They may not be familiar with each other – yet – however, Jonas Gustavsson knows of new teammate Cam Talbot’s path to the Oilers. Edmonton signed Gustavsson to a one-year contract to compete with Laurent Brossoit for the club’s top backup spot behind Talbot.
Gustavsson knew of Talbot when he played for the New York Rangers behind Henrik Lundqvist. When the Rangers starter went down with a vascular injury, Talbot went 16-4-3 with a .929 save percentage. That kind of promise made him a trade target for Edmonton, who acquired him at the 2015 NHL Draft.
Talbot went on to have a more than solid second half of the season for the Oilers last year, and is the entrenched number one now. Gustavsson recognizes Talbot’s rise and is excited to join the Oilers goalie room.
“Everyone saw what he did behind Lundqvist there,” said Gustavsson. “He proved he deserved to play more minutes than he did there, especially when Lundqvist was injured. I remember he played a lot of big games for the Rangers. He got the chance to come to Edmonton. To be honest, I didn’t see the games he played but from what I did see and what I heard he had a really good first year there.
“So he’s obviously a great goalie I can learn from and hopefully I can share some of my experience as well. I’ve been fortunate to have a chance to work with some good goalies in the past like last season with Tuukka Rask, a couple good goalies in Detroit and in Toronto. I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to play with a lot of good goalies. The more goalies you get a chance to play and work with, the more experience you get and this is another opportunity to learn and hopefully share some stuff too.”
The Oilers signed goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to a one-year contract on day one of the free agent frenzy, Friday.
The netminder has played 172 games in the NHL during his career, with stops in Toronto, Detroit and Boston. He had a .908 save percentage and 11-9-1 record last season with the Bruins.
Gustavsson is expected to compete with Laurent Brossoit for the backup spot on the Oilers, and he’s well aware of where he can make an impact.
“So far I’ve been having a great summer off the ice,” said Gustavsson. “I feel like I’ve been in better shape than I have been in the past. Things are going the right way so hopefully I can translate that into something positive on the ice as well. For me, I know I’m supposed to be a guy when the goalie needs a break or I’m needed, I’m just going to go out there and try and win as many games as possible. That’s what it’s all about. In the games you play, you want to be a factor in the team taking that next step and winning as many games as possible. That’s just what I want to be. I want to be one of those guys you can always count on.”
The Edmonton Oilers have signed winger Milan Lucic to a seven-year contract on the opening day of the free agent signing period.
Lucic, a native of Vancouver, BC, has played 647 career regular season games in the NHL for the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings. The 28-year-old has 159 career goals and 238 assists for 397 points, and 851 penalty minutes.
In 101 NHL playoff games, Lucic has 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points. He won the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship in 2011 with the Bruins. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli was the GM of Boston at the time.
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke to the media following the trade to give his perspective. Chiarelli called it a “need-based” trade, bringing in a potential top-pairing, right-shot defenceman, which is something the Oilers were very focused on acquiring this off-season.
On Thursday, Devils GM Ray Shero spoke with Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now to give his thoughts on the trade. He feels it’s a trade that both teams greatly benefit from, while the Oilers have a bigger margin of error due to their depth up front.
“It’s quite obvious (Chiarelli) was looking for a defenceman and it’s quite obvious how hard it is to get a defenceman, let alone under term,” said Shero. “With getting Adam Larsson, Adam is 6-3, 220 pounds and he is a heavy player. He’s young, he’s an incredible pro. Outside of Connor McDavid, I’m not trading him for anyone else. That’s difficult to get.
“Peter has been doing this for a lot of time and he’s smart. I can’t speak for him, but he’s trying to build a team. In the salary cap system, it’s not about if you trade two for one the best team won the deal by getting the best player. It doesn’t happen anymore. It’s about a team, it’s a team game, a salary cap and you have to have the assets. With Peter, he’s got more margin for error in this deal than I do because of all the guys they’ve got coming up front and now drafting a pretty good Finn fourth overall.”
By moving Larsson, the Devils are now without the player who played the second-most average minutes on the roster and one who paired with Andy Greene to match up against the toughest competition.
“I don’t have the margin for error on defence by trading Adam Larsson. I don’t have that depth yet. Then, for Taylor Hall, I’ve got to take that chance in terms of where we need to go and become a successful team. But again, now I’m faced with a hole on defence that I didn’t have a couple days ago. At the end, a little pain for both teams probably but that’s why it should pay off for both.”
Although Shero traded him in the end, he’s still a fan.
“I’m really a huge fan of Adam Larsson,” he said. “I had him one year and this kid is not going to disappoint you. Expectation wise, I wouldn’t compare him to Taylor Hall. It’s completely different. But you’re building the team you want to build from the back end, the big, heavy player who is a true pro, who plays against the top players, who kills penalties and he can bring some offence. We never put him in that role because he was always a shut-down guy with Andy Greene here. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”
The Oilers have acquired 23-year-old defenceman Adam Larsson, in exchange for Taylor Hall.
”I’m pretty shocked right now, but the overall feeling is I’m kind of excited to come to Edmonton,” said Larsson, speaking on Oilers Now following the announcement.
Larsson has played 274 regular season NHL games since being taken fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. He has 69 points (9-60-69) in those games. He’s played five in the post-season, scoring one goal.
In 2015-16, Larsson played 82 games for the New Jersey Devils. He scored three goals and added 15 assists for 18 total points. He had 77 penalty minutes and was +15, which was tied for the team lead.
Larsson was 45th overall in the league in time on ice per game at 22:30, which was good for second on the Devils this past season.
Larsson is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, and is a native of Skelleftea, Sweden.
More information to come.
The Oilers have issued a qualifying offer to one of their restricted free agents; defenceman David Musil.
Musil, 23, was taken 31st overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. He has played four NHL games in his career, all during the 2014-15 season. In 2015-16, Musil played 67 games for the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League. He recorded 14 points (3-11-14) and 39 penalty minutes.
Earlier Monday, Edmonton signed forward Iiro Pakarinen to a one-year contract.
The late Oilers head coach Pat Quinn has been posthumously elected into the Builder Category of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The voting took place on Monday at the annual meeting of the selection committee in Toronto. Quinn is joined by former players Eric Lindros, Sergei Makarov and Rogie Vachon as the Class of 2016.
Quinn played nine seasons in the NHL, recording 131 points (18-113-131) in 606 regular season games. He then joined the Philadelphia organization as an assistant in 1977. From then on, Quinn spent almost four decades in either a coaching or management position in the NHL or with Hockey Canada.
Quinn coached the Oilers during the 2009-10 season, before joining the organization in an advisory role.
In 1,400 regular season games as a head coach, Quinn had 684 wins to his name. He also had a 94-89 record in the playoffs. He coached Team Canada to an Olympic gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002, and gold at the 2004 World Cup. He also won a World Junior Championship with Canada in 2009.
Quinn passed away November 23, 2014.
Growing up the son of an NHL general manager means you’re around the sport a lot. It also means you’re probably no stranger to the Draft. Such is the case with Edmonton’s fifth-round pick, Graham McPhee.
The son of former Washington Capitals GM George McPhee says he “grew up in the Capitals locker room.”
Alex Ovechkin lived with the McPhee family during his rookie season. Being around that kind of atmosphere was helpful for Graham, who hopes to further his hockey career in the NHL some day.
“You learn a lot of little things the pros do like unwritten rules and stuff like that,” McPhee said. “All the guys there were extremely kind to me and always welcomed me, which really made me feel good.”
When McPhee was a young kid he was one of the draft runners for Washington. And now, McPhee was one of the prospects in the stands waiting on his name to be called.
“That was cool being part of past drafts and now, being a player drafted. It’s pretty cool,” he said.
Watching prospects get drafted when he was a kid provided a little reward to work toward.
“That’s something that always kind of motivated me. Guys that Washington drafted, how happy they were there with their families.”
And now, McPhee has experienced it himself and he says it lived up to his expectations.
“It’s awesome. It’s an incredible day. It’s something I dreamed of as a kid, to get drafted in the NHL. Now it’s finally becoming a reality and I couldn’t be more proud of being a part of the Edmonton Oilers organization.”
Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli has said all along the team is not on a time crunch to get a deal for a defenceman done by the draft. So when the first round came and went and no deal was stuck, that was OK. Saturday, the remaining rounds went by and the Oilers, although they drafted defencemen, were still without a freshly acquired NHL piece. Once again, that’s alright for Chiarelli and the Oilers because the team’s hockey ops boss still laid some groundwork.
“I had some discussions, so I furthered those along,” said Chiarelli. “I thought it was actually a pretty productive day. It didn’t result in a deal, but I thought I had some good talks today.”
Despite no deal being made yet, Chiarelli is pleased with the work done in Buffalo.
“I had positive discussions this week and if I didn’t have any discussions I’d be a little disappointed. But I had positive discussions and we’ll see where it goes.”
When it comes to adding a top-end, right-shot defenceman, it takes time. That’s what Chiarelli says is and has been the plan. Over time, and with more dialogue, high asking prices can come down. Chiarelli continues to say he wants to make a deal because it’s the right one, not for the sake of just making a deal.
“I’ve just got to grind away,” he said. “For example, a couple of the discussions I had today the positions had softened. What usually happens is whenever there’s a deadline or a milestone there’s a loosening up. The next one is July 1. We’re in the shopping period, there’s some movement there."
With the 63rd-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Edmonton took big, Finnish defenceman Markus Niemelainen.
“Very proud and excited to be a part of the Oilers organization, and looking forward to see what is coming next,” he said.
At 6-foot-6, Niemelainen towerd over much of the competition in the Ontario Hockey League this season. In 65 games for the Saginaw Spirit, Niemelainen recorded 27 points (1-26-27).
Niemelainen describes himself as a two-way defenceman, who is more defensively inclined than offensively. However, the Oilers do see a little offensive upside in his game. A tough year for his Saginaw squad perhaps limited production.
“It was a tough year in Saginaw,” said Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green said. “He lost his defensive coach early and then they fired the head coach later. It was a tough year for those kids on that team. He’s big, he can skate, he can move the puck. He likes to play the game with a little bit of offensive flare. I don’t think his numbers this year are indicative of his talent level. There’s more there than just a 6-foot-6 shutdown guy.”
Toward the end of the pre-draft process it seemed as if Niemelainen’s name was being associated with a second or even first-round pick. So the Oilers were surprised to see him there at 63.
“We were,” said Green.
There’s potential Niemelainen returns to his home country next year, but it isn’t confirmed. The Oilers just want him to go somewhere to grow his game.
“We want him to go somewhere where he’s going to play and develop,” said Green. “We’ll have that discussion with him. He’s got options for sure. We try to let the player determine that. If they need help, we can help but they have plans where they want to go. It’s tough to alter that for them. They have to feel comfortable with it.”