EDMONTON OILERS BLOGShttp://www.edmontonoilers.com/rssEDMONTON OILERS BLOGSNHL Enterprises, L.P. (c) 2015 NHL. All Rights Reserveden-usMon, 31 Aug 2015 13:18:33 EDTBLOG: Ference’s approach to McDavidhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=41030Oilers Captain Andrew Ference has been around the league for some time. The veteran of over 900 NHL games has played with and against some of the league’s brightest stars. The Oilers will bring in one of the next crop of those expected star players in Connor McDavid. The 2015 first-overall pick is highly touted by the hockey community and has been since he was a young boy. The 18-year-old centre will come to Edmonton with expectations and pressure placed on him by the media and the fans, but it’s nothing new to him. As one of the leaders of the Oilers, Ference will undoubtedly provide counsel to the youngster. One of the things he wants McDavid to do is just have fun. “There are some things you can relate to (with McDavid),” said Ference. “Obviously, your first year in the league. There are some things with him that not too many of us are going to be able to relate to. He’s dealt with things with tremendous maturity. He’s been incredibly impressive. Honestly, for the most part, it’s the off the ice stuff. It’s the day-to-day stuff and how to handle yourself, how to make sure that you have somewhat of a normal life outside of the rink and what not. To have that getaway from all that attention, from all that kind of spotlight. I think that’s the biggest thing. He’s a great kid. He’s a very nice man. He’s mature, he’s got his focus on the game. Give him an opportunity to be normal and have fun. Have fun with not only hockey but have fun growing up and living this life and making sure he’s doing things he gets fulfilment out of as well.” The pressures of being a rookie in the NHL are great enough. Perhaps Ference is onto something with his advice. Everybody needs an escape.Chris WescottTue, 25 Aug 2015 16:31:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150703_McDavid6.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4103041030BLOG: Ference ready to stop talking excitementhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=41029Andrew Ference has followed along with his team very closely this summer. The entire league has. Perhaps no team in the NHL has seen such an overhaul in personnel both on and off the ice. The additions and changes have been talked about a lot this summer and so much so that Ference is ready to stop talking and start doing. “You talk, talk, talk, talk and it gets kind of old to be honest,” said Ference. “There is always optimism. With every single team I’ve been on, this time of year brings optimism. There has to be action and there has to be legitimate change in the way we’ve done things.” Ference’s call for action stems from his desire to win and do so in Edmonton. Yakupov, who is also skating in the same camp had a similar sentiment last week talking about needing every player to come together and work hard. The players are on the same page. “Everybody has to dig deeper and be a little bit more prepared,” said Ference. “That has to be throughout the entire organization. It can’t just be one or two guys having a better year. I think all of us really have to dig deep and not just talk about how we want it to change but really go out there and put some solid action behind it.” Personnel changes alone don’t win championships. How those pieces come together and compete this season and in the future will determine the success of the club.Chris WescottTue, 25 Aug 2015 16:30:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/08/20150825_ference644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4102941029BLOG: Talbot impresses Ferencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=41028Everyone knows Cam Talbot has a small NHL sample size. The former New York Rangers goaltender played in the shadow of Henrik Lundqvist under the lights of the big city. When Lundqvist went down due to a vascular injury last season, Talbot was forced to step in and he did so extremely well. He went 16-4-3 in Lundqvist’s absence and posted a 2.16 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. His performance led teams around the NHL to take notice. It also made him Edmonton’s top goaltending target this off-season. They managed to acquire the 27-year-old at the draft in a trade with the Rangers. Oilers defenceman and captain Andrew Ference was one of the players to come away impressed by Talbot’s performance last season. “I think like most guys in the league, you see Lundqvist go down and he played great,” said Ference. “For the first few games, you’re watching on TV and you’re kind of waiting for him to bend a bit. Obviously, when you’ve got a guy like Lundqvist you’re not going to see a lot of whoever is backing him up. When he kept playing well it was like, OK, he’s legit. He did really well for that team. He came in in pressure situations and big games to try and fill shoes like Lundqvist’s is not easy. I think it’s what really impressed everyone around the league about him.” Talbot will compete for number one status in Edmonton this seasonChris WescottTue, 25 Aug 2015 16:29:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644talbot2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4102841028BLOG: Yak talks changeshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40980Here at edmontonoilers.com, we have documented what has been an off-season of change for the Oilers organization. From the promotion of Bob Nicholson to CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group, to the hiring of Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. There will be a group of new coaches behind the bench this season, led by veteran Head Coach Todd McLellan. Trades and free agent signings have reshaped the roster, and don’t forget the addition of first-overall pick and expected impact centre Connor McDavid. The ride has been fun for the fans and fun for the media to cover. It’s no surprise the league has taken notice of the Oilers improvements, but imagine being a player in the system. Oilers winger Nail Yakupov has kept a watchful eye on the additions. Yakupov, who is in Edmonton at the Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 Hockey Camp this week, spoke to Oilers TV about the changes to the coaching staff and front office. “These (coaches) have been working for San Jose for many years and they’ve been playing in the playoffs. They know how to play in the playoffs. They’ve coached guys like Joe Thornton and (Joe) Pavelski and other guys… Brent Burns. It’s a good opportunity,” said Yakupov. “The GM won a Cup in Boston, right? So, it’s always good to have those types of guys.” Like so many others, Yakupov is optimistic that the changes will help the club moving forward. But he also recognizes that the players will have to come together and prove themselves on the ice. “I hope and everyone is hoping (the additions) are going to bring something special to our team and make our team better again,” said Yakupov. “We have to just play. Something could happen every day. You never know. I’m just happy for another season and happy to get back. I can’t wait to play and see all the guys.” When the Oilers return to camp, they do so with the goal of turning these organizational moves into real results. “The Oilers organization wants to do their best to make the team better,” said Yakupov. “It’s all about the team and we’ve got to stick with it. We’ve got to be together and show how we’re going to play. We’re getting older every year and the bad ways should stop one day.”Chris WescottTue, 18 Aug 2015 16:18:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/08/20150818_YakupovTEST.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4098040980BLOG: Yakupov on McDavidhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40979If you don’t get the hype surrounding Oilers 2015 first-overall pick, Connor McDavid, then just check out the film. The potential and talent of McDavid is well-known in hockey circles and has been for years. It has Oilers players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins already voicing their excitement about their new teammate, before training camp even opens. Nail Yakupov is the latest Oilers player to speak to the media about McDavid. “Everyone talks about McDavid,” said Yakupov. “It’s kind of been crazy, especially in this city. I think it’s really good for us too. He’s a really good player and I think it will help us to be better.” About the possibility of playing on a line with McDavid, Yakupov takes a wait-and-see approach. “That wouldn’t be bad,” he said. “We still have some time. Have to be ready for the season, have to be ready for camp. It’s all the coaches’ decision on where I’m going to play. It’s all about them. Our goal is just to be strong, play hard and make some good fitness testing. Just get going in the exhibition and get ready to go for the start of the season.” Yakupov was asked about having two former first-overall picks leading the charge up the middle for the Oilers. McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins certainly bring some star power and potential to the position. “We have real good centres. Both of them. They are really good and they are really smart and they’ll be some of the best centres in the league, especially on our team,” said Yakupov. “It’s not all about just a couple guys and not about the one guy. We have a team and we have another 20 guys who are going to play hard and make some things happen on our team.”Chris WescottTue, 18 Aug 2015 16:14:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/08/20150818_yak1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4097940979BLOG: Power play improvementhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40986The Oilers finished 19th in the NHL last season on the man advantage (17.7%). Their conversion rate on the power play drastically improved from the first half of the season, where they were operating at just 14% before the All-Star Break. Following the break, Edmonton improved to 23.6% and sat fourth in the league during that time. Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sees improvement on the power play this upcoming season, given the strides made last season and additions to the coaching staff and the roster. One of those key additions should be 2015 first-overall pick Connor McDavid, who has the high-end offensive capabilities that can boost a power play. “I think, as the year went on and near the end of the season, we really picked up our power play,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “We started scoring and just had the confidence to go out there and get the job done. For whatever reason, that was something we were lacking at the start of the year. With a guy like (McDavid) coming in too, that will ignite us a little more hopefully. We should be a team with a really strong power play and we’ve got to get back to that.” Oilers new Head Coach Todd McLellan has a history of coaching productive power plays. With San Jose the last seven seasons, only once were the Sharks ranked outside the top 10, and twice McLellan’s Sharks were second in the league on the man advantage (2010-11 and 2011-12). San Jose’s Power Play Under McLellan: 2009-10: 4th (21.0%) 2010-11: 2nd (23.5%) 2011-12: 2nd (21.1%) 2012-13: 7th (20.1%) 2013-14: 20th (17.2%) 2014-15: 6th (21.6%)Chris WescottThu, 13 Aug 2015 17:53:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150316_ph2-644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4098640986BLOG: Depth up the middlehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40985For years, the Oilers have been looking to add depth up the middle. Heading into the 2015-16 season, it would appear they are the deepest they have been at centre in quite some time. Heading into his fifth professional season, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a huge part of the centre group in Edmonton. The addition of 2015 first-overall pick Connor McDavid has added excitement and potential. Adding free-agent signing Mark Letestu has bolstered the depth and veteran leadership. The development of 2014 third-overall pick Leon Draisaitl and the emergence of Anton Lander as a legitimate NHL option have also given the Oilers things to look forward to. “I think this is probably our best year for centremen depth, that I’ve been a part of,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “We still have young guys, which is always good. With Mark coming in, I think he’ll be a really good leader for us and show us the way. There’s going to be competition amongst ourselves and I think that’s going to make us better.” Nugent-Hopkins looks forward to the day when they can roll numerous offensive lines against opponents. Given the added depth at centre, that day is closing in. “Having two or three lines that other teams have to worry about on the offensive side of things makes such a big difference,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “It spreads everything around a lot more and I think the best teams in the league are deep on the offensive side of things and also on defence. When we get the right depth and we find that on our team, it’s going to be a big change for us.”Chris WescottThu, 13 Aug 2015 17:52:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/01/644rnhh.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4098540985BLOG: Four years inhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40984Four years into his professional career, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ready to take the next step. He’s been thrust into a key roll on the Oilers since entering the league as the first-overall pick in 2011. The 2014-15 season saw Nugent-Hopkins post a career-high 24 goals. He also tied a career high in points with 56 in 76 games. At Oilers Hockey School in Leduc on Thursday, the centre reflected on the improvements he’s made in his game, particularly this past season. “I think I was better at finding the balance between the offensive side and defensive side,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “If you worry too much about one or the other, it might hurt the other one. But I think if you play solid at both ends of the rink you create more offence for everybody on the ice. I think I started to find that a bit better last year. I think a big thing in this league is just being consistent. That’s something that I want to keep working on and try to keep the same mentality and the same work ethic every night.” Nugent-Hopkins has also put on more muscle. The centre says he weighed about 175 pounds at the draft, but is currently around 195.​Chris WescottThu, 13 Aug 2015 17:50:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/465725824_fullSize(1).jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4098440984BLOG: Condors ink Roy to AHL dealhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40934The Oilers American Hockey League affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, have inked 2013 second-round pick (56th overall) Marc-Olivier Roy to an AHL contract. The term of the contract was not released. Marco Roy finished out his QMJHL career with the Quebec Remparts in 2014-15 after three seasons with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. In 229 regular season games in the QMJHL, Roy compiled 86 goals and 106 assists for 192 points. In the playoffs, Roy recorded 56 points (19-37-56) in 60 games. For the 2015 Memorial Cup hosts (Quebec), Roy scored a goal and added four assets in five games. Roy is a 20-year-old 6-foot-0, 183-pound forward from Boisbriand, QC.Chris WescottTue, 11 Aug 2015 14:00:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/08/20150810_roy.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4093440934BLOG: Nurse looks to "earn a job"http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40951Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers hosted another special guest this week as the kids were treated with a visit from Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. Nurse is in Edmonton to watch the start of the 2015 FIBA Americas Women’s Basketball Championship as his sister Kia takes to the court for Canada, and he jumped at the chance to drop by Oilers Hockey School while he was in town. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound d-man also spoke about the upcoming Oilers training camp and how he feels about the battle on the back end that lays ahead. “I am just going to get myself ready to go out there and earn a job,” he said. “It’s something that I am expecting myself to do, but at the same time, it’s going to take a lot of work. And I’ve got to put that work in.” Nurse’s OHL playoff run with the Soo Greyhounds this past spring got cut short in the semifinal round thanks to Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, but that meant he got to join the Oilers AHL affiliate Oklahoma City Barons on their playoff run in May. Nurse said that extra experience with the AHL club was hugely beneficial as he gets ready to become a full-time pro in 2015-16. “Any opportunity you have to get out there and play definitely helps. But it was good to help me gauge myself and things I need to work on. I have another year under my belt. I know what to expect and I know what to expect from myself.” Nurse appeared in two games with the Oilers at the beginning of the 2014-15 NHL season, before reporting back to the OHL with the Greyhounds where he made 36 regular season appearances, tallying 10 goals and 23 assists. He tacked on three goals and five assists during the Soo's post-season run and contributed four assists during his short four-game stint in the AHL playoffs with OKC. Nurse also led Hockey Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship and earned tournament MVP honours in the process. Nurse’s next action in Oilers silks will be at the Young Stars Classic taking place in Penticton in mid-September.Cait MacPhailFri, 07 Aug 2015 17:06:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644nurse1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4095140951BLOG: Nurse in town cheering on sister Kiahttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40950Darnell Nurse is pulling double duty during his trip to Edmonton this weekend. The defenceman was wearing his Oilers hat/helmet on Friday as a special guest at Hockey School in St. Albert, and on Sunday he’ll be in big brother mode at the Saville Sports Centre cheering on sister Kia and the Canadian women’s basketball team in their first game at the FIBA Americas Championship. “It’s a pretty good lineup for the weekend,” Nurse said between on-ice sessions at Oilers Hockey School. “It’s an opportunity to get into the community and come to the Hockey School, and obviously (Kia) is here so I want to watch her play.” Kia has stolen the Nurse family spotlight this summer, leading Canada to a gold-medal performance at the Pan Am Games in Toronto with a remarkable 33 points in the championship game against the United States. The 19-year-old, who was picked as Canada’s flag-bearer for the Pan Am closing ceremonies, will look to continue her hot streak in Edmonton as the national team looks to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. And it hasn’t just been national team success for Kia in 2015. Despite being a first-year player, she was also starter at the University of Connecticut this past season and helped the Huskies capture the NCAA championship. Darnell and Kia are children of Richard and Cathy Nurse, who played pro football in the CFL and Canadian university basketball for McMaster, respectively. Their older sister Tamika also played at the NCAA level. That must mean Darnell has some basketball skills in his blood too, right? “No, none… I wish,” he laughed. “I can jump, but putting a ball in the hoop is a lot harder than it looks.” Nurse said the family plays two-on-two games when they’re all home together, but when was the last time he and Kia squared off one-on-one? “When I knew I could beat her, so probably when we were like eight years old,” he laughed. “After that I knew I had no chance. I gave up on that dream.” Nurse’s pursuit of his dream to become a full-time NHL blueliner will continue at Oilers training camp in September, but for this weekend he’ll support Kia’s dream of becoming an Olympian. The FIBA Americas Championship runs Aug. 9-16 at the Saville Centre. Tickets are available on-site and through Ticketmaster. Canada opens its round-robin schedule Sunday at 6:30pm MT vs. Puerto Rico.Ryan FranksonFri, 07 Aug 2015 17:05:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/08/644nurse.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4095040950BLOG: Szabados visits Oilers Hockey Schoolhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40753Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers had another special guest stop by on Wednesday as the kids were treated with a visit from two-time Olympic gold medalist and Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team goaltender Shannon Szabados. Edmonton native Szabados spoke of the privilege of giving back to the community where she grew up playing hockey. “It’s nice to be home for the summer and I take any chance I get to come back to the rink, especially when it’s camps like these,” she said. “These camps were my favourite and always the highlights of my summer, so it’s nice to be able to help out and give back to the community in this way,” After four seasons of collegiate men’s hockey with MacEwan and NAIT, Szabados just finished her second season with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). She’s back in her hometown for the summer and talked about the minor pro experience so far. “It’s been amazing. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I first went down there because it is so far south, but I’d say the majority of the league is Canadian. So I have played with and against a lot of the guys down there and that made the transition easier,” she said. “And as far the fans go, it’s been unbelievable. We have a lot of die-hard fans down there. The hockey is great and I am getting ice time and starting to feel more comfortable.” As far her career progression goes, Szabados feels like she is right where she belongs following a 15-9-1 campaign with a 3.12 GAA and .907 save percentage. “I think any hockey player’s goal is to play the highest level possible and I think right now the (SPHL) is a good fit for me.” Being a local product, Szabados also spoke fondly of when she got to suit up and participate in an Oilers practice on March 5, 2014. “That was so awesome and such an honour. Some of the kids were actually asking about that today,” she said. “The Oilers organization has been so great to me, so I feel it’s important to come out and help whenever I can. I was born and raised in Edmonton and will definitely always be an Oilers girl at heart.” Szabados backstopped the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team to two consecutive gold medals at the 2010 Vancouver & 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.Cait MacPhailWed, 22 Jul 2015 19:39:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644shannon.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4075340753BLOG: Gazdic looks ahead to 2015-16http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40738Oilers forward Luke Gazdic was in Edmonton on Tuesday making a guest appearance at Oilers Hockey School and sharing some of his thoughts about the upcoming season. Gazdic expressed excitement as a result of the flurry of off-season changes the club has gone through recently, and what it could all mean moving forward. “There’s definitely a lot of big changes happening, and there is a buzz in the city that I haven’t really felt since I’ve been here,” he said. "With the way things have gone over the last few years, I think change is to be expected and with change comes a lot of expectation. So it’s something that I know a lot of guys, including myself, are really looking forward to.” With the off-season additions of fellow checking-line forwards Mark Letestu and Lauri Korpikoski, Gazdic is well aware the team make-up is bound to be different heading into the 2015-16 season. And given that notion of higher expectations, he knows what challenges lay ahead when it comes to the battle to make the lineup. “It’s always been my mindset that I am coming in to earn a roster spot, and I have had that same mindset since my first pro camp, so it’s nothing new for me. I know I am going to come into camp in the best shape possible and give myself every chance to be an effective player in the lineup.” The 6'4” left-winger has made 107 appearances with the Oilers over the last two seasons, tallying four goals, three assists and racking up 127 penalty minutes with 22 fights.Cait MacPhailTue, 21 Jul 2015 18:25:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644gazdic3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4073840738BLOG: Gazdic helps out at Hockey Schoolhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40736The annual Oilers Hockey School presented by Rogers kicked off this week at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert, and the kids in attendance were treated with a special guest visit from Oilers winger Luke Gazdic on Tuesday. Gazdic took part in some on-ice training sessions with a few lucky groups of seven to 15-year-olds and spoke about the privilege of being able to participate in the event. “I am just happy to be here and happy to help,” he said. "I did camps like this when I was younger and for me it was always nice to see pro athletes come in. It’s awesome to be able to give back in this setting and help young kids develop their skill sets.". This year’s Oilers Hockey School runs from July 19 to August 7 at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert and August 9-14 at Leduc Recreation Centre. Special guest appearances continue this week with Olympic gold medallist Shannon Szabados, former Oilers goaltender Jeff Deslauriers and both current and former Edmonton Oil Kings WHL players. Current Oilers players will also be visiting in the coming weeks.Cait MacPhailTue, 21 Jul 2015 17:33:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644gazdic1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4073640736BLOG: Norfolk Admirals name Eric Veilleux head coachhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40729The Oilers ECHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals named Eric Veilleux as head coach for the upcoming season. From the Admirals press release: ADMIRALS NAME FORMER ASSISTANT ERIC VEILLEUX HEAD COACH FOR 2015-16 NORFOLK, Va. - The Norfolk Admirals, the Oilers ECHL affiliate, announce today that the team has named Eric Veilleux head coach for the upcoming season. The Admirals have also named Ben Boudreau as assistant coach to serve alongside Veilleux. Edmonton Oilers Assistant General Manager Bill Scott says, "We are thrilled to announce Eric Veilleux will join our organization as Head Coach of our ECHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals. Eric has an outstanding coaching history as a Head Coach in the QMJHL, where he not only had successful teams, but he developed individual players and prepared them for professional hockey." Veilleux, 43, makes his professional head coaching debut after nine seasons at the helm in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and one as assistant coach of the Admirals in 2014-15. Veilleux led the Shawinigan Cataractes to a Memorial Cup championship as the host in 2012 before moving on to Norfolk in 2014 following two seasons as bench boss of Baie-Comeau Drakkar. The Quebec City native compiled a 347-208-45 record and led his teams to the postseason in all nine campaigns during his QMJHL tenure. A 5-foot-7, 148-pound forward in his playing days, Veilleux skated in 601 career games in three leagues and three different countries. He made 517 combined appearances in the AHL with the Cornwall Aces, Hershey Bears, Kentucky Thoroughblades, and Lowell Lock Monsters. He skated in nine games in the Finnish SM-Liiga during the 1998-99 season, but returned to the United States for the 1999-2000 campaign in which he played 73 contests for the Manitoba Moose of the International Hockey League (IHL). Veilleux concluded his professional career in 2001, retiring with 106 goals, 174 assists, 280 points, and 850 penalty minutes. Boudreau, 30, comes to Hampton Roads for his second season as a coach in professional hockey. The St. Catharine's, Ontario local was an assistant coach for the Bakersfield Condors in 2014-15 after a two-year playing career. The Norfolk Admirals open the 2015-16 regular season at home versus the Wheeling Nailers on October 16 at 7:30 p.m. Admirals' 10-pack tickets for the 2015-16 season are on sale and start at $125. Visit the Admirals Administrative Office at Scope or click on the 'Tickets' tab at NorfolkAdmirals.com to purchase. Season tickets are available for purchase as well and begin at $400. Call 757-640-1212 for more information.Marc CiampaTue, 21 Jul 2015 13:01:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644veilleux1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4072940729BLOG: Gerry Fleming named Condors head coachhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40728The Bakersfield Condors have named Gerry Fleming as the head coach of their squad as it enters its first season in the AHL. From the official Condors press release: GERRY FLEMING NAMED HEAD COACH OF THE BAKERSFIELD CONDORS J-F Houle and Tony Borgford to serve as assistant coaches; staff announced CONDORSTOWN, Calif. - The Bakersfield Condors, of the American Hockey League (AHL) and owned by the Edmonton Oilers, announced today that Gerry Fleming has been named the team's head coach. In addition, Jean-François (J-F) Houle and Tony Borgford have been named assistant coaches. Oilers Assistant General Manager Bill Scott will serve as the Condors general manager. Other members of the hockey operations staff announced were Head Athletic Trainer Josh Bennett, Head Equipment Manager Al Oman, and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Patrick Love. WHAT OILERS ASSISTANT GM BILL SCOTT SAYS: "We are thrilled to announce our hockey operations staff, led by Head Coach Gerry Fleming, who will be a tremendous leader in Bakersfield. Gerry's attention to detail and ability to develop our young players made him a natural fit to return as head coach, By adding JF Houle as assistant coach and with the return of Assistant Coach Tony Borgford, we believe we have a tremendous coaching staff ready to take the Condors to the next level." GERRY FLEMING (48 years old, from Montreal, Quebec) Replaced Todd Nelson as head coach in Oklahoma City (AHL) last season on December15, 2014 and posted a 26-21-3-1 (.549) record, leading the Barons to their fifth straight postseason appearance. Took the Barons to the second round after sweeping San Antonio in the Calder Cup Playoffs before falling in Game 7 to the eventual Western Conference Champions, Utica Comets. Served as an assistant coach for the Oilers AHL team since 2008-09, both in Springfield (2008-10) and Oklahoma City (2010-2014), prior to taking over as head coach last season. Spent eight seasons as a head coach in the ECHL from 2000-2008, with Tallahassee and most notably with the Florida Everblades from 2001-2008. Posted an overall record of 282-162-60 (.619) with Florida including back-to-back Kelly Cup Finals appearances in 2004 and 2005. Began his coaching career as an assistant coach in the AHL with Fredericton (1998-99) and Quebec (1999-2000) under current Montreal Canadiens Head Coach Michel Therrien. As a player, played seven seasons in the AHL with Fredericton and earned a call-up to Montreal on two occasions which totaled 11 games in the NHL. J-F HOULE (40 years old, from Charlesbourg, Quebec) Head coach of the 2014-15 ECHL Bakersfield Condors Compiled four consecutive 40-win seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with Lewiston and Blainville-Boisbriand Previously an assistant coach at his alma mater, Clarkson (NY) University, from 2003-2010. As a player, he played under Fleming twice. Once, in Fredericton in 1998-99 where Fleming was an assistant coach. Second, in 2000-01, where he captained Fleming's team in Tallahassee. TONY BORGFORD (40 years old, from Regina, Saskatchewan) Joined the Oilers organization last season as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Barons. Worked three seasons with the NHL's Winnipeg Jets as a video coordinator/coach from 2011-2014. Was a video coordinator with the Atlanta Thrashers for eight seasons, from 1999 until the team relocated to Winnipeg in 2011. Played four seasons at Mercyhurst (Penn.) College from 1995-1999 ABOUT THE HOCKEY OPS STAFF Al Oman (Head Equipment Manager) enters his 4th season with the Oilers organization. Josh Bennett, ATC (Head Athletic Trainer) enters his 3rd season and Patrick Love (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach) enters his 2nd campaign. Oman, originally from Florida, becomes the head equipment manager after serving as an assistant with the Barons. Bennett, from Maine, holds a Master's degree in Physical Education from Winthrop University. Love holds a Master's degree in Wellness Management - Exercise Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. STAFF TO BE FORMALLY INTRODUCED NEXT WEEK - DETAILS TO FOLLOW Fleming, Houle, and Borgford will be formally introduced to the public and media next week. Details on the event will follow. BE A PART OF HISTORY!! - CONDORS OPENING NIGHT SATURDAY, OCT. 10 Join the Condors on their historic move to the American Hockey League in 2015-16. Become a ticket member and enjoy all of the great benefits by contacting the Condors at 324-PUCK (7825) or click here for more information.Marc CiampaTue, 21 Jul 2015 12:01:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644-fleming.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4072840728BLOG: Sather’s swaggerhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40716His smirk is legendary. Former Oilers Head Coach and General Manager Glen Sather always had a confidence about him. That just so happened to be what the Hall of Famer passed on to his teams as well. The Oilers of the 80’s are a perfect example. “He really instilled a belief in us,” said former Oilers defenceman Kevin Lowe. “A concept to believe that you’re good, to believe that you can be the best. I think back to the early days playing the likes of the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders, and he really emphasized that, ‘you guys can be every bit as good as these guys. You can be as good as the great, legendary Canadiens, and you will be.’ “It’s one thing to say that you can, but he always had a great deal of swagger and confidence and when he said, ‘you will be,’ we believed it.”Chris WescottMon, 20 Jul 2015 17:26:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150720_Sather1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4071640716BLOG: Long time cominghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40715It was only a matter of time before Glen Sather saw his name raised into the rafters in Edmonton. The long-time player, coach and general manager will see his banner raised in Rexall Place at a game against the Rangers on December 11. The wait was due to Sather’s tenure in New York as GM. He stepped down from that post on July 1. “Never in doubt,” said Vice Chair of Oilers Entertainment Group Kevin Lowe. “There was a question of timing, but we’re certainly glad we waited this long because we think it’s that much more fitting. The last year of Rexall and the last year of the Oilers and Oil Kings in this building. I certainly don’t want to say last but not least, but… none of this would have happened without Glen Sather. It’s very fitting that he’ll be the final great moment of Rexall Place.” The Oilers will be moving into their new downtown home at Rogers Place following this season. Sather will be the final banner raised at Rexall. Lowe spoke with Sather before the club announced the decision. “(He was) humble as you would expect and very honoured. Rightfully so. It’s been a long time, and for no other reason than we’ve had a bit of a mandate in terms of people doing their jobs,” said Lowe. “Now he’s not a general manager anymore, we can honour all the great things that he did.”Chris WescottMon, 20 Jul 2015 17:24:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150720_lowe306.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4071540715BLOG: Sather’s impact on Lowehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40714Kevin Lowe was playing for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL when he first met Glen Sather. Little did he know that the two would be seeing a lot more of each other over the coming years. “For me personally, it was the year before I was drafted by the Oilers,” said Lowe. “I was being recruited by some of the WHA teams and I had a chance to meet with him in Quebec City on the bench during a practice. He had read in the paper I was thinking of signing with the Birmingham Bulls or the Quebec Nordiques and he said, ‘why would you want to sign with those teams, why wouldn’t you want to come out to Edmonton?’ And that was the first time I spoke with him.” Lowe was taken 21st overall in 1979, joining the Oilers that rookie season. In the following years, Sather made an impact on the young defenceman that has stuck with him until today. “Everything, for me personally,” Lowe said of what Sather meant to his career. “The support he gave me as a player and the encouragement he gave me in my later stages as a player to keep my eye on the long-term objectives, in terms of coaching and managing. When he brought me back from the Rangers, he brought me back with a contract that allowed me to play for another year and then to get into coaching afterwards. I don’t know if anybody else has ever signed a contract like that. Then when the EIG took over, Glen went to New York and they asked me to be manager. I asked his advice and he said, ‘there are three jobs in hockey. There’s playing, there’s coaching and there’s managing. Playing is the best and coaching is the second best and managing is the third best.’” Sather will see his name raised into the rafters on December 11, as the Oilers honour the long-time player, coach and general manager. Sather becomes the ninth Oiler to have a banner raised by the team, joining Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Anderson, Kurri, Hamilton, Fuhr and longtime radio broadcaster Rod Phillips.Chris WescottMon, 20 Jul 2015 17:23:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150720_Sather2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4071440714BLOG: Davidson ready to face tough challengehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40693On Thursday, the Oilers agreed to terms with 23-year-old Brandon Davidson on a one-year contract. After 12 games with the club last season, the defenceman's natural progression and development suggest he’s ready for more in 2015-16. “Things were pretty smooth sailing I think,” Davidson told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now. “With my situation and how things went last year, I think that this was reasonable and I’m glad that I’m able to stay on with the organization. I know I’ve had a taste there now and I feel like I’m ready more than ever. I’m real excited and can’t wait for the challenge ahead of me.” His road to the NHL is lined with obstacles. The organization made it a point of emphasis to bolster their depth on the blueline this off-season. The competition is much stronger than a year ago. Edmonton traded for both Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba at the draft. General Manager Peter Chiarelli has said he expects both to be in Edmonton this season. There is also the competition with 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse for a spot. And of course, you have the incumbent defencemen from last season as well as free agent signing Andrej Sekera. It will be a tough task for a young defenceman like Davidson to unseat some of that competition. But he’s faced adversity before and the 2010 sixth-round pick won’t go down without a fight. “I feel like I’ve done everything that I’ve been asked and I keep proving over and over again that I belong and that I can do this,” said Davidson. “For me, I know there’s a big challenge ahead of me, especially with what happened at the draft and Darnell Nurse might be ready as well. I know there’s a huge challenge ahead of me but I’ve been facing challenges my whole life and this is just another one. Hopefully I can break this one down too.” Davidson has gotten bigger and stronger the last few years and last season he was a very important piece of the Oklahoma City Barons defence. Davidson was reliable enough that the coaches put him on the ice for big minutes and big responsibilities. He became more physical this past season, and it showed in his one-on-one battles with opposing players. Davidson says he would like to get a little quicker heading into the upcoming season. If Davidson is to make the Oilers roster out of training camp, beginning the year as the seventh defenceman may be his best bet. “That’s very fair,” said Davidson. “That’s my goal right now, to get my foot in that door and if that’s that seventh spot then I’m going to relish that and run with that. Any chance I can be there and stay there, I’m going to take it, make the best of it and work my way to through the ranks kind of thing.” After signing on with the Oilers for another year, Davidson couldn’t be more happy to at least have that opportunity. “I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get started this season. I want to start and finish with the Oilers and that’s the goal.”Chris WescottThu, 16 Jul 2015 18:33:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150327_davidson2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4069340693BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with twohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40692Chris WescottThu, 16 Jul 2015 17:32:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150716_pitdav.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4069240692BLOG: Schultz focused on playing with an edgehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40678Justin Schultz has the potential to be a high-end offensive weapon on the blueline for the Oilers. He flashed that potential playing in the American Hockey League during the 2012-13 season when he had 48 points (18-30-48) in 34 games. He then put up 27 points in 48 games during his lockout-shortened NHL rookie season. But after three seasons in the professional ranks, one area of Schultz’s game he wants to work on is his strength to help with his battles and defensive game. “It’s something that’s what I’ve always had to do in the off-season: get stronger and more explosive,” Schultz said on Oilers Now. “Definitely one of the things (the Oilers) communicated to me was getting more powerful in that aspect of my game. I think I’ve been working on that pretty good right now. I’ve still got a couple months here left but it’s been going well and I’m excited to get back to Edmonton and get going.” Schultz has been hitting the gym in Kelowna this off-season and says he feels more powerful and more explosive. He also says he’s noticed more muscle when he steps on the scale. The Oilers blueliner told Bob Stauffer that he wants to play with an edge like Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty. That pushback starts this season, according to Schultz. “It’s something I’m always trying to improve on and there’s no better time than this year to start showing that,” said Schultz. “I need to play with an edge. It helps to be a better player and helps with every part of your game so it’s something I’m going to try to do this year.” Adding strength, playing with more of an edge and developing more consistency in his game are on Schultz’s wish list for the 2015-16 season. Schultz and the Oilers agreed to terms on a one-year contract on Wednesday. The 25-year-old has played 203 NHL games in his career, scoring 25 goals and adding 66 assists.Chris WescottWed, 15 Jul 2015 17:09:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/02/jschultz02262.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4067840678BLOG: A “prove it” deal for Schultzhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40676The Oilers agreed to terms with defenceman Justin Schultz on a one-year deal on Wednesday. The length of the contract gives Schultz the 2015-16 season to prove he can be the player he was expected to be coming out of college at the University of Wisconsin. “I think the one-year deal makes sense,” Schultz said on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer. “It gives me another year to prove what I’ve got. If I have a good year then hopefully I can get a longer term deal and be in Edmonton for a long time. I know exciting things are coming here and it’s just the start of it. Hopefully it’s a big year here.” Consistency is something Schultz wants to have more of heading into his fourth pro season. “Obviously, I can play better,” said Schultz. “I was very inconsistent last year and even the year before. It’s about bringing my best game every night and playing like the player I’ve played like in the past, that I know I can play like. It’s going to be a big year for me. I’m excited.”Chris WescottWed, 15 Jul 2015 16:51:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/02/jschultz0226141.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4067640676BLOG: Schultz pumped for Oilers futurehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40674Justin Schultz and the Oilers agreed to terms on a one-year contract on Wednesday. For Schultz, the 2015-16 season will be his fourth in the professional ranks. He has yet to play in the playoffs as a pro. “It’s been a long couple years,” Schultz told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now. “It’s not fun losing, that’s for sure.” This off-season has a much different feel to it, considering the volume of changes to the organization. It started with Bob Nicholson taking over as CEO and the Oilers winning the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery. Peter Chiarelli was named President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, then he hired Todd McLellan as Head Coach. The Oilers used that lottery pick to take Connor McDavid and the changes continued. “We all want to get better, we all want to win and I think it’s close here with these changes. It’s going to be good for us,” said Schultz. A new coaching staff, new players brought in via draft, trade and free agency and a new leader as GM all have Schultz ready to hit the ice for the upcoming season. “It’s exciting to say the least,” said Schultz. “It kind of gives guys like me a fresh start and a clean slate to show what I’ve got, to show these guys. I’m looking forward to working with Todd and obviously getting Connor is unbelievable. A lot of excitement around Edmonton right now. It’s good times to be there.”Chris WescottWed, 15 Jul 2015 16:49:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/02/JSCHULTZ6440226.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4067440674BLOG: Talbot helps CCM unveil Premier padshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40665Yesterday, Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot attended the CCM Goalie Summit in Montreal. Talbot was helping CCM unveil their new look for the CCM Premier pads. Talbot took part in some filming and photo shoots, while wearing Oilers and CCM gear. He also unveiled a new Oilers-themed mask. The mask is Oilers orange and blue with the team’s logo on the sides. Talbot was acquired in a trade at the 2015 NHL Draft. The Oilers gave the New York Rangers a second, a third and a seventh-round pick, in exchange for the goalie and a seventh. The netminder is expected to come in and right away push for the number one job in Edmonton, after serving as the backup behind Henrik Lundqvist. In 57 career NHL games, the 28-year-old has a record of 33-15-5 with eight shutouts and a 2.00 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.Chris WescottWed, 15 Jul 2015 13:03:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150715_talbot1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4066540665BLOG: Jersey numbers for new playershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40570The Oilers announced jersey numbers for their new players acquired via trade and free agency this off-season. Defencemen: • Andrej Sekera - 2 • Griffin Reinhart - 8 • Eric Gryba - 62 Forwards: • Lauri Korpikoski - TBD • Mark Letestu - 55 Goaltenders: • Cam Talbot - 33 • Anders Nilsson - TBD In addition to these new numbers, Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom will change his number from 84 to 77 for the upcoming season.Chris WescottThu, 09 Jul 2015 14:49:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644talbot2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4057040570BLOG: Nilsson brings competitionhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40518The Oilers executed a trade early this evening, acquiring goaltender Anders Nilsson from the Chicago Blackhawks, in exchange for prospect forward Liam Coughlin. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media after the Billy Moores Cup at Rexall Place and says the move was to bring in some competition. “He’s a big goalie,” said Chiarelli. “He might not have been dealt the greatest cards when he came over (to North America). He had a strong year in the KHL. He had an average World Championships. I saw him in one game when I went over there. He’s still young for a goalie. He was excited to hear that he has a new start. The bottom line is there is going to be competition. There is going to be competition amongst the goalies and that’s why. We want that. It gives us insurance and it gives us competition.” Nilsson, 25, had an impressive KHL season for Kazan Ak-Bars. The 6-foot-5 goalie posted a record of 20-9-8 with a .936 save percentage and 1.71 goals-against average. In 23 NHL games, Nilsson has a record of 9-9-2 and a save percentage of .898 and 3.05 GAA.Chris WescottMon, 06 Jul 2015 23:31:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644-andersnilsson.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4051840518BLOG: Message to Nursehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40517Darnell Nurse was no doubt impressive at Oilers Orientation Camp this past week. He’s also coming off an impressive season. The seventh-overall pick in 2013 is expected to come in and compete for a spot on the team out of training camp. However, the recent additions of Griffin Reinhart, Eric Gryba and Andrej Sekera have crowded a once thin Oilers blueline. The message to Nurse coming out of this week is to keep his head up and work hard to earn that spot. “What we told Darnell in our exit meetings is don’t be disheartened by the number of one-way contracts or NHL defencemen,” said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli. “We’re going to have a competition so don’t be disheartened by it. He’s a big, strong kid who can skate and defend and he’s up the ice a lot… He’s strong, he defends, he’s a good pupil and he’s young so he’s got a lot of good things going for him.”Chris WescottMon, 06 Jul 2015 23:29:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644nurse1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4051740517Oilers acquire Anders Nilssonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40516The Edmonton Oilers have acquired goaltender Anders Nilsson from the Chicago Blackhawks, in exchange for forward Liam Coughlin. Nilsson, 25, posted a 20-9-8 record, .936 save percentage and 1.71 goals-against average in 38 regular-season games for Kazan Ak-Bars of the Kontinental Hockey League last season. Nilsson also totaled a 13-7 record, .935 save percentage and 1.54 GAA in 20 postseason games. The Lulea, Sweden, native previously totaled a 9-9-0 record, .898 save percentage and 3.05 GAA over 23 career NHL games with the New York Islanders (2011-12 and 2013-14). Nilsson was selected by the Islanders in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He was acquired by Chicago via trade with the Islanders on Oct. 4, 2014. Coughlin, 20, tallied 60 points (20G, 40A) in 54 games for the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League last season. He went on to record 10 points (3G, 7A) in 11 playoff games. The South Boston, Mass., native has 105 points (38G, 67A) over 107 games with Vernon, dating back to the 2013-14 season. Coughlin was selected by Edmonton in the fifth round (130th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. UPDATE: The Oilers and Nilsson have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:04:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644-andersnilsson.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4051640516BLOG: LaLeggia ready to turn prohttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40505Oilers defenceman prospect Joey LaLeggia is attending his fourth Orientation Camp with the Oilers but with one huge difference this year: he will be playing professional hockey this upcoming season after four years at the University of Denver. “It’s great to come in here and meet the staff and meet the guys that you hope to one day be suiting up with,” he began. “It’s a great experience for all of us and great to meet everybody and get comfortable. I feel that every time I come here I get more comfortable and also get more confident.” LaLeggia, a native of Burnaby, B.C., accumulated 132 points (49-83-132) in 156 games, over four seasons with the University of Denver Pioneers. He helped his team reach the NCAA Regional Finals this season. “I was a player who needed to go to college. When I was 16 or 17 I think I was only 140 or 150 pounds. College really did a lot for me. The person I stepped onto campus as a 19-year old and the person I left as a 23-year old are two completely different people. I feel a lot more mature and I feel those are life experiences I’ll take with me forever. It prepared me to come to pro hockey and gave me an opportunity to go to Oklahoma City after the season.” LaLeggia's game translated well to the pro level despite him having a bit of an adjustment period. “That was a huge learning experience for me, just seeing the level that my game had to go to in order to be successful.” He played five regular season games, netting a goal and an assist for two points and also suited up for two playoff contests. LaLeggia looks to play a much bigger role next season on the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL. “It was a pretty crucial time in the season when I got there,” said LaLeggia. “I think I got there with about five games before the playoffs started. It was a completely different style from what I was used to. I found it was a lot more structured and a lot more controlled. Guys knew exactly where to be and when to be there. As colleges I felt it was a lot more run-and-gun and we only played two games a week. Guys are super jacked-up to play come Friday and Saturday whereas (in pro) they do it every day. They know exactly where to be. They’re always prepared and that was the biggest thing for me, just learning how to be a pro.”Marc CiampaSat, 04 Jul 2015 15:49:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150421_laleggia.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4050540505BLOG: Betker looking to bring the meanhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40504Ben Betker is a massive presence on the blueline here at Oilers Orientation Camp at Rexall Place. The 6-foot-6 defenceman has packed on even more muscle, saying he’s gained seven pounds this summer after playing at around 220 this season in Everett. It was a good season for Betker, who made strides in his third WHL campaign. The hulking rearguard posted 31 points (6-25-31) in 64 games for the Silvertips, adding 63 penalty minutes. For Betker to make the jump to the professional ranks in 2015-16 and become an impact player for the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League, he says he wants to work on a few things. Betker wants to continue to add muscle and strength, while getting quicker. One other area of his game Betker wants to address is being mean. More importantly, being mean consistently. He wants to play a hard game all the time. “I have that. I think I need to do it more consistently,” said Betker. “I think that’s the thing, especially being physical. You look at guys like (Nashville Predators Captain) Shea Weber or (Hall of Famer) Chris Pronger back in the day, he played here. The tenacity that they play with was always in their game every night. Something like that, consistently, is what I need to bring and that will really help me out in the long run.”Chris WescottSat, 04 Jul 2015 15:47:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/Betker_3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4050440504BLOG: Platzer building off OKC experiencehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40496Coming off a successful 2014-15 season in which he scored 34 goals and 81 points in 68 games with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, Kyle Platzer looks to make even greater strides heading into what is expected to be his first full professional campaign in 2015-16. “It was a good step in the right direction and definitely encouraging going forward. Hopefully I’ll turn pro this season and just build off last season,” he said. After his OHL season ended, he moved on to the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons where he contributed with two goals in four regular season games to end the season and suited up for three more contests in the postseason. “It was awesome. You always wonder what it’s like up there and just want to show your best. It was good to pot a few and get some confidence up there. Leading into this summer, it was awesome for me.”Marc CiampaFri, 03 Jul 2015 19:52:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644platzer-1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4049640496BLOG: Camp invite has strong bloodlineshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40503BLOG: Camp invite has strong bloodlines One Oilers Orientation Camp invite has strong hockey bloodlines with ties to Edmonton. Luke Esposito’s grandfather is Doug Messier, his great uncle is Murray Murdoch and he’s the nephew of Mark and Paul Messier. Mark Messier is well known in Edmonton as one of the great Oilers of the 80s. Paul played for the Edmonton Mets in the AJHL, before a long career that ended overseas in Europe. Murdoch had a long career with the New York Rangers back in the late 20s and 30s. Esposito’s grandfather, who is in Edmonton observing Orientation Camp, played for the Oil Kings from 1954-1957 and went on to have a head coaching career in both the AJHL and AHL. Having family like that goes a long way to helping you in your career. “They’ve been unbelievable,” said Esposito. “I wouldn’t be here without them. From my dad’s side, even though he wasn’t a hockey player, he was a Division I soccer player and an athlete in his own right and also his work ethic. Then obviously on my mom’s side with my uncle (Mark). Even to this day he lives close to me at home. He’s been unbelievable with giving me pointers. If I ever have questions, I see him all the time so we have a good running dialogue about stuff like that and my grandpa as well, he coached me all the way up. He’s here actually this week. It’s good to have him around and it’s been great. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.” Esposito has spent the past two years at Harvard University.Chris WescottFri, 03 Jul 2015 19:51:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150703_Esposito.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4050340503BLOG: Draisaitl willing to play winghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40461Leon Draisaitl is in the same spot he was last summer. He is working hard to earn an NHL job out of camp. The big Oilers centre is another year stronger, wiser and more experienced but the club has also gotten better, adding to their depth. “I’m well aware of that and I think that just makes it more fun,” said Draisaitl. “There is going to be a big competition for spots. I want to make a case for myself and I want to be on this team. Obviously, I’m going to battle hard for a spot.” Drafting Connor McDavid first overall, adding a centre via free agency (Mark Letestu) and the emergence of Anton Lander have left seemingly few spots up for grabs. Would the Oilers be better suited to start Draisaitl out on the wing this season? If they wish to do so, Draisaitl says that’s OK. “I’d be totally fine with that,” he said. “I’ve played the wing before… I know how to play the wing. For me, it wouldn’t really matter. As long as I’m on the team, for me, everything works I guess.” Having experience playing both up the middle and on the wing, Draisaitl can make that transition if need be. “It’s easier to switch from centre to wing than from wing to centre,” said Draisaitl. “I think you have a little bit more responsibility as a centreman. A lot of times you’re the guy working down low with the defenceman and that obviously takes work. That, you kind of don’t have as a winger. I think, obviously, you have to work hard as a winger as well, but I think it’s a little different role. Like I said, I know how to play both sides and I think that’s a good thing to have.” If Draisaitl earns a spot out of camp and it just so happens to be on the wing, it gives Edmonton another offensive weapon up front. Draisaitl had 53 points (19-34-53) in just 32 games for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL last season. He had 28 points (10-18-28) in 19 playoff games.Chris WescottFri, 03 Jul 2015 15:17:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644drai.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4046140461BLOG: Nurse comments on fan turnouthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40494Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse talked about the large turnout -- close to 2,500 -- at Rexall Place to watch the third day at Orientation Camp. “It was awesome. It was great to have the support of the fans out there. It shows how passionate of a city this place is for hockey and how hungry they are for the season coming up,” Nurse began. “It’s exciting for everyone to go out there and see the type of support we get.” Nurse was also asked about the contract of Connor McDavid, who signed his three-year entry-level deal earlier today. “It’s a really special moment. It’s cool to be rewarded for all the work you’ve done,” said Nurse. “It’s something he should be very proud of and definitely something he earned.”Marc CiampaFri, 03 Jul 2015 15:15:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644nurse1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4049440494BLOG: McLellan senses the excitementhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40459With all the moves the Oilers have made since Peter Chiarelli took over as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, there is a sense of excitement around Edmonton. The Oilers not only drafted the highly talented Connor McDavid first overall, but they executed a handful of trades that brought them two defencemen, a potential starting goaltender and a depth winger. In free agency, the Oilers snagged a top-four defenceman and another depth forward. Combine those personnel moves with the hiring of Todd McLellan and his coaching staff, and the new-look Oilers offer a lot to be excited about. McLellan himself sees that. “A lot of exciting things are happening in our organization,” said McLellan. “I’m back in Edmonton now for the first time in a little while and there’s a sense of excitement outside the rink and with fans that I run into and that’s exciting and encouraging. We added pieces at the draft. I thought Peter and his staff did a fantastic job of preparing for that and executing. Then obviously, yesterday (we added) a couple more pieces. Transforming the roster, trying to fill holes, trying to improve areas.” While McLellan and his staff are excited about the changes, it’s the product on the ice that matters most. “I’ve also reminded a lot of people, including our coaching staff, that it’s what happens between the boards for 60 minutes that really counts,” said McLellan. “We can put names on the board, we can fool around on paper and talk about a lot of things but we have to blend all this together. We have to make a decision on how we want to play and we have to commit to that, not only through some good days but through the bad days. We’ll still have those. We’ll try to work towards an identity and build on that day in and day out. The team looks different than it did a few weeks ago, but there’s work to do.” While the coaching staff and the players maybe need to temper their enthusiasm a bit and just focus on the task at hand, McLellan says the fans shouldn’t have to. “We have keep it real,” said McLellan. “I hope that the people in Edmonton and in the hockey world keep that excitement up. It forces us to execute and keeps us on our toes. That’s a really good thing. We also have to do this methodically. We have to incorporate how we want to play. We can’t go from A to M and skip all the other letters in the alphabet. The would be dangerous. We have to do it methodically and we have to develop an identity, we’ve got to get our foundation in place and grow as a team now. We’ve got 1/3, 1/4 turnover. There are a lot of fresh faces, new ideas, a belief system that needs to be built with the existing players that are returning and the new ones. Methodical.”Chris WescottThu, 02 Jul 2015 20:12:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644mclellan-1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4045940459BLOG: Caleb Jones looks to carve own identityhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40487Caleb Jones couldn't help but be awestruck when he walked into the Oilers dressing room for the first time yesterday. “I was walking into the locker room for the first time, getting my equipment fitted and I sat down in the stall and I looked around, thinking ‘it’s the Edmonton Oilers’ it’s one of the greatest organizations ever,” Jones exclaimed, adding that his experience so far at camp has been nothing but positive. “It’s been great so far. It’s been an exciting Development Camp. Two days after the draft was a quick turnaround for me but I’m excited to be here and I’m learning a lot already from the organization.” The brother of Nashville Predators defenceman Seth Jones added that being selected in the same draft as Connor McDavid is something he'll always hold onto. “You’ve just got to show up and work hard every day,” Jones continued. “He’s a great player and he’s going to play in the league for years to come. It’s pretty cool being drafted (with him). You’ll always be remembered as being part of the Connor McDavid Draft Class with the Edmonton Oilers.” Jones also added that he was looking forward to building camaraderie with McDavid and his other future NHL teammates. “It’s a team. You really become a team here and it builds up to when you get to the big leagues. I see a lot of guys like Nurse who have been here for awhile and they’re good friends. I think over time you start to be around each other every day like that, you start to become friends and it gets a lot easier.”Marc CiampaThu, 02 Jul 2015 14:41:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644jones.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4048740487BLOG: 'One step at a time' for Ethan Bearhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40486Ethan Bear, selected in the fifth round, 124th overall, by the Oilers at the NHL Draft this past weekend in Florida, had some advice from Craig MacTavish shortly after accepting his jersey at the table. “MacTavish said ‘one step at a time, just keep working’,” said Bear. “It’s important to work on things you can when you’re on the ice and when you’re off the ice get stronger.” Hard work is a mantra for Bear, a right-shooting defenceman who had 38 points in 69 games this past season with the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds. “Just work hard, when you’re on the ice, compete,” he said. “Try and earn your spot and keep working hard is the main thing. You might have to get out of your comfort zone and do things different on the ice but mainly for now it’s only Development Camp so I’m going to have some fun and make myself better.” Hailing from Ochapowace, Saskatchewan -- near Regina -- Bear said that the reaction back at home was very positive. “I think they’re pretty happy over there and so am I. A lot of my family congratulated me.”Marc CiampaThu, 02 Jul 2015 14:32:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644bear.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4048640486BLOG: McDavid's first time on Rexall Place icehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40482For the first time, first-overall pick Connor McDavid stepped onto the ice at Rexall Place. "Today was a lot of fun," said McDavid. "The fitness testing wasn't a whole lot of fun but really cool to throw on the Oilers gear, the gear that I want to play the rest of my life wearing. It was pretty cool to put it on. With all the history, it was a lot of fun." It was a power skating lesson, which McDavid thought was very good for both himself and the other prospects. "That circle stuff, one foot, a lot of edges. I thought it was really good," he said. "Skating is so important. You've always got to be working on it so it was good we got a chance to do that." The centre was asked about how it feels to be in Edmonton and now be part of an NHL organization. "It's going to take a little while for it to sink in. It still feels surreal. It's hard to picture being part of an NHL organization, never mind the Edmonton Oilers with such a storied background. "I visited a couple weeks ago and I've only been here a little bit now. It's a great city. It seems really nice. I'm really enjoying it."Marc CiampaWed, 01 Jul 2015 20:09:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644mcdavidsmile.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4048240482BLOG: Nurse selects McDavid as 'first star'http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40480At the end of Wednesday's practice, Darnell Nurse selected Connor McDavid as the practice's first star. The 'first star' is a tradition which has carried on from Oklahoma City where the player previously selected first star chooses someone else at the end of practice with all players around the centre ice circle. The chosen one then has to take a lap around the ice. With no prior first star, with Nurse's OKC experience, Fleming selected him as the one to pass the torch. Nurse, of course, selected McDavid. "I'm not picking on him, I just let him do a lap," Nurse chuckled. "It was fun out there. It was something we did in OKC when Gerry (Fleming) was on the ice. He asked 'who will do first star?' and I said 'I'll do it for you' and we had a little fun." McDavid said that he saw the selection coming from a mile away. "Me and Nurse, we're good buddies. I saw it coming when they said they were doing that. It was a lot of fun," McDavid stated. Nurse said he's excited to have McDavid as his teammate at the NHL level. "Thank God I don't have to play against him anymore," he laughed. "He's a special player. Any time you get the opportunity to add a guy like that to your team, it makes the organization a lot better," Nurse noted. "We played against each other and battled against each other for a few years now and had the opportunity to play together at World Juniors. Not only is he a great player, he's a great guy. It's always good to joke around with him and have some fun." The big defenceman said that the atmosphere around the team has been very positive in camp so far. "It's really exciting. You can tell everyone is upbeat, looking forward to September and October. I'm looking forward to do what I can to make the team." As for his own personal goals for next season? Nurse simply wants to make the team. "My goal is definitely to come in here and earn a job. I just have to go out there and work as hard as I can. I can only control what I do."Marc CiampaWed, 01 Jul 2015 20:03:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644mcdavidnurse.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4048040480BLOG: Draisaitl shows optimismhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40479Leon Draisaitl met with the media following the first day on-ice at Oilers Orientation Camp Wednesday and the first question he was asked was about his newest teammate, Connor McDavid. "I've known him for about 24 hours now so there's not much I can say," Draisaitl remarked. "All I can say is he seems like a very nice, very humble guy and obviously everybody knows what he's capable of on the ice. He's a special guy and I think the whole organization should be very excited about him." Draisaitl was also excited about some of the moves the Oilers have made in the past week, bringing in defencemen Eric Gryba, Andrej Sekera and Griffin Reinhart, goaltender Cam Talbot and forwards Lauri Korpikoski and Mark Letestu. "It's pretty hard to miss those acquisitions and trades we've made. I think it's good. We're doing the right moves and now it's time to get ready for the season." As for himself, the goal hasn't changed for Draisiatl as he looks to make the team next season. Being his second Orientation Camp, however, he is taking on a bigger role within the group. "I have to try and take more leadership than I did last year. Obviously, it's my second year but at the same time I'm coming in with the same mindset as I did last year. I want to be here and I want to play on this team. It's going to be the same mindset as last year."Marc CiampaWed, 01 Jul 2015 19:52:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644drai.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4047940479BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Letestuhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40463The Oilers have agreed to terms with free agent centre Mark Letestu on a three-year contract. Letestu, 30, has played 318 NHL games for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Elk Point, AB native has 127 points (58-69-127) in his career and has played 17 playoff games, recording a goal and three assists. In 2014-15, Letestu posted 13 points (7-6-13) in 54 games for the Blue Jackets. His best NHL season came in 2013-14 when he scored 12 goals and added 22 assists for a career high 34 points. He was 52.9% on faceoffs this past season. Letestu played college hockey at Western Michigan University for one season before going pro.Chris WescottWed, 01 Jul 2015 13:13:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/644letestu.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4046340463BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Sekerahttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40464The Oilers have agreed to terms with free agent defenceman Andrej Sekera on a six-year contract. Sekera, 29, is a 486-game NHL veteran. He has played for the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings since joining the league as a third-round pick (71st overall) in 2004. Sekera has 159 points (31-128-159) in his NHL career. In 2014-15, Sekera played 57 games for the Hurricanes, scoring two goals and adding 17 assists. He was traded to Los Angeles on February 25, and played 16 games, scoring a goal and adding three assists. His best NHL production, point-wise, came in 2013-14 when he recorded 44 points (11-33-44) in 74 games for Carolina. He is a 6-foot-0, 201-pound native of Slovakia. He represented his country at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.Chris WescottWed, 01 Jul 2015 13:13:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/07/20150701_sekera1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4046440464BLOG: Oilers acquire Lauri Korpikoskihttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40425The Oilers have announced they have traded centre Boyd Gordon to the Arizona Coyotes, in exchange for winger Lauri Korpikoski. Korpikoski, 28, is a left winger from Finland. He was taken 19th overall in the first round of the 2004 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward has played in 469 NHL games over the course of his career and has recorded 68 goals, 91 assists and 112 penalty minutes. He has played 30 NHL playoff games, scoring two goals and adding three assists. In 2014-15, Korpikoski scored six goals and added 15 assists for 21 points in 69 games with Arizona. Gordon returns to the Coyotes where he played from 2011-2013.Chris WescottTue, 30 Jun 2015 20:30:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150630_korp.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4042540425BLOG: Oilers qualify threehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40412Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today the club has issued qualifying offers to defencemen Brandon Davidson and Justin Schultz, as well as winger Tyler Pitlick. Schultz, 24, is the most experienced of the three. He has played 203 NHL games, recording 91 points (25-66-91), for the Oilers since the 2012-13 season. In 2014-15, Schultz played 81 games, posting six goals, 25 assists, 12 penalty minutes and a -17 rating. Davidson, 23, was taken 162nd overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut this past season on December 10, 2014. He scored his first NHL goal on March 30, 2015. Davidson played 55 games this season for the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League, recording 10 points (4-6-10) and 43 penalty minutes and a +10 rating. Pitlick, 23, played 17 NHL games this season, scoring two goals. He has played 27 NHL games in his career since being taken 31st overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. He had nine points (3-6-9) in 14 AHL games this season with the Barons.Chris WescottMon, 29 Jun 2015 18:33:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644396-oiler3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4041240412BLOG: Pronger among those inductedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40413Former Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger has been inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Pronger joins Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov and Phil Housley as the four players in the Class of 2015. On August 2, 2005, Pronger was traded to Edmonton for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka. Pronger played just one season for the Oilers in 2005-06, recording 56 points (12-44-56) and 74 penalty minutes. In the Oilers ’06 Cup run, Pronger posted 21 points (5-16-21) in 24 games. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound defenceman has played 1,167 NHL games in his career for the Oilers, the Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers. Pronger won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. Pronger, 40, won the 1997 World Championship with Canada. He is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and won gold at the 1993 World Junior Championship. Pronger was a workhorse, averaging more than 30 minutes per game in two seasons with the Blues and more than 25 minutes per game every season from 1998-99 to 2009-10.Chris WescottMon, 29 Jun 2015 18:24:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150628_Pronger1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4041340413BLOG: Jones joins brother as NHL draft pickhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40379The Oilers made Caleb Jones the 117th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Sports run in the family. His father, Popeye Jones is a retired NBA player. His older brothers play hockey and one of them, Seth, was the fourth overall pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2013 NHL Draft. Needless to say, they’re a competitive bunch. Caleb enjoyed the thought of maybe one day playing against Seth. What is the first thing he’d do? “Ask him to fight probably,” Jones laughed. “No, but it will be good. We’ve always had battles. Even in basketball, 1-on-1, or on the ice when we were just practicing together. Maybe seeing him on the other side of the blue line one day would be pretty fun.” Caleb compares his style of play to Seth. “I think I play a bit like my brother,” said the 6-foot-0, 194-pound defenceman. “I think we’re both two-way defencemen. I think I’m more of a physical and aggressive player than he is but I say, in sense of the whole entire game, we’re pretty alike.” Seth helps his younger brother train in the off-season. “He’s been really big for me,” said Caleb. “I’ve trained with him the past three summers and he’s really pushed me. He’s consistent with his work ethic every day. It has really taught me what it takes to get to the next level and be a pro.”Chris WescottSat, 27 Jun 2015 19:03:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150627jones1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4037940379BLOG: Talbot has monitored Oilershttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40378Cam Talbot says the Oilers expressed interest in him as soon as the season ended. That interest got real serious on Saturday, with the Oilers eventually trading three draft picks to the New York Rangers to acquire the 27-year-old goaltender. “I was excited to come to a team that has so much potential and upside right now,” said Talbot. “They’re kind of rebuilding and retooling. It’s going to be an exciting time and I’m very excited to be a part of it.” Talbot has watched the Oilers very closely over the last few months. He watched as they made Bob Nicholson CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group, added Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, and then when they hired Todd McLellan as their new Head Coach. “I’ve definitely been paying attention to all those changes because, as soon as our season ended, I knew Edmonton was one of the teams that was interested,” said Talbot. “When you hear that, you start to notice all the changes they’re making and it feels like they’ve made a lot of great changes for the organization. They’re definitely heading in the right direction. I’m definitely excited to be a part of it.” Talbot has also paid attention to the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. He’s excited to join this year’s number one overall pick. “I know the hype but I haven’t really had a chance to see him play,” said Talbot. “With all the hype, it’s going to be an exciting time. From what I hear, he’s going to be a generational player. Any time you can get a player like that and throw him into the mix with all the other skilled forwards that are on this team it’s going to be a pretty good combination of skill and talent up front. I’m really excited to be a part of this team and the process moving forward.”Chris WescottSat, 27 Jun 2015 18:38:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150627_talbot1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4037840378BLOG: Oilers make two quick trades, get a defencemanhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40375The Oilers traded defenceman Martin Marincin to the Toronto Maple Leafs, in exchange for the 107th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and forward Brad Ross. Ross, an Edmonton native, was taken 43rd overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. He played 32 games for the Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, this past season. Ross recorded eight points an 62 penalty minutes. The Oilers then moved the 107th overall pick and forward Travis Ewanyk to the Ottawa Senators, in exchange for defenceman Eric Gryba. Gryba, 27, was taken in the third round of the 2006 NHL Draft. He has played 165 NHL games, registering four goals and 25 points, 187 penalty minutes and a +17 rating. He is a 6’4’’. 225-pound right-shot defenceman.Chris WescottSat, 27 Jun 2015 12:11:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150627_gryba644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4037540375BLOG: Oilers acquire Talbothttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40373In their second trade of the 2015 NHL Draft, the Oilers got the goaltender they’ve been searching for. Edmonton flipped the 57th, 79th and 184th overall picks to the NY Rangers, in exchange for Cam Talbot and the 209th selection. Following last night’s first round, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said there were a couple goaltenders available via trade and that Edmonton would continue to have discussions. Those talks heated up about five picks into the second round when Chiarelli approached the Rangers table and took their GM Glen Sather aside for a talk. Following that chat, Oilers Assistant GM Bill Scott later approached the table and he, along with a representative of the Rangers, submitted the trade card. Talbot has a small sample size in the NHL, but he has posted good numbers. During the 2013-14 season, Talbot posted a record of 12-6-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. He added three shutouts. This season, Talbot played 36 games and had a record of 21-9-4. He posted a 2.21 GAA, a .926 save percentage and five shutouts. Talbot, 27, made his NHL debut on October 24, 2013 against Philadelphia. He made 25 saves on 27 shots for a .926 save percentage. His first NHL shutout came four games later against Montreal. Talbot is listed as 6’3’’ and 195 pounds. He is a native of Caledonia, Ontario.Chris WescottSat, 27 Jun 2015 10:52:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644talbot.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4037340373BLOG: Oilers acquire Griffin Reinharthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40356Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced the club has traded the 16th and 33rd overall picks in the 2015 NHL Draft to the New York Islanders, in exchange for defenceman Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart was taken 4th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry by the Islanders. He has played eight NHL games, all during the 2014-15 season, registering one assist, six penalty minutes and a +1 rating. The 6’4’’, 217-pound blueliner made his NHL debut on October 10, 2014 in Carolina. Reinhart is the former captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, where he played 209 games and recorded 30 goals and 81 assists for 111 points. He had 164 penalty minutes and a +83 rating. He captained the Oil Kings to a 2014 Memorial Cup Championship. In 57 playoff games with the Oil Kings, Reinhart recorded nine goals and 19 assists, 56 penalty minutes and a plus-minus of +27. Griffin is the son of former Calgary Flames defenceman Paul Reinhart and the brother of Flames centre Max and Buffalo Sabres centre Sam Reinhart.Marc CiampaFri, 26 Jun 2015 21:15:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/reinhart_0626644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4035640356BLOG: McDavid’s thoughts on joining Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40359SUNRISE, FL - Connor McDavid has had a long wait since the Draft Lottery in April. But when the Oilers called his name, selecting him first overall tonight at the BB&T Center, he couldn’t be happier. McDavid has been monitoring the Oilers changes over the last couple months, including the promotion of Bob Nicholson to CEO, the hiring of Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, as well as Todd McLellan being named Head Coach. “Not to say any of the other guys did a bad job or anything, it’s just a great change,” said McDavid. “Mr. McLellan and Mr. Chiarelli are great hockey minds. Obviously, Mr. Nicholson has come in and done such a great job. It’s an exciting time to be an Oiler. I know the fans are excited and they should be. It will be a great time.” McDavid says those changes and their effect on the fan base are among the things that get him the most pumped to join Edmonton. “I think just the change and the excitement of the fans and the long list of great players that have played there. There is so much to be excited about to be an Edmonton Oiler. I’m just thrilled.” McDavid is also eager to join his teammates, like fellow first-overall picks Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov. “I was a big fan of those guys when they were drafted,” said McDavid. “I followed them a little bit so of course I’ve watched the Oilers a little bit here and there whenever I can. I try to get to bed a little earlier than that but I was an Oiler fan for sure.”Chris WescottFri, 26 Jun 2015 21:10:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150626_mcdavid644-4.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4035940359BLOG: McDavid looking to get bigger, strongerhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40358SUNRISE, FL - The overwhelming thought amongst those in the hockey world is that Connor McDavid is ready to play in the NHL next season. The Oilers selected the highly talented centre first overall this year. If McDavid expects to compete at the high level he’s capable of when he makes that leap, he says he needs to beef up. “You’ve got to get a lot bigger and a lot stronger and faster and all that,” said McDavid. “You’re playing against men now. It’s a big jump. I have a big summer ahead of me for sure.” McDavid was named the OHL and CHL Player of the Year this season, and recorded 120 points (44-76-120) in 47 games for the Erie Otters.Chris WescottFri, 26 Jun 2015 21:09:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150626_mcdavid644-3.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4035840358BLOG: McDavid ready to meet expectationshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40357SUNRISE, FL - Since he was playing midget in Toronto, Connor McDavid has had high expectations. He was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and has played above his age group right up to junior, where he has had a highlight-filled career with the Erie Otters. He has dealt with the outside pressure his whole career and that won’t stop him from working to be the best player he can be. “My expectations for myself exceed any of those that are put on me,” said McDavid. “It’s something that I can’t really worry about. I’ve just got to make sure I’m playing my game and doing all that because if I meet my expectations the chances are I’ll meet your guys’ as well.”Chris WescottFri, 26 Jun 2015 21:08:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150626_mcdavid644-5.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4035740357BLOG: Oilers won’t trade 16th pick for a goaliehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40354It’s no secret the Oilers are exploring the goalie market ahead of tonight’s NHL Draft. With Robin Lehner being traded to Buffalo today for a first-round pick, it stands to reason that the Oilers could possibly do the same for another available netminder. However, Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli says that’s not going to happen. “There are goalies that are available now today because of the enticement of the first-round pick but we’re not trading that pick for a goalie so it may not happen today then,” said Chiarelli. “There is still a lot of goaltenders. For me, it’s about improving the D. We’ve improved our coaching and we’re going to try and improve our goaltending. We’re in on a few of these goalies. We’re in on some free agent goalies. We want to do the right thing but we don’t want to overspend either.” While the Oilers won’t part with a first-round pick for a goaltender, a defenceman could still be in play. But the depth of this draft means the Oilers would rather hang onto the 16th overall pick. “I’ve been entertaining some offers,” said Chiarelli. “We’ve had some good amateur meetings the last few days. There is going to be a really good player there. It would have to take something pretty good for me to move that pick.” Chiarelli said he’d like to come away with two blueliners before the season: a puck mover and more of a defensive guy. “If we can get both that would be great,” said Chiarelli. “I know we have some of those traits in the existing D. They’re going to play a better defensive game, they are going to know how to defend better. There are true defenders out there, there are puck movers, there are two-way guys. What’s interesting to me in this whole exercise is there are a lot of players that are coming out of woods here and I think that’s probably because we have cap space and roster spots. There are interesting names out there and I believe there will be more interesting names. Types of D, I’d probably like one of both if I could. If we can only get one of them that’s fine for now. As I said, I’d like to try and improve the defensive core and I’d like to continue to try and do that.”Chris WescottFri, 26 Jun 2015 14:40:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644chiarelli2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4035440354BLOG: Chiarelli Media Availabilityhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40350Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli addressed s the media on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. MDT. If you missed it, you can watch or listen to the full archive in the Oilers mobile app.Marc CiampaFri, 26 Jun 2015 09:41:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150424_chia2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4035040350BLOG: The one question that McDavid can’t escapehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40331Connor McDavid, the top prospect in the 2015 NHL Draft, spends a lot of time talking to the media. He’s asked a lot of questions, some that get repetitive. There is one question above all others he can’t escape. “The question I probably hate the most is ‘how do you deal with the pressure?’ I think I’ve heard that question over 100 times, probably more than that this year,” said McDavid. “I don’t know. It’s just a question that is a little bit difficult to answer. It’s something everyone wants to know I guess.” So how does McDavid answer that question now? “I’ve been dealing with (the pressure) for a while now and I’m pretty used to it,” he said.Chris WescottThu, 25 Jun 2015 18:42:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644mcdavidscrum.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4033140331BLOG: McDavid motivates himselfhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40330Top 2015 NHL Draft prospect Connor McDavid is passionate about being the best he can be. It’s in his DNA. “I think it was just the way I was raised,” said McDavid. “I was raised in a normal family. My dad worked long hours, my mom worked long hours as well. They just instilled in me a hard-working attitude right from the start and that’s something I’ve always kind of taken with me.” His passion and drive may come from his upbringing but he didn’t get to where he is today on that along. McDavid sets high expectations and goals for himself. But, at the same time, he doesn’t put too much pressure on himself. “I’m hard on myself,” he said. “I think if you’re going to be good that’s the way it has to be. You have to have high expectations for yourself. I think I do have high expectations for myself. When I don’t meet them it’s upsetting, but there is a lot of pressure coming at me from the outside. I try not to put too much internal pressure on myself just because there is already enough of that out there.” There is pressure. McDavid is touted as a generational talent, perhaps the best to come out of the draft in years. That’s out of his control. But don’t expect all the hype to get into his head. McDavid is focused. “It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. I guess it’s the headline that has been made. There’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is the best that I can and be the best player I can be. Whether that meets expectations or not, that’s not up for me to decide.”Chris WescottThu, 25 Jun 2015 18:28:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644connors.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4033040330BLOG: McDavid on the road sign in Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40329Connor McDavid is the consensus first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, which opens tomorrow night at BB&T Center. Oilers fans are no doubt excited about the potential of welcoming the young centre from the Erie Otters. So excited, in fact, that some Edmontonians changed the Connors Road sign in the city to read “Connor McDavid”. “A couple of people have showed me it and sent me it. It’s very flattering,” said McDavid. “If it is Edmonton I appreciate it very much; the support and the welcoming. It’s still 24 hours away from the pick and we’ll see who it is.” Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson called the prank “totally inappropriate” saying it causes a traffic safety challenge. He then added, “but that’s cute.” The first round of the draft begins at 5 p.m. MDT.Chris WescottThu, 25 Jun 2015 18:22:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150625_sign.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4032940329BLOG: Top prospects place their bets at batting practicehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40324MIAMI, FL - A handful of the top prospects for this year’s NHL Draft attended a batting practice at Marlins Park in Miami, FL on Wednesday. Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifin, Mitch Marner and Lawson Crouse all took some swings at the plate. Crouse and Hanifin had the upper hand, as the two played baseball when they were younger. One underdog was Marner, who apparently didn’t have the faith of his peers. “I know Stromer was saying he thought I wasn’t going to get it out of the infield,” said Marner. “He thought I was only going to be able to get it to the bases and that’s about it. I know a couple of guys were going against him on that one. Nothing too serious, just joking around with each other.” Marner and Strome are good friends and have known each other for a while. “That was a bet, but he was pretty good actually,” said Strome. “I don’t think he was the worst one. Maybe he’s not the biggest guy but he really is a tremendous player. He did pretty well out there.” As the smallest prospect there, Marner did pretty well. “I wasn’t too good but I think I out-did at least one of the guys, hopefully. I guess we’ll see. We’re giving it to each other about who did better. At the end it’s all fun. That’s what it’s all about,” said Marner. Another wager was who might be able to hit the ball out of the park. The big power forward Crouse was the lone player to hit a home run. “Eichel had a bet going with that,” said Hanifin. “I think he got one out of the outfield. That was about it. We did have a bet who was going to hit one out. I think Lawson won that one.”Chris WescottWed, 24 Jun 2015 17:05:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150624_bat2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4032440324BLOG: Oilers season, home opener both vs. Blueshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40323NHL teams today were able to announce their home openers in advance of Thursday morning's full schedule release. For the Oilers, they'll be playing an opponent not usually reserved for openers, and they'll be doing it for both their home opener and season opener. The team's season opener will be on the road against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, October 8. Then the following Thursday (October 15), the Oilers will kick off their final season at Rexall Place against the same St. Louis Blues.Marc CiampaWed, 24 Jun 2015 12:09:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/11/20141128_postoilblue.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4032340323BLOG: Chiarelli comments on staff changeshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40293On Monday, the Oilers announced another shake-up to their hockey operations department. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor and Head Pro Scout Morey Gare have been relieved of their duties. Also, amateur scouts Brad Davis and Kent Hawley, pro scout Dave Semenko and Director of Coaching and Special Projects Billy Moores were relieved of their duties. “These are difficult decisions,” Chiarelli told the media on Monday. “I’m someone who has been on the job for two months and we’re relieving some really good people and people who have been here for a long time. These decisions aren’t taken lightly. In my time here I’ve gotten to know these guys in question and they’re all good people. I wanted to lean out the staff a bit. I wanted to reposition some people in duties. These are hard decisions that we have to make, that I had to make. It was difficult. It was a tough weekend.” Chiarelli answered a question of whether or not it was differences in philosophies. Chiarelli said it had more to do with the process of improving the Oilers as a whole. “I think what it is is imparting a certain way of doing business, imparting a certain philosophy. It’s not really a reflection of them,” said Chiarelli. “At the end of the day, we have to get better at evaluating players and developing players. Unfortunately, some people have to lose their jobs. We all have different philosophies of how to develop players. There’s nothing really magical about it. We just have to get these things done and be successful at it. That’s one of the reasons I was brought in here.” Chiarelli says there will be more shuffling of roles and responsibilities and he may add someone else to the department soon. However, more changes are not likely until after the draft this week.Chris WescottMon, 22 Jun 2015 17:55:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150622_chia6442.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4029340293BLOG: Chiarelli would “instinctively” keep 16th pickhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40292EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers hold two picks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft: the first-overall selection and another pick at 16. With 10 total picks in the draft, the Oilers have assets to move. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli says almost everything is on the table. “I’m open to all types of offers except for the first pick overall,” said Chiarelli. That 16th pick is very valuable, considering how deep and talented this draft is touted to be. That also means it is valuable to other teams in a possible trade. But if Chiarelli had his choice, he may want to keep that pick considering the type of prospect they could acquire. “There’s going to be a really good player with that pick,” said Chiarelli. “Instinctively, you want to keep the pick. Especially as the draft approaches, you get a little more pumped about that pick and that player. Those picks are valuable on a number of levels. The other level is it could get you a pretty good player. Instinctively, yes. I’d like to keep it.”Chris WescottMon, 22 Jun 2015 17:52:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150424_chia1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4029240292BLOG: “Be ready,” Edmontonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40148BUFFALO, NY - It is clear that Dylan Strome holds his Erie Otters teammate, Connor McDavid, in high regard. McDavid, the top-ranked prospect in the 2015 NHL Draft has had a lot of success so far in his hockey career and Strome has been witness to the type of player he is. Strome was asked what Edmonton fans might see from McDavid, should he go first overall in the draft as expected. “Be ready is all I can say,” Strome said. “He’s going to do some things to get the whole arena going ‘ooh’ or ‘ahh’ and doing something like that. They’ll see it and it’s pretty spectacular to watch. If anyone can get into a practice, that might be even more impressive. What he does out there to some of his teammates and some guys on the team. It’s fun, he’s fun to watch and he’s pretty special so they’ll get to love him.”Chris WescottSat, 06 Jun 2015 15:44:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644mc1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4014840148BLOG: McDavid’s fitness resultshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40147BUFFALO, NY - Here are some of the available results for Connor McDavid’s fitness testing at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine. Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Left - 4.43 Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Right - 4.53 Anaerobic Fitness:  Wingate or Peak Power Output (watts/kg) - 17.5 Force Plate: Vertical Jump (inches) - 19.488 Musculoskeletal: Bench Press 70-80% of Body Weight  (# of Reps) - 9 Musculoskeletal: Left Hand Grip (lb) - 165 Musculoskeletal: Pull-Ups Consecutive (max #) - 6 Musculoskeletal: Right Hand Grip (lb) - 156 Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump (in) - 97.3Chris WescottSat, 06 Jun 2015 15:11:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/644mcdavidwingspan.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4014740147BLOG: Scouting generational talentshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40129BUFFALO, NY – Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have been ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the number one and number two North American skaters, respectively. They’ve also been touted as generational talents and have each lived up to the hype. A sea of reporters surrounded McDavid and Eichel at today’s media availability in Buffalo at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine. Following remarkable years for both players, this is just another step until they are drafted at the end of the month. When you rewind to the beginning when scouts first started doing homework on these two, it’s amazing how much the players lived up to the hype. “Nobody was surprised, everybody was impressed,” said Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr. “We didn’t spend an overabundance of time and we weren’t going to go watch to see if they would do something in a negative sense or not develop their game or grow. We just were comfortable following their play. You still go check in every once in a while and say, ‘yeah, it’s the real deal.’” McDavid finished this season with 120 points (44-76-120) in just 47 games for the Erie Otters. He set fire to the OHL playoffs with 49 points (21-28-49) in 20 games as the Otters fell short to Oshawa in the final. It was a season in which McDavid showed everyone what he is made of. “It’s just the way he processes the game,” said Marr. “He’s got exceptionally quick wits about him and he’s got anticipation. It’s the way he can execute plays really without even looking. I think his linemates know to just go to the net, have your stick on the ice and he’ll deliver the puck to them. He’s got some slick moves about him. When you get that type of player that just has that kind of hockey IQ… and he’s got those quick wits about him there, he ends up being a difference maker in more cases than not. What we like about him is almost every time you watch him play he can show you something new. We think the best is really yet to come.” Jack Eichel also had a season to remember. As a freshman at Boston University, he recorded 71 points (26-45-71) in 40 games and took home the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA. “I think if anyone had predicted that, they’d be telling you a fib,” Marr said of Eichel’s freshman year. “He not only lived up to that projection, he exceeded it to come in and do what he did. He was given an opportunity and he seized that opportunity. He’s going to do the same thing next year. He’s going to be given an opportunity, he’s going to seize it and nobody should be surprised of what either of these two are going to accomplish.” The 2015 NHL Draft will take place June 26-27, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.Chris WescottFri, 05 Jun 2015 19:14:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644mc1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4012940129BLOG: Oilers impressed with McDavid/Eichel interviewshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40128BUFFALO, NY – It’s no surprise the Oilers brass will come away from this weekend’s NHL Scouting Combine impressed by the maturity of top draft prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Both have been in the spotlight all season and touted as “generational” talents, but both have handled it well. “Not much else can be said about him that hasn’t already been said,” Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green said of McDavid. “We interviewed him this week and it was a great interview, as we expected. He’s a very polished, well-spoken young man. He’s very mature beyond his years. He has a good understanding of what’s ahead of him and it was just nice to get a chance to talk to him a little bit.” Eichel left a very similar impression. “Well-spoken, very polished and mature,” said Green. “These guys have been through the pressure, the expectations for a few years now and they handle all the attention and everything very well. It was fun to talk to both guys.” The Oilers interviewed 88 prospects this week, according to Green. “If you’re here you might as well be talking to kids rather than sitting around waiting,” he said. “I think it’s important to talk to as many kids as you can. You don’t know. You’ve got a lot of picks and there are a lot of kids available. The more you can uncover, the better off you’re going to be.”Chris WescottFri, 05 Jun 2015 19:13:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150602_mceichel.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4012840128BLOG: First choice is best player availablehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40127BUFFALO, NY – There is a thought process when drafting that you make your board and you stick to it. It is obviously ideal to just keep taking the best player available on your list, no matter what round it is. “You always want to take the best player available,” said Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green. “When you get to later on in the draft, you’re going to reach a point where it’s splitting hairs between two players. If they’re different positions, maybe you go with need as the tiebreaker. Then as you go a little further in the draft the chances are a little tougher for these kids to make it so there are other things you look at. But first and foremost, you look for the best player available.” For a team like the Oilers, with 10 picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, sometimes need starts to creep into the decision-making process. It’s something you can consider but not let it overrule the pure talent aspect of your evaluation of a player. “We talked the other day about need and that you’ve got to be careful about looking at what you need as opposed to best player available,” said Green. “If you’re trying to decide between two players and one is a forward and one is a defenceman and everything remains equal, then certainly you can look at need. It’s always in the back of your mind.” Green says that at this point there are really only small movements of players up and down the Oilers draft board based on the combine interviews and fitness testing. Edmonton currently has seven picks in the first four rounds.Chris WescottFri, 05 Jun 2015 19:07:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150605_green.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4012740127Oilers announce changes to coaching staffhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40101The Edmonton Oilers announced today Associate Coach Keith Acton and Assistant Coach Craig Ramsay were relieved of their duties and will not return for the 2015-16 season.Edmonton Oilers Press ReleaseThu, 04 Jun 2015 20:00:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150604_actonramsay644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4010140101BLOG: Draisaitl on Oilers draft lottery & McDavidhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40114When the Oilers won the draft lottery, it was something that surely resonated throughout the organization. Their 2014 third-overall pick Leon Draisaitl was one of the players who took notice of that moment. He also realizes that it is an opportunity, with two “generational talents” at the top of the draft, to secure an exceptional player. Erie Otters centre Connor McDavid is categorized as that kind of player, and Draisaitl knows his talent. “I think it’s great for the organization to get a player like him, most likely,” said Draisaitl. “I think it’s going to be great. He’s a game-changing player and he has incredible potential. I think it’s a great thing for the Oilers for sure. I don’t know him personally. I’ve played against him a couple times.” While Draisaitl was playing in the Memorial Cup, on his way to being named tournament MVP, McDavid was on hand and spoke to reporters during the intermission of the semifinal on May 29. McDavid was asked about Draisaitl as a player and he also had good things to say about the young Oilers prospect. Although, Draisaitl had just missed a good scoring chance and McDavid couldn’t help but slip in a friendly jab. “He’s been unbelievable all season long,” said McDavid. “I think he’ll want that chance he had back in the slot, but a guy like that is not going to miss very often.” Draisaitl scored 17 seconds into the second period and finished with three points (1-2-3) to help Kelowna advance to the final. When asked if he was watching a future teammate, McDavid laughed and said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”Chris WescottThu, 04 Jun 2015 13:05:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644mc1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4011440114BLOG: Draisaitl on draft eligible teammate Merkleyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40113Kelowna Rockets winger Nick Merkley is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft. Should the Oilers chose not to move their 16th-overall pick, Merkley could still be on the board at that time. Merkley, although small in size, is big in talent. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound forward is NHL Central Scouting’s 23rd-ranked North American skater after a season in which he recorded 90 points (20-70-90) in 72 games. He added 27 points (5-22-27) in 19 WHL playoff games and three goals and two assists at the Memorial Cup. His teammate and Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl got a taste of what kind of player Merkley can be as the two worked well together. “He’s a great kid,” said Draisaitl. “He works really hard. He loves the game and what he’s done this year speaks for itself. He’s a great playmaker. He sees the ice really well. Whoever picks him is going to be really happy getting him, that’s for sure.” What if that “whoever” was the Oilers? “Yeah, for sure. Why not? It would be cool to see him in the same organization. But wherever he goes he’ll be fine and they’re going to get a great player,” said Draisaitl.Chris WescottThu, 04 Jun 2015 13:04:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150601_merkley2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4011340113BLOG: Chiarelli talks philosophyhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40055The 2015 NHL Scouting Combine takes place this week in Buffalo, NY and is just the next step in the off-season schedule. For Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli and the front office staff, it’s showtime as they come together as a unit for the first time since he took over in April. Chiarelli was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Tuesday and talked about his philosophy heading into his first combine and draft with this staff. He has met with the amateur scouts and is in the process of meeting with all the staff. “I wanted to make sure that they dug a little deeper or maybe dug in a different place,” said Chiarelli of the mindset heading into this off-season. “When they’re talking about specific players, just make sure that when they were digging they were highlighting the harder areas of the game; where they exist in this player. It’s more of just re-adjusting a focus and letting them know what our philosophy is. It’s about maybe directing traffic a little bit in the course of a meeting.” Chiarelli addressed potentially an emphasis on adding more size, but there is more to the draft plan. “The size thing is something that’s important and that may be another kind of vetting process that we go through with later on, before the draft,” said Chiarelli. “Right now, we’re interviewing a lot of these kids at the combine and they know that I place a certain level of emphasis on size, a certain level of emphasis on grit, and we don’t dismiss skill. "They know these are areas that they have to check off when they’re interviewing these kids. It’s more about the beginning steps of imparting my philosophy. It’s really just a higher level of due diligence and just all of us, collectively, rolling up our sleeves and pecking away at it. A lot of it right now is evaluation. It’s interviewing, it’s assessing, but it’s also all the personalities involved getting to know each other too.”Chris WescottTue, 02 Jun 2015 17:24:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150424_chia2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4005540055BLOG: Chiarelli open to trading pickshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40056Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli has a lot of ammo to work with at the 2015 NHL Draft. The Oilers have 10 picks, including seven in the first four rounds. With two first-round picks, two seconds, two thirds and a fourth, there are assets there that can be moved for immediate help or players who are further along in their development. Chiarelli addressed that opportunity on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Tuesday. “I certainly would look at moving any of those picks for something that would help us right now but also that could grow with our organization,” said Chiarelli. “You’re usually talking, relatively speaking, a younger player. I’m not ruling out anything. That’s a lot of picks and it’s good to have a lot of picks and develop players, but we also want to hit the ground running too with some more game-ready players. The discussions are picking up and they’ll continue to be on-going until the draft and they might subside a little bit and then pick up again in and around the free agent date.”Chris WescottTue, 02 Jun 2015 17:24:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/20150424_chia1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4005640056BLOG: Condors add Loiseauhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40048The Bakersfield Condors have signed centre Alexis Loiseau to an American Hockey League contract. Loiseau, 21, captained Rimouski to the 2015 QMJHL Championship. He tied for fifth in league scoring during the season with 96 points, including 35 goals, in 68 games. In the QMJHL playoffs, Loiseau was a reliable source of offence for Rimouski, recording 26 points (9-17-26) in 20 games. He finished third in the league playoff scoring race. He also finished on a point-per-game pace at the 2015 Memorial Cup. In five games, he scored two goals and added three assists. He was awarded the George Parsons Trophy as the tournament’s Most Sportsmanlike Player. Loiseau joins goalie Ty Rimmer and left wingers Braden Christoffer and Connor Rankin as players Bakersfield has recently signed to AHL contracts for the 2015-16 season.Chris WescottMon, 01 Jun 2015 12:50:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/06/20150601_loiseau.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4004840048BLOG: Draisaitl named MVP, Rockets fall in finalhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=40044Anthony Cirelli scored both of Oshawa’s goals, leading the Generals to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Kelowna Rockets in the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup Final. Tomas Soustal put Kelowna up 1-0 with 4:52 left in the opening frame, assisted by Madison Bowey and Cole Linaker. Soustal received the puck at the side of the net after a fortuitous bounce off the boards and buried the opportunity. Armed with the lead and a power play to start the second period, the Rockets came out firing after the intermission. Kelowna dominated the start of the second, with Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl having his fair share of chances. However, Oshawa goaltender Ken Appleby made a handful of top-end saves to keep the Generals in it. Appleby finished the game with 37 saves. With Appleby standing on his head, Oshawa was able to draw even with Kelowna at 13:50 of the middle frame. Cirelli picked the corner above the glove of Jackson Whistle for the equalizer. Dakota Mermis and Josh Brown earned assists on the goal. With 10:05 left in the third period, Whistle made a huge save on Michael McCarron to keep the game tied. McCarron had the puck right out in front but couldn’t score on the diving netminder. Nick Merkley had a breakaway with just over five minutes remaining but couldn’t get a good shot off to give Kelowna the lead. In the game’s final minutes, Hunter Smith batted the puck in out of mid air to give Oshawa the 2-1 lead. However, after review, it was waved off due to a high stick. The duelling goaltenders kept the puck out for the remainder of regulation forcing overtime. Cirelli scored just 1:28 into overtime, from right on the doorstep, to lead Oshawa to a 2-1 victory and the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup championship. Draisaitl finished the game winning 13 of his 29 faceoffs and registering six shots on goal. The 19-year-old centre recorded four goals and three assists during the tournament. He was awarded the Stafford Smythe Trophy as the Memorial Cup MVP. He also earned the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as the Memorial Cup's leading scorer.Chris WescottMon, 01 Jun 2015 01:09:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150531_drais1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=4004440044BLOG: Draisaitl & Rockets advance to finalhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39979Everyone knew the Kelowna Rockets had offensive firepower coming into the tournament and they flexed those muscles with a 9-3 win over Quebec on Friday, punching their ticket to the 2015 Memorial Cup Final against the Oshawa Generals on Sunday. Adam Erne put Quebec up 1-0 at 3:11 of the opening period, but that was pretty much the high point of the game for them as Kelowna responded in a big way. Chance Braid tied the game at 9:51 after some solid work in the offensive zone. He buried a pass from Tomas Soustal behind Quebec goaltender Zachary Fucale. Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl scored just 17 seconds into the second period, on the power play. The Rockets came up the ice with speed and Draisaitl took the puck to the net, firing a shot past Fucale. Justin Kirkland took a nice pass from Draisaitl and worked the puck around the sprawling goaltender, potting another power play goal at 3:23 of the second. The Rockets took a 4-1 lead with Kirkland’s second goal of the game at 4:06 of the middle frame. Draisaitl nearly put Kelowna up by four just moments later with a shorthanded breakaway that was stopped by Fucale. The Rockets did get that lead, however, when Josh Morissey fired a shot from the point and it found twine at 16:46. That score capped a four-goal period for Kelowna. Late in the second, after a series of plays in which the home crowd felt the Remparts deserved a power play, fans in attendance littered the ice with various debris. No infractions were called against the crowd or Remparts. If Quebec wanted any hope at getting back into the game they needed to start the third period fast and they did just that. Anthony Duclair scored just 21 seconds into the final frame. Unfortunately for the Remparts, Kelowna responded with a little, “everything you can do I can do better.” Tyson Baillie sauced a nice pass right on the tape of Rourke Chartier and he scored at 2:17 of the third for the 6-2 lead. Cole Linaker’s backhander found its way past Fucale for the 7-2 lead at 2:54 of the third. Quebec’s Dmytro Timashov scored on the power play with a little over 13 minutes remaining in the game to cut the lead back down to four. But, once again, the Rockets simply overpowered them. Baillie pounced on a kick save by Fucale, on the power play, putting Kelowna up 8-3 at 13:26 of the third. Draisaitl recorded the second assist. Draisaitl finished the game 15 of 25 on faceoffs with a goal, two assists and six shots on goal. Chartier fired a shot through the glove side of Fucale at 14:48 of the final frame for the Rockets ninth goal. With the Quebec loss, Oilers 2013 second-round pick Marc-Olivier Roy’s junior season comes to an end. Roy recorded five points (1-4-5) during the Memorial Cup tournament. Draisaitl and the Rockets will attempt to defeat Oshawa for the Memorial Cup on Sunday, at 7 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. MDT.Chris WescottSat, 30 May 2015 00:51:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150529_drai644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3997939979BLOG: A confidence building season for Musilhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39974Almost everyone you talked to in Oklahoma City, players and staff, agreed — David Musil was one of the team’s most improved players. Coming off his first professional season in 2013-14, in which he played 61 games for the AHL’s Barons and three games with Bakersfield in the ECHL, Musil was ready to take the next step in his development. He clearly took that step this season, playing the entire year in the AHL, except for his first four NHL games up with Edmonton. In speaking with Musil it is clear that he gained an entirely new level of confidence this season as he became a reliable fixture on the Barons blueline. Getting called up to Edmonton was the most memorable part of this past season for the defenceman. “Getting called up to Edmonton and playing my first NHL game was something unbelievable,” he said. Musil, the Oilers 31st overall pick in 2011, says he felt comfortable during his limited NHL action. The game didn’t seem too big for him. He made his debut on April 4, against Calgary. Musil stayed with the big club the rest of the season, recording his first NHL assist, against Los Angeles, in his second game on April 7. That was his first NHL victory, and he logged 19:47 of ice time. Musil played 22 minutes in just his third NHL game, a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on April 9. He finished his NHL season with an assist against Vancouver. The 22-year-old defenceman returned to the OKC Barons to aid them in their playoff run. He played just one game in the first series, helping close out San Antonio in a 2-1 overtime win. Musil was +2 that game with two shots on goal. After playing the first three games of their second-round series against Utica, Musil left the lineup in favour of Oilers 2013 first-round pick Darnell Nurse. Musil returned to the lineup for games six and seven. The Barons fell to Utica 1-0 in game seven, ending Musil’s season. “It was a fun year,” he said. “I think we had a great group of guys. It’s disappointing losing, but it was a great time with all the guys. Just doing what we did in the playoffs, even though we didn’t go as far as we wanted to, I think it was still a pretty amazing time.” Musil says the next step for him is return home and train while he prepares for a big camp in Edmonton at the end of this summer. So what does Musil feel like he has to focus on to put another foot forward in his career? “Just my whole game,” he said. “I know the stuff I need to work on. There are always things I need to get better at. I know what I need to work on and I’ll try to do that as much as I can.” The 6-foot-4, 207-pound blueliner hopes to compete for a spot on the Oilers in 2015-16. Whether that comes to fruition is to be decided. But one thing is for sure — Musil is oozing with confidence after a strong season in the minors.Chris WescottFri, 29 May 2015 11:06:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150529_musil644.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3997439974BLOG: Oilers agree to terms with Slepyshevhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39989The Oilers have agreed to terms with winger Anton Slepyshev on a three-year entry level contract. Slepyshev, 21, was taken in the third round (88th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. He has played the past three seasons with Ufa Salavat of the KHL. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound winger had his best production this season, as he scored 15 goals and recorded 25 points in 58 games. Slepyshev led Ufa in scoring at the Spengler Cup this year, with two goals and three assists in five games.Chris WescottWed, 27 May 2015 15:30:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150527_slepyshev.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3998939989BLOG: Hamilton’s memorable seasonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39943As the Oklahoma City Barons final season comes to an end, with the Oilers moving their AHL franchise to Bakersfield this upcoming season, one of their longest-tenured players closes out his best season as a pro. Curtis Hamilton, selected 48th overall by the Oilers in 2010, has played in OKC since the 2011-12 season. Those formative years spent as a young prospect down on the farm are filled with memories. “I came here when I was 20 years old I think at the end of my last year in junior and I kind of got to know the city,” said Hamilton. “It’s crazy thinking back that it has almost been five years since then. I spent all that time here and it’s been an awesome city. I’ve made a lot of memories here and it’s something I’ll never forget.” The one thing that sticks out the most to Hamilton during his four seasons with the Barons is the quality of teams he played on. “We had a lot of playoff games here. We had a couple overtime games I remember watching, playing in or winning. We always had a lot of good teams here and great teammates here so I have a lot of fond memories of those games,” Hamilton said. This year’s playoff run ended in the Western Conference Semifinal with a 1-0 game-seven loss to the Utica Comets. But what happened before that finale was special to Hamilton. In game one against the Comets, Hamilton scored the game-winning goal in the fourth overtime period. Playing in a game like that is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Scoring the winner? That’s even more memorable. It capped off Hamilton’s best season as a professional, in which he recorded career highs in goals (12), assists (20) and points (32). He also earned his first NHL call-up, playing for the Oilers on April 9, against San Jose. “This year as a whole (was memorable),” said Hamilton. “I got to go over to Switzerland and play in the Spengler Cup, which was awesome. Playing my first NHL game was a dream come true. Getting that fourth overtime goal was just the icing on the cake. I had a great year and I’m very proud of it.” Hamilton now turns his focus to building off this season with a good summer of training. “There are a whole bunch of things (I want to work on),” he said. “Obviously, conditioning and weight training, skating and what not. You go through kind of everything. You go through all the hoops to get ready for the next season. But right now I will probably take a week or two just to relax, let everything heal up and get ready for the summer.”Chris WescottWed, 27 May 2015 09:00:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/01/hamilton010814.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3994339943BLOG: Rockets fall 2-1 to Oshawahttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39942The Oshawa Generals managed to hold onto the lead they earned in the second period, taking down the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 in Tuesday’s much-anticipated Memorial Cup matchup. After a scoreless first period, the OHL champion Generals would draw first blood. Dakota Mermis fed Cole Cassels at the side of the net and he buried it at 4:15 of the second period. Michael Dal Colle recorded the second assist. Tobias Lindberg gave Oshawa a 2-0 lead at 17:16 of the middle frame. Coming down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush, Lindberg executed a beautiful toe-drag and buried his shot behind Kelowna goaltender Jackson Whistle. Sam Harding and Anthony Cirelli both added assists on the goal. Before that score was finished being announced over the sound system in the building, the Rockets responded. Tyson Baillie found Gage Quinney skating toward the net and chipped the puck up the middle. Quinney settled the bouncing puck and finished to cut the Oshawa lead to 2-1. Madison Bowey added an assist. The Rockets, still trailing by one, were given a huge opportunity to tie the game late in the third. A kneeing call to Mermis gave Kelowna a power play, and a delay of game penalty made it 5-on-3 for a full minute. Despite some chances by the Rockets on that man advantage, Oshawa goaltender Ken Appleby was outstanding and Baillie missed a wide-open net. Rockets centre and Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl finished with three shots on goal. He was 16 of 29 in the faceoff dot. Oshawa finishes the round robin with a perfect 3-0 record and advances directly to the Memorial Cup final on Sunday. If Quebec beats Rimouski in the round-robin finale tomorrow, Kelowna and Quebec will square off in Friday’s semifinal. However, if Rimouski earns its first win of the tournament, there will be a three-way tie at 1-2 and a tie-breaker game on Thursday will have to be played to determine Friday’s semifinal matchup.Chris WescottTue, 26 May 2015 22:41:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150525_draisaitl1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3994239942BLOG: Draisaitl nets two in Kelowna's winhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39936The Kelowna Rockets rebounded from their opening loss at the Memorial Cup in a big way, downing Rimouski 7-3 on Monday. Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl finished +3 with two goals and an assist in the win. Nick Merkley opened scoring just 52 seconds into the game, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Draisaitl recorded an assist on the goal. Madison Bowey’s shot from the point banked in off the post at 6:16 of the first for a 2-0 Kelowna lead. Gage Quinney made it 3-0 at 14:27, getting his shot through traffic in front of the net. Rimouski made a comeback bid at the end of the first, scoring at 15:14 and 18:14 to make it 3-2. However, Kelowna bounced back in the second with three unanswered goals. Quinney potted a power-play tally at 1:52 of the middle frame. Merkley followed that up at 10:42. Draisaitl, the Oilers third-overall pick in 2014, scored during 4-on-4 play at 13:18 of that same period. He patiently waited in the slot as the puck moved down low, jumping up at the right moment to bury a pass by Dillon Dube for the 6-2 lead. Frederik Gauthier tallied a power play goal at 13:36 of the third to pull Rimouski to within three. Draisaitl potted his second goal of the night, shorthanded, at 14:16 of the final frame on a magnificent solo effort down the right side, making it 7-3 and leading Kelowna to their first victory of the tournament. The Rockets conclude round-robin play vs. Oshawa Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. EDT.Chris WescottTue, 26 May 2015 01:06:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150525_draisaitl1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3993639936BLOG: Oesterle not satisfied after good first seasonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39930After three years at Western Michigan University, Jordan Oesterle chose Edmonton as the next stop in his hockey career. The college free agent defenceman signed with the Oilers on March 31, 2014. Although he played four games for the Oklahoma City Barons last season, even scoring his first professional goal and adding one playoff game under his belt as well, this year was his first full professional season. And it was a good one. “I’m happy with the way my first year went,” said Oesterle. “I’ve got a lot of good things to build on, and going into the summer I’ve got a lot to work on to get to the next step that I want to be at.” Making the jump from the college game to the pros was an adjustment at first. The biggest thing was the amount of time devoted to hockey now that the schoolwork is complete. “The amount of practices. You’re not practicing as much at school, and the amount of games,” he said. But once you get to those games, the competition is much more fierce as well. “In the games, the strength of the players and the skill level of all the players. All the players are top-league guys and you just have to be ready every night,” the defenceman said. Oesterle played 65 games for the Barons this season. His 25 points (8-17-25) were good for second on the team in defensive scoring behind established AHL blueliner, Brad Hunt. His first call-up to the NHL will likely be the most memorable thing he’ll take from this season. Oesterle made his NHL debut on February 28, against St. Louis. He recorded his first NHL point with an assist against Los Angeles in his second game on March 3. Although Oesterle says he is happy with how his first season played out, he knows his development is just beginning. “It’s definitely been a good first year and something I’ll build on,” he said. “I won’t be satisfied with the way the season has gone. I’ve liked the progression I’ve made through the year and I’ll just take that into the summer… with confidence and do what I need to do to hopefully make the team out of camp.” With his eyes set on competing for an Oilers roster spot, the 22-year-old Dearborn Heights, Michigan native will attempt to beef up in the off-season. Oesterle is just 6-foot-0 and 182 pounds. He possesses excellent skating ability already, but wants to ramp up his physical gains during the summer. “Going into every summer, the biggest thing for me is to get stronger,” said Oesterle. “Being a smaller guy, I need to work on that every summer more than my on-ice stuff. I think I’m going to do a little extra this summer and try and work on all areas of my game.”Chris WescottMon, 25 May 2015 16:09:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/03/20150228_oesterle.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3993039930BLOG: Khaira reflects on first pro seasonhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39909Jujhar Khaira had just finished his first professional season, which ended in a 1-0 game seven loss to the Utica Comets in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He couldn’t help but mention his teammates when summing up the season that was. “With the group of guys we had this year, I’ve been on a few teams in different leagues, and I’ve never been on a team with a group of guys like this," Khaira said after the game. "Everybody was close, there were no groups or anything.” As a 20-year-old making the jump to the professional game, having a group like he did in Oklahoma City helped Khaira grow as a player and as a young man. “I thought it went really well,” Khaira said of his first pro year. “I thought I learned a lot this year just with information coming from the older guys and the coaches and watching video and all that. It was a disappointing loss (in the playoffs) but overall I had a lot of fun and a pretty good season.” Playing with the Barons and those in that locker room was his favourite part of the 2014-15 season. “I just liked being around the guys,” said Khaira. “I think any time you’re around the guys, it’s always a blast. I can’t really pinpoint one part of the season, but the whole season was a lot of fun.” Khaira finished his first pro season with four goals and six assists in 51 games, adding 62 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound centre came up big in the playoffs. After missing time due to an elbow injury, Khaira returned to the lineup for game three against the San Antonio Rampage. Up 2-0 in the best-of-five series, Khaira would help the Barons advance. The Oilers 2012 third-round pick scored a goal at 5:01 of overtime to clinch the series. Even with scoring that big goal, the time spent with his teammates after the win sticks out even more in his mind. “I think just beating those guys,” said Khaira. “All year, it was just a war against them and it was just nice to beat them and move on. Just the feeling after with the guys, I’ll remember that a lot more than scoring.” Khaira scored two goals in game four of their second round series against Utica. His performance helped the Barons win 7-4 and tie the series at 2-2. Heading into his second professional season, Khaira has a few areas of his game he looks to focus on this summer. “I’m always going to be working on my skating, just protecting the puck, my stick handling in small areas, making plays at full speed,” he said. “I’m going to try and do a lot of that this summer.”Chris WescottSun, 24 May 2015 16:01:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150524_khaira.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3990939909BLOG: Tournament raises over $94,000http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39910The third annual Dirty Birds Charity Hockey Tournament raised a total of $94,167 for the Neurosurgery Kids Fund at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. The “12 hours of hockey” tournament took place on Saturday, at Argyl Arena in Edmonton. Oilers TV Reporter and Host Tom Gazzola and edmontonoilers.com Head Writer Chris Wescott participated, playing on Team Brain. Oilers In-Game host and 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen was also on Team Brain. "It truly is an honour to be a part of this tournament,” said Gazzola. “To see how much this group has raised for the NeuroKids Fund in just three years is spectacular." Gazzola went first overall in the “media draft,” which took place at the silent auction on Friday night. “This was my second year involved with the tournament and I already cannot wait for next year,” said Wescott. “Meeting the kids, the people involved and seeing the money raised for a great cause is really special.” Other media personalities involved in the tournament and fund raising efforts were CBC’s Min Dhariwal and TSN 1260’s Dustin Nielson. Over its three years of existence, the event has raised $263,000.edmontonoilers.com staffSun, 24 May 2015 15:56:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150524_DIRTYBIRDS.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3991039910Draisaitl scores late, Kelowna falls to Quebechttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39900A shorthanded goal at 2:08 of the third period gave the Quebec Remparts 3-1 lead. Although it got tight at the end, they eventually beat Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in the opening game of the 2015 Memorial Cup. Nikolas Brouillard opened scoring at 5:18 of the first for Quebec. Matt Murphy gave the Remparts a 2-0 lead with a point shot that snuck past Jackson Whistle at 13:22 of the second. Oilers 2013 second-round pick Marc-Olivier Roy got the second assist on the goal. Kelowna drew within one at 17:56 of the middle frame as Cole Linaker dished the puck in front of the net and Nick Merkley put it away, shorthanded. The Remparts responded with a shorthanded goal of their own. Anthony Duclair had a breakaway and the rebound from his shot was buried by Ryan Graves. Kelowna again responded, scoring on the power play at 12:43 of the third. An empty-bet goal by Quebec’s Adam Erne gave the host team a 4-2 lead. Draisaitl, the Oilers fourth-overall pick in 2014, scored backdoor with 36 seconds remaining in the game to draw within one, but Kelowna could not find the equalizer. The Remparts face Oshawa on Sunday and the Rockets play Rimouski on Monday.Chris WescottFri, 22 May 2015 22:32:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150522_drai1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3990039900Oilers reporters suit up in charity tournamenthttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39875Oilers TV Reporter and Host Tom Gazzola and edmontonoilers.com Head Writer Chris Wescott are among a handful of local media personalities participating in the third annual Dirty Birds Charity Hockey Tournament this weekend. The tournament is a two-day event, including a silent auction this Friday. The tournament takes place on Saturday, helping raise awareness and funds for the Neurosurgery Kids Fund at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. In its first two years, the event raised over $200,000. Both Gazzola and Wescott participated last year. This will be Gazzola’s third tournament. A member of the Oilers coaching staff, Video Coordinator Myles Fee, will also be playing in his first tournament. In 2013, the goal was to raise $15,000. The tournament ended up raising $68,000, which was matched by CN Miracle for a total of around $140,000. Last year, the tournament raised $100,212, on its own, without being matched. “The Dirty Bird Hockey Tournament means so much to my family and every family impacted by paediatric neurosurgery at the Stollery,” said Melissa Da Silva of the Neurosurgery Kids Fund. “This tournament is a true testament to how generous and compassionate people can be. A group of people who came together to create something extraordinary to help our children and families. We give our deepest heartfelt gratitude to everyone who organizes, donates and participates. The smiles at camp this year will be because of you! This event began when a local men’s hockey team decided to play for more than just fun, choosing to support a great cause. “This tournament is more than hockey. It's about the friendship the Dirtybirds have created with the kids and families of the Neurosurgery Kids Fund,” said Chris Branco, captain of the Dirty Birds and one of the founding members of the event. Branco, and his wife Julie, created the charity tournament. “Where this tournament is today is truly amazing. Never once did I think that in two years, over $200,000 would be donated,” Branco said. “The support from the community, family, friends and of course my wife Julie, who has put in countless hours, is what makes this a successful event.” In addition to the Oilers staffers participating, Dustin Nielson (TSN 1260), Ryan Jespersen (630 CHED) and Min Dhariwal (CBC) will suit up for the cause. Friday night’s silent auction will take place at Average Joes Sports Bar in Sherwood Park (390 Baseline Road), at 7 p.m. Auction items include a Wayne Gretzky stick, a Jordan Eberle stick and jersey, a Taylor Hall jersey and a Connor McDavid Erie Otters and World Junior Championship jersey, all signed. Tickets are $20 at the door. The tournament will take place on Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. at Argyl Arena (9933 63 Avenue Northwest, Edmonton). This year, prior to the auction or tournament, over $67,000 has been raised.edmontonoilers.com staffFri, 22 May 2015 15:37:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150521_tom2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39875398752015 Young Stars Classic Schedule Announcedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39871Edmonton Oilers 2015 Rookie Camp will once again include a trip to Penticton, B.C. for the annual Young Stars Classic, hosted by the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks announced today the details and schedule for the 2015 event, which will run September 11-14 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. The Oilers Rookies will play three games against fellow rookie squads from the Canucks, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. While the Oilers Rookie Camp schedule and roster are still to be determined, players typically congregate in Edmonton two days prior for medicals and fitness testing before flying to Penticton for the Young Stars Classic. The Oilers Rookies posted a 2-1 record at last year’s Young Stars Classic, with first-round draft picks Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse in the lineup. All 2015 Young Stars Classic games will be streamed live on edmontonoilers.com. Young Stars Classic Penticton, B.C – September 11-14, 2015 GAME TEAMS DATE TIME Game 1 Calgary vs. Winnipeg Sept. 11 5:00pm Game 2 Vancouver vs. Edmonton Sept. 11 8:30pm Game 3 Calgary vs. Edmonton Sept. 12 8:30pm Game 4 Vancouver vs. Winnipeg Sept. 13 3:00pm Game 5 Edmonton vs. Winnipeg Sept. 14 12:30pm Game 6 Vancouver vs. Calgary Sept. 14 4:30pm *Game dates, times and opponents subject to change **All times converted to Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) For information and details on VIP packages and other ticket options, visit canucks.com/youngstars and SOEC.ca. Tickets are available online at www.valleyfirsttix.com, by phone at 1-877-763-2849, in person at the Valley First Box Office at the SOEC or Wine Country Visitor Centre.Ryan FranksonThu, 21 May 2015 13:27:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2014/09/644-edm-cgy1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3987139871Barons season ends in 1-0 losshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39869UTICA, N.Y. — The Oklahoma City Barons fell 1-0 to the Utica Comets Wednesday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in the seventh and final game of the Western Conference Semifinals series, ending Oklahoma City’s 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs run. The game’s lone goal was scored in the third period, when Alexandre Grenier pushed the rebound of a Travis Ehrhardt shot past Barons goaltender Richard Bachman at 7:11 of the frame. Bachman finished the game with 39 saves, while Utica goalie Jacob Markstrom stopped all 35 shots he faced. Bachman finishes the postseason in a tie with Providence’s Malcom Subban for the highest save percentage of the playoffs at .953. Subban played in two games before Providence was eliminated. Despite holding the second-highest power play percentage in this year’s playoffs, Oklahoma City was held scoreless on three power play chances. With the win, Utica moves on to the Western Conference Finals round, where they will face the Grand Rapids Griffins in a best-of-seven series for the opportunity to represent the Western Conference in the Calder Cup Finals. Oklahoma City’s playoff run ended with a 6-4 record after a three-game sweep of San Antonio in the quarterfinal round and a 3-4 record against Utica in the semis.George DarkowThu, 21 May 2015 01:03:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150520_post1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3986939869BLOG: What McLellan bringshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39837There is no doubt that Todd McLellan brings experience and name recognition to the Oilers organization. The long-time coach has worked his way up through the hockey ranks, with stops in the SJHL, WHL, IHL and AHL on his way to the NHL as an assistant and head coach. His winning record (311-163-66) as the bench boss in San Jose the past seven seasons is also a plus. But Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke more specifically about McLellan, following the hiring announcement. McLellan becomes the 14th coach in Oilers franchise history. “Todd brings with him a wealth of experience, a level of energy and intellect I haven’t seen in a long time,” Chiarelli said. “He’s been a coach for a number of years, most recently a couple of days ago where he won the gold medal with Team Canada over in Prague. I had a chance to meet with him over there and talk at length on a number of different levels. I’m very impressed with him, meeting him face to face. I had been very impressed with his teams over the years in the NHL with Detroit and with San Jose.” When Chiarelli came to Edmonton, he spoke about wanting the Oilers to play harder. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting bigger or more physical, and Chiarelli feels McLellan gets that. “We talked a couple of weeks ago at my press conference about different ways of playing hard, rather than switching out a whole team’s roster. Both those teams in Detroit and San Jose, you look at them and how they play, the personnel, and they know how to play hard. Todd is one of the main reasons for that, instilling a level of confidence, energy and discipline into these players,” said Chiarelli. Chiarelli says McLellan was the top target for the Oilers. “His level of energy and his level of thinking really impressed me,” said Chiarelli. “If you look at him behind the bench, he’s active. I think he’s a terrific bench manager. A lot of reasons. My time in Boston, we didn’t play the Sharks a lot, but whenever we played them they were hard games, they were games where adjustments would be made all the time. They were heavy on the puck and he really looked like he enjoyed coaching. A number of those reasons helped me make my decision in choosing Todd.”Chris WescottTue, 19 May 2015 18:55:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150519_mclellanscrum306.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3983739837BLOG: Coaching stabilityhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39835The Oilers have had five head coaches since the start of the 2009-10 season. Stability is something the Edmonton organization would like to have with Todd McLellan, who was announced as the 14th head coach in franchise history on Tuesday. McLellan most recently coached seven seasons in San Jose, posting a record of 311-163-66 in 540 games. Six of those seven seasons, McLellan and the Sharks made the playoffs. His record indicates that he could be a more long-term fixture for the Oilers. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli talked about stability at that position and all that goes into developing a long-term relationship. “By no means, is there a perfect amount of time for a coach. I think from a consistent messaging viewpoint, that’s important,” said Chiarelli. “In delivering your message and from a coaching perspective, he’s the main messenger and I think to have it over time, with more or less the same group, you’ll see it reaps tremendous rewards. Having said all that, there’s a lot of stuff in between. Not just having a stable coach for a certain number of years. You have to work well together, you have to have a plan and it has to be laid out and executed. Todd’s one of the top coaches in the league and we’re fortunate to have him here.” Prior to San Jose, McLellan coached the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL, the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks and the Houston Aeros in the AHL. He was also an assistant in Detroit for three seasons. “Todd brings with him a wealth of experience, a level of energy and intellect I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Chiarelli.Chris WescottTue, 19 May 2015 18:53:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150519_mclellan644-2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3983539835BLOG: Timeline for Toddhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39834The search was a relatively short timeline from start to finish. The Oilers season ended on April 11, and on the 20th Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks mutually parted ways after seven seasons. Now, one month later, McLellan has found his new home in Edmonton. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli didn’t waste any time in meeting with McLellan following the season. Chiarelli knew the free agent coach would be sought after for multiple vacancies around the league. So Chiarelli, trying to get a head start on the competition, got on a plane and travelled to the Czech Republic to meet with McLellan, who was coaching Team Canada at the IIHF Men’s Hockey World Championship. “It happened fairly quickly, as far as trying to set something up,” said Chiarelli. “We wanted to get ahead of it with Todd. I went over to Prague and we spent three or four hours on a number of different things. I had a fairly exhaustive checklist to go through with him and he had a lot of questions for me. We felt it was a better time in the tournament, earlier on. The competition, the pace, the daily schedule grind wasn’t quite up to speed yet. It was a good time to do it. I knew there would be a lot of teams that would want to talk to Todd so I wanted to be kind of first in to let him digest it and get to know me and what we’re about here and what we’re trying to do here. Timing and opportunity was good and the fact that he had the time was good too. He’s the guy we wanted and wanted to get on to in a hurry.” The 2015 Worlds ended on Sunday, with McLellan and Canada taking home gold and finishing 10-0 in the tournament. Barely off the plane from Prague, McLellan was announced as the 14th coach in Oilers franchise history, concluding the short hiring process.Chris WescottTue, 19 May 2015 18:51:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150519_mclellan644-1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3983439834BLOG: "It's going to go up"http://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39833Todd McLellan was asked what his plans were as he takes the reigns as the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. “It’s going to go up. That’s what the plan is,” said McLellan. “It’s to take it up. It’s to take the organization and begin to climb the mountain. We have to chart our path to begin with. We have to determine what we want to be and how we want to look. We have to find the players within the organization right now — not going outside but in the organization — and put them in the right spots. With all of that, there’s pain. There’s nights we’re not going to be pleased. But there’s four teams that are playing right now that just experienced it, too. They have painful nights. They just have fewer of them. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Take those painful nights and diminish them throughout the years to the point where we can be at the top of the mountain.” McLellan has high hopes for the franchise, but did want to temper expectations for next season. “To come in and say hey we’re winning a Stanley Cup next year, that’s not the case. There’s some auxiliary pieces — and what I mean by auxiliary is not on the ice surface — that have been added. Bob’s obviously been named to oversee everything, Peter, myself. It’s been an exciting time for all of us.” He was quick to point out that he knows that he will ultimately be judged on whether or not the organization can get on the winning track. “The product on the ice — the wins and losses — still drive the organization. That’s how it is in any team. And we have to make sure that that product and those players are driving it upwards. “There will be hills and valleys but over time it has to keep going upwards.”Marc CiampaTue, 19 May 2015 18:43:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150519_mclellan644-1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3983339833BLOG: McLellan looking to build a foundationhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39836Todd McLellan was asked about his playoff record with the Sharks, but McLellan was quick to point out that the Oilers were looking to get better in many aspects, not just postseason. “We’re not going to talk about playoffs here. We’re going to talk about foundation. We’re going to talk about creating an identity and building towards it. The playoff part of it exists after you accomplish those regular season things and we’ve got work to do there first of all,” McLellan began. He added that he felt that the Sharks got a bad rap when people referred to their playoff failures, noting that often the team that eliminated them went on to win the championship. “As far as San Jose goes, we had a lot of successes in the playoffs in my opinion. We ended up losing to some very good teams. Chicago, Los Angeles, teams that went on to win the Stanley Cup. And sometimes you get beat by a better team. It’s as simple as that. “Maybe you’re not at the top of your game. Maybe you’re short in some areas. Whether it’s skill, strength, toughness. It’s what the playoffs are about. You play, you find out what went right, what went wrong as an organization. Then you evaluate it and try to go out and fix it the next year. “We were close. We had really good teams. They still have a tremendous team there. They’ve got some tremendous athletes in that locker room. They’ll be a force to be reckoned with. But it was just time for the players and the coach to refresh, I guess is the best word.”Marc CiampaTue, 19 May 2015 18:39:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644mclellan.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3983639836BLOG: Oilers announce news conference todayhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39830The Edmonton Oilers announced this morning that there will be a press conference later today (2:00 PM). You can watch the press conference LIVE on the Oilers Mobile App and also at edmontonoilers.com.Marc CiampaTue, 19 May 2015 12:11:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/04/644oeg.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3983039830Barons hold on, force game sevenhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39828UTICA, N.Y. — Behind a 33-save performance by goalie Richard Bachman, the Oklahoma City Barons defeated the Utica Comets 2-1 Monday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium to force a seventh game in the best-of-seven AHL Calder Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinal round. Game seven is Wednesday at Utica. Despite the Comets outshooting the Barons 34-21 for the game, and 25-8 in the final two periods, Bachman didn’t allow a goal until 14:13 of the final frame. Near the end of the second period, Utica managed to put a puck into the OKC net, but the goal was waved off due to interference. Oklahoma City took an early 1-0 lead, when Brad Hunt picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and maneuvered around several Utica defenders before shoveling a backhand shot that trickled past Comets goalie Jacob Markstrom. The goal at 5:23 of the first period was Hunt’s third of the postseason. After more than two periods worth of scoreless play, the Barons increased their lead to 2-0 at 8:26 of the third period. Following a Brad Hunt dump of the puck into the Utica zone, a carom off the end boards brought the puck back to a streaking Hamilton, who wristed a shot past Markstrom from the left-wing side. The goal was Hamilton’s team-high fifth postseason goal. Utica cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 2-1 with 5:47 to play in regulation, when a save by Bachman on a shot by Alex Friesen was rebounded by Sven Baertschi, who flipped the puck past the Barons net minder as he dived to cover the vacated side of the net. Despite a flurry of shots in the final moments of play, key blocks by Barons defenseman Dillon Simpson and center Connor Jones helped preserve Oklahoma City’s one-goal lead. Game Six marked the eighth time in franchise history the Barons faced elimination in the Calder Cup Playoffs, with all eight occurring on the road. After Monday’s win, Oklahoma City is now 4-4 all-time in elimination games. Oklahoma City has played one Game Seven in franchise playoff history, a 5-4 loss at Grand Rapids in the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Current Barons C.J. Stretch, Brandon Davidson and Martin Marincin took part in the game, with Davidson recording an assist. Wednesday’s winner-take-all seventh game of the series is a 6 p.m. CDT start at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.George DarkowTue, 19 May 2015 00:24:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644396-uti-okc.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3982839828BLOG: McDavid wins MVP but Otters eliminatedhttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39796Connor McDavid won the Wayne Gretzky '99' Award as MVP of the playoffs despite the Erie Otters dropping a 6-2 decision to Oshawa, losing the championship series in five games. From the OHL's press release: The top 2015 NHL Draft prospect led the OHL Playoffs in scoring with 21 goals, 28 assists and 49 points in 20 games, the most points in a postseason since Justin Papineau's OHL record of 51 in 1999. McDavid, an 18 year-old centreman from Newmarket, ON, had two goals, four assists and six points in five games during the Rogers OHL Championship Series, leading the Otters deep into the playoffs for the second straight season. He had points in 18 of his 20 playoff contests. The Otters captain recorded a total of five multi-goal games throughout the 2015 OHL Playoffs, highlighted by a five-goal performance in a 7-3 win over the London Knights on April 10. McDavid becomes the second Otters player to win the award after Brad Boyes earned the distinction in 2002. The OHL introduced the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award in 1999 to honour the Most Valuable Player in the OHL Playoffs as selected by the media. Gretzky, a native of Brantford, graduated from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to become the most prolific scorer in the history of the NHL. The league created the award in tribute of 'The Great One' shortly after he announced his retirement from the NHL in 1999.Marc CiampaSat, 16 May 2015 01:35:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644mc2.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3979639796Barons face elimination after 3-1 losshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39784Jacob Markstrom stopped 33 shots for the Utica Comets, who downed the Oklahoma City Barons 3-1 Thursday night at the Cox Convention Center to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven AHL Calder Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals series. The loss puts Oklahoma City on the brink of elimination from the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, with the team needing wins in Game Six and Game Seven next week in Utica to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Utica can clinch a series win with a victory in either of the remaining two games. After surrendering six goals in Game Five, Markstrom allowed the Barons just a Brad Hunt goal with 1:09 left in the game, despite Oklahoma City outshooting Utica for the first time since Game One, 34-32. Barons goalie Richard Bachman made 30 saves. Utica registered a goal in all three periods and took a 1-0 lead at 12:13 of the first when Bobby Sanguinetti sent a turnaround shot from the right circle that Bachman knocked away with his blocker, but Wacey Hamilton was able to flip behind the sprawling Barons net minder. The Comets increased their lead to 2-0 at 3:54 of the second period after Peter Andersson skated into the Oklahoma City zone before taking a wide open pass from Alex Friesen and wristing a shot over Bachman’s blocker. A power play chance and an empty net gave the Barons 6-on-4 advantage in the waning minutes of play, and Hunt converted on a slap shot from the left point to get the Barons on the board at 18:51 of the third. Alexandre Grenier added an empty net goal at 19:44 of the third to secure the win for Utica. Game Six is at 6 p.m. CDT Monday, May 18, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.George DarkowThu, 14 May 2015 23:52:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150514_postjpg.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3978439784BLOG: Draisaitl's Rockets sweep to WHL titlehttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39770Leon Draisaitl was named the WHL MVP as his Kelowna Rockets defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-0, sweeping their way to the WHL Championship. The first two periods went scoreless but 1:10 into the third, Draisaitl scored shorthanded to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead. That goal would turn out to be the game winner as 19 seconds later, Rourke Chartier scored shorthanded on the same penalty. With 5:30 to go, Draisaitl assisted on a goal by Nick Merkley to make it 3-0 and that was how the game would end.Marc CiampaThu, 14 May 2015 01:32:00 EDThttp://2.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644rocketswin.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3977039770Offence and Nurse shine as OKC evens serieshttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39747Jujhar Khaira and Darnell Nurse teamed up for a pair of goals and Brad Hunt added a goal and three assists to lead the Oklahoma City Barons to a 7-4 win over the Utica Comets Wednesday night at the Cox Convention Center, evening the best-of-seven AHL Calder Cup Western Conference Semifinals series at 2-2. In his first game of the playoffs, Nurse recorded three assists. His first gave the Barons a 1-0 lead at 9:30 of the first period, when he centered a pass to the front of the net, where Khaira chipped the puck past Utica goalie Jacob Markstrom. Khaira and Nurse combined once again for Oklahoma City’s fourth goal at 17:34 of the second period, when again Nurse skidded the puck toward the net and Khaira redirected it past Markstrom to give the Barons a 4-3 lead. Hunt assisted on the Barons’ second, third and fifth goals, and scored an empty-netter at 17:15 of the third, firing a slap shot from the left circle of the OKC zone that sailed into the center of the vacant Utica net, making the score 7-4. Nurse tallied his third assist on the play. Oklahoma City was 4-for-7 on the power play, with Khaira’s and Hunt’s goals the even-strength scores. For a third consecutive game, the Barons were outshot by Utica, 42-24. Barons goaltender Richard Bachman made 38 saves, while Markstrom stopped a pedestrian 17. Utica played the final 5:30 with an empty net and extra attacker. After Khaira’s first goal gave the Barons a 1-0 lead, Utica’s Hunter Shinkaruk tied the game at 16:21 of the first period, when he wristed a shot from the left-wing circle that caromed off the post and Bachman’s back before trickling into the net. The play was reviewed and upheld by officials. The Barons took a 2-1 lead 1:16 into the second period. On the power play stemming from a cross-checking penalty to Utica’s Alex Biega in the final second first period play, Hunt sent a shot from the point that was initially knocked down by Markstrom, but OKC’s Andrew Miller jammed the puck through the goalie’s pads for the Barons’ first power play score of the game. Goals by Utica’s Sven Baertschi at 6:50 and Alex Friesen at 11:34 of the second period gave the Comets a 3-2 lead. At 13:08 of the second, Hunt sent a shot on net from the right circle that bounced high off Markstrom’s chest, allowing Matt Ford to bat the puck out of the air and past the Utica net minder, knotting the score at three. The goal extended Ford’s playoff point streak to seven games – the entirety of the Barons playoff schedule thus far. Following Khaira’s second goal that gave the Barons a 4-3 lead, Oklahoma City’s lead grew to 5-3 when Markstrom chased a puck behind the Utica net and his clearing attempt slid to OKC’s Ryan Hamilton, who pushed the puck toward the vacant net, giving the Barons their first multi-goal lead of the series. Two minutes, seventeen seconds later, Brandon Davidson scored on a wrist shot from the right circle that found its way through Markstrom’s pads to extend the Barons’ lead to 6-3. Playing with an extra attacker late in the third period, Utica’s Brendan Gaunce cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 6-4, grabbing a pass from Friesen in the right circle and rifling a shot over Bachman’s glove. The late empty-netter was the first goal of the playoffs for Hunt, who tied for the lead in goals among AHL defenseman during the regular season with 19. Game Five is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday at the Cox Convention Center.George DarkowWed, 13 May 2015 23:59:00 EDThttp://3.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/20150513_baronswin.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3974739747BLOG: 4 points for McDavid, but Erie falls in OThttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=39771The Erie Otters have been pushed to the brink after falling 6-5 to the Oshawa Generals on Wednesday night. Top-ranked CSS prospect Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists for four points in a losing cause. Oshawa stormed out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but before the period would end, the Otters came back to tie it at 2-2 with McDavid assisting on both goals. The Generals then scored two more to open the second and take a 4-2 lead. 10 seconds after Oshawa's fourth goal, Jake Marchment scored to make it a one-goal affair. Then McDavid assisted on a goal by Taylor Raddysh to tie it up at 4-4. Erie took a 5-4 after McDavid ripped a shot from the high slot top corner. Oshawa tied the game at 5-5 with one second left in the middle frame. Neither team scored in the third, sending the match-up to overtime. In OT, Cole Cassels scored 8:19 in to give Oshawa the win.Marc CiampaWed, 13 May 2015 23:30:00 EDThttp://1.cdn.nhle.com/oilers/images/upload/2015/05/644mc1.jpghttp://oilers.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=3977139771