The topic du jour of the Edmonton Oilers amongst the media seems to be the goaltending situation. The coach and general manager have fielded several questions of the futures of Ben Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov, as both are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke briefly of how the team plans to split the reps between their two goaltenders for the remaining 22 games. The answer is, there isn’t one yet. However, Eakins did admit the team may lean more towards the younger Scrivens if he earns more starts with his play.
“It’s hard to say,” Eakins said. “I don’t have a crystal ball next to me. It’ll depend on their play. It may come down to if Ben plays well and Bryz is playing well, yeah we may give Ben a couple of extra starts. I think Bryz would understand that. Or, we might split it down the middle.I won’t know until we get started here.”
Eakins said although they may be inclined to look more at Scrivens over the next 22 games, Bryzgalov has a lot to play for and prove as well. Both goalies will be using their starts as an audition for this team or others. The competition could be beneficial to the Oilers.
“Yeah, and I think it’s important for Bryz to keep fighting along too. It’s on them both and that’s not going to change. Bryz has been a number one in the past. I think he has still got the potential to do that. I know Ben’s numbers line up and he is a confident kid and he wants to show the national hockey league that he’s ready to be a number one and I know that’s what he’s going to try to do. For me, it’s a great situation. You’ve got two goalies who are going to be looking for contracts. I believe they both like the situation and the opportunity that’s here and you want that competition. It’s no different than two defencemen having friendly competition or your number one and your number two centres having a friendly competition. You want them to push each other and that’s how your teams get better.”
The Oilers are on the Wednesday and the lineup appears unchanged from their previous practic.
The forward lines are as follows, based on jersey colour:
Oilers Director of Coaching Development and Special Projects Billy Moores is being inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2014.
"This is a special time of year for the AHHF Selection Committee – we have the opportunity to look over and remember the significant contributions to our sport in Alberta, Canada and beyond," Scott Robinson, executive director of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, said on the organization’s website. "It's our honour to recognize these inductees. Their legacies and accomplishments can now take their place Alberta's hockey history."
Moores was chosen by the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee to enter as part of the Achievement Category.
Moores played for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 1960s and went on to be a successful assistant and head coach at the University of Alberta, for the Golden Bears.
This year’s inductees will be formally recognized at the Hockey Alberta Awards Gala ceremony on Friday June 6, at the Westin Hotel in Edmonton.
Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke to the media today, addressing the impending NHL trade deadline among other topics. Defenceman Justin Schultz’s name came up as he will be a restricted free agent at season’s end.
The plan for Schultz is to look to extend him a serious offer after the deadline concludes.
“I think, with Justin, it will be after the deadline,” MacTavish said. “I’ve had some preliminary conversations with his representation and after the deadline, I think we’ll get down to more serious discussions with Justin.”
As for whether or not MacTavish puts Schultz into the same category as Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, in terms of contract perimeters and talent, the GM said he’s of the same skill level potentially.
“It all depends on the number on the year-to-year part of the contract. If you’re asking me, do I consider Justin Schultz in that skill level, potentially? I do. I think he’s a terrific talent. I think he’s developing and has taken significant steps this year, maybe in the last six weeks, in terms of really establishing himself as a guy that’s got a very high upside.”
The state of the Oilers this season has had more negatives than positives when it comes to their place in the standings. However, General Manager Craig MacTavish says that lately there have been positive signs for the future of the organization.
“I will say that, as unfortunate as the circumstances that we find ourselves in, I’m optimistic about what I’m seeing and where the culture of the organization is right now, the direction of the organization and the response from the players,” MacTavish said. “I’m generally happy with the overall output of effort from our group and I think there’s… I know there are better times ahead. It’s a shallow sentence at this point right now but the line from the bottom to top is seldom a straight line. We’ve taken some hits this year but I’m pretty happy with where we are right now in the last three or four weeks. There’s been good structural improvement, I think there’s been some good individual growth, we’ve added some competitive players and I think we said and set out to do that at the start of the year and it’s not something that turns over quickly. But I think, when I analyze where we’re at now from where we were at the start of the year, I see some decent signs.”
The Oilers have won five of their last seven games and the three losses before that stretch were decided by one goal each.
Both Ben Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. The Oilers goaltenders are a topic of serious discussion as to whether or not to re-sign them, due to their recent high level of play.
General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke to the media and addressed the topic of beginning contract talks with one or both of those netminders.
“I think those are discussions that I’ll have or I am having with their representatives and try and determine if there’s a fit,” the general manager said. “I know there’s great opportunity here for goaltenders. They’ve got a great opportunity to compete for a number one job here and that’s valuable to them. The opportunity is there and we’ll see if that’s a fit with our present goaltenders.”
When asked of whether or not the goalie play of Bryzgalov and Scrivens has closed the door on looking at the free agent pool of goaltenders this offseason, MacTavish said no.
“No. I think we’re very active in understanding what the market is for all positions on UFA players.”
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spoke to the media about next Wednesday's NHL Trade Deadline. We streamed the press conference live right here on edmontonoilers.com and on the Oilers Mobile App.
Or watch the archive of the live press conference here:
The Oilers are on the ice for Tuesday practice and the lineup appears unchanged from yesterday.
The forward lines are as follows, based on jersey colour:
- PRACTICE | Hemsky Returns
- PRACTICE RAW | Ales Hemsky
- PRACTICE RAW | Jesse Joensuu
- PRACTICE RAW | Dallas Eakins