INSIDE THE OILERS
POSTED ON Saturday, 06.6.2015 / 1:44 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

BUFFALO, NY - It is clear that Dylan Strome holds his Erie Otters teammate, Connor McDavid, in high regard. McDavid, the top-ranked prospect in the 2015 NHL Draft has had a lot of success so far in his hockey career and Strome has been witness to the type of player he is.

Strome was asked what Edmonton fans might see from McDavid, should he go first overall in the draft as expected.

“Be ready is all I can say,” Strome said. “He’s going to do some things to get the whole arena going ‘ooh’ or ‘ahh’ and doing something like that. They’ll see it and it’s pretty spectacular to watch. If anyone can get into a practice, that might be even more impressive. What he does out there to some of his teammates and some guys on the team. It’s fun, he’s fun to watch and he’s pretty special so they’ll get to love him.”

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.6.2015 / 1:11 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

BUFFALO, NY - Here are some of the available results for top draft prospect Connor McDavid’s fitness testing at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine.

  • Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Left - 4.43
  • Agility & Balance: Pro Agility Right - 4.53
  • Anaerobic Fitness:  Wingate or Peak Power Output (watts/kg) - 17.5
  • Force Plate: Vertical Jump (inches) - 19.488
  • Musculoskeletal: Bench Press 70-80% of Body Weight  (# of Reps) - 9
  • Musculoskeletal: Left Hand Grip (lb) - 165
  • Musculoskeletal: Pull-Ups Consecutive (max #) - 6
  • Musculoskeletal: Right Hand Grip (lb) - 156
  • Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump (in) - 97.3
You can see the top results from the Combine by clicking HERE.
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.5.2015 / 5:14 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

BUFFALO, NY – Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have been ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the number one and number two North American skaters, respectively. They’ve also been touted as generational talents and have each lived up to the hype.

A sea of reporters surrounded McDavid and Eichel at today’s media availability in Buffalo at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine. Following remarkable years for both players, this is just another step until they are drafted at the end of the month.

When you rewind to the beginning when scouts first started doing homework on these two, it’s amazing how much the players lived up to the hype.

“Nobody was surprised, everybody was impressed,” said Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr. “We didn’t spend an overabundance of time and we weren’t going to go watch to see if they would do something in a negative sense or not develop their game or grow. We just were comfortable following their play. You still go check in every once in a while and say, ‘yeah, it’s the real deal.’”

McDavid finished this season with 120 points (44-76-120) in just 47 games for the Erie Otters. He set fire to the OHL playoffs with 49 points (21-28-49) in 20 games as the Otters fell short to Oshawa in the final. It was a season in which McDavid showed everyone what he is made of.

“It’s just the way he processes the game,” said Marr. “He’s got exceptionally quick wits about him and he’s got anticipation. It’s the way he can execute plays really without even looking. I think his linemates know to just go to the net, have your stick on the ice and he’ll deliver the puck to them. He’s got some slick moves about him. When you get that type of player that just has that kind of hockey IQ… and he’s got those quick wits about him there, he ends up being a difference maker in more cases than not. What we like about him is almost every time you watch him play he can show you something new. We think the best is really yet to come.”

Jack Eichel also had a season to remember. As a freshman at Boston University, he recorded 71 points (26-45-71) in 40 games and took home the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA.

“I think if anyone had predicted that, they’d be telling you a fib,” Marr said of Eichel’s freshman year. “He not only lived up to that projection, he exceeded it to come in and do what he did. He was given an opportunity and he seized that opportunity. He’s going to do the same thing next year. He’s going to be given an opportunity, he’s going to seize it and nobody should be surprised of what either of these two are going to accomplish.”

The 2015 NHL Draft will take place June 26-27, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.5.2015 / 5:13 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

BUFFALO, NY – It’s no surprise the Oilers brass will come away from this weekend’s NHL Scouting Combine impressed by the maturity of top draft prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Both have been in the spotlight all season and touted as “generational” talents, but both have handled it well.

“Not much else can be said about him that hasn’t already been said,” Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green said of McDavid. “We interviewed him this week and it was a great interview, as we expected. He’s a very polished, well-spoken young man. He’s very mature beyond his years. He has a good understanding of what’s ahead of him and it was just nice to get a chance to talk to him a little bit.”

Eichel left a very similar impression.

“Well-spoken, very polished and mature,” said Green. “These guys have been through the pressure, the expectations for a few years now and they handle all the attention and everything very well. It was fun to talk to both guys.”

The Oilers interviewed 88 prospects this week, according to Green.

“If you’re here you might as well be talking to kids rather than sitting around waiting,” he said. “I think it’s important to talk to as many kids as you can. You don’t know. You’ve got a lot of picks and there are a lot of kids available. The more you can uncover, the better off you’re going to be.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.5.2015 / 5:07 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

BUFFALO, NY – There is a thought process when drafting that you make your board and you stick to it. It is obviously ideal to just keep taking the best player available on your list, no matter what round it is.

“You always want to take the best player available,” said Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green. “When you get to later on in the draft, you’re going to reach a point where it’s splitting hairs between two players. If they’re different positions, maybe you go with need as the tiebreaker. Then as you go a little further in the draft the chances are a little tougher for these kids to make it so there are other things you look at. But first and foremost, you look for the best player available.”

For a team like the Oilers, with 10 picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, sometimes need starts to creep into the decision-making process. It’s something you can consider but not let it overrule the pure talent aspect of your evaluation of a player.

“We talked the other day about need and that you’ve got to be careful about looking at what you need as opposed to best player available,” said Green. “If you’re trying to decide between two players and one is a forward and one is a defenceman and everything remains equal, then certainly you can look at need. It’s always in the back of your mind.”

Green says that at this point there are really only small movements of players up and down the Oilers draft board based on the combine interviews and fitness testing. Edmonton currently has seven picks in the first four rounds.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.4.2015 / 6:00 PM MT

The Edmonton Oilers announced today Associate Coach Keith Acton and Assistant Coach Craig Ramsay were relieved of their duties and will not return for the 2015-16 season.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.4.2015 / 11:05 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

When the Oilers won the draft lottery, it was something that surely resonated throughout the organization. Their 2014 third-overall pick Leon Draisaitl was one of the players who took notice of that moment. He also realizes that it is an opportunity, with two “generational talents” at the top of the draft, to secure an exceptional player.

Erie Otters centre Connor McDavid is categorized as that kind of player, and Draisaitl knows his talent.

“I think it’s great for the organization to get a player like him, most likely,” said Draisaitl. “I think it’s going to be great. He’s a game-changing player and he has incredible potential. I think it’s a great thing for the Oilers for sure. I don’t know him personally. I’ve played against him a couple times.”

While Draisaitl was playing in the Memorial Cup, on his way to being named tournament MVP, McDavid was on hand and spoke to reporters during the intermission of the semifinal on May 29. McDavid was asked about Draisaitl as a player and he also had good things to say about the young Oilers prospect. Although, Draisaitl had just missed a good scoring chance and McDavid couldn’t help but slip in a friendly jab.

“He’s been unbelievable all season long,” said McDavid. “I think he’ll want that chance he had back in the slot, but a guy like that is not going to miss very often.”

Draisaitl scored 17 seconds into the second period and finished with three points (1-2-3) to help Kelowna advance to the final.

When asked if he was watching a future teammate, McDavid laughed and said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.4.2015 / 11:04 AM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Kelowna Rockets winger Nick Merkley is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2015 NHL Draft. Should the Oilers chose not to move their 16th-overall pick, Merkley could still be on the board at that time.

Merkley, although small in size, is big in talent. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound forward is NHL Central Scouting’s 23rd-ranked North American skater after a season in which he recorded 90 points (20-70-90) in 72 games. He added 27 points (5-22-27) in 19 WHL playoff games and three goals and two assists at the Memorial Cup.

His teammate and Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl got a taste of what kind of player Merkley can be as the two worked well together.

“He’s a great kid,” said Draisaitl. “He works really hard. He loves the game and what he’s done this year speaks for itself. He’s a great playmaker. He sees the ice really well. Whoever picks him is going to be really happy getting him, that’s for sure.”

What if that “whoever” was the Oilers?

“Yeah, for sure. Why not? It would be cool to see him in the same organization. But wherever he goes he’ll be fine and they’re going to get a great player,” said Draisaitl.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.2.2015 / 3:24 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

The 2015 NHL Scouting Combine takes place this week in Buffalo, NY and is just the next step in the off-season schedule. For Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli and the front office staff, it’s showtime as they come together as a unit for the first time since he took over in April.

Chiarelli was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Tuesday and talked about his philosophy heading into his first combine and draft with this staff. He has met with the amateur scouts and is in the process of meeting with all the staff.

“I wanted to make sure that they dug a little deeper or maybe dug in a different place,” said Chiarelli of the mindset heading into this off-season. “When they’re talking about specific players, just make sure that when they were digging they were highlighting the harder areas of the game; where they exist in this player. It’s more of just re-adjusting a focus and letting them know what our philosophy is. It’s about maybe directing traffic a little bit in the course of a meeting.”

Chiarelli addressed potentially an emphasis on adding more size, but there is more to the draft plan.

“The size thing is something that’s important and that may be another kind of vetting process that we go through with later on, before the draft,” said Chiarelli. “Right now, we’re interviewing a lot of these kids at the combine and they know that I place a certain level of emphasis on size, a certain level of emphasis on grit, and we don’t dismiss skill.

"They know these are areas that they have to check off when they’re interviewing these kids. It’s more about the beginning steps of imparting my philosophy. It’s really just a higher level of due diligence and just all of us, collectively, rolling up our sleeves and pecking away at it. A lot of it right now is evaluation. It’s interviewing, it’s assessing, but it’s also all the personalities involved getting to know each other too.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.2.2015 / 3:24 PM MT
By Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com / Inside the Oilers

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli has a lot of ammo to work with at the 2015 NHL Draft. The Oilers have 10 picks, including seven in the first four rounds.

With two first-round picks, two seconds, two thirds and a fourth, there are assets there that can be moved for immediate help or players who are further along in their development.

Chiarelli addressed that opportunity on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Tuesday.

“I certainly would look at moving any of those picks for something that would help us right now but also that could grow with our organization,” said Chiarelli. “You’re usually talking, relatively speaking, a younger player. I’m not ruling out anything. That’s a lot of picks and it’s good to have a lot of picks and develop players, but we also want to hit the ground running too with some more game-ready players. The discussions are picking up and they’ll continue to be on-going until the draft and they might subside a little bit and then pick up again in and around the free agent date.”

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