Kukla's Korner Hockey
I was expecting Jim Nance to appear with Daryl Katz to help put the Green Jacket on McDavid.
via Edmonton Oilers press release,
Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, with the first overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Oilers have selected centre Connor McDavid from the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Erie Otters.
McDavid, 18, has spent the past three seasons with the Otters, recording 285 points (97G, 188A), 104 penalty minutes and a +83 rating in 166 career games. His 285 points are second most in Otters franchise history.
from Tal Pinchevsky at the Wall Street Journal,
When the NHL’s 30 teams convene for the draft in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday, they’ll begin the two-day process of welcoming 211 new players to their ranks.
But the 2015 NHL Entry Draft is really about two of these players.
For close to a year now, the hockey world has anticipated the draft-day coronations of Connor McDavid of the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters and Boston University’s Jack Eichel—the pair of can’t-miss prospects being hailed as the league’s next two superstars.
And for better or for worse, they will be almost certainly heading to two of the NHL’s smallest and most remote outposts: Edmonton and Buffalo. The hockey-mad fans of the Oilers and Sabres are already hailing McDavid and Eichel as their respective saviors.
The Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, the NHL’s longest current postseason drought. Although this will be the fourth time the Oilers have had the No. 1 pick in six years, this one feels different. There is an overwhelming sense in Edmonton that McDavid is destined to resurrect a franchise that won the Stanley Cup five times between 1984 and 1990.
“They’re already setting a spot beside the [Wayne] Gretzky statue, I think,” said Jim Matheson, the Edmonton Journal columnist who has covered the Oilers since they joined the World Hockey Association in 1972.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The Edmonton Oilers checked two more names off their internal hit list Monday when pro scout Dave Semenko and director of coaching and special projects Billy Moores fell victim to the organizational overhaul.
They join head amateur scout Stu MacGregor, head professional scout Morey Gare and amateur scouts Brad Davis and Kent Hawley, who were all let go in the last 48 hours.
The club also relieved former head coach Todd Nelson, former GM Craig MacTavish and former president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe of their duties in this summer of sweeping change.
“At the end of the day we have to get better at evaluating players and developing players and unfortunately some people have to lose their jobs,” said Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli, adding it hasn’t been an easy first couple of months on the job.
“These are difficult decisions. We’re relieving some really good people, people who’ve been here for a long time.
from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,
IT’S AFTER eight a.m. and Connor McDavid is rolling out of bed late. He comes downstairs and stumbles into the kitchen. He asks his mother how his father is feeling. “Still sick,” Kelly says. She also tells her younger son that he’ll be late for school unless he picks up the pace. It’s only around the corner and down the street, but still. She knows he was up late, too late, watching the Anaheim-Chicago game stretch into overtime. After the first OT his iPhone pinged: Bobby Orr with a reminder that a kid like him needs his rest. But there was no way he was going to be able to sleep without knowing who won.
Kelly might sigh but won’t get on Connor too hard. She’s just glad to have him home, even if she tells visitors that “the place is upside down” with him back and it’s only been a week. She tells them that he hasn’t unpacked his stuff from Erie, that she has no idea when or even if he’ll get around to it. After all, a lot of it stayed packed up all season, still folded and boxed up from last August. When he’s out of earshot, she talks about her kid becoming “a real clothes horse.” She could never have seen that happening. The picture of him in her mind is still the kid in the splash pants, sweatshirt, running shoes and baseball hat, stickhandling in the driveway. Forever 10.
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.
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