With 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.”
Mark Letestu Interview & Highlights | Mark Letestu Interview on 630 CHED
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
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|2003-2004||TPS Turku U18-Fin-U18|
|2003-2004||TPS Turku Jr.-Fin-Jr.||36||12||8||20||20|
|2004-2005||TPS Turku Jr.-Fin-Jr.||3||3||0||3||0|
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|2003-2004||TPS Turku U18-Fin-U18||4||5||3||8||0||16|
|2003-2004||TPS Turku Jr.-Fin-Jr.||4||0||2||2||0||4||0||0.0|
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|2006-2007||Hartford Wolf Pack-AHL||7||0||0||0||-1||0||0||0||0|
|2007-2008||Hartford Wolf Pack-AHL||5||1||1||2||-5||0||0||0|
Oilers 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.
Former 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.
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.
The 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.”
Cam 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.”
The 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.
|2004-2005||Saskatoon AAA Contacts-SMHL||32||11||29||40||83|
|2005-2006||Green Bay Gamblers-USHL||56||3||12||15||13||205||0||0||0|
|2006-2007||Boston University Terriers-H-East||38||1||3||4||76|
|2007-2008||Boston University Terriers-H-East||32||1||1||2||54|
|2008-2009||Boston University Terriers-H-East||45||0||6||6||106|
|2009-2010||Boston University Terriers-H-East||38||4||6||10||118|
|2004-2005||Saskatoon AAA Contacts-SMHL||11||5||7||12||22|
|2005-2006||Green Bay Gamblers-USHL||3||1||1||2||-5||27||0||0||0|
|2006-2007||Boston University Terriers-H-East|
|2007-2008||Boston University Terriers-H-East|
In 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.
|2005-2006||Hamilton Red Wings-OPJHL||35||21||13||1||1||87||2.55||2,046|
|2006-2007||Hamilton Red Wings-OPJHL||28||19||5||2||1||57||2.08||1,644|
|2007-2008||University Of Alabama In Huntsville-CHA||13||1||10||0||0||45||322||4.63||583|
|2008-2009||University Of Alabama In Huntsville-CHA||24||2||16||3||1||65||700||2.95||1,320|
|2009-2010||University Of Alabama In Huntsville-CHA||33||12||18||3||1||85||2.61||1,958|
|2009-2010||Hartford Wolf Pack-AHL||1||0||0||0||0||3||11||.727||9.70||19|
|2010-2011||Greenville Road Warriors-ECHL||2||1||0||1||0||5||63||.921||2.46||122|
|2013-2014||Hartford Wolf Pack-AHL||5||4||0||1||0||13||171||.924||2.49||314|
|2005-2006||Hamilton Red Wings-OPJHL||14||8||6||1||52||3.46||903|
|2006-2007||Hamilton Red Wings-OPJHL||19||13||6||0||51||2.46||1,243|