pounce at any time and he’s looking to get the puck and be in a position that he can get the puck at full speed. He’s got the most dynamic skill set that I’ve seen in a number of years, in terms of just bringing people out of their seats with open-ice plays.” Eichel is the top American player, and second-ranked North American Skater by Central Scouting. Eichel won the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top player this season. As a freshman at Boston University, Eichel compiled 71 points in 40 games. “Jack Eichel, his open-ice game is excellent as well,” said MacTavish. “He maybe doesn’t put himself in as many positions as Connor would, but he’s a big guy that’s got electrifying speed. He’s at full speed in three strides and he shoots the puck like a BB. What he’s done at the NCAA level, in a more mature league, has been quite incredible for a 17-year-old.” The Oilers will select first overall at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, FL (June 26-27). “So much work goes into the draft and so forth. When you get lucky enough to win the lottery, in a year when you have franchise players at the top like you have this year, it’s quite incredible,” said MacTavish. With the “generational” talents at the top of the draft, MacTavish wasn’t even entertaining the thought that the Oilers might trade the pick. “No. That would be crazy in my mind.”Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 17:17:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644mcdavid.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3923939239BLOG: Timeline & plans change slightlyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39238At his end-of-season press conference, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish declared next season a, “development” year. This, because of all of the youth currently on the roster and the potential of more on its way. After winning the draft lottery and being gifted with the first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Oilers might have altered their timeline just a bit. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Wednesday afternoon and he said that things “marginally” change now that they have the opportunity to add one of two “generational” talents that sit at the top of the draft. If the Oilers selected Connor McDavid, MacTavish says it would give them three of the best, if not the best, players in the CHL playoffs. Leon Draisaitl and his Kelowna Rockets advanced to the WHL Western Conference Final. Darnell Nurse and his Sault Ste. Marie team will tango with McDavid’s Erie Otters in the OHL Western Conference Final. “I think it marginally changes,” said MacTavish. “I said at the end of the year, before we were fortunate enough to win the lottery, it’d be a very important developmental year for us. I still believe that. We arguably have the three best players in the CHL right now and they’re going to be flowing into the program, certainly Leon. All three will. Next year, Leon is done with his junior eligibility, as is Darnell. The player we pick will be on our team next year.” All that said, there is still work to do for the Oilers, and MacTavish believes it will be, “a very important developmental year.” “We also talked about some very critical positions that we need improved upon,” said MacTavish. “Without getting into those specific too much, we’re highly motivated to improve our club so we can make the step everybody has been waiting for for quite some time. I think with a few critical adds, it will still be largely determined by the internal growth of our team and the guys that are flowing into the system for next year. We’ve got to make a few key personnel changes and improvements and I think that could ignite it quickly. It’s not as simple, in our minds, as we got the first pick, we’re off and running. We still need to do the things that we talked about at the end of the year.”Chris WescottWed, 22 Apr 2015 16:29:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644396-mact-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3923839238Chase assigned to OKChttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39207The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have assigned centre Greg Chase to the American Hockey Leagues Oklahoma City Barons. Chase, 20, spent time with the Calgary Hitmen and Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League this season, accumulating 59 points (20G, 39A) and 59 penalty minutes in 61 games. He tied for second on the Royals in assists (39) and ranked fifth on the team in points (59) and goals (20). The Sherwood Park, Alberta native also notched 11 points (7G, 4A) and six penalty minutes in 10 games during the 2014-15 WHL Playoffs. The 6’0”, 188-pound centre has posted 221 points (78G, 143A) and 247 penalty minutes in 265 career WHL games. He has also appeared in 38 career playoff games, recording 32 points (15G, 17A) and 43 penalty minutes. Chase appeared in five games with the Barons in 2013-14, posting one goal, four penalty minutes and a plus one rating. The Edmonton Oilers selected Chase in the 7th round, 188th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseWed, 22 Apr 2015 14:29:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141231_Chase2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3920739207Monday coveragehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39102Chris WescottMon, 20 Apr 2015 16:23:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_nicholsonoilers644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3910239102BLOG: Nicholson on winning the lotteryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39125On Saturday, the Oilers were the winners of the NHL Draft Lottery and will pick first overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. With two “generational” talents at the top of draft boards, the Oilers are in prime position to make a turnaround. “When this was drawn, I think every fan in this city, every Oilers fan in the country jumped through the roof and we’re so excited. I can tell you, I was sitting at home by myself and all I did was start to smile,” said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson. The Oilers haven’t made any definitive announcements on who they will take with the first-overall pick. There are steps left to complete before the draft is held in Sunrise, FL in June. “In regards to the draft, there are playoff series going on right now and they should be focused on that,” Nicholson said of the top prospects. “We certainly know where we’re going to be picking on draft day, but there’s a process here and we want to live with that process. Saturday was a huge part of the Oilers here in the future. But from where I’m sitting, we have a lot of other things we’re going to look at and we have to make sure we take our time and make sure we get this right.”Chris WescottMon, 20 Apr 2015 16:13:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_NICHOLSONpress2644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3912539125BLOG: Nicholson takes overhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39124On Monday, Oilers Entertainment Group announced that Bob Nicholson has been named Chief Executive Officer of OEG, effective immediately. “Today I speak as the CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group and firstly, I want to thank to Daryl Katz,” said Nicholson. “Thanks for this honour. It’s a privilege and there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with this. I’m going to step to the plate and do the best job that I can do and I’m going to really trust my instincts. Nicholson joined the organization as Vice-Chair of OEG in June of 2014. He will now expand his responsibilities and be much more hands on when it comes to every aspect of the organization, including hockey operations. Nicholson, who retired as President & CEO of Hockey Canada in 2014, has a history of success overseeing the Canadian Men’s and Women’s National Teams. As OEG continues to formulate their plan of attack moving forward, Nicholson says there are some pillars he wants to build around. “There are a few words I want to throw out right now: loyalty, trust, teamwork, and that’s not with just the players on the ice. We’re going to have that through our whole organization. As we start to define what this organization is going to be we’re going to build around those words,” he said. Everyone in the organization will now work under Nicholson moving forward. “Really, the last 10 months, I’ve been Vice Chair really looking over the whole organization,” said Nicholson. “Now everyone in the organization reports directly to myself so I’m going to be rolling up the sleeves and being much more hands on with every part of the organization.”Chris WescottMon, 20 Apr 2015 16:11:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_nicholsonbts_644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3912439124BLOG: Barons first-round schedulehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39101The Oklahoma City Barons will play the San Antonio Rampage in the first round of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs. The series will be a best of five, with the first two games in Oklahoma City on Thursday, April 23 and Saturday, April 25. The rest of the series will be played in San Antonio. Game 1: April 23, 2015 - 6 p.m. - San Antonio at Oklahoma City Game 2: April 25, 2015 - 6 p.m. - San Antonio at Oklahoma City Game 3: April 29, 2015 - 6 p.m. - Oklahoma City at San Antonio Game 4*: May 1, 2015 - 6:30 p.m. - Oklahoma City at San Antonio Game 5*: May 2, 2015 - 6:05 p.m. - Oklahoma City at San Antonio * If Necessary all times listed as MDT The Barons posted a 3-5-2-2 record against San Antonio this season. This will be the second time the Barons have played the Rampage in the post-season. OKC beat San Antonio in five games (4-1) in 2012. All Barons games will be available, for a cost, at AHLlive.com.Chris WescottMon, 20 Apr 2015 14:14:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141205_cellybarons.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3910139101BLOG: McDavid gives his thoughts on Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39040Following the Draft Lottery, Connor McDavid took part in a conference call with other top prospects Jack Eichel, Noah Hanifin and Dylvan Strome to discuss a variety of topics. One topic that came up right off the hop for McDavid was his thoughts on Edmonton and the potential of being drafted by the Oilers. “It’s a dream come true. It’s a great city to be in," McDavid began. "They’ve got the fans supporting them through a bit of a tough slide the last couple of years. The support they’ve received is amazing. That speaks volumes to the fan support they get in Edmonton. It’s pretty special.” McDavid was then asked about what was going through his mind as Bill Daly drew cards 14 through 3, ultimately landing on Edmonton with the gold card. “It’s been a weird day. At the same time, it’s been exciting. When they pulled the cards it’s the fastest my heart’s ever beaten. It’s sure exciting. If Edmonton selects me it would be a tremendous honour.” The 18-year-old centre was asked about the top talent on the Oilers and the possibility of playing with them. “They have younger talent, names like Hall, Eberle, (Nugent) Hopkins and Yakupov. And on D with Schultz. They have such a good group there, it’s hard to pick anyone. That’s going a little too far ahead of ourselves, obviously. The draft hasn’t started. We’ll see what happens.”Marc CiampaSat, 18 Apr 2015 23:57:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/devils/images/upload/2015/04/0417mcdavid2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3904039040BLOG: Crosby talks about Oilers winning the lotteryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39041Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby, himself a first-overall pick in 2005, talked to the media tonight about the Oilers winning the draft lottery, the possibility of Connor McDavid going to Edmonton and why that's a good thing for him. “The great thing for him is that they have a lot of young guys there already,” Crosby said to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune. “That's a big thing for him. It's not like he's going to an older team or anything like that. He'll be able to grow with those guys. They have a ton of young talent there already, so it should be a good thing for him to be there.” Crosby also talked about the potential comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, as he himself had to deal with in Pittsburgh with Mario Lemieux. “He's definitely going to hear about that, and he'll have to deal with all the comparisons to him. It's to be expected.”Marc CiampaSat, 18 Apr 2015 23:43:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/644crosby.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3904139041BLOG: Craig MacTavish Post-Lottery Interviewhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39038Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spoke with us from Switzerland shortly after the announcement that the Oilers had won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery. Here is a transcript of the interview: * What were your thoughts when you first saw that the Oilers had won the Draft Lottery? “We just started yelling. We were all in Switzerland, watching it on the iPad and then started to get nervous after it got by Carolina and got by Toronto. Then the palms started sweating. That was a great pronouncement by Bill Daly for sure.” * How does winning the lottery change any plans you may have had for this upcoming off-season and/or at the draft? “We’re going to enjoy this for now. It’s a pretty special night for all the Oilers fans. It’s a game-changer for the franchise. I feel great for the players and I feel really good for the fans. We’ll enjoy that for an evening and then figure out how this all works going forward.” * Talk about Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the type of players that they are and what they could potentially bring to the Oilers. “Both are great, great players. These players have been looked at and sought after for the last three years. It’s been earmarked an epic draft for the last three, four years with these players coming in. “We’re extremely fortunate to be in this position. We’re going to relax and enjoy it tonight and we’ll let the Oilers fans celebrate and we’ll get onto the business of hockey tomorrow.” * What does it mean to have the ability to land a franchise player of this type with the Oilers in the situation that they’re in: emerging team, new arena being built, etc. “Any one of the 14 teams would make a great case for being the best spot for this player. In particular, our situation with the new building, I’m not thinking about it so much from a building standpoint but just what it’s going to mean for the hockey club. I’m really happy for the players. Really happy for the fans. It gives the Oilers a real shot in the arm going forward. “I could stand up there and talk about optimism and a bright future but I think everyone can share in that vision now with us winning the Lottery. * Last question, and only because I have to ask, what are the chances that you would consider trading the pick? “What's less than zero? ... No chance."Marc CiampaSat, 18 Apr 2015 23:28:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141215_macT-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3903839038BLOG: Magic numbers for Oilers were 1, 5, 6 and 14http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39083The numbers which came up for the Oilers in their successful draft lottery were (in order drawn) 5, 14, 6 and 1. Each team was given a designated number of the 1,000 possible valid combinations and since the Oilers had an 11.5% chance of winning, they had 115 potential four-ball sets which would gain them the win.Marc CiampaSat, 18 Apr 2015 23:20:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2009/04/draftlottery.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3908339083BLOG: Oilers win draft lotteryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39036The Edmonton Oilers won the draft lottery and will choose first overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. More coverage to come, including an interview with Craig MacTavish and some of the prospects for the draft including Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. More details to follow! Oilers official press release: EDMONTON OILERS WIN DRAFT LOTTERY, EARN FIRST SELECTION IN 2015 NHL DRAFT The Edmonton Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery tonight and earned the first drafting position for the First Round of the 2015 NHL Draft. This will be the fourth time the Oilers have selected first overall, after drafting Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Nail Yakupov (2012) in consecutive years. The order of selection for the first 14 drafting positions in the First Round, only, of the 2015 NHL Draft is as follows: 1. Edmonton Oilers 2. Buffalo Sabres 3. Arizona Coyotes 4. Toronto Maple Leafs 5. Carolina Hurricanes 6. New Jersey Devils 7. Philadelphia Flyers 8. Columbus Blue Jackets 9. San Jose Sharks 10. Colorado Avalanche 11. Florida Panthers 12. Dallas Stars 13. Los Angeles Kings 14. Boston Bruins The remaining positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The drawing was conducted at Rogers Sportsnet’s studio in downtown Toronto and the winning team was revealed live on CBC and TVA Sports in Canada and NBC in the U.S. prior to their broadcast of Game 2 of the Penguins-Rangers First Round series. Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 14, were placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly selected four balls. The resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) was matched against a chart that shows all possible combinations and the Clubs to which each was assigned. The chart (available on NHL.com) showed that the Oilers had been assigned the numbers (1-5-6-14) that were expelled. The Oilers would have picked third based on inverse order of regular season finish, representing an 11.5% likelihood that their combination would emerge. Full odds of winning can be found here. The 2015 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Panthers at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida from June 26-27. Results of Draft Drawings Year Selected Effect on Draft Order Player Selected 1995 Los Angeles Moved from 7th to 3rd D Aki Berg 1996 Ottawa Retained 1st selection D Chris Phillips 1997 Boston Retained 1st selection C Joe Thornton 1998 Tampa Bay Moved from 3rd to 1st via trades C Vincent Lecavalier 1999 Chicago Moved from 8th to 4th RW Pavel Brendl * 2000 NY Islanders Moved from 5th to 1st G Rick DiPietro 2001 Atlanta Moved from 3rd to 1st LW Ilya Kovalchuk 2002 Florida Moved from 3rd to 1st LW Rick Nash ** 2003 Florida Moved from 4th to 1st G Marc-Andre Fleury *** 2004 Washington Moved from 3rd to 1st LW Alex Ovechkin 2005 Pittsburgh n/a C Sidney Crosby 2006 St. Louis Retained 1st selection D Erik Johnson 2007 Chicago Moved from 5th to 1st RW Patrick Kane 2008 Tampa Bay Retained 1st selection C Steven Stamkos 2009 NY Islanders Retained 1st selection C John Tavares 2010 Edmonton Retained 1st selection LW Taylor Hall 2011 New Jersey Moved from 8th to 4th D Adam Larsson 2012 Edmonton Moved from 2nd to 1st RW Nail Yakupov 2013 Colorado Moved from 2nd to 1st C Nathan MacKinnon 2014 Florida Moved from 2nd to 1st D Aaron Ekblad 2015 Edmonton Moved from 3rd to 1st * NY Rangers obtained Chicago's pick in a trade (via Vancouver and Tampa Bay). The Rangers selected RW Pavel Brendl fourth overall. ** Columbus obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Blue Jackets selected LW Rick Nash first overall. *** Pittsburgh obtained Florida's pick in a trade. The Penguins selected G Marc-Andre Fleury first overallMarc CiampaSat, 18 Apr 2015 21:41:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2014/08/lottery_082014_672.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3903639036BLOG: Oilers alumni to take on RCMPhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38936RCMP Const. David Wynn, 42, passed away in January following a gun shot wound suffered in St. Albert. Aux. Const. Derek Bond was also shot during the routine license plate check that led to the confrontation, but survived the attack. This Saturday, Oilers alumni will faceoff against a team of Mounties in a game to support the families of Wynn and Bond at 7:15pm at Servus Place in St. Albert. The alumni team will include Ryan Smyth, Jason Strudwick and Fernando Pisani. The goal is to help raise funds in support of the families. On January 27, there was a moment of silence held ahead of the Oilers game at Rexall Place. Wynn’s three sons performed the ceremonial puck-drop to an emotional display of support by the fans in attendance. Saturday’s game in St. Albert is free to attend; however, chuck-a-puck and cash donations will be collected on site.Chris WescottWed, 15 Apr 2015 21:35:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150415_1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3893638936RNH to miss Worlds due to injuryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38931After meeting with Oilers medical staff, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will not play for Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championship due to a fracture in his right foot. Nugent-Hopkins' injury requires more time to heal, therefore he will be unable to participate.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseWed, 15 Apr 2015 17:00:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644rnhh.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3893138931Yakupov to miss Worlds due to injuryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38930After meeting with Oilers' medical staff, forward Nail Yakupov will not attend Russia's training camp for the upcoming World Hockey Championship due to a hip injury. Oilers Head Team Physician, Dr. Dhiren Naidu says "Nail has been suffering from bilateral hip injuries this season and after further examination and MRI imaging, he requires additional treatment and rehabilitation."Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseWed, 15 Apr 2015 16:20:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150314_indepth2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3893038930BLOG: Seven Oilers invited to Worldshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38906Seven Oilers players could represent their home countries at the 2015 IIHF World Championship in Czech Republic. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been invited to join Team Canada. Hall played 53 games this season for the Oilers, recording 38 points (14-24-38). Eberle led the Oilers in scoring with 63 points (24-39-63) in 81 games. He recorded 34 points in the final 35 games of the season. Nugent-Hopkins established a new career high in goals with 24. He finished the season with 56 points (24-32-56) in 76 games. The centre will only play for Team Canada if and when he has recovered from a foot injury that caused him to miss the final four games of the regular season. Nail Yakupov has been invited to Team Russia’s selection camp and will try out for a spot. The 21-year-old winger recorded a new career high in points with 33 (14-19-33) in 81 games. He had 21 points after the All-Star break. Matt Hendricks will join Team USA. The 33-year-old was a locker room leader for the Oilers. He played 71 games this season, scoring eight goals and adding eight more assists with 76 penalty minutes. He also had 220 hits and 72 blocked shots. Anton Lander and Oscar Klefbom have been invited to join Sweden. Lander is fresh off the best NHL season of his career. The centre recorded six goals and 14 assists for 20 points in 38 games. He had eight points in his previous 94 NHL games coming into this season. Klefbom developed nicely into the Oilers Defenceman of the Year, as voted upon by the Edmonton media. He finished the season with 20 points (2-18-20) in 60 games. The World Championship is scheduled for May 1-17 in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic. San Jose Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan was named the bench boss for Team Canada for the tournament.Chris WescottTue, 14 Apr 2015 17:48:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150414_worlds.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3890638906MacTavish press conference coveragehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38874Chris WescottMon, 13 Apr 2015 21:52:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644396-mact-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3887438874BLOG: Oilers to take time with coaching hirehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38877Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish fielded questions about the team’s coaching search at his season debrief press conference at Rexall Place on Monday. Todd Nelson, who led the team to a 17-22-7 record as interim coach, is certainly in the mix. However, MacTavish and the Oilers are determined to take their time with this decision, and that includes waiting for the dust to settle in the coming weeks and possible candidates to show themselves. “Before I talk about that, I’d be crazy not to acknowledge the good job I feel that Todd did since he took over,” said MacTavish. “I don’t want to get into too much about specifics about what the next coach will look like, but I’ve been consistent in what I’ve said about coaching. I’ve got to let the emotion die down from the season. We’re going to give a fixed amount of time going forward to see what that landscape looks like and then we’re going to make a decision. It really is my experience that you’re better off buying some time before we get to that conclusion.” MacTavish emphasized development as a key piece to the team getting better in the coming years. That just so happens to be a strength of Nelson’s coaching. Nelson worked down in the American Hockey League on the Oilers farm team in Oklahoma City from 2010 to this season. Strides were made in the games of Anton Lander, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and others under Nelson’s watch. That is something that is not lost on MacTavish, although the club will still take its time with the hiring process. “It’s not a wide net, for sure, and I’m not saying we won’t catch Todd in that net ultimately,” MacTavish said of the net they’ll cast for a new coach. “There is no downside for me to take time to make this decision. I’ve had that dialogue with Todd, I’ve communicated very clearly to Todd that I’ve admired the job and respected the job that he’s done. I’ve seen it, much like you have, there has been an improvement in the on-ice performance. Todd gets the lion’s share of the credit for that. There has been personnel changes, that I think have helped as well that I wasn’t able to do with Dallas (Eakins) here. But Todd is a laid-back guy that his messaging has really resonated with this team. Having said all that, I still want to give myself some time to see exactly what the landscape is going forward.”Chris WescottMon, 13 Apr 2015 21:51:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150221_nelly5.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3887738877BLOG: Draisaitl & Nurse have chance to earn spotshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38876The Oilers have two promising prospects coming up the pipeline next season who are that much closer to earning a roster spot. Darnell Nurse, who was taken seventh overall in 2013, is seen as the Oilers top defensive prospect. Leon Draisaitl is an offensively gifted centre, taken third overall in the 2014 draft. Draisaitl, 19, played 37 games for the Oilers this season, recording nine points (2-7-9). He then finished the season with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL and lit up the score sheet. He had 53 points, including 19 goals and 34 assists, in 32 games for the Rockets. He has nine points (2-7-9) in six playoff games. Nurse, 20, was named Canada’s player of the game in the gold medal round of the 2015 World Junior Championships. He was also named Sault Ste. Marie’s MVP, despite playing only 36 games for the Greyhounds. He recorded 33 points (10-23-33) and 58 penalty minutes in 36 games this season in the OHL. Each will be given the opportunity to earn their spot in training camp, which is why Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish wouldn’t commit to sending them to the AHL right away for more seasoning. “They wouldn’t want to hear that in a press conference, and what I’ve said about them for the last quite some time is that they’re going to determine their own level,” said MacTavish. “I don’t want to put a ceiling on them that they have to go to the American Hockey League. But they’re going to determine that, and there’s nothing wrong with going to the American Hockey League. It’s a great developmental league, a great developmental tool, it enhances development, it speeds up development in a lot of ways. The challenge for both Darnell and Leon will be to come in here and prove that they’re ready, because it takes an exceptional athlete to make that transition right into the NHL. We need players that think the game well and have experience so that will be on both Darnell, who has a lot of experience, and Leon, who is going to get a lot of experience here in this CHL playoffs and hopefully into the Memorial Cup.”Chris WescottMon, 13 Apr 2015 21:49:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150228_nurse1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3887638876BLOG: MacTavish on Klefbom & adding defencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38875The strides Oscar Klefbom has made on the ice in just his second professional season here in North America have been documented throughout the last year. The 21-year-old defenceman increased the number of NHL games played from 17 in his rookie year to 60 this season, recording 20 points (2-18-20). In the second half of the season, Klefbom was paired often with Justin Schultz as the top duo on the Oilers blueline. Klefbom, the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, has shown glimpses of what he could become for the organization and that has his general manager excited. “When you talk about Oscar, I don’t think there is one facet of the game where you can put him in and hurt his development,” said Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. “There are guys that I see that are just going to be really good players and potentially star players. I see that in him. I don’t think there is one area, when you have meetings with players at the end of the year, there are normally four or five things you can point out that they’ve got to do better. You’ve got to improve on your fitness. But I’m at a bit of a loss for him, with the exception of experience.” Klefbom figures to get more and more of that much-needed experience as he continues his career. But the experienced gained this season has the organization salivating at the future of their blueline. “I think, offensively, he’s grown the last 20 or 25 games,” said MacTavish. “I don’t know what everybody in here feels, but I feel a whole lot of comfort when he is going back and defending and going to break the puck out. When I look at Oscar, all I think is we need a couple more of him. I think we’ve got one in the system and that will move the dial too as well.” The other defenceman that MacTavish alluded to was most likely Darnell Nurse. The Oilers top defensive prospect, taken seventh overall in 2013, is currently in the second round of the OHL playoffs, captaining the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. MacTavish is comfortable with Klefbom and Schultz as an important pair heading into next season, but did explain the need to add to the roster on defence. The question is whether or not the price will be right and what will come available, in terms of top defencemen. “I think we can be a competitive team, for sure, but we’ve got to make additions there,” the general manager said. “For me, it gets to how much we’re going to pay in terms of developing assets for proven assets that are declining assets, potentially declining assets. The minute that developing asset intersects with that declining asset, that’s when you regret it. That’s really the gist and the crux of our decision making now going through to next year, because make no mistake, we have the assets that we can go out and acquire more proven players. But these players are going to be, in all likelihood, declining players and is that going to be the best strategy for our hockey club?” MacTavish thinks that, should one of those players become available, the Oilers have the assets to make something happen. “Do I envision a scenario where a proven top one or top two defenceman becomes available? Potentially. I think there are going to be some very unhappy teams here in the next couple of weeks. There are going to be some teams that are up against a very tight salary cap and that’s going to create an environment where they could potentially be looking to off-load some high-end assets and we’d be in a position, because of some of the developing assets we have, that we’d be able to acquire them, and the money that we have.”Chris WescottMon, 13 Apr 2015 18:35:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/gallery/2015/03/496700_1425574902847.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3887538875BLOG: MacTavish comments on Yakupovhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38872Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish opened the question-and-answer segment of his year-end press conference with comments on Nail Yakupov, who the organization agreed to terms with on a two-year contract extension this morning. MacTavish was impressed with the turnaround that Yakupov had in his game from the first half of this season to the last half. “I don’t know that I’ve seen any transformation like that in all my years in hockey,” said MacTavish. “He really did become a very valuable player down the stretch. Whatever ignites that, whether it’s a conversation, a linemate or a coach or a level of experience, it’s really hard to identify what ignites that but there’s no denying that Yak has turned a corner.” Yakupov also spoke to the media, and was asked if he sees himself as part of the “core” group of Oilers youth. “I’m just trying to do my best and trying to make my team happy and get some points every game and just trying to improving my game every day, every game, every practice and everywhere. Of course, I just want to be the best player and just want to work every day. That’s it,” said Yakupov. MacTavish says Yakupov has shown the potential and growth that made him the first-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. That makes him an integral part of the organization moving forward. “From what I talked about before, our growth is going to be internal growth and incremental growth and Yak in his development is a byproduct of that strategy and something that’s going to be continued,” said MacTavish. “We’ve talked about, there was a lot of discussion involving, Yak and about the potential to trade but, again, I’ve said and I’ve been consistent in what I’ve said that it’s not my preference, I don’t think it’s good strategy, to trade developing players. I think that’s been rewarded and Yak has been rewarded with a two-year contract.”Chris WescottMon, 13 Apr 2015 17:07:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/2015314_indepth1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3887238872BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Yakupov on extensionhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38860The Oilers have announced that they have agreed to terms with forward Nail Yakupov on a two-year contract extension. The 21-year-old established a new career high in points with 33 (14-19-33) in 81 games this season. The second half of the season is where Yakupov really put up numbers. Post All-Star break, Yakupov recorded 21 of those 33 points, including nine of his goals. From February 9-18, Yakupov had a point streak of six games. He had a five-game streak from March 9-18. At the trade deadline, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said he was pleased with the improvements Yakupov was making and that they were eager to extend him following the completion of his entry level contract. “I see it to continue to evolve the way that it has,” said MacTavish. “We all see the promise now that we had when we drafted him. I had zero interest in trading Nail Yakupov. I think we’ve gone this far, we’ve got to see the end now. It has been some ups and downs, some sideways play and some head-scratching stuff and he’s on top of his game now. He shows all the assets that we saw when we drafted him: the speed, the physical power, the shot, he’s making good plays with the puck and who knows what unlatches all that for him, but he’s really figured it out. He’s playing with confidence, he’s a hardworking guy and we’ve got to see how it finishes. I’ve have no question that Yak is going to continue to develop and he’s got a reference point of what he needs to do now because he’s hit a new level. I’m as curious as anybody to see where that level goes because I think it’s sky high.” Yakupov's centre, Derek Roy, says he saw strides in his linemate's game. “Even the last couple of games, he was flying,” said Roy. “He was skating really good and moving the puck and making plays, getting shots through to the net and doing some of the small things that are going to make you successful in the league. The more he learns and the more he gets better, he’s going to be a dynamic player in the NHL. I believe that. That’s why I’ve just tried to help him as much as I could.” Yakupov was taken first overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. He has 88 points (42-46-88) in 192 NHL games. He finished the season on a three-game point streak, including scoring his 14th goal of the season in Saturday's finale in Vancouver.Chris WescottMon, 13 Apr 2015 11:49:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/465725808_fullSize(1).jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3886038860Year end coveragehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38848Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 19:52:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150412_ference644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3884838848BLOG: Schultz on getting strongerhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38855Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz wasn’t very pleased with how the 2014-15 season played out. “It obviously wasn’t a good year for me and the team,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of improvement to work on this summer. I thought there were times where I thought I was improving and times where I wasn’t. It’s going to be a big summer for me to come back and be ready to play in the fall.” The improvement he talked about starts with the battles in the corners and along the wall. That is an area of Schultz’s game that he wants to improve. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson sees that as an area for growth as well. “Everybody can up their battle level and that’s one thing we talked with Justin about,” said Nelson. “He’s been making the conscience effort to do so. You can see him, with the battle drills in practice, make an effort to get better. That has improved, especially over the last couple of weeks. That’s a focal point.” For Justin to be able to win more of those battles, he intends to hit the gym and put an emphasis on getting stronger and upping the intensity this off-season. “For me, it’s obviously building some more strength to help me in the battles in the corners and my defensive game, which is obviously something I need to improve on. That’s going to be my focus and hopefully I can make some strides this summer,” Schultz said. The defenceman played 81 games this season, recording 31 points (6-25-31) and 31 penalty minutes. He was -17.Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 19:51:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644jultz.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3885538855BLOG: Nelson reflectshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38854Todd Nelson coached the Oilers, under the interim tag, to a record of 17-22-7 since taking over full-time on December 30. Time has flown by for Nelson in his first NHL head coaching action. “Well, personally, it’s been great,” said Nelson. “It’s been a great experience ever since I got the call from  (Oilers GM Craig MacTavish). I was grateful for the opportunity and I think that we’ve made some positive strides moving forward. There are some building blocks we can lean on moving forward.” The Oilers will continue their evaluation process moving forward into the off-season. That evaluation includes the head coaching position and the future of that office for the Oilers. Nelson is sure to be a candidate for that job, and thinks he put his best foot forward. “I have no regrets about how I handled things,” he said. “I went about it day by day and, like I’ve said before, there’s a lot of work to do here but I think that we made some positive strides in certain areas. I was happy for the experience and I had a great time.” Under his watch, Nelson feels there were improvements. “Some of the positive things I saw was when I first got here there were some situations where we’d be up a few goals and then a team would score a goal and we’d get a bit rattled,” said Nelson. “We saw the team grow as the season went on where when that happened again we hunkered down and preserved the victory. I think as a group, I saw some positive signs with that and it has to continue moving forward. There are some building blocks that we can work on next season.” Nelson spoke with the team before they depart to various homes and vacation spots. His message was simple. “I didn’t say much. I just said, ‘thanks for the work that you put in and thanks for doing the things or trying to do the things I wanted (you) to do, and have a good summer.’ I thanked them for their time. For the most part, they gave me what they had and that’s all I can ask for,” said Nelson. As for whether or not Nelson would return to the Oilers in some capacity other than head coach, he wasn’t ready to say. “I haven’t really given much thought to that,” he explained. “Everything is pretty fresh, but I enjoy working here, I enjoy the people I work with, they’re fantastic people and it’s always a great day to come to the rink.” So what’s next for Nelson? “A lot of fishing,” he says. Fishing and waiting, as the two go hand in hand. But as for if he wants to be back next year, Nelson says, “absolutely.” Nelson will head to Oklahoma City to offer his support to the Barons during their Calder Cup playoff run.Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 19:16:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20140221_nelly2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3885438854Oilers assign threehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38853The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned defencemen Brandon Davidson, Martin Marincin and David Musil, to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Davidson, 23, appeared in 12 games with the Oilers this season, posting his first career National Hockey League goal on March 30th against the Colorado Avalanche. Marincin, 23, registered five points (1G, 4A) and 16 penalty minutes in 41 games with the Oilers. He recorded his first NHL goal on March 25th against the Colorado Avalanche. Musil, 22, appeared in four games with the Oilers, posting two assists and two penalty minutes, including his first NHL point that came on April 7th against the Los Angeles Kings.Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 17:42:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150403_musil.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3885338853BLOG: Improvement in Yakupovhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38852Nail Yakupov’s centre has been credited with helping the winger turnaround his game. The two developed chemistry over the last half of the season and Yakupov’s production shot up. “Even the last couple of games, he was flying,” Derek Roy said of Yakupov’s improvement. “He was skating really good and moving the puck and making plays, getting shots through to the net and doing some of the small things that are going to make you successful in the league. The more he learns and the more he gets better, he’s going to be a dynamic player in the NHL. I believe that. That’s why I’ve just tried to help him as much as I could.” Yakupov finished the season with 33 points, a new career high. He scored 14 goals and added 19 assists. It was the second half of the season that was the best for the 21-year-old Russian winger. Post All-Star break, Yakupov recorded 21 of those 33 points, including nine of his goals. From February 9-18, Yakupov had a point streak of six games. He had a five-game streak from March 9-18. Yakupov looks back on his season and says that Interim Coach Todd Nelson had an impact as well. Nelson took over solo responsibility as head coach behind the Oilers bench on December 30. “Yeah, I think my last half of the year was pretty good,” said Yakupov. “I’m really happy to have Nelly. He gave me kind of a second life. I was really enjoying to play, really enjoying practice and to be around the hockey rink and play the game. I think that’s really the important thing in your favourite job. It was really, really good. I just want to thank Nelly too for giving me support. He was so nice to me and it just helps a lot, you know? I really enjoyed the (second half) of the year.”Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 17:40:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150214_indepth3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3885238852BLOG: Roy has had talks with Oilershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38851At the trade deadline, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said the team was unlikely to deal pending unrestricted free agent Derek Roy. They were in the, “process of reaching out to him to see what his feeling is in terms of getting into a relationship” with the team moving forward. They, in fact, did not deal Roy and he finished out the 2014-15 season, having played 46 games for the Oilers since being acquired from Nashville on December 29. He averaged just under a half point per game with Edmonton, recording 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. “I think I just came in here and tried to work as hard as I can in all areas of the game and got better as the season went on and felt really comfortable with myself on the ice. And I was healthy, which is the main thing. Going into the off-season, I’m healthy so that’s a great start and I’m going to get back to work and get ready,” said Roy. Now the sights turn to potentially locking up the 31-year-old centre, who has provided a much-needed veteran presence beside Nail Yakupov. Roy confirmed on Sunday that his representation has had talks with the Oilers. “Yeah, there have been some talks and I’m just sitting in the background and waiting for some news. Hopefully, we’ll get something done,” he said. Roy felt welcome in the Oilers locker room right from the first day. It is well-documented the impact he has had on an individual like Yakupov and on the team, as a veteran. “The guys were welcoming right away, so that was great. I came in and then right away the guys were great from the practice to the game on the first day and I felt welcome right away, which is a huge thing. My competitiveness and the way I work hard every day in practice, I don’t know, maybe rubs on some of the guys and it was a fun process,” said Roy. The centre has played 738 regular season NHL games in his career, scoring 189 goals and adding 335 assists. He has 49 games of NHL playoffs experience, recording 27 points in the post-season. Whether or not the two sides reach an agreement is yet to be determined.Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 16:50:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/gallery/2015/04/514221_1428808783306.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3885138851BLOG: Ference on his recoveryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38850Oilers Captain Andrew Ference suffered a concussion on March 23, in a game against the Winnipeg Jets. He played just 2:27 before missing the remainder of that game. He has not played since, as it has been a long road to recovery. But he may be out of the worst part, speaking to the media about his health on Sunday. “It’s coming along,” said Ference. “I’ve been lucky in my career, I think this is only my second, questionably third, concussion. They’re difficult. For about two weeks, you get that feeling like you’ve been on a fishing boat for eight hours and you come off and you just get a rocking (feeling). The balance and stuff like that is messed up. If you’ve never had one before it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s kind of a mix between coming off a boat and being hungover and it doesn’t go away. Luckily, over the last couple of days it’s been good. I was able to skate quite a bit, just to measure if it’d get worse from activity and it’s coming along just fine.” Ference spoke about the protocol the NHL has for dealing with concussions, saying there has been progress since he came into the league during the 1990-2000 season, and even just over the last few years. “There are two ways to look at it. It’s scary when you feel that way, but it’s also amazing the difference that four or five or six years makes with the way that they handle them as well,” he said. “Earlier in my career, there’s no way that a trainer would have held you back to say, ‘slow down, take your time and make sure we’re doing this the right way.’ Now, any symptoms whatsoever and they’re holding you out and making sure that you’re back to 100%. The progress is there and I think that’s the important thing. As far as prevention and the rules and trying to do it, it’s tough. When it does happen, getting the full recovery from doctors and trainers and making sure that the clubs are taking care of it, that message has obviously gotten through and they’re doing as good a job as they can with it. That’s progress.” Ference, 36, has played in 901 NHL games over the course of his career for the Penguins, Flames, Bruins and Oilers. He played 70 games this season, scoring three goals and adding 11 assists and 39 penalty minutes.Chris WescottSun, 12 Apr 2015 15:51:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/gallery/2014/03/413733_1395371991897.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3885038850BLOG: Morning skate update in VANhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38823The Oilers are on the ice for morning skate in Vancouver. Andrew Ference, Iiro Pakarinen, Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are not on the ice. Matt Hendricks is skating with the team. Line combinations: Pouliot-Hall-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Fraser-Lander-Pitlick Gazdic-Hendricks-Klinkhammer (Hamilton rotating) Defensive pairings: Klefbom Schultz Marincin-Musil Davidson-AulieChris WescottSat, 11 Apr 2015 14:47:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644hendy.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3882338823Oilers assign Brossoit, activate Fasthhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38793The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned goaltender Laurent Brossoit to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Brossoit, 22, made his National Hockey League debut on April 9th against the San Jose Sharks, stopping 49 of 51 shots.  His 49 saves were the most in a debut since Manny Legace made 49 saves on October 21, 1998. The 6’3”, 202-pound netminder has appeared in 49 games for Oklahoma City this season, posting a 22-21-4 record with a 2.65 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and two shutouts. The Oilers also announced they have activated goaltender Viktor Fasth from the injured reserve list.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseFri, 10 Apr 2015 14:30:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/09/644396lb1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3879338793BLOG: Hunt named AHL First Team All Starhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38784Oklahoma City Barons defenceman Brad Hunt has been named a First Team AHL All Star, the league announced today. Hunt has tallied 48 points in 57 games for OKC this season, good for second in the league among defencemen. He has played 11 games this season for the Oilers, scoring a goal and adding two assists. When he was assigned to OKC in November, Hunt quickly amassed 15 points in his first eight games. His 17 goals this season in the AHL are more than he had in 145 previous AHL games. The 26-year-old defenceman was a Second Team All-Star selection last season. He played in his second career AHL All-Star Classic in January.Chris WescottThu, 09 Apr 2015 15:05:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/Brad-Hunt.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3878438784BLOG: Wednesday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38748The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Matt Hendricks are absent. Line combinations: Pouliot-Hall-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Fraser-Lander-Pitlick Gazdic & Klinkhammer (Hendricks is absent) Defensive pairings: Klefbom-Schultz Marincin-Musil Davidson-Aulie Mark Fayne is participating and rotating in.Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 18:34:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644pouliotpracticd1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3874838748BLOG: Brossoit to make NHL debut with first starthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38755Laurent Brossoit is set to make his first start at the NHL level tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks. The 22-year-old is the Oilers top goalie prospect. He was acquired in a trade on November 8, 2013, which sent Olivier Roy and Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames in exchange for the young goaltender and Roman Horak. Brossoit has been recalled on emergency basis with Richard Bachman being returned to Oklahoma City on loan to join his wife, as they are expecting their first child. Brossoit had a standout season for the Bakersfield Condors in the ECHL last year, playing 35 games (24-9-2) and posting a 2.15 GAA and .923 save percentage to go along with six shutouts. He also played 16 playoff games for Bakersfield, finishing with a 10-6 record, a .921 save percentage and 2.27 GAA. Coming up to the AHL, it took time for him to adjust. However, he seems to be progressing nicely now with an increased workload. “With his progression, last year he had a really good year down in the ECHL and he’s done the same thing coming up in the American League. As I mentioned before, he was a bit inconsistent just as every young goalie is getting their feet wet,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “Lately, he’s been controlling his play, he’s been very efficient in net and his progression has been great. He was thrown into a position where he had to play all those games, but that’s great because he got a wealth of experience and I think it’s going to help him tomorrow night.” With injuries to the big club and Bachman being recalled, Brossoit became the workhorse down in OKC. He has started 25 straight games heading into this call-up. Over the course of that stretch, he has a 2.70 GAA and .915 save percentage. He has averaged 30.68 saves per game in that time. “It was a very heavy workload for him,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “When you play back to backs and three in threes, it takes its toll on everybody, but especially goalies. He’s a big, strong guy, he’s very athletic and he handled it fine. I know for a fact that he’ll be very excited to play tomorrow.”Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 18:31:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/03/Brossoit032214.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3875538755BLOG: Curtis Hamilton gets the callhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38754The Oilers used the 48th overall pick in 2010 to select Curtis Hamilton from the Saskatoon Blades. Hamilton is now expected to make his NHL debut on Thursday, after being recalled from Oklahoma City on emergency basis. Matt Hendricks got a bit “banged up” on Tuesday night against Los Angeles and is “very unlikely” to play. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson is very familiar with Hamilton, having coached him for three full seasons and the first half of this year down in the American Hockey League. “He’s a player that I’ve seen quite a bit of over the last four years,” said Nelson. “He’s matured into a player where he feels more comfortable on the ice. He’s a big body out there, he can play a physical brand and I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence this season. He had a pretty good experience over at the Spengler (Cup), so he’s doing a lot of good things. He got a bit banged up in February, but he’s been playing well as of late and he’s earned his opportunity to come up here and play.” Hamilton is playing some of his best professional hockey to date, blowing away his previous career high in points with 29 in 60 games this season. That includes 12 goals and 17 assists, also career highs. The 23-year-old winger is 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds.Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 18:30:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/CurtisHamilton4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3875438754BLOG: NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings releasedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38743The final 2015 NHL Central Scouting rankings have been released and it is no surprise to see who is at the top of the list. Erie’s Connor McDavid and Boston University’s Jack Eichel take the top two spots. McDavid is regarded as the top NHL Draft prospect since Sidney Crosby was taken by the Penguins, first overall in 2005. Eichel is the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and Tournament MVP. He is one of the top three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. 6-foot-3, 203-pound Boston College defenceman Noah Hannifan is third on the list. Erie’s Dylan Strome and Kingston’s Lawson Crouse swapped places from the midterm rankings to round out the top five. London Knights centre Mitchell Marner came in sixth in the final rankings, jumping from seventh in the midterm.Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 12:38:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644mcdavid.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3874338743BLOG: Oilers play for Bachmanhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38722It has been an emotional week for Oilers goaltender Richard Bachman, who left the team to mourn the loss of his brother. Upon his return, Bachman made 25 saves in a 4-2 win over Los Angeles, his third-straight victory. “What do you say? Everyone has lost a family member. It’s not easy, and how he came in here, was professional about everything and showed up to the rink, you can’t say enough about the guy and his performance today,” said Oilers winger Matt Fraser, who scored twice in the win. “Obviously, you take your time to mourn or whatever, but he wanted to be back here and we’re glad to have him back.” “Absolutely,” said winger Tyler Pitlick on if he thought the team was playing for Bachman. “Everyone knows how tough it has been for him. To come back like that so quick, we just wanted to play hard for him. I think it was huge for him to have that good game.” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson says that Luke Gazdic gave the goaltender the game puck following the victory. “I was proud of the way the guys played, the way they helped me out tonight. It was nice,” said Bachman. “Especially, with not playing in a week and having pretty much one practice before doing that. So I was super proud of the guys and their effort. I thought they did a great job of matching the physicality of a big LA team. I thought it was great.”Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 01:28:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150408_bach.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3872238722BLOG: Nelson impressed with play of young defencemenhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38720The average age of the Oilers defencemen on the ice against Los Angeles was 22.8. That comes due to injuries to Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference and Nikita Nikitin. But those youthful blueliners did just fine against the physical Kings, helping the Oilers skate to a 4-2 victory. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said he thought they played, “outstanding.” “I liked the battle,” said Nelson. “I liked the way that the big guys back there battled hard. Musil was strong. Everyone of them. Justin Schultz was battling, and it was a situation where our young D made it very difficult to maybe penetrate the net. We talked about winning battles in the corners and we did a great job. All six guys battled hard tonight.” Oscar Klefbom, 21, played the most minutes, logging 25:50 of ice time. In just his second NHL game, 21-year-old David Musil logged 19:47 of ice time and recorded his first NHL assist.Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 01:23:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150403_musil.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3872038720BLOG: Oilers outstanding in the dothttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38721The Oilers took on the NHL’s 10th best (coming into the game) faceoff team, without the help of two of their centres. Without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Boyd Gordon in the lineup, the Oilers went 65% in the faceoff dot against Los Angeles in a 4-2 win. Taylor Hall, playing out of position, was 65%, with 11 wins and six losses. Anton Lander was fantastic at 78% and Derek Roy was even better at 82%. “I had my match-ups the way I wanted them for the most part,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “I thought our centremen did a great job. It didn’t matter if it was on the strong side or weak side. Taylor was very good in the faceoff dot, actually everybody was. Maybe it was a little fatigue on Los Angeles’ part.” Tyler Pitlick’s game-winning goal came after a big Lander faceoff win in the offensive zone.Chris WescottWed, 08 Apr 2015 01:23:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150408_bach.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3872138721Oilers assign Miller, activate Pitlickhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38642The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have assigned centre Andrew Miller to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Miller, 26, appeared in nine games for the Oilers, posting six points (1G, 5A). He scored his 1st National Hockey League goal on a penalty shot against the Dallas Stars on March 27th; becoming the first player in Oilers history to score his 1st NHL goal on a penalty shot. The 5’10”, 181-pound centre leads Oklahoma City in points (56), goals (25) and assists (31) in 58 games with the Barons this season. The Edmonton Oilers also announced they have activated winger Tyler Pitlick off injured reserve.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseTue, 07 Apr 2015 12:15:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/09/20140903_pitlick2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3864238642BLOG: Monday updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38630The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Richard Bachman has returned to Edmonton, following an absence due to a death in the family this past week. Mark Fayne (shoulder) and Viktor Fasth (knee) are also skating today. Tyler Pitlick is in non-contact yellow. Boyd Gordon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are not on the ice. Forward lines based on jersey colour: Pouliot-Hall-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Fraser-Lander-Miller Gazdic-Hendricks-Klinkhammer Defensive Pairings: Klefbom-Schultz Davidson-Aulie Marincin-MusilChris WescottMon, 06 Apr 2015 16:48:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150406_bachman.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3863038630BLOG: Fayne “really close” to returnhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38636The Oilers took the ice at Rexall Place for Monday practice with Mark Fayne joining his teammates. The defenceman has missed time since March 25, with a shoulder injury. “It feels good getting out there in practice. It felt a lot better once it got warm so we’ll see where it goes,” said Fayne. Fayne couldn’t provide a timeline for his return to game action, but his head coach seems to think it won’t be long. “He’s really close,” said Oiler Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “He had a good day today. Both him and Viktor (Fasth) fall in the same category, where they had a good day. We’ll see how everything reacts tomorrow and then we’ll move forward from there.” Fayne has played 74 games for the Oilers this season, scoring two goals and adding six assists. The Oilers host the Los Angeles Kings tomorrow night.Chris WescottMon, 06 Apr 2015 16:47:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141219_practice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3863638636BLOG: Young defencemen have opportunityhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38637Injuries have hit the Oilers defencemen as of late. Veteran blueliners Andrew Ference (concussion) and Nikita Nikitin are not practicing with the team. With Mark Fayne, 27, skating with the team today at practice, the average age of the seven Oilers defencemen on the ice was 23.4. Take him out of the lineup, like he was last game with a shoulder injury, and the average age of the remaining six is 22.8. Youth on the blueline can be an obstacle for NHL clubs. For those players however, it is an opportunity to grow and develop. Trial by fire. “I think it’s great for those guys, getting experience when they’re that young,” said Fayne. “It’s a tough league for a defenceman to come in right away, every game in the playoff season. I think it’s good that they’re starting to get experience now, playing a lot of different positions and a lot of different match ups. I think, as a team, it might be a little tough of a transition when you have so many but this is the time of year to do it.”Chris WescottMon, 06 Apr 2015 16:47:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150331_brandon.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3863738637Oilers agree to terms with Platzerhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38644The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have agreed to terms with centre Kyle Platzer on a three-year entry level contract. Platzer, 20, has appeared in 68 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Owen Sound Attack this season, posting 81 points (34G, 47A), 46 penalty minutes and a plus 13 rating. He led the team and established career highs in points (81), goals (34), assists (47) and plus/minus (+13). He also played in five playoff games, registering five points (1G, 4A) and four penalty minutes. The 6’0”, 180-pound centre has accumulated 140 points (61G, 79A) and 87 penalty minutes in 203 career OHL games. He has also appeared in 31 career playoff games, recording 14 points (4G, 10A) and 18 penalty minutes. Platzer was selected by the Oilers in the 4th round, 96th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Platzer will report to Oklahoma City (AHL) and sign an Amateur Tryout agreement with the Barons.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseSun, 05 Apr 2015 14:00:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/644platzer.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3864438644Oilers assign Bunzhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38643The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have assigned goaltender Tyler Bunz to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Bunz, 23, appeared in one game for the Oilers, in relief of starting goaltender Ben Scrivens on April 2nd in the Oilers loss to the Los Angeles Kings.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseSun, 05 Apr 2015 13:00:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150404_bunz.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3864338643BLOG: Nugent-Hopkins not in the lineup vs. Calgaryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38593The Oilers announced that centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will not play tonight against the Flames due to a lower body injury.Sat, 04 Apr 2015 21:12:00 EDThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3859338593BLOG: Saturday morning skate updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38588The Oilers have taken the ice for morning skate ahead of tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames. Defencemen Martin Marincin and Nikita Nikitin are not on the ice. Andrew Ference (concussion) skated earlier, but left the ice just prior to the full team skate. Mark Fayne (shoulder) is on the ice.Chris WescottSat, 04 Apr 2015 12:22:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644oilpractice2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3858838588BLOG: Condors unveil new logohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38556In their first season in the American Hockey League, the Bakersfield Condors will don a new primary logo on their uniforms. At a press conference on Thursday, in California, the Condors unveiled their logo for the upcoming 2015-16 season. "This is another step in building the excitement for this historic move to the American Hockey League," said Condors Team President Matthew Riley. "The new logo is dynamic, fierce, and incorporates our new blue and orange color scheme. With this logo we are able to further our established brand of the past 17 years, while uniting us in our new chapter with the Edmonton Oilers, a team with great tradition over the past 35 years." The logo is a modern, updated version of their previous condor logo. The condor now has orange skin, with royal blue colouring in the feathers, helping build association to the Edmonton Oilers brand. "The new Condors logo is yet another great step in bringing Bakersfield fully into the Oilers family,” said Edmonton Oilers Assistant General Manager Bill Scott. “The iconic blue and orange colours, bold and vivid, will strike a strong chord with Condors fans and be a great symbol of the importance of the team and the City to the long-term success of the Oilers.” The Condors will serve as the primary development team of the Oilers beginning this upcoming season. Click here to read more about the creation of the AHL Pacific Division and the Oilers affiliation with Bakersfield.Chris WescottThu, 02 Apr 2015 16:44:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150402_condors2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3855638556BLOG: Oilers on ice for morning skate in Anaheimhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38508The Oilers are on the ice for morning skate in Anaheim. Forward lines are: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Hall-Lander-Miller Gazdic-Klinkhammer-Fraser Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon are the extras. On the second rush, Hendricks came in to play the middle instead of Klinkhammer on the fourth line.Marc CiampaWed, 01 Apr 2015 14:39:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practicefayneroad2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3850838508BLOG: Bachman leaves team; Bunz recalledhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38503The Oilers announced this morning that goaltender Richard Bachman has left the team due to a death in the family.Marc CiampaWed, 01 Apr 2015 12:00:00 EDThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3850338503BLOG: LaLeggia on agreeing to terms with Oilershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38469Defenceman Joey LaLeggia and the Oilers agreed to terms on Tuesday to a two-year entry level contract. LaLeggia was chosen in the fifth round (123rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He has spent four years with the University of Denver Pioneers. LaLeggia spoke for the first time, since the news broke this morning, on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer. “I’m extremely excited and honoured to be a part of the organization,” said LaLeggia. “I just can’t thank my teammates and coaches from Denver enough for what they’ve done for me over the last four years. It’s just really great to have an opportunity to come down here to the United States to play hockey when maybe the WHL wasn’t exactly suited for me. I can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough.” LaLeggia has had a much-decorated career with the Pioneers. He is a Hobey Baker finalist and was named NCHC Player of the Year, Defenceman of the Year and Offensive Defenceman of the Year. He is clearly offensively inclined, having put up 132 points in 156 games during his collegiate career. Where he has been told to improve, from his freshman year to today, is his defensive game. “There has always been an emphasis on me to get my defensive game to the level it needs to be in order to be successful in professional hockey and that was something that they did talk to me about in the summers and we did work on, on the ice,” said LaLeggia. “There were a lot of 2-on-1 work and things like that. Just little tips that are going to help you become a better pro.” Jim Montgomery has spent the past two seasons as University of Denver’s head coach. LaLeggia says he has been a big part of him becoming a better overall player. “I think Jim Montgomery is key to where I am today in my hockey career, especially with the opportunity I got today with the Oilers,” he said. “When he came in two years ago, he knew that there were holes in my game, especially in the defensive side. He’s a very detail-oriented coach and he did a great job spending time preparing me to get ready at the pro level over the last two years.” LaLeggia told Stauffer that he will eventually play for the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League on an ATO to close out this season. His entry level contract kicks in on July 1.Chris WescottTue, 31 Mar 2015 16:44:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150331_lal.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3846938469BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with LaLeggiahttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38463The Oilers have announced they have agreed to terms with defenceman Joey LaLeggia on a two-year entry level contract. The 22-year-old played in 37 games this season at the University of Denver in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. He recorded 40 points (15-25-40), 56 penalty minutes and a plus 14 rating. LaLeggia is a top ten finalist for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award. He was named the NCHC Player of the Year, the NCHC Defenceman of the Year, as well as the Offensive Defenceman of the Year. He was the NCHC Defensive Scoring Champion by a margin of 13 points. He was named the NCHC Player of the Month twice and the NCHC Defenceman of the Weeks five times this season. Denver Head Coach Jim Montgomery said, “he’s the most dominant player in the best conference in college hockey.” LaLeggia, a native of Burnaby, B.C., accumulated 132 points (49-83-132) in 156 games, over four seasons with the Pioneers. He helped his team reach the NCAA Regional Finals this season. It has been a successful career for LaLeggia, who was the WCHA Rookie of the Year in 2011-12, earning numerous accolades as a freshman. He was also the NCHC Defenceman of the Year and Offensive Defenceman of the Year last season, before duplicating the results this year. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound blueliner was selected by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft (123rd overall).Chris WescottTue, 31 Mar 2015 15:00:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140611_Laleggia.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3846338463BLOG: Oilers on ice in Denver for morning skatehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38432The Oilers are on the ice for morning skate in Denver and it doesn't appear like they will have any significant lineup changes at first glance. Forward lines look the same as last game against Dallas: Pouliot - RNH - Eberle Purcell - Roy - Yakupov Hall - Lander - Miller Gazdic - Klinkhammer - FraserMarc CiampaMon, 30 Mar 2015 13:43:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644practiceroadrnh1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3843238432BLOG: Saturday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38375Five players are absent at Oilers practice. No Boyd Gordon (back), Matt Hendricks (back) Andrew Ference (concussion), Mark Fayne (shoulder) or Nikita Nikitin on the ice at Rexall Place.Chris WescottSat, 28 Mar 2015 16:22:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/64practicehome2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3837538375BLOG: Injury updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38381Nikita Nikitin was a new absentee for Oilers practice on Saturday. He took a shot off the foot last night in a 4-0 win over Dallas. “He’s day to day. He’s making the trip with us, we’ll see how he is tomorrow and we’ll make decision then,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “He took a shot off the foot, it’s a bone bruise so we’ll have to see how it reacts. Today was a day he really didn’t need to go out there and skate. So we’ll see how he is tomorrow and make that decision then.” Andrew Ference (concussion) and Mark Fayne (shoulder) were also absent from practice and will not travel on the upcoming road trip. Three other injured Oilers players will travel. “We’re going to take (Matt) Hendricks and (Boyd) Gordon and (Tyler) Pitlick as well so (Head Athletic Therapist T.D. Forss) can monitor them as we go,” Nelson said. “I’m not sure if they’re going to be available for the game in Colorado. We’ll take it day by day. One of the guys should be able to come back for the games in California so we’ll see what happens.”Chris WescottSat, 28 Mar 2015 16:21:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141031_niktinpractice.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3838138381BLOG: Klinkhammer’s night at centrehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38380He was thrown into the fire, with Boyd Gordon out of the lineup with a back injury. Rob Klinkhammer slid over from the wing to centre last night against the Dallas Stars. “It was tough,” said Klinkhammer. “It’s a lot different from what I’m used to, obviously. I’ve got to be a little more patient low and in the middle. You can’t run around as much. It’s tough to get hits like that where I’m just used to going up and down my wall, crashing and banging. I don’t think I’m going to be a regular centreman in the NHL, but it’s nice to fill in while those guys are out.” Anytime you switch positions it can be a tough transition. “He was good. He’s a great player,” Klinkhammer’s linemate Matt Fraser said. “It’s obviously hard changing positions but he did a great job. It kind of falls on me and (Luke Gazdic) to help him out on faceoffs and stuff like that. But he was good. He was talking lots on the ice and that’s all you can ask for.” Klinkhammer played just 6:46, all even strength. He finished the night with a takeaway, a blocked shot and was 0-for-5 in the faceoff dot. “He was good. I think he’ll tell you himself he struggled in the circle a little bit, but he was good,” Gazdic said. “He got adjusted pretty quickly. He said he had a history there a little bit. We were just trying to give as much help as we could and I thought we were good in our own end and got a couple chances offensively too.” Klinkhammer took a few faceoffs at morning skate, but had a tough time matching up against established centres in the game. “It was tough. It was a lot harder than I thought,” Klinkhammer said. “They had some good guys over there so they won them pretty clean on me.” He added, “Those guys have been doing it their whole lives and they definitely have a leg up on me. It was a tough go, but that’s the way it happens.” Gordon will travel with the team and could play sometime on this upcoming road trip.Chris WescottSat, 28 Mar 2015 15:57:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150328_klink.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3838038380BLOG: Miller makes Oilers historyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38365Andrew Miller made Oilers franchise history with his first NHL goal on Friday night. Miller became the first player in Oilers history to score his first career goal with a penalty shot. “It was a great shot and we’re very happy for him,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “He’s had some pretty good opportunities and he just hasn’t found the back of the net. It was nice to see him score that one. Any time you score your first NHL goal it’s an unbelievable feeling and I’m sure he’s enjoying it right now.” Miller went bar-down with a sweet shot, at 16:40 of the third period. “Usually I get a little nervous, but I was able to kind of calm down, take some breaths, do my move and luckily it went in,” said Miller. The last player to score their first NHL goal with a penalty shot was Jay McClement with the St. Louis Blues in 2005. Prior to Miller, there had been only five players in NHL history to do so. When Miller scored, the fans exploded into cheers and increased the already palpable energy of the building. “The energy was great, the fans were unbelievable in that,” Oilers goaltender Richard Bachman said. “I was trying not to get too jacked, I was just trying to stay even-keeled but it was hard not to when he did that. Especially for his first goal, it’s a pretty fun way to do it and fun building to do it in, to get that kind of ovation afterwards.”Chris WescottSat, 28 Mar 2015 01:11:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150327_millerscore.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3836538365BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Betkerhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38330The Oilers have agreed to terms with defenceman Ben Betker on a three-year entry level contract. Betker, 20, was taken in the sixth round (158th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. He has played 64 games this season with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL, scoring six goals and adding 25 assists and 63 penalty minutes. His points (31), assists (25) and plus/minus (+19) this season were all career highs. Offensively, Betker had his strongest month in January. He finished the month with three goals and 12 assists in 14 games. He was +12 in that stretch. Betker has size, standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 220 pounds. Betker and the Silvertips play the Spokane Chiefs in the first round of the WHL playoffs.Chris WescottThu, 26 Mar 2015 17:35:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/Betker_4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3833038330BLOG: Young players step uphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38311When Martin Marincin scored his first NHL goal, assisted by Andrew Miller and Anton Lander, Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson probably had flashbacks to Oklahoma City and his days as head coach there. Nelson coached all three of those players in OKC last season and the start of this one. If he didn’t have flashbacks then, he definitely did when Marincin, Lander and Oscar Klefbom were on the ice attempting to kill off a Colorado 5-on-3 power play. With Andrew Ference and Boyd Gordon already sitting out tonight’s game, Mark Fayne and Matt Hendricks both went down to injury. The situation made it so the younger players on the roster had to step up, and they did so by helping the Oilers win 4-3. “We had a young group,” Nelson said. “They played hard for each other. I had to shake my head there on that 5-on-3 because I had Anton, Klefbom and Marincin (out there) and that’s who we had on the 5-on-3 down in OK City at the start of this year. The young guys played well. Miller recorded his first two NHL assists tonight, helping his linemates (Lander and Taylor Hall) turn in a good night. “Andrew Miller had a great game,” Nelson said. “I thought he was moving his feet. He had a couple assists. Anton, that whole line played outstanding: Hall, Anton and Millsy. We had a lot of good efforts from our younger players and that’s great to see. I think it’s going to give them confidence moving forward.” Nelson’s familiarity with the multiple players on the roster who have played under him in the AHL seems to lead to confidence between player and coach. “I think it’s a big advantage because, from working with them in OKC, you develop confidence in the players because you’ve had them for a number of years,” said Nelson. “So I think it’s a lot easier for me as a coach to say, ‘Ok, I can use this guy in this situation,’ because I’ve seen them handle it before. I had no problems putting Andrew Miller (out there) in the last minute and 40 seconds. He deserved it as well, he earned it. It was a good game from our young guys. I thought they really took charge. When Colorado kept coming and they had some good opportunities, it was good to have (Ben Scrivens) step up. But our young guys played well.” There was no word on the status of the Oilers injured veterans, immediately following the game.Chris WescottThu, 26 Mar 2015 00:15:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150325_edmcol3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3831138311BLOG: Tuesday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38234The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Boyd Gordon (back) and Andrew Ference (upper body) are not on the ice after suffering injuries last night against Winnipeg. Line combinations: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Hall-Lander-Miller Gazdic/Fraser-Hendricks-Klinkhammer Defensive Pairings: Schultz-Klefbom Nikitin-Fayne Aulie-MarincinChris WescottTue, 24 Mar 2015 19:01:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644pouliotpracticd1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3823438234BLOG: Ference and Gordon absenthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38266After leaving the Winnipeg game on Monday with injuries, Boyd Gordon and Andrew Ference were not on the ice Tuesday for practice. Gordon tweaked his back and Ference has an undisclosed upper body injury. There weren’t any further updates on Tuesday, except that the two players will continue to be evaluated. “Gordo is the same thing I said (Monday) night where his back seized up and he took today off,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. Obviously, at this time of year, we’ve been playing a lot of games and guys need time off and time to rest. As for Andrew Ference, it’s an upper body injury and he’s going through further testing and we’ll find out more tomorrow.” Ference is doubtful for tomorrow against Colorado. The Oilers do have two more forward options now. Luke Gazdic (illness) and Matt Fraser (concussion) have both been cleared to play. The Oilers will make lineup decisions tomorrow ahead of their game against the Avalanche. Gazdic and Fraser rotated on the fourth-line wing with Matt Hendricks at centre and Rob Klinkhammer on the other wing at practice with Gordon absent.Chris WescottTue, 24 Mar 2015 18:59:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/644crosby.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3826638266BLOG: OKC adds Oilers prospect Houck, three othershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38244The Oklahoma City Barons, who have been decimated by injury and call-ups in recent days, made some moves to try and turn the tide. They added Oilers prospect Jackson Houck, who had played the season with the WHL's Vancouver Giants on an Amateur tryout agreement. Houck was drafted by Edmonton in the fourth round in 2013. The Barons also added three players from the ECHL's Brampton Beast on pro tryout agreements: David Ling, Brett Lyon and Jason Pitton. Ling, 40, had nine goals and 38 points in 37 games with Brampton. He had a career-high 88 points with St. John's in the AHL in 2004-05 and has played 93 career NHL games. He plays right wing. Pitton, 28, previously played in the Oilers organization from 2009-2011 including stints in Stockton and Springfield. He had 22 goals and 40 points in 60 games with Brampton. He plays left wing. Lyon, 24, is also a left winger. He had 17 points in 56 games with Brampton and Allen in the ECHL. He also had a whopping 288 penalty minutes. He has previous AHL experience with Abbotsford and Utica and played four seasons in the WHL.Marc CiampaTue, 24 Mar 2015 14:41:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/20141119_Houck1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3824438244BLOG: Hamilton on waivershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38177The Oilers have placed Ryan Hamilton on waivers for the purpose of assignment. From the team's official press release: The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have placed winger Ryan Hamilton on waivers for the purpose of assignment. Hamilton, 29, appeared in 16 games for the Oilers registering two points (1G, 1A), including his first career National Hockey League goal on February 10th against the New York Islanders. The 6-2’, 219-pound forward has registered 29 points (15G, 14A) and six penalty minutes in 32 games with the Barons this season.Marc CiampaSun, 22 Mar 2015 12:42:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/644ryanhamilton.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3817738177BLOG: Nurse named MVPhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38159Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse was named the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Most Valuable Player at the organization's annual awards banquet on Friday night. "It means a lot," said Nurse, according to sootoday.com. "Looking at our team, there are a lot of guys that could have got it. It's a nice thing to be recognized for. I've been here for a while so I've been through both the ups and downs. It's a great organization and I wouldn't change a thing that's occurred over the last four years." Nurse, 20, has 31 points (9-22-31) in 34 games. He missed a month with a knee injury. Sault Ste. Marie is the top team in the OHL Western Conference, with 106 points in the standings and a record of 52-12-0-2.Chris WescottSat, 21 Mar 2015 17:16:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150228_nurse1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3815938159BLOG: Friday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38117The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Taylor Hall is no longer wearing non-contact yellow. He is in light blue with the line of Miller-Lander-Hamilton. Matt Fraser is in yellow, after suffering a concussion on Monday. Tyler Pitlick joins him in yellow. Line combinations: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Hall & Miller-Lander-Hamilton Gazdic & Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer Fraser left the ice early after a couple of drills. Oscar Klefbom is not practicing. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said it is just a maintenance day.Chris WescottFri, 20 Mar 2015 16:28:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644pouliotpracticd1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3811738117BLOG: Eberle’s hot streakhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38143Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers in scoring this season with 56 points (19-37-56). The second half of the season has been kind to Eberle, who has 13-23-36 in his last 35 games. He is currently on a six-game point streak. He Has 4-8-12 in that span. Eberle’s linemate, Benoit Pouliot, is on a four-game point streak of his own (3-2-5). He talked about Eberle’s production after practice today at Rexall. “He’s just been bearing on the chances he’s getting,” Pouliot said. “He’s been making the passes he’s needed to make and it shows that he’s doing the job and he’s doing what he’s supposed to do and it’s fun to watch, fun to play with. I get the chance to play with him everyday and it’s great. I can’t complain about anything about his game. He’s probably one of, if not the, best players on our team. He’s just doing the simple things, doing his game. He’s a pretty shifty guy out there and when he gets the chance to be loose he’ll find you or shoot the puck.”Chris WescottFri, 20 Mar 2015 15:54:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/465725740_fullSize(2).jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3814338143BLOG: How Hall changes the lineuphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38122If Taylor Hall is able to return to the lineup, the Oilers are still undecided on where he will play. He skated today on the third line with Anton Lander as his centre. Wherever he plays, Hall adds a lot to the Oilers lineup. “He’s definitely a big part of our team,” Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “He’s a driving force out there for sure. He makes defencemen think twice about a lot of things. When he’s driving the puck wide he’s creating a lot of space for everybody else on the ice. If we get him back it’s going to be great for us and we look forward to getting him back into the lineup as soon as possible.” Hall has missed 23 of the last 24 games with an ankle injury, and yet he still holds the third spot in Oilers scoring with 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points. “It’s huge for us. You bring a guy like Taylor Hall in the lineup and it’s always a positive,” Benoit Pouliot said of Hall closing in on a return. “He was pretty fast out there today. You could see him and he didn’t really seem to be hurting too much so he’s been out quite a while now. It’s obviously tough to come back, in the first few games, to get back into it. He looks pretty good so hopefully he gets back in there and helps us out.” The Oilers will meet tomorrow morning to decide if Hall is ready to return to game action, as the Oilers host the Flyers.Chris WescottFri, 20 Mar 2015 15:53:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/12/20141230_ph5644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3812238122BLOG: Hall updatehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38121Taylor Hall skated today in light blue colours today at practice, as opposed to his recent yellow non-contact jersey. Logic dictates that he is getting closer to his return to game action, coming off his ankle injury. “In the case of Taylor, we’re going to see how he is tomorrow morning and we’ll make a decision collectively as a staff and with Taylor to see what we’re going to do moving forward,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. He took line rushes with Anton Lander and Ryan Hamilton, with Andrew Miller rotating on the wing. The Oilers are being cautious and not rushing Hall back until he is ready. “He has been out for a while,” Nelson said. “It’s one thing to skate in practice and it’s another thing to play a game where you are working the corners and that. Right now, we haven’t made a concrete decision of where he will play. He was playing with Anton today. That’s something we’ll discuss as a group. First and foremost, we have to make sure he’s 100% healthy.” Hall has missed 23 of the last 24 games and says whenever he comes back, it may take a few shifts to get up to speed. “It’s really tough to get 100% without playing games,” Hall said. “You can bag yourself as much as you want in practice. It just seems like you get in the game and you just can’t relax as easy and you don’t have those breaks like you do in practice. No matter if I practice for two weeks more, I think if I came back in a game I’d still be tired the first couple shifts.”Chris WescottFri, 20 Mar 2015 15:50:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150317_prac.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3812138121BLOG: LaLeggia named Hobey Baker Top 10 Finalisthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38109Senior University of Denver defenceman Joey LaLeggia was named a Top Ten Finalist for the 2015 Hobey Baker Award today. The award is presented annually to the top men’s college hockey player in the United States. LaLeggia, 22, was drafted in the fifth round (123rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. In 34 games this season, LaLeggia has 13 goals and 25 assists for 38 points. He leads all NCHC defencemen in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals (3), power play goals (5) and shots on goal (129). He ranks third overall in the NCAA in scoring for a defenceman. LaLeggia has been named the NCHC Defenceman of the Week five times this season, and was named the NCHC Player of the Month for both January and February. LaLeggia is from Burnaby, B.C. and played for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL for three years before leaving for school at the University of Denver. The Hobey Baker Hat Trick (top three) will be announced April 2, and the winner will be named on April 10, during the NCAA Frozen Four. LaLeggia and the Pioneers play the University of Miami at Ohio in the Semifinal of the NCHC Tournament this Friday. He has yet to sign his entry level contract.Chris WescottThu, 19 Mar 2015 17:43:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140611_Laleggia.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3810938109BLOG: Kadri suspended four gameshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38065The NHL has suspended Leafs forward Nazem Kadri four games for his hit to the head of Oilers winger Matt Fraser.Marc CiampaWed, 18 Mar 2015 13:42:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2015/03/KADRI_031315_672.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3806538065BLOG: Tuesday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38002The Oilers have hit the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Taylor Hall and Tyler Pitlick are both on the ice in non-contact yellow. The rest of the lineup stays the same, except for the absence of Luke Gazdic (illness) and Matt Fraser, who suffered a head injury last night against Toronto. Line combinations based on jersey colour: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Hamilton-Lander Hendricks-Gordon-KlinkhammerChris WescottTue, 17 Mar 2015 15:21:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644pouliotpracticd1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3800238002BLOG: Fraser updatehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38046Last night, Oilers forward Matt Fraser was helped off the ice after a hit to the head by Leafs Nazem Kadri. “You obviously don’t want to see that,” said Ryan Hamilton, Fraser’s linemate. “You always want to stick up (for) and protect your teammates. I didn’t really get a good view of it. I just saw kind of the aftermath so I just kind of got in there in the scrum. It was kind of a little hectic there. We didn’t know exactly what happened right away, then we saw the replay. Obviously, he took a pretty good one on the chin. I don’t know if it was incidental or not but he still made good contact on the chin. Obviously, it’s not fun watching one of your teammates get hit like that.” There was no update after the game, but Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson provided one today after practice. “He was concussed,” Nelson said. “We are going to follow protocol and we’ll reevaluate him again tomorrow, but I can say that he’s doing well.” Nelson had a chance to watch the play and says it’s an unfortunate part of hockey. “It was a play where (Fraser) was reaching, he was down a bit and we’ve seen those hits before where a player comes in and finishes his check,” Nelson said. “Sometimes, when the opposing player is bending over and trying to reach for the puck, those things happen. It’s the game of hockey. It happens.” The Oilers may look to recall a player from Oklahoma City. The Barons play tonight at home against Milwaukee.Chris WescottTue, 17 Mar 2015 15:17:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20140103_Fraser4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3804638046BLOG: Tayor Hall injury updatehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38014Prior to practice on Sunday, Taylor Hall skated on his own and then helped warm up the goaltenders. Coach Nelson said that he will skate with the team for the first time on Monday at morning skate prior to the game against the Leafs. “He’s going to skate with us tomorrow. We’ll see how he feels,” said Nelson. The coach was also asked if, when Hall returns, he'll assume his usual spot on the right side half boards on the power play, considering how well the team has played with the man advantage since Hall's been injured (28.1%, #1 in the NHL). Nelson said he didn't want to jump to any conclusions for a decision that will be made down the road. “A lot of things can happen over the next few games with personnel, guys get injured and what-not. I like where Nuge is right now and we’ll try to make it fit, if everybody is healthy, with Taylor on one of the two units.”Marc CiampaSun, 15 Mar 2015 16:16:00 EDThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3801438014BLOG: Oilers enjoying a powerful power playhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38013Since Todd Nelson took over behind the Oilers bench as interim head coach, the team's power play has been outstanding. The team had a 12.0% overall power play success rating (and 4.7% on the road) with only 13 total goals scored (2 on the road). “I think at the start of the year we were getting a lot of chances and we just couldn’t score. You start holding on to the puck too long and that really hurt us. Now lately, we go out there with a lot of confidence, feeling like we’re going to score. Putting a lot of pucks on the net, working hard and winning battles,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the team's much-improved play with the man advantage. Since Nelson, the team's power play has been running along at a 25.0% clip with 23 goals on 92 opportunities. The best power play in the entire NHL -- the Detroit Red Wings -- are at 25.3%. On the road, that power play has been 29.5%. “I think the personnel, the units that we have, they’re working well together," said Nelson. "Our challenge from our staff is to outwork their penalty kill. I think Craig Ramsay’s done a great job of preparing them but the message is to keep it simple, get pucks going to the net, get traffic and try to outwork their penalty kill.” The power play has gotten even better since the all-star break. In that six-week stretch, the Oilers have the best power play in the entire NHL by a significant margin at 28.1%. On the road, it's even better at 34.2%. It's all the more amazing when it's considered that they have accomplished this all without Taylor Hall, the team's usual leading power-play point-getter who was injured coming out of the break.Marc CiampaSun, 15 Mar 2015 16:09:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150308_oilcar1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3801338013BLOG: Sunday line combinations at practicehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=38005The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Rexall Place after returning late Friday night from their five-game road trip through the Northeastern U.S. Tyler Pitlick is on the ice wearing a non-contact yellow jersey. The forward lines are: Pouliot - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle Purcell - Roy - Yakupov Hendricks - Lander - Fraser Gazdic/Hamilton - Gordon - Klinkhammer There are seven defencemen on the ice: Nikitin, Ference, Klefbom, Marincin, Schultz, Aulie and Fayne.Marc CiampaSun, 15 Mar 2015 12:44:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644klinkhammerpractie1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3800538005BLOG: Wednesday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37884The Oilers are on the ice at Cosol Energy Center in Pittsburgh for practice. Lines: Gazdic-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Hamilton-Lander-Fraser Hendricks-Gordon-Klinkhammer Pouliot had maintenance day. Defence: Klefbom-Schultz Marincin-Fayne Ference-Nikitin (Aulie)Chris WescottWed, 11 Mar 2015 18:12:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644gazidcpractice1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3788437884BLOG: Pittsburgh memorieshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37867Todd Nelson was a Paul Coffey fan, watching him play for the Oilers and Penguins from his hometown of Prince Albert, SK. “I enjoyed the way he played the game,” Nelson said. “Let’s face it, when he picked up the puck and got his feet moving, he was pretty to watch. He was the player I always wanted to be.” Nelson was drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Draft. He’d get his first call up with the Penguins on November 23, 1991, filling in for an ill Ulf Samuelsson. And guess who was there to greet him when he walked through the door. “As soon as I walked in, Paul Coffey came over to me and welcomed me to the team. Second guy was Mario (Lemieux).” The Oilers interim coach only played one game for the Penguins in his career, but it was a good time to be a part of the organization. Being greeted by Coffey upon his arrival was just one of the moments from his stint with Pittsburgh Nelson will never forget. “It was a time they were winning Stanley Cups and I was a young guy just trying to cut my teeth in pro hockey,” Nelson said. “It was quite a time for me because we had so many great players in the organization. Walking into that dressing room, you were somewhat starstruck because you had quite a few hall of famers there. It was a good two-year run for them and I was fortunate to play one game for them.”Chris WescottWed, 11 Mar 2015 18:04:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150221_nelly4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3786737867Oilers assign Oesterlehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37815The Edmonton Oilers announced today they have assigned defenceman Jordan Oesterle to the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons. Oesterle, 22, appeared in six games for the Oilers and he posted his first career National Hockey League point (assist) on March 3rd against the Los Angeles Kings. The 6-0’, 182-pound defenceman has registered 21 points (6G, 15A), six penalty minutes and a plus five rating in 49 games with the Barons this seasonEdmonton Oilers Press ReleaseTue, 10 Mar 2015 13:30:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150228_oesterle.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3781537815BLOG: Oilers expect a bounce back game from Klefbomhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37759Although he is having a promising season, 21-year-old Oscar Klefbom has had some downs to go with the ups. The last two games are a perfect example of a young defencemen experiencing the peaks and valleys of development. Against Chicago, Klefbom was excellent. The blueliner played 26:23 against one of the best teams in the league, recording seven shots on goal, two hits and three blocked shots. The game against Carolina was a different story as Klefbom saw his minutes cut to 20:09 and he finished -3 with a couple giveaways and no shots on net. The Oilers expect a bounce-back game from the young defender. “We expect that with a young guy like Oscar,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “You’re going to have nights like Chicago and then last night was a little bit of a tough one, but we expect him to bounce back strong tonight. That’s the way it’s going to be, especially for young defencemen. I think it’s a hard position to establish yourself in the National Hockey League and there are always going to be ups and downs. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, you do have those tough nights. But just knowing the past experience of Oscar, he does bounce back.”Chris WescottMon, 09 Mar 2015 14:15:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/gallery/2015/03/496700_1425574902847.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3775937759BLOG: Saturday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37751The Oilers have taken the ice in Raleigh for their practice ahead of tomorrow's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Lines: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Lander-Yakupov Hamilton-Hendricks-Fraser Gazdic-Gordon-Klinkhammer Derek Roy is not on the ice. He is just out for a maintenance day. Defensive Pairings: Klefbom-Schultz Marincin-Fayne Ference-Oesterle Aulie-Nikitin (shoulder)Chris WescottSat, 07 Mar 2015 15:46:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150307_prac.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3775137751BLOG: Wednesday practice updateshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37645The Oilers have taken the ice for practice at Rexall Place. Matt Hendricks and Nikita Nikitin are absent. Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick are in non-contact yellow jerseys. Lines: Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Purcell-Roy-Yakupov Gazdic-Gordon-Klinkhammer Hamilton-(Lander & Pitlick rotating)-Fraser Defensive Pairings: Klefbom-Schultz Marincin-Fayne Ference-Oesterle AulieChris WescottWed, 04 Mar 2015 16:29:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644gazidcpractice1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3764537645BLOG: Finding consistencyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37653he Oilers beat New Jersey and then followed up a great effort against the Islanders with a 4-3 overtime win in Montreal. That was followed by a 7-2 loss in Ottawa. They bounced back with a 4-3 shootout loss to Winnipeg and then a shootout win over Boston, again followed by disappointment with a 4-0 loss to Minnesota. That shutout was followed by a nice effort against Anaheim and a win against the very same Minnesota Wild. A 2-1 loss to St. Louis followed, not short on effort. Then came the disappointment last night in the form of a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles. Two or three solid showings, followed by a letdown game. The Oilers are striving to weed out the latter. “We’ve got to figure out why we play two or three good games in a row and then, not only are we playing bad but we’re almost embarrassing ourselves,” Luke Gazdic said. “The 4-0 loss to (Minnesota) was brutal, last night was brutal against LA. St. Louis, we lost but I thought we played a good quality game. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but we’ve got to find a way to bring a good, consistent effort every night. We can’t be playing two, three, four good games in a row and then come out and just stink up the joint. We’ve got to find a way to be a little more consistent in our starts and our efforts.” Gazdic, along with several Oilers players showed anger and disappointment after last night’s result. “We were frustrated,” Jordan Eberle said. “It wasn’t our best night, not even close. I think we’re trying to find a level of consistency where we’re playing our game every night. When you have a step back like that, it pisses you off. We addressed it today, we talked about it and went over the video. It was ugly. We strived to have a really good practice and we did.” The search for consistency continued today at Rexall Place, where the Oilers pushed the pace of practice. “I liked today,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “We had a very good video session. We went over the things that we want to develop more consistency with and then we had an excellent day on the ice. If we can apply that work ethic on the ice we had today in practice to a game then we’ll be a much tougher team to play against. I think the guys are getting the concept, I think they’re understanding how we have to play consistently. We mentioned it last night that we have three decent efforts and then you have a game like last night where it wasn’t a very good game at all… Our goal is to play consistent the rest of the season.” Nelson wasn’t the only one pleased with the response of the team today, following last night’s loss. “It started today in practice for sure,” Nelson said. “We had a little video session before it and Todd was talking about things we have to work on, but the thing he focused on was we can’t think about next game with Chicago, it’s got to start in practice. We had an up tempo, good paced practice. It was tough, but we did well at it. We pushed through it and the next goal is to get ready for a good Blackhawks team.” The Oilers begin a five-game road trip in Chicago on Friday.Chris WescottWed, 04 Mar 2015 16:27:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150303_ph1-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3765337653BLOG: Lander closing in on returnhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37652Oilers centre Anton Lander has been nursing a shoulder injury, but could return to the lineup soon. He skated today, participated in all of the drills and took line rushes, despite wearing a non-contact yellow jersey. “It feels pretty good,” Lander said. “It’s nice to be out there and skating again. We will see. It was a good practice today, it feels fine shooting the puck so I’m exciting to see when I can play on this road trip.” Lander and injured defenceman Nikita Nikitin will both be on the upcoming road trip, with Lander being closer to return. “Anton skated today, looked really good,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “He’s coming on the trip with us. We’re hopeful he’ll get in some action. We’re not sure when on the trip, but that’s why he’s making it. Same thing with Nikitin. (Lander is) coming on the trip as well so we’re hopeful that he can get into some games.” Matt Hendricks had a maintenance day and did not practice.Chris WescottWed, 04 Mar 2015 16:26:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/20150129_lander644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3765237652BLOG: Generating more offencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37651For five straight games, the Oilers offence hasn’t been able to generate more than two goals. That comes after averaging 3.2 per game in their previous five. Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson says the key to igniting the offence comes from just generating more zone time, and that takes execution. “I think our offence has to start from our own end, so we have to play less there,” Nelson said. “We have to do a better job of winning loose puck battles, breaking out the puck efficiently and then managing the puck into the offensive zone. If we’re able to do that more consistent, we’ll be able to have more offensive zone play and we should be able to create more opportunities. It’s a full-ice game so we have to manage the puck correctly and have better execution. I think those chances will come once we get the puck in the offensive zone.”Chris WescottWed, 04 Mar 2015 16:25:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150227_potws-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3765137651BLOG: The genesis of the Petry dealhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37606With Jeff Petry’s status as a pending unrestricted free agent and the looming trade deadline, the Oilers began making inquiries with other clubs weeks ago, while keeping dialogue open for a contract. In the end, the eve of the deadline came and Petry was destined to be moved. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish broke down the trade that eventually sent Petry to Montreal, in exchange for a second and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. “As well as Jeff played all year, we can’t lose sight of the big picture here, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re the 29th team in the league and we have to handle our assets appropriately,” MacTavish said. MacTavish said the Oilers, “talked to a lot of teams over the last number of weeks.” When the Carolina Hurricanes sent defenceman Andrej Sekera to Los Angeles — in exchange for Roland McKeown and a conditional first-round pick — on February 25, the landscape changed. “I was optimistic one day and a little more pessimistic the next day, then it looked like the price was climbing when Sekera went to LA,” MacTavish said. But soon MacTavish realized that maybe Petry wasn’t the top priority for the bidding clubs. “I felt that Jeff was of interest to a lot of teams but he wasn’t necessarily most teams’ primary interest,” the general manager said. Originally, the plan was to come away with a prospect in the return package for Petry. Unfortunately, the Oilers couldn’t get the right deal done, although at one point there were talks with a team other than Montreal. “I said all along my emphasis on this deal was a prospect, and there wasn’t that level of interest back,” MacTavish said. “If I was making the deal with media I might have gotten more, but unfortunately I wasn’t. The market really is what the market is and there’s nobody that’s lazy enough not to make the calls and try to gauge what that market is. Then going into the last day, there’s a considerable risk. There’s a downside risk, as well as an upside risk. We were chasing a deal that made a little bit more sense to me into the later hours last night and it didn’t materialize. So I was circling back to Montreal who really throughout this showed the greatest level of interest and then that was going a little sideways and then later on in the evening we were able to come to an agreement. But I really wasn’t comfortable going into today with a chance that we’ve got the last guy standing and there’s no chairs at the table anymore so there was some downside risk to prolonging this.” The Oilers didn’t prolong things, announcing the deal with Montreal around 7:00 a.m. MST this morning. It’s a deal that now has them with six picks in the first three rounds of the draft. MacTavish says they’ll be in a position to draft some exciting players in a, “extremely” deep draft, as well as make moves to fill some of their, “obvious holes going forward.”Chris WescottMon, 02 Mar 2015 20:50:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150302_mact.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3760637606BLOG: How Nelson will be evaluatedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37611As the season continues to move towards its close and the trade deadline has passed, the Oilers continue to evaluate their roster, along with the important position of head coach. Todd Nelson wears the interim tag right now, in an audition to have that label removed at the end of the year. General Manager Craig MacTavish was asked how Nelson would be evaluated down the stretch and it comes down to a level of consistency in play and compete, as well as they continue to respond to adversity. “I think just level of competitiveness,” MacTavish. “I’ve said enough about how I think we’re competing. I think the coach has to be on the dial. One thing for me that’s important is when the team has a poor game, a poor showing or a poor effort, that he’s able to grab them quickly and get their performance level to a much higher level. So there’s some response there and that’s optimistic. We’re not going to make any decisions coaches or the coaching or the head coach until the season is over. I’ve been clear about that from the outset, but we’re all seeing the types of things that we’re going to need to see on a continuing basis to get into a longer term agreement with Todd.”Chris WescottMon, 02 Mar 2015 20:44:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20140221_nelly2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3761137611BLOG: Who the Oilers might auditionhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37612The Oilers might be in the business of hosting auditions at the end of the season for a few prospects, currently down in Oklahoma City playing in the American Hockey League. General Manager Craig MacTavish listed a few of the players he’d like to see against NHL competition this season. “The guys I’d like to give a chance to, we hope we can,” MacTavish said. “We hope we get an opportunity to see Brandon Davidson again. He played very well the last time he was up here in San Jose, so he’s got lots of promise. I’d like to see Andrew Miller come up here and see what he can do, he’s been a good player down there. Curtis Hamilton, I’d like to give an opportunity to. Bogdan Yakimov and all those guys. The goalie, Laurent Brossoit, has played very well and we’d like to see him come up and hopefully give him a game pretty soon. As disappointing as it is to be selling it this time of year, I’m looking forward to the end of the year where I couldn’t say that last year.” Davidson has played 41 games for the Barons, scoring three goals and five assists. Miller has blown away his goal production from a year ago, scoring 21 and adding 26 assists in 51 AHL games this season. Yakimov has played better in recent months and has nine goals and 12 assists in 50 games for OKC. Brossoit is carrying the load with Richard Bachman up in Edmonton. Brossoit has a record of 18-11-2 in OKC, with a .920 save percentage and 2.46 GAA.Chris WescottMon, 02 Mar 2015 20:44:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/10/20141013_yak.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3761237612BLOG: MacTavish on Yakupov’s futurehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37610At the end of this season, Nail Yakupov’s three year entry level contract will be up and he’ll be a restricted free agent. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke about the young winger following the NHL’s trade deadline and the relationship between the club and player moving into the future. “I see it to continue to evolve the way that it has,” MacTavish said. “We all see the promise now that we had when we drafted him. I had zero interest in trading Nail Yakupov. I think we’ve gone this far, we’ve got to see the end now. It has been some ups and downs, some sideways play and some head-scratching stuff and he’s on top of his game now. He shows all the assets that we saw when we drafted him: the speed, the physical power, the shot, he’s making good plays with the puck and who knows what unlatches all that for him, but he’s really figured it out. He’s playing with confidence, he’s a hardworking guy and we’ve got to see how it finishes. I’ve have no question that Yak is going to continue to develop and he’s got a reference point of what he needs to do now because he’s hit a new level. I’m as curious as anybody to see where that level goes because I think it’s sky high.” Yakupov has eight points in his last nine games.Chris WescottMon, 02 Mar 2015 20:43:00 ESThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150227_potws-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3761037610BLOG: MacTavish talks young defencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=37609Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke to the media after the trade deadline had passed, and one of the topics he touched on was the organization’s young defensive prospects. After trading Jeff Petry to the Montreal Canadiens, the Oilers will get a look at a couple of young blueliners the remainder of the season. But MacTavish is also excited about the future of the blueline in coming years. “We’ll see what Jordan Oesterle has coming forward (this season), we’ll see what Brandon Davidson has coming forward. They’re both young players that have some optimism there that they can develop,” MacTavish said. “We’ve got Darnell Nurse coming forward. Who knows what we’ll get in the draft? We could help ourselves not only at centre but on defence, depending on how this team finishes and where the bingo balls fall.” Oscar Klefbom is another young defenceman that MacTavish singled out at the press conference. The GM is thoroughly impressed with the 21-year-old Klefbom, who is 41 games into the season with the Oilers. MacTavish is hopeful that adding another player like Klefbom to the Oilers will help make the team more competitive a a whole. “We’ve seen the benefit of Oscar coming in and playing those minutes,” MacTavish said. “He just gives you 20 minutes of flawless hockey, and he’s had a great effect on Justin. We bring in one more player who has that effect on our group and a couple other key pieces and all the sudden we’re not only competing with Boston and St. Louis and the better teams in the league, but we’re winning those games.”Chris WescottMon, 02 Mar 2015 20:42:00 ESThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/02/20150206_Klefbom4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3760937609