Edmonton Oil Kings forward and Ottawa Senators prospect Curtis Lazar will wear the number 26 now internationally in honour of former teammate (with the Oil Kings) and Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss, who passed away last year.
Mitch Moroz is hoping to be completely healthy heading into the Edmonton Oilers training camp in September. Following a WHL Championship and Memorial Cup winning season, the Oilers 32nd overall selection in the 2012 draft was a little banged up.
Now Moroz is feeling much better and is getting closer to skating again.
“A lot of people didn’t know that I was pretty banged up by the end of playoffs,” Moroz told Bob Stauffer Friday on Oilers Now. “My knee was blown out and I had a separated shoulder. It took a few weeks to get mentally and physically rested then I was right into rehab and trying to get healthy enough to jump into an off-season program. I’m feeling a lot better now and I’m pretty much taking part in full workouts and I’m able to get a good six weeks in before camp.”
Moroz says he believes he will be ready to compete at the rookie tournament in Penticton, B.C. prior to main camp but the final decision rests with the Oilers.
“I’m confident in where I’m at and how it’s progressed so I don’t think that’s out of the question at all.”
A second-round pick in 2012, Mitch Moroz has now turned his focus to beginning his professional career. Although he is on the mend from a couple of injuries sustained late last season, Moroz feels like he will be ready for training camp in September. Not only does Moroz feel he will be healthy but he also says his focus is on making the NHL roster out of camp.
“I’ve said it before. You want to go in and make the team you are trying out for and that would be the Oilers. Then it’s up to them to make a decision and I want to make it a hard one. It’s up to them at that point to put me wherever they see fit. That’s a long ways down the road but we’ll see,” Moroz said Friday on Oilers Now.
Moroz is coming off of a 63-point season (35-28-63) with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
In his new role in player personnel for the Edmonton Oilers, Kelly Buchberger was in Bakersfield this week to help introduce the Condors new head coach J.F. Houle.
“I think with any coach in any league, if he doesn’t have good leadership skills you are not going to have a winning team,” Buchberger said. “With J.F. and the time that we talked with him and the people we talked to about him he brings those qualities. He can bring it and pass it along to the players and the players can develop a lot quicker than we thought they would.”
Buchberger also talked about the importance of developing players now that the Condors are owned by the Oilers.
“That’s part of the ECHL and the AHL, to develop players for the next level. We want to make sure we send players down here and they are getting the right coaching from J.F. and whoever the assistant will be and the development guys from Edmonton that are coming down here. We feel that J.F. has the right skill to get the most out of the players and develop them as quick as possible so they can maybe raise to the next level. It doesn’t come over night and we know that. He’s willing to put the work in it to make the players better and make the team better.”
Nail Yakupov is back in Edmonton and back skating after suffering a foot injury back in February when a big shot from defenceman Justin Schultz caught the 20-year-old in the skate. At first, Yakupov was hesitant to get back on the ice but after testing the foot out a couple of months ago he says he is now all systems go.
“The foot is feeling pretty good,” Yakupov said. “I’ve been skating a lot and actually, my foot is 100%. It’s pretty healthy. I was scared to start the summer and trying to go on the ice. I was a little confused about my foot but I stepped in and I had a really good practice, I skated, I did some drills and my foot feels pretty good. I am ready to go.”
It doesn’t seem like his foot will hold him back at all when the team meets for training camp in September. He has been training in Russia this summer and is now back in Edmonton to continue his Oilers workout program.
“It feels pretty good. I can’t feel it now and I’m just ready to go 100 percent and I can do everything with my foot.”
“It’s my favourite number from a long time ago,” Yakupov said. “(Former Oilers Captain) Shawn Horcoff played with number 10. He said I could wear number 10. I said okay, I will take it. I had the chance to change it. I’m don’t want to say anything is going to change in my game or something. I don’t want to talk a lot about this number. I just changed the number. It’s going to be a different number on my jersey but it’s going to be the same last name.”
Horcoff was traded to the Dallas Stars last year and said Yakupov could take the number but the young forward decided to wait a bit out of respect for his former captain.
“He said last year he was okay with it if I took it right away but I said, “No, the fans are going to miss you. They are going to know you played with number 10 for a long time so I will wait for a bit.”
The Oklahoma City Barons have signed veteran centre Jason Williams to an American Hockey League contract.
Williams, 33, is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds. He has played the last two seasons with Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss Elite League, scoring 64 points (34-30-64) in 79 games.
The centre has appeared in over 800 professional games, including 455 in the NHL. He has spent time with Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
Read Barons Press Release
The Edmonton Oilers selected Leon Draisaitl with the third overall pick in this year’s draft and just a month later he is already a local celebrity. Attending the Oilers Hockey School session in St. Albert on Wednesday morning, Draisaitl was met with the greetings of young adoring fans. It’s not the first time he’s been recognized around town either.
“It’s a pretty big city compared to where I’ve been the last few years that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s a big market. People recognize you, they come and talk to you and it’s awesome. I’ve had an amazing time so far.”
Draisaitl and fellow Oilers first round pick Darnell Nurse (7th overall in 2013) were swarmed by fans during a visit to a local shopping centre earlier this summer. It’s a scene that’s becoming quite frequent to the Oilers newest young star in the making.
“Actually quite a bit to be honest. At the mall it was pretty crazy. I went there with Darnell Nurse and people just looked at us, stopped us and tried to talk to us. It’s been a lot of fun.”
The Edmonton Oilers used the third overall pick in this year’s draft to land big, skilled centre Leon Draisaitl and the 18-year-old is hoping to give a return on investment as soon as possible. That’s why he chose to stay in Edmonton this summer to train with the Oilers staff and prepare himself for the grind of his first NHL training camp.
Draisaitl wakes up at 7:30 a.m. everyday and hits the gym, skating on Mondays and Wednesdays as well. He says he works out about three hours every day. The demands of an NHL training program are a new concept to Draisaitl, who has spent the last two seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL.
“It’s really different,” Draisaitl said. “Now that I know where I am it is more about focusing on playing in the NHL one day. They are NHL trainers and that’s why they’re here. They train an NHL team and they get guys ready for the season. I think I’m in really good hands.”
Draisaitl's main focus is on building strength for the upcoming season, particularly in his legs.
“I’ve been working on my weaknesses a lot. I think my skating and my lower body strength is something I really need to work on and that’s something I’ve been doing a lot these last few weeks. It’s been good and I feel comfortable and I like the training a lot.”
The Edmonton Oilers have announced that Jean-Francois Houle has been named the sixth head coach in Bakersfield Condors history. The Condors are the ECHL affiliate of the Oilers.
Houle replaces Troy Mann, who accepted the position of head coach with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears this month.
"We are thrilled to name Jean-François Houle as the head coach of the Bakersfield Condors," Oilers Assistant General Manager Bill Scott said in a press release. "After an exhaustive interview process we identified JF as the candidate we felt was best fit to lead the Condors and Oilers prospects into the future. He has an incredible knowledge of the game, strong work ethic and has the discipline to teach and mentor our players. JF has a bright future ahead of him and we are excited to have him join our organization.”
Houle has spent the last four-plus seasons coaching for Lewiston and Blainville-Boisbriand in the QMJHL. He has coached his teams to four consecutive 40-win seasons.
Click here for the full press release.