Martin Marincin couldn't have scripted last season much better from a personal standpoint.
The 22-year-old defenceman got just about all the experience he could ask for, playing in 44 NHL games, the Olympics and the IIHF World Championships (both representing Slovakia).
Marincin was even praised at times for being the Oilers “most solid defenceman” by his head coach and his growth on the ice did not go unnoticed. As Marincin continues to develop, he can look back on last season and be grateful for the experience he gained.
“That was a big season for me,” he said. “I played everywhere so that was great for me. I learned a lot of things so it was good for my hockey life. Now I need to keep working hard and keep going to be the best.”
While playing internationally at the Olympics and World Championships, Marincin learned even more. He watched the established veterans around him to try and learn things in addition to what the NHL had already taught him.
“I was just looking around me at these guys and what they are doing. I was trying to learn on the ice and in the locker room and everything.”
After being selected 40th overall in 2009, Anton Lander has played 94 NHL games. He has also spent time in the American Hockey League, posting his best offensive numbers to date last season (18-34-52 in 46 games).
Lander cites physical growth along with more confidence as to why last season he saw more success in the AHL.
“I think I’ve been getting stronger and a little bit quicker on my skates and of course, the confidence,” he said. “You get used to the leagues and that was a huge thing for me, to get used to the different leagues and different teams. I think when you’re coming back from another year and you’re more used to the players, coaching and the organization that it helps you with everything. I don’t know if I can point to one thing as to why things have been going better but that’s my feeling right now.”
Lander’s next step is to translate that success from last year to the NHL level. He says his play in 27 games with the team last year left him feeling like he has more to offer. The path to prove himself starts in training camp.
“I got a lot of big opportunity from (Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins) but I wanted to play a lot better than I did. That’s something that’s been bugging me during the summer and something I want to prove when camp starts.”
The Oilers inked centre Anton Lander to a one-year contract extension this off-season and the 40th overall pick in 2009 is excited for the opportunity to return to Edmonton.
Knowing that this is a big training camp and season for the 23-year-old, Lander has set goals for himself and it’s all about winning hockey games.
“I want to win as many games as I can. I want to win, I want to be a better player and of course my first step is to make the team here in Edmonton. From there, it’s all about winning,” Lander said.
This year’s training camp provides Lander with an opportunity to prove to the club that he is ready for full-time NHL duty. Lander is coming off of a season in which he scored 52 points in 46 games with the Oklahoma City Barons and skated in 27 games with the Oilers.
“I’m really excited about the camp. The only thing I can do right now is work really really hard to get better and to show at camp, just go out there and try to do what I can do best to help the team win games. That’s what it’s all about.”
The pressure is on for the Oilers to have more success this season. Jordan Eberle said this summer that “more so this year than anything I think we have a lot of expectations on us.”
Taylor Hall mirrored those sentiments when speaking with Oilers TV at the Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 Camp on Thursday. Hall says there is no starting over when you play hockey in this city.
“In Edmonton, there’s never really that clean slate. There is always pressure on us,” he said. “I like that, I’m excited for that and I’m ready to get back to that. It is a quiet summer back in my hometown and you come here and everyone is excited for the season. I think everyone on our team knows last year was not good enough and hopefully we’re all willing to improve on that.”
Taylor Hall was at the Perry Pearn’s 3-on-3 Camp on Thursday and he spoke to the media about the mindset of the team heading into a season in which there are several new faces.
“There are a lot of changes and all that really matters is how we do this year,” Hall said of the free agent and trade acquisitions. “I think those guys are going to do really well for us. Speaking for our team, we’ve just got to come into camp humble because really, we have to be. Then we make strides and go from there.”
Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins is returning for his second season at the helm and his players are grateful for the consistency.
“That’s a really nice way to go into the year,” Taylor Hall said. “Like I said at the end of the year, there is no awkward handshake at the start.”
Without having to start over, the Oilers have the opportunity to just hit the ground running.
“It’s a business-like attitude and let’s get this thing going. Dallas feels very comfortable in that way and I think all of us players, over the course of 82 games last year, got to know what Dallas expects from us. Now we can hit the ground running at camp.”
The odds of winning the first overall selection in the NHL Draft for the 14 non-playoff teams will be adjusted “to more appropriately reflect the current state of competitive balance in the league.”
This means the 10 highest-finishing non-playoff teams will receive higher lottery odds than before and the four lowest finishing teams will receive lower odds.
The following is the revised list of odds:
(Fewest Pts. to Most) New Draft Lottery Odds Odds Under Former Allocation
1 20.0% 25.0%
2 13.5% 18.8%
3 11.5% 14.2%
4 9.5% 10.7%
5 8.5% 8.1%
6 7.5% 6.2%
7 6.5% 4.7%
8 6.0% 3.6%
9 5.0% 2.7%
10 3.5% 2.1%
11 3.0% 1.5%
12 2.5% 1.1%
13 2.0% 0.8%
14 1.0% 0.5%
Wayne Gretzky is familiar with NHL fans everywhere. But it is Edmonton where the fans are different from the rest.
Gretzky said the difference between Edmonton fans and other NHL fans is that the Oilers group made the players of the 1984 Stanley Cup Championship team feel very welcome.
“The difference with fans in Edmonton is you feel like you know the fans and they’re your friends,” Gretzky said via Skype at a press conference on Tuesday.
Gretzky says that seeing the people of Edmonton and all of their old friends is something the ’84 players are looking forward to the most with their reunion on October 10.
“The fans and the people in Edmonton always made it comfortable for the players.”
Oilers greats Kevin Lowe and Wayne Gretzky spoke to the media and a group of fans on Tuesday as the ’84 team reunion was announced. Both players reminisced about just how unselfish that team was and how it helped them become one of the best teams in NHL history and hoist the cup.
“The season started with Lee Fogolin unselfishly giving up the captaincy for Wayne,” Lowe said. “It was really the beginning of an unselfish year for the team.”
“All the records and all of the personal accolades didn’t matter to anyone, particularly those players. It was about winning the Stanley Cup.”
Gretzky said the team rallied, using the lessons learned from their loss to the New York Islanders the year before to eventually defeat the familiar opponent in the ’84 Final.
“It’s a really special group,” Gretzky said. “We beat a really great hockey club, a dynasty team that taught us how to win from the previous year.”
“When anyone scored, we all felt like we all scored. We were such and unselfish group.”
The Oilers announced on Tuesday that the entire 1984 Stanley Cup Champion team will be in Edmonton on October 10, for a reunion in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
“This will be the first time that the group has been together in Edmonton since hoisting that cup in 1984.” Oilers Vice President of Communications Tim Shipton said.
The Oilers are welcoming fans to purchase tickets and enjoy, “a magical evening of story telling and laughs.”
It was a magical season and a team unlike any other. Those players on the roster are hoping to relive that magic with the fans that supported them so well throughout their cup run.
"The entire city played a part in making us champions. It’s only fitting we invite fans back to where the magic happened." Kevin Lowe.”