Kukla's Korner Hockey
Mark Spector of Sportsnet did an off-season primer on the Oilers and as we all know, they need an upgrade in goal and on defense.
With that, some options for the Oilers.
Anderson is injury-plagued, but he is a known commodity who could give Edmonton the consistent NHL goaltending they’ve lacked when healthy. Scrivens has shown he can play for stretches, so with few legitimate options out there, helping Ottawa out of its goaltending glut could be the way to go for Edmonton.
Adam Mcquaid or Andrej Sekera
There may not be a legit top-pairing defenceman on the UFA market. So, short of pulling off a very unlikely deal for a Brent Seabrook, Edmonton may choose to up its physical, penalty-killing presence with UFA McQuaid. Or, improve its mobility and ability to get the puck up to the forwards quickly and accurately by going after UFA Sekera.
Any Ducks defenceman
Anaheim has the richest deposit of sub-23-year-old, NHL-ready defencemen in the entire NHL. Hampus Lindholm is untouchable, but for the right trade, any of Simon Despres, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen or perhaps even Josh Manson would be an upgrade for Edmonton.
FYI, reports out of Boston yesterday state the Bruins may still try to sign McQuaid.
from Marty Klinkenberg of the Globe and Mail,
It was the summer of 2011 when Jeff Jackson heard about the next great prospect in hockey.
The former assistant general manager of the Maple Leafs had only recently launched a career as an agent. One of his clients, Sam Gagne, was training at a rink in Oakville, Ont. Then a centre with the Edmonton Oilers, Gagne was approached by a skinny 14-year-old who asked if he could join him on the ice.
“Afterward, Sam called me,” Jackson says. “He said, ‘You have to find this kid. I have been in the NHL five years, and he can do things I can’t do. His name is David O’Connor.’”
Gagne remembered the bantam-aged youngster had told him he was about to begin playing for the Midget-AAA Marlies of the Greater Toronto Hockey League. So Jackson made an inquiry with the club.
“I asked about the O’Connor kid, and they chuckled,” Jackson says. “They said, ‘Oh, you must mean Connor McDavid.’”
Four years later, there is no confusing the teenager with blazing speed and supernatural skills. He is hockey’s most promising prodigy since Sidney Crosby – and potentially the greatest player to enter the sport since Wayne Gretzky.
“In the history of the NHL, how many players have been so highly touted?” asks Andrew Ference, the Oilers’ captain. “There are not many. Probably only Crosby and him.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Oilers need help now, and down the road.
Their cupboard is pretty bare of prospect goalies, outside of former Oklahoma City Barons goalie Laurent Brossoit and recently signed Finn Eetu Laurikainen. They tried for Boston University free-agent Matt O’Connor but he opted to sign in Ottawa. The Oilers moved to Plan B for Laurikainen, who played junior hockey in Swift Current, Sask., and last year in Finland’s top league.
They need a goalie to tag team with Ben Scrivens next year.
Talbot, an unrestricted free-agent next July, is a favourite of Mark Messier, who is an Oilers’ advisor. Half a dozen teams are circling around the six-foot-five Lehner, who might be another Ben Bishop.
Los Angeles will be re-signing Jonathan Quick’s little-used backup Martin Jones, 25, recognizing his value, but lots of teams are interested in Jones, too, including the Oilers.
A wild card in all of this for the Oilers might be Kari Lehtonen in Dallas. The Stars like him but don’t love him, and realize he’s a tough trade nut to crack with a $5.9-million cap hit.
more on the Oilers drafting a goalie...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli viewed former San Jose coach Todd McLellan as a prize free-agent catch when he and the Sharks said goodbye a month ago.
Chiarelli wasn’t going to take it slow and easy in his pursuit, so he jumped in, swimming furiously, even knowing Mike Babcock might come free.
“I thought the fit was right with Todd with our personnel and the fit was right with how I manage and, in this business, if you want to get a top coach, you have to act quickly,” said Chiarelli, who didn’t know McLellan well personally, but found some instant chemistry after talking with him for about four hours in Prague, Czech Republic, at the world hockey championship.
“It’s almost like free agency for players. If you’re not in there first, you probably won’t get the guy. I knew we had to get in there first and go in hard,” he added.
Chiarelli had some history with Babcock on the 2014 Canadian Olympic team — the Detroit Red Wings coach was behind the bench and Chiarelli was part of the management group when he was the Boston Bruins GM — so he fully knows what Babcock brings to the table. He just didn’t ask for permission to talk to him.
“I got to know Mike a little bit at the Olympics and before that at the world championship and he’s a really impressive coach and an impressive person, but Todd was at the top of my list for a number of reasons. That doesn’t mean Mike’s not a great coach,” Chiarelli said.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have appointed Todd McLellan as the club’s new Head Coach. McLellan becomes the 14th Head Coach in Oilers franchise history.
Most recently, McLellan was the Head Coach of Team Canada at the 2015 World Hockey Championship, leading Canada to their first gold medal since 2007 with an undefeated record of 10-0 and an impressive 6-1 win over Team Russia in the gold medal final.
Peter Chiarelli, GM of the Edmonton Oilers has scheduled a press conference at 4:00pm ET.
Expectation is Todd McLellan will be named the head coach, watch below...
Todd McLellan will be the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, with a formal announcement from the organization expected sometime this week, possibly as early as Tuesday.
It’s been a nice run of late for the beleaguered franchise who recently added former Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, not to mention winning the right to choose Connor McDavid with the first overall selection of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
frm Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
... there is soon going to be a new kid in town. Connor McDavid.
And if and when McDavid arrives in this western city — once mocked as Deadmonton, the city that free agents either fled or dread — he’ll be coming to a place with a new sense of self, a newfound confidence.
It stems partly from folks here finding other things to do, and other ways to define themselves while the Oilers played so poorly — and partly from the fact there’s this big new arena going in downtown where McDavid will play in a couple of seasons.
“The Oilers have a new barn, a top pick and a lot of young talent,” says James Jackson, in charge of bringing sporting events to Edmonton. “We have a new young mayor. Our average age is 36. And we voted NDP.
“It’s a cool dynamic.”
No. This isn’t Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton. It will be Connor McDavid’s. And they can’t get him here soon enough.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
So, they have to trade for a defenceman, but one that’s considerably older. It’s no secret the Oilers are eyeing the Chicago Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook, 30, because he has another year on his contract at $5 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, and the ’Hawks are once again in a major cap squeeze for next year and beyond.
Maybe there’s some soft interest in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf, also 30, but he’s starting a six-year, $41-million deal this upcoming season.
Is he in Seabrook’s league as a Top 2 defenceman? Probably not.
Here’s what the Oilers could be doing to upgrade their defence, even if it’s not landing a legitimate Top 2 guy. They should try to get a very good No. 3, who is young and can play big minutes.
Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, who needs a young scorer with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville coming up dry in the playoffs, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, who needs a defenceman who can eat up minutes, should be on the phone to each other.
Chiarelli, who has never had trouble with small defencemen (see Torey Krug and Brad Marchand in Boston), should be making a strong pitch for Tyler Ennis’s best buddy Jared Spurgeon, a solid No. 3 National Hockey League defenceman with strong possession numbers.
And Fletcher should be asking about winger Nail Yakupov because Chiarelli may not be married to the young Oilers as former GM Craig MacTavish was.
I tweeted this while doing a bit of shopping and now that I am home, you can check it out yourself on KK.
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