EDMONTON OILERS BLOGShttp://www.edmontonoilers.com/rssEDMONTON OILERS BLOGSNHL Enterprises, L.P. (c) 2014 NHL. All Rights Reserveden-usTue, 22 Jul 2014 21:31:28 EDTBLOG: Purcell’s Rexall Place memoryhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30789The Edmonton Oilers traded with the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire forward Teddy Purcell this off-season. Because of this trade Purcell will now play his home games in an arena which holds a special place in his heart. Rexall Place is where Purcell played his first NHL game. On January 15, 2008 Purcell played his first career NHL game as a member of the Los Angeles Kings against the Oilers at Rexall Place. “I was called up from Manchester (AHL) and was in the airport all day, got delayed and got in probably at 1 a.m. the night before,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to play the next day. Then I remember getting a 2-on-1 with Rob Blake on my first shift and I still don’t know how I remember it. It was still a blur and I’m still nervous thinking about it.” How did that 2-on-1 rush pan out for the young Purcell? “I tried to pass it to him. I probably should have shot it but I tried to pass it to him and it went off his skate and back the other way.” It’s a lesson Purcell now knows all too well- shoot the puck. It’s something he may get the opportunity to do more of here in Edmonton now that he returns to the place where it all began for the 28-year-old. “I used to get yelled at a lot and still do sometimes for not shooting the puck enough but there are a lot of guys here who can make plays. I’m going to be in a position to shoot a lot more this year and hopefully it will work out.”Chris WescottTue, 22 Jul 2014 16:16:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140722_purcell.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3078930789BLOG: Aulie sets sights on making positive impacthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30788When the Edmonton Oilers signed hulking 6-foot-6 defenceman Keith Aulie in free agency he was excited to get an opportunity to show he belongs in the NHL and that he can bounce back from some injury issues last season. For Aulie, it’s all about coming in and making a positive impact on an already young and talented roster. “It’s a young group that desperately wants to win,” Aulie said. “Just from playing against them in the past, they’re hard working. It’s going to be exciting. It’s an exciting team. I think there’s a lot of work to be done. Obviously, there’s nowhere to go but up. As young guys, myself and these other guys here with me, we just want to come in and make a positive impact and just help this team out because it’s exciting to be part of a team that’s on an upswing. We understand how much pride this city has in the team and we just can’t wait to make a positive impact.” Being the bigger, more physically imposing type of defenceman, Aulie feels like he can mesh with the current crop of blueliners on the Oilers roster. “I’m a shutdown style defenceman. I play from my own end out and try to be aggressive, try to be physical, try to be hard on their forwards, play a safe and solid game and try to kill penalties. I think I compliment our other defencemen pretty well. They’ve laid it out to me what they expect of me and I can’t wait to get going.”Chris WescottTue, 22 Jul 2014 16:13:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140701_Aulie.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3078830788BLOG: Fayne eager to distribute the puck to Oilers playmakershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30787When you look at the top of the Edmonton Oilers forward depth chart there is some real offensive talent there with the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, David Perron and Nail Yakupov. Getting the puck to those playmakers is where a guy like Oilers free agent signee Mark Fayne comes in. While the defenceman doesn’t pretend to boast incredible offensive talent himself, where he does excel is getting the puck to those who do. “I’ve never been known to be a flashy offensive guy,” Fayne said. “I definitely plan on just trying to get them the puck and if there is an option for me to do it I will try.” That’s what Fayne is looking to bring to his new team in Edmonton: consistency and distribution of the puck. “Just bringing consistency to the backend. The team has such fire power up front that my job is just to get them the puck and let them do their job.”Chris WescottTue, 22 Jul 2014 16:10:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644fayne.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3078730787BLOG: Pouliot can add to veteran leadershiphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30786The Edmonton Oilers are largely described as a young team. It takes a good leadership core to help a young team take the next step, and in this case that is making the playoffs. Oilers free agent signee Benoit Pouliot was a part of last year’s Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers team. He knows what it takes to create a winning culture and he feels like he can bring some of that knowledge to Edmonton. “I’ll try my hardest,” Pouliot said. “Some people don’t know how hard it is to get up there. It’s a tough mountain to climb. Once you get going, once you get that feeling that you can do this, you can go far, that’s what happened in New York. It was a good playoff run. It was fun and everyone enjoyed it. You get closer as a team at the same time. Hopefully I can do that here. I know (Oilers Captain) Andrew Ference a little bit. He’s been through it in Boston and he’s one of the best leaders you can have. If guys can follow his lead and I can jump in and help in that department then it’s going to be fun.” For Pouliot, the key to getting the Oilers going on a successful run is just working the plan that head coach Dallas Eakins and his staff places in front of them. “The coach puts something out there and you’ve just got to do it. I think Dallas is good for that. He knows the game and he knows how to do it. It’s up to us to be prepared mentally and just do the job we’re supposed to do. Everyone has a different role and is a different type of player. Once you get going, once the guys feel good, the game plan is intact and everyone is following it you can go really far with just that.”Chris WescottTue, 22 Jul 2014 16:09:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140701_Pouliot3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3078630786BLOG: Pouliot embracing Canadian markethttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30785When choosing a destination for himself on day one of free agency, Benoit Pouliot went with Edmonton and all of the pressures that come with playing for a Canadian team. In a Canadian market, the fans are fierce, loyal and passionate about their team and Pouliot embraces that. It’s something he is familiar with. “I played in Montreal for two years and it was awesome,” Pouliot said. “The way the fans see the game and the way they know the game more and they are always loyal to you. You go around town, they know who you are and they talk to you about hockey. It’s fun. It pumps you up every night even more and you want to play in front of those kind of fans.”Chris WescottTue, 22 Jul 2014 16:07:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140722_pouliot644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3078530785BLOG: Pitlick working on getting bigger and strongerhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30689The Edmonton Oilers announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with Tyler Pitlick on a one-year contract extension. Pitlick was the 31st overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. Last season was quite the learning experience for Pitlick who got his first taste of NHL hockey. The forward played 10 games with the Oilers and scored his first NHL goal. The ups and downs of the season, including his knee injuries, helped Pitlick learn more about himself. The 22-year-old says he is working to stick in the NHL and that means hitting the gym. “I’m just trying to get myself bigger and stronger so I can hang in the corners a little bit better with the bigger guys and push guys around,” Pitlick told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now. “I’ve worked on my skating and skills and I’ll just come in ready to have a good camp like last year.” For Pitlick, the biggest difference between the American Hockey League, where he has spent the last three seasons, and the NHL is the size and strength of the opponents. “They are definitely bigger guys. They’re stronger. I think in the AHL I can, with no problems, keep guys off me in the corners and circle off guys. But the guys in the NHL are bigger and stronger and they’ll push you over if you’re not ready for it. I’m just working on balance and being stronger for this season.” Getting bigger and stronger fall in line with what Oilers management told Pitlick they wanted from him moving forward. He also says he’d like to add “a little more of a mean streak” to his game while being consistently physical and staying healthy.Chris WescottThu, 17 Jul 2014 16:48:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/03/Pitlick032614.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3068930689BLOG: Hamilton: "I need to take the next step."http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30688The Edmonton Oilers announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton on one-year contract extensions. Both players were second round picks in the 2010 NHL Draft and both players are heading into make-or-break seasons. Hamilton joined Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now and acknowledged the pressure on himself heading into this year. “It’s kind of now or never for guys like myself,” Hamilton said. “This is my fourth year now with the organization. I need to take the next step.” What Hamilton has going for him is that he believes he is coming off his best year as a professional with the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL. “Especially late in the year,” he said. “Some guys were hurt and the Oilers had some guys hurt as well so there were some guys called up. Right around Christmas I was starting to play some good hockey and then I was injured unfortunately. When I came back after a couple of weeks of getting back at it, I was a good player for us in the playoffs and contributed quite a bit. I think I just need to start the year off like that again and I’ll be fine.” Hamilton is 6-foot-2 and over 210 pounds. He feels is size could benefit the Oilers and their system and could help him make another jump in his career this season. “With the Oilers, everyone talks about how they have smaller forwards. With myself being a bigger forward I think that’s something that is valuable in the organization and something they are looking to add on, even with some of the young guys they’ve brought in. There is a chance for me in this organization to go out and play some good hockey.”Chris WescottThu, 17 Jul 2014 16:46:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/hamilton010814.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3068830688BLOG: Condors sign twohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30690The Bakersfield Condors, ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, announced today that they have agreed to terms with forward Chase Schaber and defenceman Nick Pageau for the 2014-15 season. Schaber, 23, tied for third in scoring on the Condors last season with 44 points (18-26-44) in 64 games. He had 10 points (4-6-10) in 16 playoff games. "I think the biggest thing is everyone in the organization is treated professionally and everyone is on board which is huge for preparing for the next level," Schaber said in a Condors press release. "It's a great place to play and I grew to like the city more and more, especially the further we went.” Pageau, 26, played 23 games with Bakersfield, scoring seven points (1-6-7) before suffering a season-ending injury in January. "I really enjoyed the group we had last year and we should have a good amount of returning players which should make for another good year," Pageau said.Chris WescottThu, 17 Jul 2014 16:45:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/20140523_Baks.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3069030690BLOG: Oilers on list of top 200 fantasy playershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30586NHL.com’s fantasy hockey insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen have pieced together their off-season rankings of the top 200 fantasy hockey players. Edmonton Oilers winger Taylor Hall tops out at 26th on Cubeta’s list. Jordan Eberle is the second Oilers player on that list at 82nd. Other Oilers on Cubeta’s list are David Perron (100), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (115), Nail Yakupov (129), Ben Scrivens (166) and Justin Schultz (181). Jensen also ranks Hall (31) and Eberle (87) in his top 100. Other Oilers making Jensen’s top 200 are Perron (120), Nugent-Hopkins (123) and Schultz (132). Click here for a list of the full off-season rankings.Chris WescottTue, 15 Jul 2014 13:38:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140407hallcelly.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3058630586BLOG: Bachman has sights set on NHLhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30531The Edmonton Oilers announced on Wednesday morning that they have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with goaltender Richard Bachman. Bachman played the majority of last season with the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League, finishing with a 2.99 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 52 games. He had a record of 26-19-6 and was a workhorse for the Oilers affiliate during a remarkable playoff run. He played in three games with the Oilers last season, with a 3.02 GAA and a .916 save percentage. The 26-year-old American goaltender saw an opportunity with the Oilers to compete at training camp for a spot in the NHL or return to Oklahoma City, where he and his wife are comfortable and have family support. “The main goal is to get up with the Oilers and to play in the NHL but being here (in Oklahoma City) is a great fit for me and my wife,” Bachman told Oilers Now’s Bob Stauffer. “I’ve got a twin brother here. He’s in med school here so he’s close by so I have a family connection. It’s also close to Colorado where my family is from so it works out really well for me.” Bachman has played in 35 career NHL games (Edmonton and Dallas) and has a record of 14-12-2. He feels like he can be a full-time NHL goaltender and that’s why he re-signed with Edmonton instead of testing the market or heading to Europe. “I think it’s ultimately about playing in the NHL,” he said. “I’ve already had a little bit of taste of it and have some experience. I really feel I can play at that level. Until I feel I can’t do that or it’s not going to be a good fit for me or my family I want to stick it out over here and be with Edmonton. I think it’s a great place to get a good opportunity. For me this is a great fit and I’m happy to be back.” Bachman made 47 saves in his Oilers debut on October 27, 2013 against Los Angeles. He is currently training in Oklahoma City.Chris WescottWed, 09 Jul 2014 16:25:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/306172-okc-tex1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3053130531BLOG: Draisaitl: “There is a lot of work ahead for me.”http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30530It is no secret that Leon Draisaitl is on a mission to make the Edmonton Oilers roster after the club selected him third overall last month in the NHL Draft. He’ll compete for a spot just like any other Oilers player or prospect and he understands this summer will be key to helping his chances. “I think everyone wants to make the team,” Draisaitl said on Oilers Now on Wednesday. “When you get drafted I don’t think there is a single player who does not want to make the team. I think it’s a learning process for an 18-year-old kid. We obviously have a lot of work in front of us. I think I can talk for everyone one of the players who just got drafted or went to the camp. I think I have a lot of work to do but that’s what the summer is there for and all I am going to do is what I can control. That’s just work as hard as I can and then try to find a spot on the team.” This past week at Orientation Camp in Jasper was Draisaitl’s first opportunity to wear the Oilers colours on the ice since being drafted. Draisaitl says that while the camp was more about meeting his fellow prospects and his future coaches and management, he did try and make an impression on the ice. “There is a lot of work ahead for me. I obviously wanted to do as good as possible. It was the first time being on the ice for me after two months. You’re obviously a little bit rusty the first couple of ice sessions but I think it was okay.” Heading into the rest of the summer it will be all about adding strength for Draisaitl. If he can do that and build up his defensive game a little, he will put himself in a great position to make the roster. “I think for me personally it comes down to strength, especially my lower-body strength, and just my game away from the puck. That’s the two biggest things I need to improve over the summer and it’s a great time to do that.” Draisaitl will spend the summer in Edmonton getting to know the area and training before camp.Chris WescottWed, 09 Jul 2014 16:20:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140706_size4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3053030530BLOG: Justin Schultz negotiations are ongoinghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30496After locking up Jeff Petry for another year, the Edmonton Oilers will look to secure the services of another defenceman for the immediate future. Justin Schultz is still awaiting a new deal and Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish says those talks are still on-going. “I think that both sides fully expect to get a deal. We want to treat Justin very, very fairly. He’s working his way through the system and I guess at this point that’s probably the friction point. When you even compare him to guys on our team, where he fits in is not going to be entirely reflective of our value of him. It’s more a reflection of the system and where he is in the system. We fully expect to get a deal done.”Chris WescottMon, 07 Jul 2014 23:17:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/02/jschultz0226143.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3049630496BLOG: MacTavish happy with Orientation Camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30495The Edmonton Oilers have made some changes to their normal Development Camp. It is now an Orientation Camp for the team’s prospects and the focus has shifted from lessons in hockey to team building. For the first time trying this new setup, Oilers General Craig MacTavish was pleased with the results. “I’m really happy with how it’s gone,” MacTavish said. Getting it outside of Edmonton really gives me a better chance to interact with the players and prospects. It’s really beneficial, it gives us more time with the players. I think we’ve taken a little bit of a different focus this year than we have in years past. There’s a very healthy percentage of team building and we want to make sure these players coming through this process know what our expectation is for them, they know what we’re looking for, they know what our expectation is for the Edmonton Oilers players. We want good people, good hard-working people that care about each other and are really going to go to war for one another.”Chris WescottMon, 07 Jul 2014 23:16:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644396mactavish.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3049530495BLOG: MacTavish on the term of Petry’s contracthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30494The Edmonton Oilers announced on Monday that they had agreed to terms with defenceman Jeff Petry on a one-year contract. The two sides had discussed a longer termed deal but elected for the one-year instead. It gives Petry an opportunity to have a bounce-back season and prove his place on the Oilers before they hit the negotiation room again next summer. “We looked at longer termed deal for him but we just couldn’t agree on that longer termed deal,” Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said. “It’s a bit of a risky deal for us because we’re exposed on the asset. We very much view Jeff as a high-end asset for us. At the same time, we’ve got to see what the level is for Jeff and Jeff’s anticipating a high level and he’s got the ability to hit it out of the park and we hope that’s the case. We’re right back at the negotiation table next year negotiating a long-term deal with Jeff based on a tremendous season and a big upgrade on what we’ve seen over the last few years, which has been pretty good.” The deal is reportedly just over $3 million and MacTavish says it’s a fair agreement for both sides. “We did offer him a longer term deal. Somebody that didn’t have confidence in their ability would have probably taken it. I think it’s a good deal for both parties, I really do. It’s the perfect compromise. I’m of the mindset that you can’t have a bunch of defencemen making $4 million. You want some making seven and some making one. The guys that are making four, you can’t shell out your roster and I think you can allocate your dollars for defence better than having a whole bunch of people at the same price point.”Chris WescottMon, 07 Jul 2014 23:13:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/04/20130425_petry644-2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3049430494BLOG: Nurse ready to compete for spot after solid camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30497The Edmonton Oilers are hoping Darnell Nurse becomes everything they hoped he could be when they selected him seventh overall in last year’s draft. Nurse had a solid Orientation Camp where his added size and strength paired with his work ethic and compete to make him a noticeable player on the ice. “I felt pretty good out there,” Nurse said. “I was a lot stronger compared to last year. It was good to go out there, compete and win a lot more battles than I think I did last year.” In one year, Nurse has managed to grow enough as a player to the point where he appears ready to give the Edmonton coaching staff a difficult roster decision come training camp. “The big thing for me is I have another year of experience. I’ve went through a lot of different situations playing against top lines all year long. I’ve really pushed myself outside of my comfort zone on the ice and I’ve tried to make myself a complete player. Obviously there is still room to grow but I felt pretty good out there and I’m looking forward to continue my growth.” Now that Orientation Camp is over, Nurse is zeroed in on his next challenge - making the Oilers roster. “I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym and pushing myself even harder. I’ll come in in the best shape possible when September rolls around.”Chris WescottMon, 07 Jul 2014 23:12:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140706_size3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3049730497BLOG: Freewheel cycle provides for prospectshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30489The Edmonton Oilers prospects are in Jasper for Orientation Camp and their stay in the mountains has been full of not just on-ice sessions and off-ice workouts but camping and biking around the area. The biking is all thanks to Jasper’s own Freewheel Cycle. “Freewheel has been going on for about 30 years, which is pretty long for the bike industry,” lifetime Oilers fan and owner of the bike shop Chris Peel said. “Not many stores last that long. We’ve been going strong, mostly focusing on mountain bikes but we have everything from town cruisers to street bikes and high-end mountain bikes.” When the prospects rolled through town, Freewheel rented out their entire fleet to the players to use this week. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins, an avid cyclist, led some trail rides and the players used the bikes to get from their lodgings to town for practice. Peel says there were some fit issues with some of the players as they are a much larger clientele than the usual bike enthusiasts. “They definitely took our biggest bikes,” Peel said. “The few issues on the bikes were these guys are so strong that they were breaking chains and stuff because they’re built pretty solid. There were a few broken chains but not too bad considering that most of them don’t ride bikes other than inside and doing fitness testing and things like that.” Freewheel is no stranger to the Oilers, having helped them out with bike rentals in the past. In 2010, the Oilers came to Jasper for training camp. “That was exciting,” Peel said. “The difference now is it’s neat to have these young guys. It’s neat to meet these guys and put faces to the names. I’m a hockey fan and we have some hockey fans in the shop here.” Peel has ridden bikes with Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish before and was very happy to meet Eakins. During Orientation Camp, Peel has been able to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the team operates on the player development side. He also took the players for morning bike rides at 7 a.m. All of the bike riding this week, along with the workouts has these prospects exhausted as we reach the end of camp. “I think they were a little tired, a little more than they thought they would. We know these guys are getting hammered while they’re here. We tried to take it as easy as we could. We understand it’s not easy to do all of those workouts. It’s early starts too. We started our morning bike ride at seven in the morning so these boys are working pretty hard.” The experience this week was great for everyone from coaches to management to players. The prospects really had an opportunity to bond and the bike riding was just a part of it all. MacTavish even bought himself a new bike this week. As you can see, the relationship between the Oilers and Freewheel Cycle was prosperous for both sides.Chris WescottMon, 07 Jul 2014 17:53:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140707_1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3048930489BLOG: Petry on signing his dealhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30491The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they agreed to terms with defenceman Jeff Petry on a one-year deal. Petry was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer this afternoon to talk about the contract. “It’s nice to have gotten a deal done and be back,” Petry said. “With the way things went last year and the signings that the team has made over the last couple of weeks it’s something that I’m definitely excited to get back for. I think we should be good moving forward.” Petry has played his entire NHL career with the Oilers, registering 59 points (13-46-59) and 107 penalty minutes in 236 games. He was chosen by the Oilers in the second round (45th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft. Petry says after negotiation, the one-year deal was the right term for both sides for the time being. “We went back and forth on both sides and both sides agreed that this is the best thing for both sides.”Chris WescottMon, 07 Jul 2014 17:31:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/potw_week26.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3049130491BLOG: Into the wildhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30456The Edmonton Oilers prospects have had their own beds to come home to at night during their stay in Jasper at Orientation Camp. But tonight that will change as the young prospects are headed into the woods with Oilers Captain Andrew Ference for a night of camping in the elements. Ference’s friend and U.S. Army Ranger Lucas Carr will accompany the group of players into the wilderness and they will be tested mentally and physically. “Working under conditions that are irrelevant in a regular civilian setting by taking away sleep and food,” Carr said. “By taking away the sleep and the food you are adding in the duress off extreme conditions with unfortunate results that will hopefully transpire onto the ice when some of the players get the food, they get the sleep and they have the talent at the point when there is 20 seconds in the game and they are down by one goal, to score that one goal. By having this in their background, right in their back pocket, they are going to look at a situation like that and they are going to say, “this is easy. Let’s just be ourselves.” Carr continued, “You do make the best plays when you are in a situation like that, when you are not thinking about doing everything, when you are not thinking what you should have done. Be yourself, stay composed, do the little things that are going to get the job done, do the little things that are going to score the goal, do the little things that are going to pass the mental aptitude and tests, use your intestinal fortitude to carry on to the next objective and win the game.” Ference was asked by Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish to come in and speak with the prospects but having been through development camps of his own, the captain wanted to make more of an impression on the young players. “I wasn’t too keen on just having a chat and talking with the kids. I’ve gone through stuff like that before. I figured it would be more effective to do something real and fun and just different. So tonight we are taking the guys on a little adventure with our friends.” The prospects will be given the essentials, including rations of food and water, and they will be in the company of trained professionals like Carr. “It’s basically just being thrown to the lions in a general sense,” Carr said. “You haven’t been in a situation like that, now is a great opportunity for you to show a leadership capability that you can use throughout your career in the NHL. Or if it’s just going into civilian world with a regular job and using that saying, “Wow, I did this when I was at Edmonton Oilers Prospect Camp. I can use what I learned here at some point in my life and be evaluated on how I was a leader then.”Chris WescottSun, 06 Jul 2014 18:14:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140706_size3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3045630456Content from Day 5 of Orientation Camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30452Marc CiampaSun, 06 Jul 2014 15:19:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644rickcarriere.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3045230452BLOG: Carriere wants to create competition for jobshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30453Oilers Director of Player Development Rick Carriere talked about this year's Orientation Camp in Jasper and how it differs from past years when it would be held in Sherwood Park. “When you walk around our accommodations at the Pine Bungalows here and you talk to the players and how much energy and enthusiasm they have in the evenings, it’s different from last year,” Carriere said. “Our focus before was to try and get as much as we could into seven days. Sometimes, I think that really took away from the excitement and enthusiasm after they got a little bit tired. So now, they’re fresh, they’re excited, they’re working hard. That’s exactly what we wanted.” The end goal for Carriere and the Oilers is to create a competitive environment here at Orientation Camp, but also at Rookie Camp in Penticton in September and ultimately at main Oilers Training Camp. “With the right amount of patience, our guys have the attitude, work ethic and compete to make it more competitive to make the Oilers one day for everybody. We’re trying to create that pressure from underneath. “We want guys battling for jobs. Our goal and focus is to create that in our prospects.” Carriere talked about the progress he has seen already from a handful of key prospects. “Just from what I’ve seen from some of the guys at the end of the year in Oklahoma City to what I see now. Darnell Nurse, Jujhar Khaira, Greg Chase. Jordan Oesterle has been a really pleasant surprise. They bring a lot to the mix and they’re going to make it really competitive for some of these guys.”Marc CiampaSun, 06 Jul 2014 15:14:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/03/644oesterle.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3045330453BLOG: Marco Roy looking to build off tough yearhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30454Oilers prospect Marco Roy, drafted in the second round, 56th overall, by the Oilers in 2013 had a tough season with injuries but hopes to build off the challenges he faced. “I had a tough start, in the beginning,” he began. “I grew up as a player, too. I had a chance to work on my strength, put some weight on and get ready for the next season.” Roy was injured at the start of the season and again later in the year, limiting him to only 39 games played. He had 14 goals and 35 points during that span. “My first time I was injured during a season. It was hard, I’ll say but it’s in the past right now so I’ll look forward for my future.” Roy did bounce back to play 20 games in the postseason as his Blainville squad made it to the third round of the playoffs. He had four goals and 12 points in those contests. This upcoming season he will go even deeper into the postseason guaranteed after being dealt to the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. This being Roy's second camp now with the Oilers, he feels a lot more comfortable in his surroundings having known a lot of the players. He also has a roommate who speaks his language in Oilers 2014 7th rounder, goaltender Keven Bouchard. “It really helped me. Last year I was really nervous. You don’t know the people and my English was not that good. I’m rooming with (Keven Bouchard) so I can talk French at the end of the day. It’s nice for that.” The 6'1" 182 pound centre added that he has really enjoyed the Jasper setting this time around as well. “It’s a beautiful place. Last year was harder. Right now, it’s more fun. We like each other and tonight we go camping so it’s going to be nice,” Roy continued. “The golf was really nice yesterday. We saw bears and deer. It’s beautiful.”Marc CiampaSun, 06 Jul 2014 15:10:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/306marcoroy.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3045430454BLOG: Aidan Muir ready for next challengehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30451Oilers prospect Aidan Muir, drafted in the fourth round, 113th overall in last year's NHL Draft, is coming off an incredible season for his Indiana Ice USHL squad. “We had an amazing time. Right off the bat, we were a little sketchy, started off 0-3-1 and then we got it together. I think it was mostly due to our coaching. Our players were really resilient. Didn’t take no for an answer.” The Ice certainly did not take no for an answer, going all the way to the league championship, taking the Clark Cup three games to two over Waterloo. Muir also felt that he made personal strides in the season, scoring 14 goals and adding 41 points in 54 games. “I learned a lot about how to use my body, optimize my stride, stick handling abilities,” he said, adding that there are still things he can improve upon. “All aspects of my game need to be faster. Skating, stride needs to be longer, harder shot, stuff like that.” This upcoming season, Muir will be attending the University of Western Michigan. He expanded on the reasons why he decided to go there after being heavily recruited by a number of colleges. “I visited and it was amazing. Great dorm. The coaching, Andy Murray, he’s one of the reasons I’m here today and hopefully he can help me get to the next level.” The 6'4" 200 pound winger is up for the next challenge in his hockey career, particularly under the guidance of Murray, who recommended Muir to the Oilers as he alluded to. “Older teammates, older people. It’s going to be tough but I’m ready for it.”Marc CiampaSun, 06 Jul 2014 14:46:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/306172muir.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3045130451Content from Day 4 of Orientation Camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30450Marc CiampaSat, 05 Jul 2014 16:20:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644yakimov.pnghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3045030450BLOG: Mitch Moroz has NHL aspirationshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30448It’s the right attitude to have for any young prospect heading into training camp. Mitch Moroz is not satisfied with playing his first professional season in the American Hockey League. He would of course prefer to impress the Edmonton Oilers enough to get a shot at the NHL. “Hopefully in a few weeks starting up with summer training and being able to give myself the best opportunity going into camp and make them have a hard decision,” Moroz said. “Everybody expects you in your first year to go down to Oklahoma but if I can kind of force their hand a bit and make them sweat it a bit then that’s my goal. You want to give yourself the best chance possible.” With his eyes set on making the Oilers take a hard look at him, the team’s second round selection (32nd overall) in 2012 is devoted to being in shape and improving certain areas of his game. “You want to come in in your best shape as you can,” he said. “I want to work on my quickness. That’s probably my biggest area of improvement over this summer, getting quicker, a little leaner and just being able to compete against men now. If I can do that and play my game the way I finished off the year and throughout the last season, I know it’s a big jump but some guys have done it and I’m confident in myself. I don’t see why not me.” Moroz, 20, had the best season of his WHL career. With the Edmonton Oil Kings, Moroz scored 63 points (35-28-63) in 70 regular season games. The Alberta native also registered 156 penalty minutes. He chipped in 19 points (6-13-19) in 21 playoff games as the Oil Kings won the league’s championship title. He helped Edmonton win the Memorial Cup on top of a WHL Championship. Now his sights are set on the Oilers and he’s been watching closely to what kind of openings there might be. The Oilers could use more big forwards who can chip in offensively. Which is something Moroz can do. He fits that power forward build that may eventually find him a spot on the roster. “I think the last few years that has kind of been brought up and tossed around,” Moroz said. “Now it is kind of time to turn that corner and make the most of the opportunity. The spot for a big power forward is there so I don’t want to let that slip away. You want to come in and try to play that role.” If Moroz does not make the Oilers roster out of training camp, he is expected to possibly be an impact player in Oklahoma City with the Barons.Chris WescottFri, 04 Jul 2014 17:50:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/644moroz2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3044830448Content from Day 2 of Orientation Camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30438Marc CiampaThu, 03 Jul 2014 19:16:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140703_eakins306.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3043830438BLOG: Eakins excited by team improvementshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30437The Edmonton Oilers added a few pieces to their improving roster in free agency. The Oilers bolstered their blue line with the additions of Nikita Nikitin and Mark Fayne. They gained some size and skill in the forward group with their trade for Teddy Purcell and their signing of Benoit Pouliot in free agency. In the draft, they selected big, skilled centre Leon Draisaitl third overall. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins is excited about the new additions and how they improve the team. “We think it has been a good few days getting the free agents in the boat It was important,” Eakins said. “We’ve added size, we’ve added depth and we’ve added some people who can make plays. Those are all things that we need in our lineup, especially in our division.” Adding good puck possession focused and competitive players was also an important acquisition for the team. Pouliot fits that build of the fast, skilled, highly-competitive player that the Oilers needed to add. “They are important. We want to continue to up the compete level and Benoit is certainly going to do that. I go back to the fact that we need people who make plays, possess the puck and score goals. We don’t want to be a team who relies on basically four players to put up our points. There has been that perception of our team being an offensive one. It’s the wrong perception and we’re going to try to change that by adding guys like Teddy Purcell and Pouliot.” The defensive side of things has also improved. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said after day one of free agency that if you look at the team’s defence now, it looks like an NHL defence. Eakins agreed that that area of their roster has been improved. “You start putting your lineup on the board and these are established NHL players that give you some comfort. There’s not an unknown so much with them. I think in the summer, almost the whole league is excited by the guys they drafted, they’re excited by the guys they got in free agency and you have that optimism again. For us, especially on our back end, I thought our biggest problem last year was breaking the puck out. That led to us spending a lot of time in our own zone. With the additions of those players and then with all of our other guys getting another year of experience, it’s a step in the right direction.” Overall, there has been much roster turnover for the Oilers and Eakins says that’s a credit to MacTavish’s dedication to turning the fortunes of the franchise around. “MacT has been busy. He’s extremely passionate about getting us going in the right direction. It seems like every time I call him he is in the office working the phone or scouting a player. It has been non-stop for him. I think that’s why you see such a change over.” The excitement of retuning to the bench for his second season as an NHL head coach has Eakins chomping at the bit, regardless of last season’s disappointments. “You want to get back in there and get back in the fight. It’s amazing to go through a season like that, from the coaching staff to the players, and that last game is over and it’s been such a long year and you can’t wait to get home and get a break from it. Then suddenly, a week to 10 days go by and it’s like my wife said, “you’re ready to go back to the rink now,” and I am.”Chris WescottThu, 03 Jul 2014 19:04:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140407topline.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3043730437BLOG: Eakins’ goals for Orientation Camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30436Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins is in Jasper with the team’s prospects for Orientation Camp. His goal for this camp isn’t so much with tutoring the players on the ice as it is to get to know the new and young faces in the organization. He didn’t participate Thursday morning in the on-ice session, as Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson and Oilers Sr. Director of Player Development Rick Carriere appear to be running the drills. “I like that we’ve pulled back and they’re not on the ice every day,” Eakins said. “Some of these guys have been off the ice for a long time and it is unfair to judge them on the ice right now because some of them haven’t skated at all. For me, it’s more to come in and start those relationships with these players. Not all of these guys will make the NHL but hopefully a lot of them do. I think it’s important for me to be around and, more or less, it’s about me talking and getting to know them and starting those relationships because hopefully these are going to be very fruitful ones down the road.”Chris WescottThu, 03 Jul 2014 19:03:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140610_eakins.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3043630436BLOG: Numbers for Yakupov, Fayne, Pouliot & Purcellhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30435The Oilers today announced jersey numbers for July 1 acquisitions Mark Fayne and Benoit Pouliot. They also announced that Nail Yakupov will be switching from number 64 to number 10. Teddy Purcell, acquired in a trade on June 29, will wear number 16. Pouliot will wear 67 and Fayne will wear 5.Marc CiampaThu, 03 Jul 2014 13:31:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/03/yakupov-edm-vs-ott-644-x-396.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3043530435BLOG: Changes to the Oilers Development Camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30427The Oilers have made some changes to their July Rookie Development Camp. It has switched over from a camp for learning and on-ice tutoring to more of an orientation camp where the young future of the Oilers get to know one another and learn what it takes to be a pro. “We don’t do as much of the on ice curriculum that we have followed in the past,” Oilers Sr. Director of Player Development Rick Carriere said. “It’s more of the culture of the Oilers and the things that we feel are really important to have going away from the camp. That’s 2-3 fundamentals and some cultural things that we feel are really important.” Carriere added, “We’re downsizing the on-ice part a little bit and emphasize the team building. We’re going to do some activities there. We have a golf tournament, we’re going to be biking around Jasper together and the guys are going to enjoy their time there. Part of the real focus off the ice is strength and conditioning this year.” It seems like the players are excited for the change. Mitch Moroz, the Oilers second round pick in 2012, says the switch is beneficial and leads to more fun. “It’s going to be more fun,” Moroz said. “I think they’re trying to let the guys enjoy it more. The last few years there has been a lot of teaching and a lot of work. It’s kind of strenuous in the middle of the summer to put guys through 7 or 8 days on the ice consistently. Guys are going hard so you don’t want to see guys getting hurt, especially at the beginning of July. It’s not a real evaluation camp, it’s orientation. They’ll save the evaluation for September. It’s a chance for guys to come in and feel things out and enjoy it.” One of the headliner attendees of the camp is this year’s third overall pick, Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers new centre is looking forward to getting to know his potential future teammates. “I think it’s more about the orientation camp,” Draisaitl said.” That’s what it is called and that’s what is about, getting to know the guys and getting to know the players, get to know the people we’re working with and so I think it’s more of getting to know the players.” This year’s camp will be held in Jasper and will consist of on-ice and off-ice workouts with some team building as well. The final day of Orientation Camp will see the prospects face off in the second annual Billy Moores Cup at Jasper Arena.Chris WescottWed, 02 Jul 2014 14:55:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/07/644campwrap.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3042730427BLOG: Troy Mann hired on in Hersheyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30426Bakersfield Condors head coach Troy Mann took a job today with the AHL's Hershey Bears (affiliate of the Washington Capitals) as head coach. Former Oklahoma City Barons captain Bryan Helmer was named as the assistant coach. Read here (Condors Press Release): CONDORSTOWN, Calif. - The Bakersfield Condors, owned by the Edmonton Oilers, announced today that Head Coach Troy Mann is leaving the team to accept the head coaching position in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Hershey Bears. Hershey is the AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's Washington Capitals. Mann, 44, earns the promotion after a memorable lone season at the helm of the Condors, posting a 36-30-0-6 record and taking the team into the conference finals for the first time in team history. The Condors went 35-20-0-5 after Thanksgiving to overcome a poor start and post one of the best records in the league for the rest of the season. The New Brunswick native returns to the AHL, this time as the head coach of the team with which he spent four campaigns, from 2009-13. Mann was an assistant coach with the Bears during that time, winning a Calder Cup in 2010 and helping the club post 180 victories in four seasons. The 2013-14 Condors season was the first as a head coach for Mann since 2007-08, when he coached the Columbia Inferno. In each of his last two seasons as a head coach, he has guided his ECHL clubs into the third round of the playoffs. He was the first Condors head coach to have played for the team, having spent part of the 2000-01 season with the team. What Troy says: "Thank you to Jonathon Fleisig, the Edmonton Oilers, Matt Riley, John Olver and the entire Condors staff for providing me with the opportunity to work in Condorstown. It has been a pleasure to be a part of one of the premier organizations in the ECHL. It is bittersweet to depart, but this is an opportunity that I have been working towards my entire coaching career. I wish the organization nothing but the best moving forward." What Matthew Riley says: "Troy is on the fast track. He is a great coach and a great person. We wish we could have had him here longer of course, but we're grateful we could be a part of his journey, and in just one season he has had a tremendous impact on our organization. We wish him and Lori all the best. "Moving forward," Riley continued, "with the Oilers at the helm, we feel very strongly that we will have a number of good candidates, and ultimately a terrific head coach." Mann has departed for Pennsylvania and will be introduced formally as head coach of the Bears on Thursday. He will be available to Bakersfield media the week of July 14. Details on a press event that week will be announced at a later date.Marc CiampaWed, 02 Jul 2014 13:52:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/20140523_Baks.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3042630426Free Agency Day Video, Audio & Morehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30385Marc CiampaTue, 01 Jul 2014 16:26:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644trio.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3038530385BLOG: Oil ink Gazdichttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30401The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have agreed to terms with left winger Luke Gazdic on a two-year contract. Gazdic, 24, recorded four points (2G, 2A) and 127 penalty minutes in 67 games last season. His 15 fighting majors tied him for third in the NHL. Gazdic also scored his first National Hockey League goal on his first shift, in his first NHL game on October 1st, 2013 against the Winnipeg Jets. The 6’3”, 240-pound forward spent four seasons with the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars, prior to joining the Oilers in 2013-14. Gazdic posted 55 points (27G, 28A) and 447 penalty minutes in 256 AHL games. Gazdic was Dallas’ 6th round selection, 172nd overall, in the 2007 NHL Draft.Marc CiampaTue, 01 Jul 2014 16:25:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140421_gazdic.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3040130401BLOG: Aulie's heroicshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30370Chris WescottTue, 01 Jul 2014 16:01:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140701_Aulie.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3037030370BLOG: Oilers add Auliehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30369The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with 6-foot-6, 228 pound defenceman Keith Aulie on a one-year contract. Aulie was the 116th overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames. He has played 136 NHL games in his career, scoring 13 points (4-9-13).Chris WescottTue, 01 Jul 2014 13:24:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/20140701_Aulie.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3036930369BLOG: Oilers sign Pouliothttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30368The Oilers have signed winger Benoit Pouliot to a five-year deal. “Edmonton was really interested in me and I was interested in them,” Pouliot said on TSN. “It didn’t take long to get the deal done.” Pouliot, 27, spent last season with the Eastern Conference Champion New York Rangers and scored 36 points (15-21-36) in 80 games. In the playoffs, Pouliot added 10 points (5-5-10) in 25 games. Pouliot was the fourth overall pick in 2005. He has played 371 career regular season games in the NHL with 160 points (76-84-160).Chris WescottTue, 01 Jul 2014 12:25:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644pouliot.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3036830368BLOG: Mark Fayne signs with Oilershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30367The Oilers have signed defenceman Mark Fayne to a four-year contract. Fayne, 27, was the 155th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils. In 242 career NHL games, Fayne has 48 points (13-35-48) and 99 penalty minutes. Last season Fayne played 72 games for the Devils and had 11 points (4-7-11) and 30 penalty minutes.Chris WescottTue, 01 Jul 2014 12:24:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644fayne.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3036730367BLOG: Oilers sign Fayne and Pouliothttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30365The Edmonton Oilers have signed two players at the start of free agency. The club has signed defenceman Mark Fayne to a four-year contract and winger Benoit Pouliot to a five-year deal. Stay tuned for more.Chris WescottTue, 01 Jul 2014 12:14:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/07/644faynepouliot.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3036530365BLOG: Oilers could add a younger coachhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30332The Edmonton Oilers added long-time NHL coach Craig Ramsay as an assistant coach a few weeks ago. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins told 630 CHED that another hire could be approaching but he is undecided on which way he would like to go. Eakins says the team is considering hiring a younger coach to help connect better with the young players on the roster. “It’s something that we’re kicking around,” Eakins said. “We do have a spot that we can fill, if we would like to. The conversation now is that we have two unbelievably experienced coaches with Keith (Acton) and Craig. Now if we do decide to add another one do we look for another experienced one or is it better off to go with somebody maybe a little younger who is more in touch with the players. I think that’s an important thing to look at too.” Should the Oilers fill another coaching spot Eakins says it will not be on the bench, which makes it difficult to do the hiring now with bench positions still open around the league. “It’s something right now where it’s tough to even start considering people because everyone I do talk to here at the draft, they all have their hat in the ring and are looking to fill a spot on somebody else’s bench right now. I understand that. The role that we’re looking for is going to be somebody that’s not on the bench. A lot of guys aren’t real enthused about that while there are still spots open around the league on the bench and I totally understand that. I’m just going to wait until the other teams fill their benches, see what’s available and then it gives me some more time to kick around which way we go with this.” Once the open jobs around the NHL are fewer in number the Oilers can re-focus on what type of coach they want to bring in, if any. “Do we want a younger guy that can maybe connect a little bit better with the players or have another heavily experienced coach that could have a little disconnect with the generation of our players,” Eakins said.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 16:37:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140610_eakins.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3033230332BLOG: Dallas Eakins on adding Draisaitlhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30331Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was familiar with Leon Draisaitl before the club made him the third overall pick in this year’s draft. “I already spent time with him at the interview at the combine and we had dinner with him this week and got a good feel for the kid,” Eakins said Saturday on 630 CHED. “We were excited that he was sitting there when we were picking. It’s a need for our team for the future, a centre of his size and of his skill set. We’ve filled a hole in our organization and hopefully he will be able to play very soon.” The Oilers hope the big, skilled centre is ready to make the jump to the NHL sooner rather than later. But Eakins says the team won’t rush his graduation if he’s not ready. Eakins himself refuses to place high expectations on the rookie. “I have no expectations and I think it is a dangerous thing to put any expectations on the kid. He’ll come into our development camp, which is more of an orientation. He’ll come in and get to know the other players. he on-ice stuff isn’t that important. It’s more to get them up and going with their summer training. Then we’ll see where he is in training camp. This is a very young player and we don’t want to rush him, we don’t want to put the weight of the market or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.”Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 16:29:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/644_draisaitl9.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3033130331BLOG: MacGregor on adding Draisaitlhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30330The Edmonton Oilers were more than pleased with the way the first two picks fell in the first round of this year’s draft. With Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart off the board to Florida and Buffalo, the Oilers were given the opportunity to draft just what they needed. The club selected Leon Draisaitl third overall, adding size and skill to their centre lineup. “Very excited,” Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor said after the draft concluded in Philadelphia. “I think he helps fill a need. He gives us an opportunity to have a strong centreman with some size that can play ahead of or behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, whichever way it works. We’ll give him that opportunity but also have to tell you he’s still a junior-age player who may need time and we’ll just give him that time for him to become the prospect we hope he can be.” MacGregor added, “I think once he gets the opportunity to develop and mature he’ll be a very good fit for our organization.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 16:08:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/644macgregor.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3033030330BLOG: Oilers add two goalieshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30328The Edmonton Oilers scouting department felt they needed to add some goalie prospects to the mix and so the club took a pair on day two of this year’s draft: Zachary Nagelvoort and Keven Bouchard. Nagelvoort, taken in the fourth round (111th overall), just finished a solid freshman year at the University of Michigan where he posted a 2.20 GAA and .929 save percentage. “He was a little bit of a late developer coming out of the North American Hockey League,” Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor said. “He’s a goaltender who had a tremendous freshman year. I think he had an almost .930 save percentage. They were a middle-of-the-road team but he got them in the playoffs. We look at him as a goaltender that will continue to advance with good training and initiative.” Bouchard, taken 183rd overall, was the backup goaltender for Val d’Or in the QMJHL, which made it difficult to fully scout him. But MacGregor says he likes what he saw in the limited action. “We had a bit of an eye on him from the previous year. I just happened to be at a game one night where he did play and he did get a period at the Memorial Cup and I saw that. He’s a guy with potential. You want to look at kids that have potential. If you saw him there he’s very fit, very strong and he’s wiling to put in the work to get better.” MacGregor says the scouts were the ones to convince Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish to pull the trigger on the goalies. “I had to fight with him to draft a goaltender. We just needed to add something. These guys have some potential we feel and if we can do it right and they can develop well we feel we have an opportunity to have some more depth.”Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 15:39:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140628_Nagelvoort.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3032830328BLOG: Lagesson brings competitive edgehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30326The Edmonton Oilers chose Swedish defenceman William Lagesson with the 91st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft on Saturday. The 6-foot-2 blueliner was chosen for his good defensive skills and his competitive edge, which really interested Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor. “Competitive defenceman, good size,” MacGregor said. “I think the biggest thing about him is one-on-one he’s a warrior. He makes a good first pass, has some hockey sense and I just can’t emphasize how much he wants to battle.”Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 14:53:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140628_Lagesson.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3032630326BLOG: Oilers select Keven Bouchard with final pickhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30300The Edmonton Oilers used their final selection in the 2014 NHL Draft (183rd overall) to take their second goalie of the day. The Oilers chose Vald’Or Foreurs netminder Keven Bouchard. Bouchard had a record of 17-6-1 with the QMJHL champions and posted a 2.95 GAA and a .887 save percentage.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 13:13:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140628_Bouchard.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3030030300BLOG: Three more Oil Kings draftedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30298Dysin Mayo, Brandon Baddock and Aaron Irving join Brett Pollock as members of the Edmonton Oil Kings to be selected on day two of the 2014 NHL Draft. The Arizona Coyotes took Mayo with the 133rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Baddock and Irving went with back-to-back picks (Baddock at 161 to New Jersey and Irving to Nashville at 162). Mayo, the 82nd-ranked North American skater, had 35 points this season (7-28-35) and added 15 (3-12-15) in the WHL playoffs. Baddock scored 17 points (6-11-17) in 56 games this season. Irving is the 90th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. The defenceman played in 63 games this season and scored 30 points (9-21-30). Oil Kings prospect Alec Dillon was also drafted. The goalie went 150th overall to the Los Angeles Kings. He played last season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL and posted a GAA of 2.88 and save percentage of .911.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 12:49:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/644396morozz.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3029830298BLOG: Oilers select Tyler Veselhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30297The Edmonton Oilers have used the 153rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to select Tyler Vesel from Omaha in the USHL. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound centre is ranked 188th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Vesel put up impressive numbers in his first USHL season, scoring 71 points (33-38-71) in 49 games. His 71 points were third best in the league and second on the team.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 12:37:00 EDThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3029730297BLOG: Oilers select Liam Coughlinhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30295The Edmonton Oilers have selected 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward Liam Coughlin with the 130th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Coughlin played 53 games for the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL this season, recording 45 points (18-27-45) and 70 penalty minutes. The South Boston native is committed to Boston University. He scored 51 points (27-24-51) at Catholic Memorial High School in the 2012-13 season.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 12:21:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/450-COUGHLIN.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3029530295BLOG: Oilers select Zachary Nagelvoorthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30292The Edmonton Oilers add a goalie to the mix with the 111th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by selecting Zachary Nagelvoort from the University of Michigan. The freshman netminder posted a 2.20 GAA and .929 save percentage as a freshman with the Wolverines. He holds the University of Michigan school record for most saves in a game (63 vs. Penn State on March 20, 2014). NHL Central Scouting ranks Nagelvoort as the 20th best North American goalie. He is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 12:10:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140628_Nagelvoort.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3029230292BLOG: Oilers select William Lagesson 91st overallhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30288The Edmonton Oilers have selected Swedish defenceman William Lagesson with the 91st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Lagesson is a 6-foot-2, 196-pound defenceman who played in the Swedish Junior league for Frolunda Jr. In 44 games this season, Lagesson scored 20 points (8-12-20) and had 30 penalty minutes. At the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in 2013, Lagesson had two points (1-1-2) in four games for the Sweden Under-18 team. NHL Central Scouting ranks Lagesson as the 18th European skater.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 11:47:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140628_Lagesson.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3028830288BLOG: Pollock is first Oil King draftedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30282The Dallas Stars make Brett Pollock the first Edmonton Oil Kings player off the board in the 2014 NHL Draft by selecting him in the second round, 45th overall. Ranked 34th amongst North American skaters, the winger is coming off a breakout year for the Oil Kings. He became an offensive weapon for the Memorial Cup champions, scoring 55 (25-30-55) in 71 games. “I don’t really think you put words to it," Pollock said. "The run we had, winning the Memorial Cup, being here today and being selected by Dallas is a surreal feeling. Not a lot of guys get to experience that and I can’t really put it into words today.” In the WHL playoffs, Pollock helped finish off Medicine Hat in the conference finals with 7 points (5-2-7) in five games, including six in the final two. Pollock, 18, is a 6-foot-2, 182 pound Sherwood Park, AB native. Other Oil King draft-eligible players include Edgars Kulda, Aaron Irving, Ashton Sautner, Tyler Robertson and Brandon Baddock.Chris WescottSat, 28 Jun 2014 10:35:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2014/06/BrettPollock_644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3028230282BLOG: MacTavish on adding a big centrehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30270Adding size up the middle of the ice was something the Edmonton Oilers knew they had to do to become more competitive against the bigger centres and teams in their division and conference. At 6-foot-2, 213 pounds (and still growing), Leon Draisaitl was the pick for the Oilers at third overall. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke with TSN following the pick and talked about what Draisaitl brings. “We all know how difficult big centres are to obtain,” MacTavish said. “You’re going to have to draft big centres to get them because they’re very hard to come by. Leon really fits that build for us. We play in a very difficult conference, a very difficult division and we feel Leon’s skill set fits in incredibly well for us in Edmonton. There will be a lineup of wingers that will be ready to play with Leon when he gets to Edmonton.”Chris WescottFri, 27 Jun 2014 21:41:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/644draisaitlstage.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3027030270BLOG: Dallas Eakins ‘hat-blocks’ Draisaitlhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30268Some fans might have noticed that the Edmonton Oilers first round draft pick wasn’t wearing his new hat like the rest of the draftees. Leon Draisaitl put the jersey on but a certain member of the Oilers coaching staff didn’t allow him to take the hat. Head Coach Dallas Eakins played defence and blocked Draisaitl from putting on his new lid. “He told me he is not going to give me the hat because he doesn’t want my mom to be mad at my hair,” Draisaitl said with a laugh. Hat-hair crisis avoided.Chris WescottFri, 27 Jun 2014 21:12:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/644draisaitlstage.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3026830268BLOG: Draisaitl on Oilers moving forwardhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30267The newest Edmonton Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl has done his research on the team that made him the third overall pick in the 2014 draft. Draisaitl says he’s eager to earn a spot and join a team that already boasts young and talented players, such as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz. Draisaitl also says that he thinks the Oilers are moving in the right direction as they have brought in players through trades like David Perron and their young stars continue to mature. “I think I’m going to have to do my job and earn my spot if I want to play in that league and on that team,” Draisaitl said. “I think they’re moving forward. They’ve made some good trades like for Perron and I think the guys are getting older and more mature and this is just awesome right now.” On the possibility of playing with Hall, Draisaitl had nothing but good things to say: “He’s probably the fastest skater in the league and he’s an exciting player to watch. He’s a star in the league. It might be a good fit but you never know. It’s up to the coaches to put a line together and I can only do my job.”Chris WescottFri, 27 Jun 2014 20:53:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/306172draisaitloil.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3026730267BLOG: Draisaitl on if he’s NHL-readyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30266The Edmonton Oilers made Leon Draisaitl the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft tonight. Having his size (6-foot-2, 213 pounds) and his skill (105 points this season), Draisaitl could make an immediate jump to the NHL from the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL. Earlier today, Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor said he felt any of the top four prospects have an “outstanding chance to play” this season. Draisaitl says he feels like he has some things to work on but should be ready after the summer. “I think I have to work on some stuff but that’s what I’m going to do this summer and I think I’m ready next year,” he said.Chris WescottFri, 27 Jun 2014 20:50:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140627_draisaitlselected.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3026630266BLOG: Draisaitl knew Oilers were interestedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30265It was expected that the Edmonton Oilers were interested in Leon Draisaitl. The day before the draft, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke of the team’s need of a centre and how size was also a factor. Draisaitl fits that description and the Oilers made him the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Draisaitl didn’t know for sure if he would hear his name called when the Oilers took the stage in Philadelphia, but he had an idea that they liked him. “I think this year was really unpredictable," Draisaitl said. "No one really knew what was going on from the players’ perspective. I had really good meetings with them and knew they were interested but you didn’t know what was going on with the trades and all that stuff but right now, wearing that jersey is phenomenal.”Chris WescottFri, 27 Jun 2014 20:47:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/306172draisaitloil.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3026530265BLOG: Immediate help or future impact?http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30237The Edmonton Oilers will have a decision to make when it’s their turn to submit their selection with the third overall pick in tonight’s draft. A question that has come up in the scouting meetings has been whether or not the Oilers rank immediate help above future impact or vice versa. “That’s an interesting question and something we’ve been throwing around a lot over the last year,” Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor said. “Positional need, a desire to have a player that can make an impact today or who will be the best player in five years.” MacGregor says the scouts always lean towards future projections over the short-term value of a player. “Obviously longterm for a scout, you’re projecting five years ahead,” he said. “Management may look at things a little realistically on a shorter term basis. We do need to make some strides. Hopefully those strides forward will come from the group that’s already there and a coaching staff that’s solidified in working with that group and a comfort that the players believe in the direction we’re going on the team. Adding something that can help immediately would be a great benefit but it’s like anything, you’re judged longterm and what type of success you’ll have. One good year may buy you a few more years of employment but if you can get through those development years, probably five great years on an on-going basis probably buys you 15-20 years of employment. It’s an interesting process but scouts project longterm.” The Oilers are in position to take one of the draft’s top four prospects: Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart or Leon Draisaitl. MacGregor said he thinks all four of them have the ability to make the jump to the NHL right away. “I really believe all four have an excellent chance. I don’t think there is any varying degree of difference in their opportunity. Opportunity will have to present itself with the team that they’re with and their development plan and there’s a lot of factors that come with that. But I would expect that all four of them have an outstanding chance to play.”Chris WescottFri, 27 Jun 2014 18:51:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/MacGregortalks.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3023730237BLOG: MacT - "Six Pending Scenarios"http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30206PHILADELPHIA - Holding the third pick overall, the Oilers can't definitely say who they are going to take at the 2014 NHL Draft but even if they could, MacTavish said that there's still a lot to decide before they step up to the stage on Friday night. "There’s six pending scenarios that we could be presented with in terms of packages of players. Couple of players we’re going to have to decide between. We’re still content to do our homework in terms of character assessment. It’s very unusual that we’re down to the last 24 hours before the draft and not completely sure which way we’ll go in terms of certain scenarios. That tells you that these players are very equally rated." The one defenceman at the top of the draft class is Aaron Ekblad, though he's expected to go first overall. The other top players are all centres, which suits MacTavish just fine. "A lot has been said about our need on defence, which is clear. But it doesn’t trump our need at centre. An argument could be made that centre is our most needed position. Someone who’s got some size and who can play some big minutes in that division and that conference. "We’ve got more defence coming and more depth on defence. I think it’s an open question on what our greatest need is."Marc CiampaThu, 26 Jun 2014 15:03:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140423_Draisaitl1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3020630206BLOG: MacT on Oilers free agency needshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30205PHILADELPHIA - Oilers GM Craig MacTavish is hoping to find a good bargain in this year's crop of free agents. "There are a couple still available," he started. "Who are the Grabovski’s of this year that Washington picked up last year. They paid less for a guy like Grabovski and added a good element to their team. Those are some of the guys we’re going to be trying to find as this period and process goes on." Grabovski, who was bought out by the Maple Leafs last summer, had 13 goals and 35 points in 58 games for the Capitals. He was on a one-year, $3 million deal. MacTavish hoped to snag one of those value-type players for his blueline. "There are a few of those (who are) puck-moving defencemen, I think. And Nikitin certainly fits into that category (as a puck-moving defenceman)." MacTavish was pretty clear on what the team is looking for. "We need one more defenceman, ideally, and possibly a forward or two."Marc CiampaThu, 26 Jun 2014 14:58:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2014/03/graboDL_033114.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3020530205BLOG: MacT talks about Nikitinhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30204PHILADELPHIA - Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish talked about the acquisition and signing of defenceman Nikita Nikitin, which occurred on Wednesday. “It’s not a revelation that UFAs are expensive," said MacTavish, who signed Nikitin to a two-year deal at $4.5 million per year. "We felt that we very much needed to upgrade our defence. I’ve been talking about that for a long time. We had a great need at that position and we had an opportunity to land a defenceman that we think will fit very nicely into our top four. He’s a very versatile defenceman. The term was attractive to both the player and us. It buys time for us to develop our young defencemen appropriately, whether that’s sending them back to junior if they’re not ready or putting them in the American Hockey League. "It made sense on a lot of fronts to pay the price that we paid and we look forward to getting the player in here at training camp." MacTavish was asked if the interview process that is now in place — where teams can contact free-agents-to-be a handful of days before free agency hits on July 1 — is driving up the price. He said it did not. "The price was always exorbitant. The mistakes that we’ve made — and a lot of teams have made in the past, in this regard — is undervalue what the price is going to be to land the player. Ultimately, you want the player and we were in a pretty enviable position to pay the price. It gives us a little bit of protection as we proceed in this UFA market, knowing that we have a piece which helps us achieve our fundamental objective."Marc CiampaThu, 26 Jun 2014 14:54:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140625_Nikitin.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3020430204BLOG: What separates Demkohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30209PHILADELPHIA - Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko is above the rest in many minds. He is NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American goalie and will possibly be the first of his position off the board when the draft gets underway in Philadelphia. Demko says it is his love of the game and his will to win that separates him from the pack of draft-eligible netminders. “I think just my will to win,” Demko said. “I work really hard off the ice to make sure I’m getting myself prepared to play. Definitely in the off-season too, I am making sure that I’m getting better for next year so when I do get back to the next season I will be ready to go. I think I just love the game more than most guys do and I want to be in the NHL.” Demko, 18, is a native of San Diego, CA. He finished his freshman year at Boston College with a 2.24 goals against average and .919 save percentage.Chris WescottThu, 26 Jun 2014 14:28:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/nhl/images/upload/2014/06/ThatcherDemko-goalie_644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3020930209BLOG: Ritchie on becoming a top power forward:http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30208PHILADELPHIA - There is no denying the potential of Peterborough Petes forward Nick Ritchie. With size on his side, Ritchie hopes to one day become one of the better power forwards in the NHL. He looks up to players like Boston’s Milan Lucic and Dallas’ Jamie Benn. For him to become like one of those two, Ritchie will have to “bring it every night.” “I think those two guys are pretty good players in the NHL,” Ritchie said. “They’re big and they bring it every night. I think for me, if I bring it every night, I can be one of those guys.” Consistency is reportedly an issue with Ritchie. But the power forward who scored 74 points (39-35-74) this season believes that will get better with maturity. “I think as I get older and more mature that will come. I will just keep working hard in the gym. I think once I get it I will be alright.”Chris WescottThu, 26 Jun 2014 14:27:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/canucks/images/upload/2014/06/June1314_ritchie_dl.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3020830208BLOG: Top prospects take their minds off the drafthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30183Some of the top draft prospects gathered at Scanlon Ice Rink in Philadelphia this morning for the Top Prospects Clinic. They skated with local youth hockey players and participated in drills with the children. “It’s awesome,” Prince Albert centre Leon Draisaitl said. “Seeing those kids enjoy themselves and play hockey. That’s the best thing in the world. They love being out there. They obviously have a passion for it and that’s the ultimate and that’s awesome.” Now that the pre-draft process is winding down and the days have turned to hours in anticipation of tomorrow night’s draft, the prospects’ nerves are building. Being able to lace up the skates and leave it all off the ice was a welcomed break for the players. “A lot of the focus is on tomorrow and obviously that’s still up in the air for all of us right now,” Oshawa Generals forward Michael Dal Colle said. “But being able to skate with these kids has been a great experience and what they’ve got going on here is awesome.” “It was awesome,” Kingston’s Sam Bennett said. “Anytime I can lace on the skates it’s going to be a good day. I’ve had so much fun out here with these kids and I think it’s great for these kids to get out here. I’m having fun, I can see the smiles on these kids and it looks like they’re have a great time.” Draisaitl added, “It’s always nice to be on the ice. There is no better feeling than being on the ice. The nerves are coming and I’m already a little bit nervous to be honest but it’s not too bad. I think tomorrow will be pretty nerve-racking for sure.”Chris WescottThu, 26 Jun 2014 12:23:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140626_Draisaitl.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3018330183BLOG: Reinhart focused on next season, not drafthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30179PHILADELPHIA - There are numerous questions regarding whether highly-regarded prospect Sam Reinhart goes first overall or slips as far as fourth but the centre with a high hockey IQ isn't letting that get to him at all. "The draft is just a one-day thing. It's just where you're at right now. The bigger goal is trying to make an impact as soon as next season." Reinhart was asked if he can play in the NHL next year. “I’m confident in that right now," he said. "Right now, that’s all that counts. My focus isn’t all on the draft itself. Making an impact as soon as next year when training camp starts, wherever that may be. I’m going in with the mindset that I’m ready to play next year.”Marc CiampaWed, 25 Jun 2014 17:02:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/644396-reinhart1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3017930179BLOG: Draisaitl hasn't met with Oilers yethttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30178PHILADELPHIA - Leon Draisaitl was supposed to meet with the Oilers several weeks ago, but those plans got cancelled. Both sides plan to make up for that in short order now that all parties are here in Philadelhia. “I’m going to meet with them in the next couple of days, whenever that’s going to be. I’m looking forward to it," said Draisaitl. The German centre talked about the possibility of being selected third overall by Edmonton. “It would be amazing for me. The Oilers, they’ve had so many unbelievable stars: Gretzky, Messier, those guys. Wearing the same jersey as they did would be awesome." The 6'2" pivot talked further about the current edition of the team and the excitement of being a teammate with them. “They’re stars in the League. Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins they’re all stars. It would be exciting to be a part of that team."Marc CiampaWed, 25 Jun 2014 16:54:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140423_Draisaitl1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3017830178BLOG: Spezza called Bennetthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30152When Sam Bennett failed to complete a pull up at the NHL Scouting Combine, he didn’t know that it would be a huge deal. NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater then had to read about it and watch reports on it on television in the following days. What helped Bennett deal with the media and fan scrutiny was a phone call from an established NHL player. Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza sought out Bennett’s number and delivered some career advice. “Jason Spezza gave me a call right after he saw it,” Bennett said. “He said he saw the articles in the paper and he was like, wow I’ve got to call this kid. He got my number, he gave me a call and I had a really good talk with him. He just talked about how you’re going to go through bad publicity throughout your entire hockey career. He’s been through it and he just really helped me deal with that and it was a great learning experience.” It doesn’t appear as though Bennett’s lack of a pull up at the Combine will affect his draft stock. He is expected to be a top-four pick.Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 16:53:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140422_bennett2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3015230152BLOG: Draisaitl's actual height and weighthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30177PHILADELPHIA - In order to put an end to some debate out there, centre Leon Draisaitl was asked what his height and weight end were measured as at the Combine in Toronto last month. He said he was measured as 6’2” and weighed in at 209 pounds. Of course, size for Draisaitl was never an issue as many feel the big forward is the most ready of the consensus top three selections up front largely due to his size. For the record, Draisaitl feels he is ready to step in next year after putting in the work this summer. “I think I have some work to do for sure but I’m going to be working really hard over the summer and I think I’ll be ready,” said Draisaitl.Marc CiampaWed, 25 Jun 2014 16:53:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/644draisaitl.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3017730177BLOG: Bennett on his visit to Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30151Top draft prospect Sam Bennett took a visit to Edmonton not too long ago to visit with the Oilers organization. They had dinner and Bennett was given a tour of the rink and the offices. “Edmonton is cool,” Bennett said. “I went there and saw the Oilers offices and then I went to Rexall Place and saw the dressing room, saw the rink and I had a great time in Edmonton. I met a bunch of great people. The management there is awesome so it was very cool to go there and meet those guys.”Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 16:52:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140422_bennett3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3015130151BLOG: Ekblad sees Oilers as a fithttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30150With all of the pre-draft speculation and rumours swirling around, Aaron Ekblad’s head must be spinning. But the top-rated defenceman has developed a great way of dealing with all of the talk. “With how much rumours that have been going around about what Florida is going to do, what is everyone going to do, it’s easy to get caught up in it but it’s a lot easier to take a step back and not worry about it,” Ekblad said. “It’s out of your control. You just have to wait and rely on how well you’ve shown yourself this year. That’s kind of where I’m at. I’m excited and I’m anxious about it but I don’t want to worry about it too much.” The Oilers are sitting at third overall in the first round of the draft. It is not expected that Ekblad will be around when they make their selection. But they’ve done their homework on the superb prospect and after meeting with the organization, Ekblad is sold that the Oilers would be a fit. “I love the rink that they have right now, I love that there is going to be a new one, the dressing room and some of the players that they have. It’s all great,” he said. “They have a great organization, a great owner and a great coaching staff. I met just about every one of the Oilers staff members, even away from the rink. If I end up there then that’s awesome and I’d make the best of it. I think I’d fit in to their defensive core pretty well. Whatever happens happens and I’m excited to go anywhere and I’m ready to play anywhere.”Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 13:40:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/644396combine-ekblad.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3015030150BLOG: Howson says Oilers comfortable at threehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30149The Edmonton Oilers currently hold the third overall pick in the draft. Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations Scott Howson told Oilers Now’s Bob Stauffer on Wednesday that the team is comfortable remaining in that spot, but wouldn’t rule out movement. “I think we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at,” Howson said. “Obviously you never close the door on anything. Getting up to the one position would be beneficial but our needs are really defence and centre is just as important as defence. We were just talking today about how hard it is to get centres now. Once they become established in the NHL they don’t become available. We’re comfortable with where we’re at. I think this is a good draft, we’re in a good spot and no matter what happens on Friday we are going to get a good player.”Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 13:03:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/6343mactavh.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3014930149BLOG: Oilers looking to add another NHL defencemanhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30148The Edmonton Oilers acquired the rights to defenceman Nikita Nikitin from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The acquisition gives them a “quality NHL defenceman” in the words of Oilers Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations Scott Howson. Howson told Oilers Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer on Wednesday that the team won’t stop with Nikitin. They want to help bridge the gap as the Oilers have several very talented youngsters on the blue line that could use some more time to develop. Now that Nikitin is in the mix, Howson says the team will look to add one more. “We figured we had four legitimate NHL defencemen going into camp in Andrew Ference, Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Martin Marincin,” Howson said. “Martin still has a little bit to prove because he only did it for half a season and we’ve seen lots of players have initial success and take a fall back. There’s no doubt he’s going to be an NHL player, whether he’s ready to continue what he accomplished last year remains to be seen and we’ll see that in camp. We’re going to try to get another NHL defenceman. Nikita gives us five, if you include Marincin, and we’ll try to get another one, that’s six. Then if the kids are ready, that’s the great thing about the NHL. If a young player is ready to play and he shows he is ready to play then teams make room for him. That’s just the way the league works.” As for what the Oilers are looking for in their next addition, Howson says they’re looking at all of the options. “I think we’re open to anything. We want a good player and Nikita is a good player. We’re targeting three or four other good players. Some are more defensive oriented, some are sort of all around guys so there is no specific criteria they have to meet, we just want a good NHL player.”Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 13:01:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/644marincinklefbom.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3014830148BLOG: Nikitin to play top four role in Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30146Not many people would know Nikita Nikitin better than Oilers Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations Scott Howson. He was the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets when they acquired Niktin in a trade with the St. Louis Blues in 2011. Now the two will be reunited as the Oilers have traded for Nikitin’s rights. When Nikitin first got to Columbus, he played a big role on the team. But with the Blue Jackets defence getting better and better his role was reduced. “We needed some size and he came in and played really well, the time I was in Columbus,” Howson told Oilers Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer. “He can play the right side, he’s a big body and he’s got a great shot. His play has fallen off a little bit. I think his role fell off a little bit in Columbus because they have a pretty strong defence. “His role was certainly reduced. We just saw this as an opportunity to add a quality NHL defenceman to our group.” Now Nikitin will be given an opportunity to move back up a depth chart, this time in Edmonton. “I see him playing in a top-four role,” Howson said. “He’ll play a little bit of power play, probably second unit. He’s got a great shot and he’ll kill penalties. He can play really anywhere in your 1-6 spots. We’ll probably use him in 1-4, or he’ll be given that opportunity initially. There’s no concern on my part but he still has to do it.”Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 13:00:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140625_Nikitin.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3014630146BLOG: Oilers acquire rights to Nikitinhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30143The Edmonton Oilers have acquired the rights to defenceman Nikita Nikitin from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 5th round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft. Nikitin, 28, has spent four seasons in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. His best point production came in the 2011-12 season, when he posted 32 (7-25-32) in 54 games with Columbus after being acquired in a trade from St. Louis. His is a 6-foot-4, 223 pounder from Omsk, Russia and was the 136th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.Chris WescottWed, 25 Jun 2014 09:30:00 EDThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3014330143BLOG: Smith joins 'Canes as Assistant Coachhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30110Former Oilers Assistant Coach Steve Smith has agreed to terms with the Carolina Hurricanes to join the organization in the same capacity. Smith had served as assistant coach for the Oilers for the past four seasons. He joins former Oilers Assistant General Manager Ricky Olczyk, who was hired by the Canes this month.Chris WescottMon, 23 Jun 2014 17:53:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2010/07/20100715_smith-205.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3011030110BLOG: Nurse and Chase invited to Canada’s summer development camphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3010441 players have been invited to Canada’s national junior team summer development camp and two Oilers prospects are among the chosen ones. The two are Darnell Nurse, the seventh overall pick last year, and forward Greg Chase (7th round, 188th overall last year). Nurse is coming off a season with his best point production as the defenceman scored 50 (13-37-50) in 64 games with Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL. Nurse made his pro hockey debut with the Oklahoma City Barons at the end of the regular season. Chase posted 85 points (35-50-85) with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL this season. He too joined Nurse with the Barons and scored a goal in his first professional game. Some top NHL Draft prospects are on the camp roster as well. The expected number one overall pick Aaron Ekblad is joined by fellow top defencemen Haydn Fleury, Roland McKeown and Travis Sanheim. Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart, Michael Dal Colle, Robby Fabbri, Brendan Perlini, Brayden Point, Nick Ritchie and Jake Virtanen round out the list of forwards who made the camp roster who are potential first round picks this year. Edmonton Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar is also invited to the camp.Chris WescottMon, 23 Jun 2014 12:09:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140617nurse306.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3010430104BLOG: MacTavish on team needshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30014Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke with Oilers Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now this afternoon and discussed what he sees are some of the team’s needs heading into the off-season. MacTavish says he could see the team adding four or five new additions for next season. “I’ve talked a bit about a puck-moving defenceman, they’re very difficult to find,” MacTavish said. “Certainly, there are a few available at various levels. We need that, in our organization’s estimation. I think that we could use a guy that’s a real, solid shut-down defender that has that bite. I know we have some guys who really fit that bill on the horizon but we don’t want to be forced to bring our young defencemen into a situation that they’re currently not capable of handling and excelling in. We’ve talked about that a lot, giving the players time to mature and develop physically and mentally so that when they do step into the NHL they’re ready to have success. We need some experience up front. We need some guys that can help round out our top three lines and that’s what we’re basically looking to do.” MacTavish said the team will be looking to bring in the pieces to allow players like Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks to slide down the lineup, while adding more offence to the top three lines. “I think that’s the model that we’re ultimately trying to piece together where we have a fourth line that would have lots of defensive zone starts and be able to play against anybody and then have three lines that are able to have success offensively.”Chris WescottTue, 17 Jun 2014 17:46:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/12/306mact2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3001430014BLOG: MacTavish on Ramsay hiringhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30015Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish was on Oilers Now this afternoon to discuss the upcoming draft, free agency and the state of the team. MacTavish commented on the Oilers recent hiring of long-time NHL coach Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach. “He’s a guy that I really think that’s going to add an element to our coaching staff,” MacTavish told Bob Stauffer. “He’s going to bring a new perspective. In my discussions with Craig, he’s a very cerebral guy about the game. He’s got a wealth of experience. He’s put a lot of thought in the game and how it should be played. He’s got a good balance on teaching the game, how much the players are capable of taking in and comprehending at one time and what’s realistic, how you present the information to the players, a good balance of enjoying yourself in the dressing room and the intense pressures that the players have today, especially in our market. “I think he’s going to lend a real fresh perspective there. He’s a guy who Dallas is going to charge with helping out our power play and I think that’s going to help. He’s got a ton of experience and we welcome that perspective that he’s going to bring and I think he’s going to have a significant impact. Having said that, we need to do a good job of bringing in some personnel that has the ability to have much greater success.”Chris WescottTue, 17 Jun 2014 17:46:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/11/MacTInFocus.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3001530015BLOG: MacTavish talks off-season trades and UFA markethttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30013The Edmonton Oilers will be looking to add some pieces to supplement their youthful core this season. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish will be the director behind all of those moves and was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer this afternoon to discuss those topics. Looking ahead to potential trades, the Oilers may be more willing to take on salary to off-set some of the assets they would have to part with to add a player. He said, “that’s a scenario I think has some attractiveness to us.” MacTavish also says that in addition to trades the Oilers will be involved in the free agency market. Although you don’t want to rely on free agency, there are some players available who could help fill holes in the lineup. “The UFA market is a fickle market. Statistically 80% of the transactions in the UFA market are poor transactions. But it’s a good way to augment your lineup if we can add the right pieces. We’re really in a position where we’re looking for secondary pieces and we’re pretty comfortable with our primary pieces up front. We’re looking to add support to our primary pieces that are currently in place.” Don’t expect the Oilers just to be comfortable with the middle-tier free agents. They will make calls on the top guys as well, even just to do their homework. “We’ll be chasing some of the higher end guys too. To what extent remains to be seen but we’ll be in those discussions.”Chris WescottTue, 17 Jun 2014 17:45:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/6343mactavh.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3001330013BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Iiro Pakarinenhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30007The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with forward Iiro Pakarinen to a two-year entry level contract. Pakarinen, 22, was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round, 184th overall, in 2011. He had his best season of his career this year, scoring 20 goals and adding 10 assists in 60 games with HIFK Helsinki. He is a 6-foot-1, 194-pound winger who also represented Finland at the 2014 World Hockey Championship. He played for Finland twice at the World Junior Championships (2010 & 2011).Chris WescottMon, 16 Jun 2014 12:50:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140615_Iiro Pakarinen.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3000730007BLOG: Nicholson brings a “fresh look”http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30001The addition of Bob Nicholson to the Oilers Entertainment Group’s executive core brings with it a fresh look and new ideas to the business side of things. “I think the first thing is that I have a fresh look,” Nicholson said. “There’s a lot of things that have gone very well in this organization. I’m not coming in here to rip things apart. I’m going to come in, observe and tinker with things to try to make them better. I really want to make sure we connect all of the departments and everything together and if you’ve got a real strong foundation… then that vision becomes a lot easier to achieve.” In his first few months on the job, Nicholson will be looking to get a feel for the organization as he looks to build on the new sports and entertainment company’s vision. “My first few months will be looking at the overall organization and hopefully be given ideas of communications, how the departments work and how we tie in business today and future business all together.” Nicholson’s ‘fresh look’ was highly coveted. President and COO of OEG Patrick LaForge says, “he’s the best free agent in the business.”Chris WescottFri, 13 Jun 2014 12:48:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_Blog.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3000130001BLOG: Nicholson’s role in Hockey Operationshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30000Long-time Hockey Canada President and CEO Bob Nicholson was announced as Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group on Friday. Nicholson has a hearty resume in the hockey world and a 14-year relationship with Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe, who will also serve as Vice Chairman of OEG. Lowe answered a question at the press conference pertaining to Nicholson’s role with hockey decisions. Lowe said he has great respect and a great relationship with Nicholson and that the new addition to the executive team is “As passionate in fixing the Oilers as we are.” The team will be welcoming Nicholson’s input and help in decision making in that department. Lowe says Nicholson sat in on the Oilers pro scout meetings and he, “will be as involved as much as we can get him and I know that will be a massive addition to our organization.”Chris WescottFri, 13 Jun 2014 12:25:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_nicholson644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3000030000BLOG: Structure of OEGhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29999The Katz Group launched the Oilers Entertainment Group, which is a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s “growing family of sports and entertainment assets.” The corporate structure announced today includes Daryl Katz serving as Chairmen, with Kevin Lowe and Bob Nicholson serving in the role of Vice-Chairmen. Patrick LaForge becomes the President and COO. Nicholson’s responsibilities will include fulfilling OEG’s “exciting vision” and growing the business. Lowe will continue to oversee hockey operations for the Oilers but will assist Nicholson in his role. LaForge will work with Lowe and Nicholson while being responsible for OEG’s business operations.Chris WescottFri, 13 Jun 2014 12:15:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_BobNicholson.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2999929999BLOG: Nicholson brings experience to Oilers Entertainment Grouphttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29998Newly launched sports and entertainment company, Oilers Entertainment Group, will have a solid leadership core that includes newly-appointed Bob Nicholson. Nicholson, who recently retired as President and CEO of Hockey Canada, will assume the role of Vice-Chairman of OEG. "Bob Nicholson is an exceptional talent with a world-class reputation and deep relationships across the hockey world, from junior player development to world-scale events and large corporate sponsors," said Daryl Katz in a press release. "He has been an innovator in driving new sport-based revenue models and we feel very fortunate he has chosen to move to Edmonton and become part of our team as we build a leading Canadian sports and entertainment company." Nicholson brings a wealth of experience to OEG, serving as President and CEO of Hockey Canada since 1998 and Senior Vice President of the Canadian Hockey Association for the previous six years. With Hockey Canada, Nicholson oversaw all operations from competitions that Canada participates in internationally. Under his watch, Canada has won 76 medals, with 44 of those being gold medals. Stay tuned for more coverage today.Chris WescottFri, 13 Jun 2014 11:58:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_BobNicholson.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2999829998BLOG: Major announcement made Fridayhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29997The Katz Group made a major announcement on Friday morning at the Westin Downtown in Edmonton. Bob Nicholson, the long-time President and CEO of Hockey Canada, has been named as Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG). OEG is a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s “growing family of sports and entertainment assets.” Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe has also been named Vice-Chairman of OEG. Oilers President and COO Patrick LaForge will assume the same title with OEG and will “be responsible for the group’s business operations. Lowe will maintain a “leadership role with the organization’s Hockey Operations.” Click here for full releaseChris WescottFri, 13 Jun 2014 11:57:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140613_nicholson644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2999729997BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Steve Pinizzottohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29988The Edmonton Oilers announced they have agreed to terms with centre Steve Pinizzotto on a one-year contract. Pinizzotto, 30, appeared in six games with the Oilers last season, recording two assists and 15 penalty minutes. He posted his first career National Hockey League point and first multi-point game (2A) on April 12th against the Vancouver Canucks. The 6’1”, 200-pound centre split the 2013-14 season between the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage and Oklahoma City Barons, posting 25 points (12G, 13A) and 183 penalty minutes in 51 games. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Pinizzotto has appeared in 18 career National Hockey League games with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseThu, 12 Jun 2014 12:16:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140406_pinizzotto.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2998829988BLOG: Ramsay on helping Edmonton become competitivehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29966The Edmonton Oilers are hoping to utilize the young talent they’ve got on their roster to end a playoff drought that’s lasted since 2006. With that, they’ve also added an experienced Assistant Coach in Craig Ramsay. Ramsay commented on coming to Edmonton and helping the team become competitive again in a phone interview shortly following the announcement. “We all know there’s been tough times. But they’ve developed some nice hockey players and some good kids. They had a great feeling about where they were as an organization and they believed that there’s a good, strong future. I’ve had to rebuild a few places and it’s a challenge, it’s hard and you’ve got to keep a strong mental attitude, you’ve got to stay positive, you’ve got to keep convincing the kids that they’re going to be successful and that it might not happen tomorrow. It doesn’t happen because you just suddenly want it. It happens because you’re committed to it. “I know Dallas (Eakins) is committed. He was a committed player, he’s a committed coach and Kevin (Lowe) and Craig MacTavish are good, solid people and that’s the thing that really turned me on to this position.”Chris WescottWed, 11 Jun 2014 11:00:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140610_ramsay2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2996629966BLOG: Eakins made promise to playershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29964At the close of a difficult season for the Edmonton Oilers, Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke to the players and made a promise to do everything in his power to improve the team. That includes a challenge to the players, while Eakins looks to improve himself and the staff around him. The Oilers announced the hiring of the experienced Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach on Tuesday. “I really felt it was a necessity,” Eakins said on Oilers Now. “The one thing that I spoke to the players at the end of the season was I challenged them to find a way to come into this season to be better. How could they improve, how could they make the people next to them better, how could they make our organization better and I stood in front of them and told them that I will not leave any stone unturned this summer improving myself. If I thought there could be improvements to the staff or the way we would do things, I would do that. I’m upholding my end of the bargain. I think this will help our group.”Chris WescottWed, 11 Jun 2014 10:59:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140610_eakins.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2996429964BLOG: Ramsay is an experienced, yet new-aged coachhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29965Craig Ramsay has been around the NHL block. After a long playing career with the Buffalo Sabres, Ramsay broke into the coaching ranks following retirement. He has made stops in seven cities in either an assistant, associate or head coaching capacity. His next stop is Edmonton, where he was named as the team’s new assistant coach on Tuesday. Even after a long career, Ramsay still brings a new-age approach to the game. It is one of the many reasons the Oilers wanted to bring him in. “I think that’s why he’s so well-respected,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s up-to-date, he’s a sought after coach and when we got into the talks, the thing that really struck me with him was how aggressive he likes to see the game played. That is something that we want to take another step at. It fits right in with my philosophy and the way we’re going. A lot of times when you pick up a much older coach, it’s that same-old defensive way of playing and that’s not the case with Craig. Craig wants to play an extremely aggressive game, an exciting game and if you’re watching the NHL playoffs that’s what is going on now.” In addition to his up-to-date philosophies, it is also his teaching abilities that are expected to make an impact in Edmonton. “His teaching abilities are incredible,” Eakins said. “That’s something that with our group that we greatly need. His dealings with the players are very personal, a lot of one-on-one interaction which I think is extremely important. It turned into an easy decision with the other candidates that were out there.”Chris WescottWed, 11 Jun 2014 10:59:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140610_ramsay3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2996529965BLOG: Eakins on staffhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29963With the Edmonton Oilers announcing the hiring of Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach on Tuesday, there will also be some shuffling of the previous staff. Kelly Buchberger’s transition into player personnel was announced along with the press release. Head Coach Dallas Eakins was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer shortly following the announcement and provided an update on where the staff stands with Ramsay on board. “Those are tough decisions,” Eakins said. “Not only for myself in trying to improve our team by adding somebody experienced like Craig Ramsay but it’s decisions too by Craig (MacTavish) and by Kelly. I believe I’m not speaking out of turn, that this is something that Kelly had been looking at before. It’s never an easy thing but when changes are made it turns into opportunity with new jobs and I believe that’s how Kelly is looking at this.” Eakins also said that Steve Smith is someone who may be shifting roles. "Steve is an excellent coach and he is somebody that we’re in discussions with now with a new role and it's something that he’s going to have to consider.”Chris WescottWed, 11 Jun 2014 10:54:00 EDThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2996329963Oilers hire Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coachhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29934The Edmonton Oilers have announced the hiring of Craig Ramsay as an Assistant Coach. Kelly Buchberger will transition to a new role in player personnel. Ramsay is a former player, drafted in the second round in 1971 by the Buffalo Sabres. He played 14 seasons in the NHL (1971-1985), all with the Sabres. He appeared in 776 consecutive games (1973-1983), which is the fourth longest consecutive games streak in NHL history. He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 1985. In 1987, Ramsay became an assistant on the Sabres staff and later served as interim head coach. He also served in a role as the team’s director of player personnel and assistant general manager. After breaking into coaching with Buffalo, Ramsay moved on to stops with the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and back to the Florida Panthers. He has been a head coach with the Sabres (interim), the Flyers, and most recently with the Thrashers in 2010-11. Ramsay has nearly 40 years of NHL experience as a player and coach.Chris WescottTue, 10 Jun 2014 14:47:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/06/20140610_ramsay.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2993429934BLOG: Ference to march in Edmonton Pride Paradehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29913Captain Andrew Ference will make history on Saturday as he becomes the first Oiler to participate in the city’s pride parade. Ference will be marching in the parade alongside Camp fYerfly (Canada’s only national leadership retreat for sexual and gender minority youth), representing the ‘You Can Play’ team. The purpose of ‘You Can Play’ is to eradicate homophobia in sports. Ference has been a major advocate for the YCP campaign, which lainched in March of 2012 and officially partnered with the NHL and NHLPA in April of 2013. “You Can Play has fundamentally changed the way the NHL players think and act,” Ference told Global News. “We understand the important role we can play in ending discrimination within sports and society…When we work, play and live together without discrimination it makes our entire community stronger and more productive.” The parade begins at noon, follows 102nd Ave and marches past City Hall. More celebrations will be held at Winston Churchill Square. Since his return to his hometown team last summer, Ference has been very active in the community, from his green initiatives teaming up with Mayor Don Iveson, to his own personal composting, to spearheading a local drop-in fitness initiative called November Project, which he brought with him from Boston. Jenny Scrivens, wife of Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens, will also be participating in the parade.Chris WescottThu, 05 Jun 2014 12:48:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2013/10/Ference_306_101413.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2991329913BLOG: Sam Reinhart remains top dog on Button’s listhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29903There were not many changes to TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button’s ‘Craig’s List’ this week. Button posts his rankings of the top draft-eligible players. Once again, Kootenay centre Sam Reinhart tops the rankings for the seventh time. Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad takes second while Kingston centre Sam Bennett and Prince Albert centre Leon Draisaitl round out the top four. The top four have remained the same from Button’s previous list. Button had a couple of players shoot up his list from the previous rankings as Calgary Hitmen defenceman Travis Sanheim moved from 23 to eighth overall. Russian centre Vladislav Kamenev moved from 25 to 12. The Oilers currently hold the third overall pick in the first round.Chris WescottWed, 04 Jun 2014 12:48:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/644396-reinhartbike.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2990329903BLOG: Barons agree to terms with Fordhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29851The Oklahoma City Barons have agreed to terms with forward Matthew Ford on a one-year American Hockey League contract for the 2014-15 season, the team announced today. “I loved everything about Oklahoma City, starting with the organization,” Ford said of his time with the team during the 2013-14 season. “It’s really a first-class operation from the coaches, players, and a big part of that, is the fan support.” Ford, 29, played in 73 games for the Barons last season and registered 47 points with 25 goals and 22 assists. He was fourth on the team in total points and led Oklahoma City in goals (25), games played (73) and power-play goals (12). Ford also tied for the team lead in multi-goal games with three two-goal outings on the year. “We’re going to have a lot of second-year guys that will help us get back to how we were playing in the second half of this past season,” Ford said. “We started peaking around playoff time last year, and we’ll have some pieces to put together down the road, but I like the group we have. This organization likes to win, and we want to make the playoffs.” Ford has spent the time in the AHL in each of his six professional seasons with Oklahoma City, Hartford, Lake Erie, Hershey, Adirondack and Springfield. He was drafted in the eighth round (256th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Ford played four years (2005-08) at the University of Wisconsin, where the Badgers won the 2006 NCAA Championship.Cassie GageTue, 03 Jun 2014 12:02:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/03/nelly306031314.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2985129851BLOG: Draisaitl motivated to inspire other Germanshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29825Top draft prospect Leon Draisaitl came to North America to play for the Prince Albert Raiders because he wanted to play hockey where it would best help his development. With the goal of making the NHL in mind, Draisaitl left Germany in pursuit of his dreams. That doesn’t mean he has forgotten where he’s come from. Draisaitl is hoping to one day be the type of German player who inspires younger children in his home country to take up hockey. “German players don’t come along very often,” he said. “We just don’t have the best development. I don’t like saying it. I’m proud to be German but I think it’s important for German hockey to have (good German players) so kids have guys to look up to. I want to be that same type of guy that maybe makes younger guys in Germany play hockey because I’m proud to be German and I want to make the country proud and make as many kids play hockey as possible.” Draisaitl skated for Germany at the 2014 IIHF World Championships earlier this month in Minsk, Belarus.Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 15:53:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/306draisaitl.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2982529825BLOG: Top of draft is not set in stonehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29798The media and public has made a lot about the group known as the ‘Fantastic Four’ which heads into the draft as the so-called top tier players. That list includes defenceman Aaron Ekblad, along with centres Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl. However, Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr says some of that has to do with media hype and things could change depending on team needs. “There’s a lot of hype there,” Marr said. “The NHL scouts and teams aren’t going to tell you what they really think. But that’s why they play the games and that’s why we see what happens there. There’s nothing to say that one of the Europeans couldn’t slide up in there or Michael Dal Colle couldn’t slide up in there. But I know to try and predict the order is an exercise in futility. At the top end there they’re going to get good players, it’ll just be what that team is looking for in a player.”Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 15:20:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/306172jackmarr.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2979829798BLOG: Dan Marr on importance of the Combinehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29796The Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr was in attendance at the Combine and provided his thoughts on why this week is so important to NHL clubs as they move closer towards the draft. “A lot of teams have been working on their lists all year long,” Marr said. “Some teams have had the opportunity to meet the players but a lot of times they haven’t. Certainly the general manager hasn’t or the assistant general manager so this gives them an opportunity where all of the kids, we can bring them in one spot. They can go around, the general managers have heard about these players and now they get a chance to meet with them and the scouts get a chance to know them a little better. If they have some questions that they didn’t really want to grill them on during the season about their play then now is the point in time they can bring that up with them there.” Marr also mentioned the importance in the medical evaluations and fitness results as well as how each individual player responds to instructions or motivation. “For the most part they’ve done their lists here. They might use this here to tweak things a little bit because they didn’t know how to differentiate some players as they work their way down their lists. And it certainly helps those that are at the top end there, the teams where they can identify this is the guy we’re going to key in on.”Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 15:19:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/20140531_Ritchie.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2979629796BLOG: Bennett sees himself as NHL-readyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29793Sam Bennett is a consensus top-five pick and the number one North American skater in Central Scouting’s rankings. He is one of the younger prospects at the top, as he turns 18 on June 20. That isn’t stopping Bennett from being confident in his ability to make an NHL roster out of camp this year. “I do feel like I’ll be ready come training camp and I’m going to work really hard in the gym this summer and on the ice and do whatever it takes to be ready for the NHL next year,” Bennett said. Bennett also says that was a reoccurring topic in his interviews with teams at the combine. “I was asked by a bunch of teams if I thought I was ready and my answer every time was I think I’m ready to play next year.”Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 13:40:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/20140531_combine_6444.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2979329793BLOG: Hickey a big Oilers fanhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29791Leduc, AB native and Spruce Grove Saint defenceman Brandon Hickey has an Oilers connection. “I grew up watching them,” Hickey said. “I’ve watched a lot of hockey of the Edmonton Oilers. Growing up, it was my dad’s favourite team and he passed that passion on to me. In our basement we have a little hockey rink with the Oilers logo in the middle. It’s pretty neat to even just talk to them here.” Hickey is the 63rd-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. He is just under 6-foot-2 and just over 175 pounds. He had a 22-point season (4-18-22 in 49 games) for Spruce Grove this year.Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 12:24:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/gallery/2014/03/416872_1396063748084.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2979129791BLOG: Kapanen’s close callhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29786As the son of a player, draft prospect Kasperi Kapanen grew up around NHL rinks. Naturally, this lifestyle led to some very interesting stories. His father Sami Kapanen would have him around after practice and the young Kapanen would go out on the ice. At the Scouting Combine, Kasperi told one of the more interesting, and potentially dangerous, stories he has from his childhood. “I remember a story where I was actually on the ice when I was around three or four with my dad after practice and I think it was Bates Battaglia who was taking slap shots on the boards and he wasn’t looking up at all,” said Kapanen. “I was skating right in the way and I didn’t have a helmet on, or I did but it still wouldn’t have helped that much, so I think he shot it three or four inches above my head so my dad kind of got mad at him a little bit but there’s a lot of stories.” Battaglia and Sami Kapanen played together on the Carolina Hurricanes from 1997-2003.Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 11:30:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/05/20140531_kasperi.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2978629786BLOG: Hunter Smith’s connection to Taylor Hallhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29762Growing up in Windsor, ON, draft prospect Hunter Smith got an up-close view of an Edmonton Oiler as he was ripping up the Ontario Hockey League. In three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires, Taylor Hall posted 284 regular-season points and 76 in the playoffs. It’s a big reason why he was the number one overall pick in 2010 by the Oilers. Smith witnessed Hall’s reign in the OHL. “I think I was at every game,” the 18-year-old winger said. “My family had season tickets and I saw him score a lot of goals. He’s electric player and would obviously be a great player to have on your team one day.” Smith posted 40 points (16-24-40) this season for Windsor and rocketed his draft stock after slipping through the draft last year. He is a towering winger, standing at close to 6-foot-7 and is an intriguing prospect after his breakout season. Smith says he doesn’t know where he may go in the draft. He is just going with the flow. “Big guys, I’m not going to shrink any. I don’t really have any expectations. I’m kind of going there with an open mind and whatever happens, happens because I over thought my OHL draft and it didn’t go as planned. Right now I’m just trying to let it happen.”Chris WescottSat, 31 May 2014 10:27:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/04/20140407hallcelly.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2976229762BLOG: Combine gives teams full scopehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29768Many of the top prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft will be put to the ultimate test this week in an effort to impress potential future employers at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto. The primary purpose of the Combine, which runs May 26-31, is to aid all 30 NHL teams in the player selection process. NHL Central Scouting invited 119 players from North America and Europe to take part. The Combine will allow NHL scouts and general managers an opportunity to interview as many prospects as they wish during a five-day period from May 26-30. Three new tests highlight Combine "By the time the Combine rolls around we've done our checking, but what I look for in an interview is the maturity level and how far along they are in that area," Buffalo Sabres assistant general manager Kevin Devine told NHL.com. "That usually determines how far away they are from playing in the NHL. But I don't think the interviews are going to jump anyone five or six draft spots either. "They could jump a spot or two if guys are professionals in the interviews, but there won't be any big jump at the top, especially with the top five in this draft class." Teams also will have access to medical examinations conducted May 30 by independent doctors from York University in Toronto. The fitness portion of the Combine will be held May 31 at Toronto International Centre, headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his York University Fitness staff. This year overhand pull-ups, single leg squats (both legs) and pro agility tests will replace push-ups, the push-pull station and the seated medicine ball throw. "All players must be medically cleared by the NHL Combine medical staff in order to participate in the physical testing," Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "Any player that is not 100-percent able to perform an upper- or lower-body test will be classed as injury or medically exempt depending on the circumstances. "Every year there are instances where players have declined the Combine invitation, been medically ruled unable to test or have declined to test, but those instances vary and are rare." Among those not being able to take part in the fitness testing is Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen, No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the this year's draft. He will attend the Combine but will not take part in any of the physical testing after recent shoulder surgery that has a recovery time of 4-6 months. The fitness test results not only provide information on current capacities, but also insight into the potential future improvements. "What the players have to keep in mind is that this will be their initial contact with many NHL teams, so they have the chance to make that good initial impression," Marr said. "Some kids aren't that comfortable when they're in an interview environment so it's important they be prepared to talk about themselves, which is something they might not be used to doing. The Combine gives the NHL teams a chance to get to know the player away from the rink." The Combine will serve as the last chance for top players to make an impression prior to the 2014 draft, which will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Among the players invited are possible first-round candidates Samuel Bennett, Spencer Watson and Roland McKeown of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League; Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts (OHL); Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League; Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL); and Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals (OHL). There are 11 goalies invited to the Combine, including eight from North America. Topping that group is Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko, Central Scouting's No. 1-rated North American goaltender. Of the 101 North American players attending, 72 will be representing the Canadian Hockey League, almost 70 percent of all North American invites. Of that group, 35 play in the OHL, 23 in the WHL and 14 in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Also on the list are 16 players from the United States Hockey League, including 10 from the United States National Team Development Program Under-18 team. And there will be seven players who played high school/prep hockey this season, including defenseman Luc Snuggerud of Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School and center Ryan Donato of Dexter School (Mass.). The top European-based prospects invited include right wing Kasperi Kapanen of Kalpa in Finland; center/right wing William Nylander of Modo in Sweden; and left wing Kevin Fiala of HV 71's team in Sweden's junior league. "There are certain parts of each team's staff who have watched these kids and have been [in Europe], but the top guy, the general manager, has not had that time to do it," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "The interview and how well they perform in the testing is going to be highly scrutinized if they're considering this type of player with their pick." The three international goalies in attendance will be Ville Husso of HIFK in Finland, Jonas Johansson of Brynas' team in Sweden's junior league and Kaapo Kahkonen, who plays for Blues' team in Finland's junior league. "Some of these Europeans will be exposed to being in North America for the very first time and they're here for a week because of how long it takes them to get over here," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "The Combine is going to be important for them." There are four body composition tests (standing height, wingspan, body weight, skinfold fat measurements) and 11 individual fitness tests designed to evaluate the draft hopefuls. This will be the 21st year Gledhill has tested the athletes at the NHL Combine. Each test is held at a separate station under the watch of several dozen of Gledhill's employees and graduate students from the York University Human Performance Lab.Mike MorrealeThu, 29 May 2014 12:38:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2012/06/20120602_yakupov.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2976829768BLOG: Three new tests highlight combinehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=29767The 2014 NHL Scouting Combine will incorporate three new fitness tests for the top prospects in attendance on May 31 at Toronto International Centre. Replacing push-ups, the push-pull station and seated medicine ball throw at this year's event will be overhand pull-ups, single leg squat and a pro agility test. "The NHL strength coaches group were consulted during a review of the NHL Combine and their group suggested to remove those three tests and replace them with testing that is more dynamic [more moving body weight] versus static [stationary] tests," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "The 30 NHL teams were polled on whether they supported these testing modifications and the majority approved for us to implement them at the 2014 Combine." The overhand pull-ups will require each player to perform a maximum number of consecutive repetitions with the correct technique while pausing for one second at the top and bottom of the movement. Partial pull-ups will not be counted. The single leg squats evaluate unilateral strength, balance and full body coordination. Each player must perform five successive repetitions on each leg. Each squat is worth 15 points with a maximum score of 75 (per leg). The pro agility test will rate multi-directional speed, agility and whole body reaction, plus control. In a timed test, players are required to sprint 15 feet to the right and touch a line with their right hand, sprint 30 feet to the left and touch a line with their left hand, and sprint 15 feet to the right and over the line to finishMike MorrealeThu, 29 May 2014 12:35:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2012/06/20120605_combine644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=2976729767