With the Edmonton Oilers announcing the hiring of Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach on Tuesday, there will also be some shuffling of the previous staff. Kelly Buchberger’s transition into player personnel was announced along with the press release.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer shortly following the announcement and provided an update on where the staff stands with Ramsay on board.
“Those are tough decisions,” Eakins said. “Not only for myself in trying to improve our team by adding somebody experienced like Craig Ramsay but it’s decisions too by Craig (MacTavish) and by Kelly. I believe I’m not speaking out of turn, that this is something that Kelly had been looking at before. It’s never an easy thing but when changes are made it turns into opportunity with new jobs and I believe that’s how Kelly is looking at this.”
Eakins also said that Steve Smith is someone who may be shifting roles.
"Steve is an excellent coach and he is somebody that we’re in discussions with now with a new role and it's something that he’s going to have to consider.”
The Edmonton #Oilers have hired Craig Ramsay as an Assistant Coach; Kelly Buchberger transitions into new role in Player Personnel.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 10, 2014
Ramsay is a former player, drafted in the second round in 1971 by the Buffalo Sabres. He played 14 seasons in the NHL (1971-1985), all with the Sabres. He appeared in 776 consecutive games (1973-1983), which is the fourth longest consecutive games streak in NHL history.
He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 1985.
In 1987, Ramsay became an assistant on the Sabres staff and later served as interim head coach. He also served in a role as the team’s director of player personnel and assistant general manager.
After breaking into coaching with Buffalo, Ramsay moved on to stops with the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and back to the Florida Panthers.
He has been a head coach with the Sabres (interim), the Flyers, and most recently with the Thrashers in 2010-11.
Ramsay has nearly 40 years of NHL experience as a player and coach.
Captain Andrew Ference will make history on Saturday as he becomes the first Oiler to participate in the city’s pride parade.
Ference will be marching in the parade alongside Camp fYerfly (Canada’s only national leadership retreat for sexual and gender minority youth), representing the ‘You Can Play’ team. The purpose of ‘You Can Play’ is to eradicate homophobia in sports. Ference has been a major advocate for the YCP campaign, which lainched in March of 2012 and officially partnered with the NHL and NHLPA in April of 2013.
“You Can Play has fundamentally changed the way the NHL players think and act,” Ference told Global News.
“We understand the important role we can play in ending discrimination within sports and society…When we work, play and live together without discrimination it makes our entire community stronger and more productive.”
The parade begins at noon, follows 102nd Ave and marches past City Hall. More celebrations will be held at Winston Churchill Square.
Since his return to his hometown team last summer, Ference has been very active in the community, from his green initiatives teaming up with Mayor Don Iveson, to his own personal composting, to spearheading a local drop-in fitness initiative called November Project, which he brought with him from Boston.
Jenny Scrivens, wife of Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens, will also be participating in the parade.
There were not many changes to TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button’s ‘Craig’s List’ this week. Button posts his rankings of the top draft-eligible players.
Once again, Kootenay centre Sam Reinhart tops the rankings for the seventh time. Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad takes second while Kingston centre Sam Bennett and Prince Albert centre Leon Draisaitl round out the top four. The top four have remained the same from Button’s previous list.
Button had a couple of players shoot up his list from the previous rankings as Calgary Hitmen defenceman Travis Sanheim moved from 23 to eighth overall. Russian centre Vladislav Kamenev moved from 25 to 12.
The Oilers currently hold the third overall pick in the first round.
Click here to see Button's full list
The Oklahoma City Barons have agreed to terms with forward Matthew Ford on a one-year American Hockey League contract for the 2014-15 season, the team announced today.
“I loved everything about Oklahoma City, starting with the organization,” Ford said of his time with the team during the 2013-14 season. “It’s really a first-class operation from the coaches, players, and a big part of that, is the fan support.”
Ford, 29, played in 73 games for the Barons last season and registered 47 points with 25 goals and 22 assists. He was fourth on the team in total points and led Oklahoma City in goals (25), games played (73) and power-play goals (12). Ford also tied for the team lead in multi-goal games with three two-goal outings on the year.
“We’re going to have a lot of second-year guys that will help us get back to how we were playing in the second half of this past season,” Ford said. “We started peaking around playoff time last year, and we’ll have some pieces to put together down the road, but I like the group we have. This organization likes to win, and we want to make the playoffs.”
Ford has spent the time in the AHL in each of his six professional seasons with Oklahoma City, Hartford, Lake Erie, Hershey, Adirondack and Springfield. He was drafted in the eighth round (256th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Ford played four years (2005-08) at the University of Wisconsin, where the Badgers won the 2006 NCAA Championship.
That doesn’t mean he has forgotten where he’s come from. Draisaitl is hoping to one day be the type of German player who inspires younger children in his home country to take up hockey.
“German players don’t come along very often,” he said. “We just don’t have the best development. I don’t like saying it. I’m proud to be German but I think it’s important for German hockey to have (good German players) so kids have guys to look up to. I want to be that same type of guy that maybe makes younger guys in Germany play hockey because I’m proud to be German and I want to make the country proud and make as many kids play hockey as possible.”
Draisaitl skated for Germany at the 2014 IIHF World Championships earlier this month in Minsk, Belarus.
The media and public has made a lot about the group known as the ‘Fantastic Four’ which heads into the draft as the so-called top tier players. That list includes defenceman Aaron Ekblad, along with centres Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl. However, Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr says some of that has to do with media hype and things could change depending on team needs.
“There’s a lot of hype there,” Marr said. “The NHL scouts and teams aren’t going to tell you what they really think. But that’s why they play the games and that’s why we see what happens there. There’s nothing to say that one of the Europeans couldn’t slide up in there or Michael Dal Colle couldn’t slide up in there. But I know to try and predict the order is an exercise in futility. At the top end there they’re going to get good players, it’ll just be what that team is looking for in a player.”
The Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr was in attendance at the Combine and provided his thoughts on why this week is so important to NHL clubs as they move closer towards the draft.
“A lot of teams have been working on their lists all year long,” Marr said. “Some teams have had the opportunity to meet the players but a lot of times they haven’t. Certainly the general manager hasn’t or the assistant general manager so this gives them an opportunity where all of the kids, we can bring them in one spot. They can go around, the general managers have heard about these players and now they get a chance to meet with them and the scouts get a chance to know them a little better. If they have some questions that they didn’t really want to grill them on during the season about their play then now is the point in time they can bring that up with them there.”
Marr also mentioned the importance in the medical evaluations and fitness results as well as how each individual player responds to instructions or motivation.
“For the most part they’ve done their lists here. They might use this here to tweak things a little bit because they didn’t know how to differentiate some players as they work their way down their lists. And it certainly helps those that are at the top end there, the teams where they can identify this is the guy we’re going to key in on.”
Sam Bennett is a consensus top-five pick and the number one North American skater in Central Scouting’s rankings. He is one of the younger prospects at the top, as he turns 18 on June 20. That isn’t stopping Bennett from being confident in his ability to make an NHL roster out of camp this year.
“I do feel like I’ll be ready come training camp and I’m going to work really hard in the gym this summer and on the ice and do whatever it takes to be ready for the NHL next year,” Bennett said.
Bennett also says that was a reoccurring topic in his interviews with teams at the combine.
“I was asked by a bunch of teams if I thought I was ready and my answer every time was I think I’m ready to play next year.”
Leduc, AB native and Spruce Grove Saint defenceman Brandon Hickey has an Oilers connection.
“I grew up watching them,” Hickey said. “I’ve watched a lot of hockey of the Edmonton Oilers. Growing up, it was my dad’s favourite team and he passed that passion on to me. In our basement we have a little hockey rink with the Oilers logo in the middle. It’s pretty neat to even just talk to them here.”
Hickey is the 63rd-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. He is just under 6-foot-2 and just over 175 pounds. He had a 22-point season (4-18-22 in 49 games) for Spruce Grove this year.