Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish spoke to the media after the trade deadline had passed, and one of the topics he touched on was the organization’s young defensive prospects. After trading Jeff Petry to the Montreal Canadiens, the Oilers will get a look at a couple of young blueliners the remainder of the season. But MacTavish is also excited about the future of the blueline in coming years.
“We’ll see what Jordan Oesterle has coming forward (this season), we’ll see what Brandon Davidson has coming forward. They’re both young players that have some optimism there that they can develop,” MacTavish said. “We’ve got Darnell Nurse coming forward. Who knows what we’ll get in the draft? We could help ourselves not only at centre but on defence, depending on how this team finishes and where the bingo balls fall.”
Oscar Klefbom is another young defenceman that MacTavish singled out at the press conference. The GM is thoroughly impressed with the 21-year-old Klefbom, who is 41 games into the season with the Oilers. MacTavish is hopeful that adding another player like Klefbom to the Oilers will help make the team more competitive a a whole.
“We’ve seen the benefit of Oscar coming in and playing those minutes,” MacTavish said. “He just gives you 20 minutes of flawless hockey, and he’s had a great effect on Justin. We bring in one more player who has that effect on our group and a couple other key pieces and all the sudden we’re not only competing with Boston and St. Louis and the better teams in the league, but we’re winning those games.”
The Oilers are on the ice for Monday's practice at Rexall Place.
The line combinations are as follows:
Nikitin, Pitlick and Lander are on the ice in non-contact yellow.
Keith Aulie, who cleared waivers, is on the ice.
A couple of Oilers players reflected after practice on Monday on Jeff Petry, who was traded to Montreal this morning, and how he handled the approaching deadline.
“Petey was good for us this year,” Boyd Gordon said. “He started to play very well. We’re losing one of our best defencemen. That’s just kind of the way it is with him going to unrestricted free agency in the summer. These things happen.”
Oilers Captain Andrew Ference was impressed at how Petry handled the questions from the media and the uncertainty of the deadline as a pending free agent.
“He handled it, I think, very professionally, very well. He never let it be a distraction,” Ference said to the media. “I’m sure you guys have dealt with him enough to know he’s a pretty great guy. I think for him a lot of that stuff was out of his control. He was playing the game and playing as well as he can and obviously playing at a level that made him very attractive to some teams who want to make a push here in the playoffs. It’s going to work great for him.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins knew Petry longer than Ference or Gordon, so not having him in the locker room or on the ice for practice was different.
“For me, it’s definitely pretty strange,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “He’s been here since I’ve been here and we were together my first year. It’s definitely tough to see a guy like that go but it was obviously expected. We prepared for it over the last couple of weeks and I think he’s going to have a good shot there and it’s obviously a great city to go to. We wish him all the best.”
Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson spoke to the media after practice on Monday and gave updates on a couple of injured players.
Two have a positive prognosis.
“(Nikita) Nikitin and (Anton) Lander, we’re hopeful that maybe sometime late in this trip coming up or right after the trip. That’s what we’re hopeful for. They’re both skating well, they’re both doing limited contact right now and that’s what we’re hopeful for.”
For Iiro Pakarinen however, who injured his knee against St. Louis on Saturday, the prognosis is not so positive. With Pakarinen out for an undetermined amount of time, the Oilers may discuss calling up a forward from Oklahoma City.
“I talked to Craig (MacTavish) before practice and he said, ‘Let’s touch base after the deadline is finished and we’ll go from there.’ Pakarinen is going for an MRI today and we’ll find out more with that, but we don’t expect him back anytime soon,” Nelson said.
Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson spoke after practice on Monday, hours after the team traded Jeff Petry to Montreal for a second and conditional fifth-round pick in 2015. In response to a question of how the Oilers will move on without Petry on the blueline, Nelson said it’s opportunity for some players to step up.
“We have seven healthy defencemen right now so we have options,” Nelson said. “Obviously, losing a guy like Petey that ate a lot of minutes and was playing some really good hockey for us, that’s a whole that we have to fill. It will give guys opportunities to step up for the rest of the year.”
The Oilers have returned Jordan Oesterle, Martin Marincin, Richard Bachman and Ryan Hamilton on loan to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. The transfer makes them eligible to participate in the AHL playoffs.
Here is an update on where the Oilers stand in the 2015 NHL Draft after the Jeff Petry trade.
The Oilers have two first-round picks in the 2015 draft. They have their own pick and the one acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins, in exchange for David Perron.
The Oilers also have two picks in the second round. They have their own second and the one acquired in the Petry trade this morning.
In the third, the Oilers own Ottawa’s pick from the Ales Hemsky trade last season. They also own the St. Louis Blues third-round selection from the original Perron trade in 2013. Their own was sent to Anaheim in the Viktor Fasth trade last season.
They do not own a fourth-round pick, having sent that to St. Louis in the original Perron trade.
Following the Petry trade, the Oilers have the Montreal Canadiens fifth-round pick in 2015, although it is conditional. They also have their own selection in that round.
The Oilers have their own picks in the sixth and seventh round.
BY THE NUMBERS
ROUND 1 - 2 picks
ROUND 2 - 2 picks
ROUND 3 - 2 picks
ROUND 4 - 0 picks
ROUND 5 - 2 picks (1 is conditional)
ROUND 6 - 1 pick
ROUND 7 - 1 pick
The Oilers executed a trade early Monday morning, on deadline day, to move one of their pending free agents. The Oilers acquired a second-round pick, as well as a conditional fifth-round pick in 2015 from the Montreal Canadiens, in exchange for defenceman Jeff Petry.
Petry, 27, has played in 295 NHL games, all for the Oilers, since being drafted in the second round of the 206 NHL Draft. He has 17 goals and 57 assists in his career.
Montreal is currently the top team in the Eastern Conference with 87 points in the standings.
Stay tuned for more trade deadline coverage on edmontonoilers.com.
The Oilers have placed defenceman Keith Aulie on waivers.
#Oilers have placed defenceman Keith Aulie on waivers.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 1, 2015
The 25-year-old defenceman has played 18 games this season for the Oilers, going -1 with 53 penalty minutes.
Jordan Oesterle played just his second NHL game on Saturday night but in the small sample size the defenceman has earned praise. The 22-year-old played 16:43 in his return to NHL action.
Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson was asked how close Oesterle is to becoming a full-time NHL player.
“He’s pretty close,” Nelson said. “He can definitely skate well up here and he moves the puck fine. Once again tonight, he kind of falls in the same category as (Martin Marincin) where they have to mature and get stronger. But I think Jordan is knocking on the door.”
Oesterle, a free agent signing, played three years at Western Michigan University under former NHL bench boss Andy Murray.