Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish was on Oilers Now this afternoon to discuss the upcoming draft, free agency and the state of the team. MacTavish commented on the Oilers recent hiring of long-time NHL coach Craig Ramsay as Assistant Coach.
“He’s a guy that I really think that’s going to add an element to our coaching staff,” MacTavish told Bob Stauffer. “He’s going to bring a new perspective. In my discussions with Craig, he’s a very cerebral guy about the game. He’s got a wealth of experience. He’s put a lot of thought in the game and how it should be played. He’s got a good balance on teaching the game, how much the players are capable of taking in and comprehending at one time and what’s realistic, how you present the information to the players, a good balance of enjoying yourself in the dressing room and the intense pressures that the players have today, especially in our market.
“I think he’s going to lend a real fresh perspective there. He’s a guy who Dallas is going to charge with helping out our power play and I think that’s going to help. He’s got a ton of experience and we welcome that perspective that he’s going to bring and I think he’s going to have a significant impact. Having said that, we need to do a good job of bringing in some personnel that has the ability to have much greater success.”
The Edmonton Oilers will be looking to add some pieces to supplement their youthful core this season. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish will be the director behind all of those moves and was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer this afternoon to discuss those topics.
Looking ahead to potential trades, the Oilers may be more willing to take on salary to off-set some of the assets they would have to part with to add a player. He said, “that’s a scenario I think has some attractiveness to us.”
MacTavish also says that in addition to trades the Oilers will be involved in the free agency market. Although you don’t want to rely on free agency, there are some players available who could help fill holes in the lineup.
“The UFA market is a fickle market. Statistically 80% of the transactions in the UFA market are poor transactions. But it’s a good way to augment your lineup if we can add the right pieces. We’re really in a position where we’re looking for secondary pieces and we’re pretty comfortable with our primary pieces up front. We’re looking to add support to our primary pieces that are currently in place.”
Don’t expect the Oilers just to be comfortable with the middle-tier free agents. They will make calls on the top guys as well, even just to do their homework.
“We’ll be chasing some of the higher end guys too. To what extent remains to be seen but we’ll be in those discussions.”
The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with forward Iiro Pakarinen to a two-year entry level contract.
Pakarinen, 22, was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round, 184th overall, in 2011. He had his best season of his career this year, scoring 20 goals and adding 10 assists in 60 games with HIFK Helsinki.
He is a 6-foot-1, 194-pound winger who also represented Finland at the 2014 World Hockey Championship. He played for Finland twice at the World Junior Championships (2010 & 2011).
The addition of Bob Nicholson to the Oilers Entertainment Group’s executive core brings with it a fresh look and new ideas to the business side of things.
“I think the first thing is that I have a fresh look,” Nicholson said. “There’s a lot of things that have gone very well in this organization. I’m not coming in here to rip things apart. I’m going to come in, observe and tinker with things to try to make them better. I really want to make sure we connect all of the departments and everything together and if you’ve got a real strong foundation… then that vision becomes a lot easier to achieve.”
In his first few months on the job, Nicholson will be looking to get a feel for the organization as he looks to build on the new sports and entertainment company’s vision.
“My first few months will be looking at the overall organization and hopefully be given ideas of communications, how the departments work and how we tie in business today and future business all together.”
Nicholson’s ‘fresh look’ was highly coveted. President and COO of OEG Patrick LaForge says, “he’s the best free agent in the business.”
Long-time Hockey Canada President and CEO Bob Nicholson was announced as Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group on Friday.
Nicholson has a hearty resume in the hockey world and a 14-year relationship with Edmonton Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe, who will also serve as Vice Chairman of OEG.
Lowe answered a question at the press conference pertaining to Nicholson’s role with hockey decisions. Lowe said he has great respect and a great relationship with Nicholson and that the new addition to the executive team is “As passionate in fixing the Oilers as we are.”
The team will be welcoming Nicholson’s input and help in decision making in that department.
Lowe says Nicholson sat in on the Oilers pro scout meetings and he, “will be as involved as much as we can get him and I know that will be a massive addition to our organization.”
The Katz Group launched the Oilers Entertainment Group, which is a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s “growing family of sports and entertainment assets.”
The corporate structure announced today includes Daryl Katz serving as Chairmen, with Kevin Lowe and Bob Nicholson serving in the role of Vice-Chairmen. Patrick LaForge becomes the President and COO.
Nicholson’s responsibilities will include fulfilling OEG’s “exciting vision” and growing the business. Lowe will continue to oversee hockey operations for the Oilers but will assist Nicholson in his role. LaForge will work with Lowe and Nicholson while being responsible for OEG’s business operations.
Newly launched sports and entertainment company, Oilers Entertainment Group, will have a solid leadership core that includes newly-appointed Bob Nicholson.
Nicholson, who recently retired as President and CEO of Hockey Canada, will assume the role of Vice-Chairman of OEG.
"Bob Nicholson is an exceptional talent with a world-class reputation and deep relationships across the hockey world, from junior player development to world-scale events and large corporate sponsors," said Daryl Katz in a press release. "He has been an innovator in driving new sport-based revenue models and we feel very fortunate he has chosen to move to Edmonton and become part of our team as we build a leading Canadian sports and entertainment company."
Nicholson brings a wealth of experience to OEG, serving as President and CEO of Hockey Canada since 1998 and Senior Vice President of the Canadian Hockey Association for the previous six years.
With Hockey Canada, Nicholson oversaw all operations from competitions that Canada participates in internationally. Under his watch, Canada has won 76 medals, with 44 of those being gold medals.
Stay tuned for more coverage today.
The Katz Group made a major announcement on Friday morning at the Westin Downtown in Edmonton.
Bob Nicholson, the long-time President and CEO of Hockey Canada, has been named as Vice-Chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG). OEG is a new sports and entertainment company that will manage the Katz Group’s “growing family of sports and entertainment assets.”
Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe has also been named Vice-Chairman of OEG. Oilers President and COO Patrick LaForge will assume the same title with OEG and will “be responsible for the group’s business operations.
Lowe will maintain a “leadership role with the organization’s Hockey Operations.”
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The Edmonton Oilers announced they have agreed to terms with centre Steve Pinizzotto on a one-year contract.
Pinizzotto, 30, appeared in six games with the Oilers last season, recording two assists and 15 penalty minutes. He posted his first career National Hockey League point and first multi-point game (2A) on April 12th against the Vancouver Canucks.
The 6’1”, 200-pound centre split the 2013-14 season between the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage and Oklahoma City Barons, posting 25 points (12G, 13A) and 183 penalty minutes in 51 games.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Pinizzotto has appeared in 18 career National Hockey League games with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers are hoping to utilize the young talent they’ve got on their roster to end a playoff drought that’s lasted since 2006. With that, they’ve also added an experienced Assistant Coach in Craig Ramssay.
Ramsay commented on coming to Edmonton and helping the team become competitive again in a phone interview shortly following the announcement.
“We all know there’s been tough times. But they’ve developed some nice hockey players and some good kids. They had a great feeling about where they were as an organization and they believed that there’s a good, strong future. I’ve had to rebuild a few places and it’s a challenge, it’s hard and you’ve got to keep a strong mental attitude, you’ve got to stay positive, you’ve got to keep convincing the kids that they’re going to be successful and that it might not happen tomorrow. It doesn’t happen because you just suddenly want it. It happens because you’re committed to it.
“I know Dallas (Eakins) is committed. He was a committed player, he’s a committed coach and Kevin (Lowe) and Craig MacTavish are good, solid people and that’s the thing that really turned me on to this position.”