Kukla's Korner Hockey
“We just found ourselves in a place we don’t want to be. It’s going to be a workout time. We had a change when we brought Cam in and Charlie, and they wanted a change. They thought we needed a change. They thought it was the right move for the franchise. I think Peter is a great human being and a great hockey mind. And I think he’s going to prosper out west (in Edmonton). He’s got a great young team there. We were not in the same position. It’s a cap environment we find ourselves in here and you’ve got to look to the future. If you watch the success of the Chicago team, and I do admire them quite a bit, they dealt with their high-priced players early on and the kept creating room. Every year, there was a change, not too unlike the change we see here (this year). We see some great players going elsewhere. Even to this year, you see very successful teams have met that problem. We didn’t deal with it in a timely enough manner and we found ourselves in a cap position that wasn’t attractive for us.”
-Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins on ex-GM Peter Chiarell. More on the Bruins from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Ryan Smyth, who bled Edmonton Oilers orange and blue for close to 1,000 games before retiring as a player, is keen to get back to hockey.
After taking a season to decompress and spend time with his family following his final game in the spring of 2014, Smyth said Monday he’s interested in reconnecting with the Oilers.
“I would like to sit down with (Oilers Entertainment Group chief executive officer) Bob Nicholson and see what they’re thinking,” Smyth said. I want to be involved in hockey but I don’t know in what capacity.”
The Oilers aren’t commenting, but there are options they could consider in the short term.
Having the heart-and-soul Smyth at Oilers’ training camp as, say, a guest instructor could help the young forwards learn about getting position in front of the net and along the boards — an area that’s been lacking.
The Oilers also have to increase their team battle level, which was always Smyth’s best trait through 970 games as an Oiler, as well as his stops on Long Island, Colorado and with the Los Angeles Kings.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Two things unlocked the key to Sather’s banner box to finally allow him the chance to go up there with the rest of the Edmonton Oilers glory gang Hockey Hall of Fame members in the arena where it all happened.
Kicking himself upstairs from GM to president of the New York Rangers combined with 2015-16 being the Oiler final season in Rexall Place made it perfect.
When the schedule came out this year it was a pretty good bet that Dec. 11 would be the day when the Glen Sather banner would finally get raised at Rexall when the Rangers visit Edmonton.
Monday, with new organization boss Bob Nicholson standing in the background, Kevin Lowe, the first player Sather drafted, was accorded the honour of standing in front of the Wayne Gretzky statue at Rexall Place to make the announcement.
“It’s been a long time coming. Now that Glen is not the general manager anymore we can honour him for all the great things he did,” said Lowe, now Oilers Entertainment Group Vice Chair.
“It was never in doubt. It was a question of timing.
(EDMONTON) – The Edmonton Oilers announced today they will be raising a banner in Rexall Place to salute the achievements of legendary coach, general manager and executive Glen Sather.
Fans attending the Edmonton Oilers December 11, 2015 game versus the New York Rangers will be part of a special night, as the Oilers welcome back Sather and honour his leadership that resulted in five Stanley Cup Championships for the organization.
from Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal,
The Oilers’ agreement on a one-year contract with Justin Schultz yesterday has had an interesting side effect, opening up a second buyout window for the team if it desires to dump a contract. There are arguments both for and against such a course, with the most common argument against being fiscal: Why prolong the years that Edmonton needs to pay Nikita Nikitin and/or Andrew Ference when those players’ deals will end shortly anyway?
In most summers, that would be a strong argument. In the summer of 2015, however, some unique circumstances have arisen that render it moot.
This might be the best free agent buyers’ market since the arrival of the salary cap. Players have signed almost uniformly for reasonable dollars, and more than two weeks into free agency there are still plenty of quality players unsigned.
Cody Franson is still on the market. A 28-year-old, 6’5”, right-shooting rearguard who contributes on both special teams and plays tough minutes at even-strength, Franson would be a superb addition for the Oilers and would check off a bunch of boxes. Before free agency began, we had noted him as a priority target; remarkably he’s still unsigned.
Christian Ehrhoff is also unsigned, and reportedly even willing to agree to a one-year deal.
added 3:01pm, Edmonton release is below....
Wayne Gretzky continued to shower Connor McDavid with praise, saying that he’ll be a rock star in the best way for Edmonton.
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
On the recent Hockey’s Future ranking of top 50 NHL prospects, the Edmonton Oilers place three candidates in the Top 15, Darnell Nurse at sixth overall, Leon Draisaitl, ninth, and Griffin Reinhart, 14th.
Of the players in the Top 15, the three Oilers are the only position players who weigh more than 200 pounds.
The list is led by plenty of smaller players like Sam Reinhart, 1st overall and 186 pounds, Nikolaj Ehlers, third overall and 163 pounds, Sam Bennett, fourth overall and 178 pounds, Dylan Larkin, fifth overall and 172 pounds, Teuvo Teravainen, ninth overall and 165 pounds, and William Nylander, 11th overall and 169 pounds.
But when it comes to big bodies with skill, the Oilers boss the list. Griffin Reinhart is listed on the Oilers website as 217-pounds, while at the recent team development camp Nurse weighed in at 213 pounds and Draisaitl, 214. It’s easy to imagine all of them playing in a few years for the Oilers in the 220-to-230 pound range.
The Oilers shift to bigger players doesn’t end with these three. On Edmonton’s American Hockey League farm team, the Bakersfield Condors, almost all of the top prospects are also more than 200 pounds. That includes Brandon Davidson, 214-pounds, Jujhar Khaira, 214-pounds, and Bogdan Yakimov, 232-pounds.
from Connor McDavid of Sportsnet,
There have been plenty of great players over the years, but what always separated them from the merely good one was their ability to sense the moment. The intelligence to know when it was time for a truly superior performance, and the wherewithal to be the best player on the ice that night — that’s what set the Gretzkys, Messiers, Lemieuxs and Crosbys apart.
Connor McDavid is not there yet, OK? No one is saying that he is.
But, in his first scrimmage as an Edmonton Oiler, with about 7,300 people who came out on a beautiful July evening solely to see him play a 4-on-4 game for 40 minutes, then 3-on-3 for another seven minutes, all McDavid did was score five goals. His team won 8-6.
It was, as his GM would say later, a “a 3-on-3, 4-on-4 no-hitter.” But there was one player who had the puck on a string, one player who emphatically showed that he was head and shoulders the most dynamic, highly-skilled player among the 31 prospects.
The stage, however small, was his and he owned it.
from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,
This just in from Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur from TSN’s The Reporters, a suggestion that the Edmonton Oilers can’t count on new acquisition Cam Talbot, so should have offered up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in a trade for Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.
Here’s how the conversation played out as the sportswriters described the key moves at the NHL trade deadline:
Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons: “I like the move that sends Cam Talbot to Edmonton. Edmonton is now Canada’s team. They’ve become that. Connor McDavid is going there. Peter Chiarelli is there. (Todd) McLellan is there. They’re putting all the pieces in place. They had to trade for Talbot in New York. We don’t know what it’s like to go from playing behind one of the best defences in the NHL to playing behind one of the worst, but we’re going to find that out. We’re going to find out whether this guy is real or whether he’s not. Because if Edmonton has real goaltending, they’ve got chance to do some business.”
“That’s a lot of pressure in Cam Tablbot,” countered Arthur. “We don’t know what he is really. He doesn’t have a huge NHL resume. If I was the Oilers, I would have called Boston, I would have said, ‘How much for Tuukka Rask?’ If it’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, I’d do it. Because that’s one of the five goaltenders you can depend on year after year. Cam Talbot? They’re panning for gold a little bit. But the pressure is on Edmonton to produce while Connor McDavid is on an Entry Level Contract.”
Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated added:
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