INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:19 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers


This weekend’s Young Stars Tournament was the first chance for the Oilers to get a look at their third-overall pick in game action since he was drafted. Leon Draisaitl made an impression on General Manager Craig MacTavish, who was in attendance in Penticton, B.C.

“He did what he needed to do,” MacTavish said. “He showed an elite understanding of the game and an elite sense and you would expect a player of that pedigree to be a dominant player at this level. So we can check off the first box in terms of what he needs to accomplish to stay with us.”

Draisaitl had two assists on Monday in the team’s third and final game of the tournament. His passes were indications of what kind of player he could be in the NHL.

“That’s my game. I am a playmaker more than a finisher,” Draisaitl said.

MacTavish says his two assists were examples of the elite hockey sense that made him a top-five pick in the draft.

“He knows what he’s going to do with the puck before he gets it. That’s a pretty good indicator of elite hockey sense and he finds people just effortlessly on the rush. When players on the ice are finding players that you’re not seeing while watching the game, you know that that’s pretty special talent.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:07 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers acquired Kale Kessy from the Phoenix Coyotes in a trade in March of 2013. He was the 111th pick, in the fourth round, of the 2011 NHL Draft.

Kessy is one of several players that General Manager Craig MacTavish says has shown improvement since last year’s tournament.

“Kessy definitely played well, did what he needed to do and showed a willingness to be a physical factor,” MacTavish said. “He made a lot more plays than he did last year, which he needed to do. He’s really come a long ways in a year.”

Kessy spent the 2013-14 season with the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League. He had six points (2-4-6) in 54 games, and had 88 penalty minutes.

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POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:06 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers selected Jujhar Khaira in the third round of the 2012 draft. This year, he showed up for the Young Stars Tournament bigger and better than a year ago.

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish says that after a slow start to his first game of the tournament, Khaira showed flashes of the big, physical player he could be.

“I think his first game, he started slowly and today he seemed to get better as the game wore on,” MacTavish said. “I can’t really remember that much of him last year but the things that do stand out when you’re talking about Jujhar are his strength on the puck and his character. He answered the bell physically today. There are some things that obviously he’s going to have to continue to work at but he’s an exciting prospect.”

Khaira had a goal, an assist and a fight in his final game of the tournament.

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POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:05 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Rookie camp invite Vladimir Tkachev may be small in stature but that didn’t stop the 5-foot-9, 141-pound Russian winger from making an impression on the Oilers at this weekend’s Young Stars Tournament.

Tkachev was creative offensively, finishing the tournament with three assists.

“He was a dominant player here,” Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said. “I’ve seen him play a few times and every time you see him play he is a dominant player. You want to continue to give him the opportunity and that definitely has caught everybody’s attention and interest at this point.”

Tkachev will get his opportunity to further showcase his skills to the Oilers at main camp, but his playtime in pre-season is yet to be determined.

“That will be up to Dallas to determine. He saw plenty here too so the next step is to see how he looks amongst NHL players and then we’ll make an assessment from there.”

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POSTED ON Monday, 15.09.2014 / 6:04 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

It was clear on the ice this year at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. that the Oilers had upgraded the skill and talent level of their roster. This year’s squad finished with two wins and a shootout loss, as compared to last year’s winless tournament.

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke after the final game and says there were more things to like this year.

“I feel better than we did last year coming out of this tournament,” he said. “I’ll just reiterate some of the things we said last year. There are not a lot of conclusions you can draw based on this. I think we saw some of the things we wanted to see for sure. There were some surprises and some guys who elevated themselves through the course of the tournament. Now they’ll get a little bit more of a look coming into training camp and maybe some pre-season games because of it.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 14.09.2014 / 2:18 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

A storyline of the Edmonton Oilers Rookies thus far in Penticton has been the play of their two Russian players. Vladimir Tkachev and Bogdan Yakimov, in just two games, have gained some chemistry. They hooked up on a goal tonight when Tkachev sent a pass across the face of the Calgary goalie and Yakimov one-timed it from the circle.

It looked scripted, but it wasn’t.

“It was funny on Yakimov’s goal because we were saying, ‘get in front of the net.’ But I guess they knew what they were doing,” Oilers Rookies Head Coach Todd Nelson said.

The two are still learning English, so there was something lost in translation.

“I was telling them stuff on the bench and when he was skating to the face-off dot, the three guys turned around and said, ‘he has no idea what you just said.’

“When we scored, the guys snickered to themselves but it always seems to work out that way. They were good. Especially down the stretch there when we had some key draws, Yak was really strong in the face-off dot and Vlady once again was being creative and finding open ice. He’s a very fun player to watch.”

Yakimov’s goal was his second in two nights and he also added an assist tonight. Tkachev has three assists in two games.

Read our feature on Yakimov adjusting to life in North America.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 13.09.2014 / 6:18 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers
Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson got a small glimpse at what Greg Chase can bring to the table last year. After coaching the Oilers prospect in the 2013 Young Stars Tournament and after guiding him through five AHL games at the end of last season, Nelson knows the young man well.

Nelson sees much improvement in Chase, who posted career numbers last season in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen (35-50-85 in 70 games).

Nelson was asked today if Chase was ready to make the jump to the AHL this season, considering the progress he’s made in a year.

“I’ll tell you what, he’s a lot closer now than he was last year at this time,” Nelson said.

“Last year, I thought his conditioning was suspect. He put a tremendous summer in, he really leaned out, his testing was excellent and you can see he is quicker on the ice. I saw improvement when he came to OKC at the end of the year. Maybe it was just a matter of getting into better shape and playing minutes. But he sacrificed this summer, he worked really hard and you have to give him credit.”

The Oilers signed Chase to a three-year entry-level contract this morning.

“It’s something I grew up always wanting to do; play for the Edmonton Oilers,” Chase said. “Now that I’m one step closer by signing with the team. It’s extremely exciting for myself and my family.”

Chase was taken in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 13.09.2014 / 2:02 AM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Oilers had a scare in the third period of their game against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, as the third-overall pick in this year’s draft left the game with an apparent leg injury. The Oilers got good news though because not only would Draisaitl return to the game, but the injury was just leg cramps.

“I don’t think anyone knew what really happened but his legs just cramped up,” Todd Nelson said after the game. “With the testing that they did yesterday, a few guys cramped up as well. The guys are going to have to get a lot of fluids inside of them and get ready for our game tomorrow.”

Draisaitl says he is fine now.

“I think one of my first shifts in the last period I started cramping,” he said. “It hurt pretty bad and I couldn’t really move my legs. I am fine now. It wasn’t too bad but once I hit the ice it hurt pretty bad and I couldn’t really move. So I decided to take a couple of shifts off.”

The Oilers play Calgary tomorrow night.

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POSTED ON Friday, 12.09.2014 / 4:33 PM
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers rookies lace up the skates against the Vancouver Canucks group tonight in Penticton at the Young Stars Tournament. Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson is the bench boss for the Oilers tonight and he gave some insight as to what the lineup will look like.

On the ice at practice the lines were as follows:

Moroz-Draisaitl-Chase

Kessy-Khaira-Holmberg

Jones-Roy-Jones

Tkachev-Yakimov-Houck

Winquist-Ewanyk-Krushelnyski

Platzer

The defensive pairings were:

Gernat-Nurse

Simpson-Oesterle

Boland-Musil

Craig-Ludwig

Sitting out tonight will be Winquist, Ewanyk, Krushelnyski and Platzer. All four will rotate into the lineup tomorrow night. Ludwig, Betker and Craig are out defensively.

Laurent Brossoit gets the start in net tonight.

Another lineup note is expect Nurse and Gernat to see more time on the power play while the pairing of Boland and Musil will see more time on the penalty kill.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.09.2014 / 1:44 PM
By Marc Ciampa - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers rookies reported to Rexall Place for fitness testing as Rookie Camp got underway in Edmonton prior to the team's departure for Penticton and the Young Stars Tournament. Edmontonoilers.com and Oilers TV were there to provide the coverage:

VIDEO: AUDIO: FEATURES: BLOGS:
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INSIDE THE OILERS