POSTED ON Friday, 10.16.2015 / 1:35 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers
The Oilers changed up their power play units during practice today at Rexall Place. The first unit had Taylor Hall with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Teddy Purcell with Lauri Korpikoski and Justin Schultz manning the point.

The second unit had Benoit Pouliot, Mark Letestu and Nail Yakupov with Andrej Sekera and Connor McDavid on the point.

The biggest change was Mark Letestu being added, but the veteran centre said that being on the power play is not something foreign to him.

"This is one of my roles," he said. "In Pittsbugh, I played on the power play and in Columbus played on the power play on the point. That's what I did before I was an Oiler. There's no nerves going into this, this is what my job is. I play in a lot of situations and a lot of different roles and I've largely been successful as a power play player. I'm happy for the opportunity and hopefully get the guys going."

Letetsu added that his faceoff prowess will be a big help to the club, particularly in terms of keeping possession of the puck and keeping it in the offensive zone.

"I think that's one of the obvious things for me to get out there. We're going to get out there and win the draw early. Hopefully it'll allow us to get at least the first 20 seconds in the zone rather than chasing back. The face-off will definitely be a big key to me being out there."

He added that even though he's taking the draws, he'll be dropping back to the point once the unit gets set up.

"I'm probably actually going to be viewed as the other defenceman in that unit. For right now, I'll be one of the guys on the flank, probably shooting and delivering pucks and making the plays for the guys."
POSTED ON Friday, 10.16.2015 / 1:30 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

Oilers head coach Todd McLellan talked about where the team is at at this point in the season, with four straight regulation losses giving them a 0-4-0 record to start.

“I’m not surprised — I’m a little disappointed — but I’m not surprised," McLellan began. "The players who haven’t been here for very long, they’re wondering and they’re not sure. Players who have been here for awhile they’re going to be the big ones who are going to dictate where we go, how they react to the four losses."

From the coach staff's standpoint, the team is making progress but the players cannot afford to get down on themselves, particularly those players who have been around for the past three to five seasons.

"If they put their heads down and don’t stick their chest out it’s going to make it even tougher. If they hold their heads high and come and compete as hard as they can and give us an opportunity for success then we’ll be okay.

“We knew that we had a lot of work to do here and that hasn’t changed.”

As for positives, McLellan feels that the team has played well defensively for the most part but still need to avoid the mental breakdowns every now and then if they want to compete with heavy, veteran squads like Nashville and St. Louis.

“I think that the forwards have to be able to help the D out as well. We’ve been a fairly strong defensive team. Not perfect, but fairly strong for three or four games. Mistakes were made and mature teams capitalized on it. Do we need to get better? Absolutely. We need to be cleaner coming out, we need to be faster coming through the middle of the rink. A lot of that is on the defensive play, not just the defenceman. But that’s not the only area. We’ve got a lot of areas to improve on.”

POSTED ON Friday, 10.16.2015 / 1:16 PM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

Oilers head coach Todd McLellan spoke with the media following practice on Friday about being named head coach of the Under-23 Team North America at next fall's World Cup of Hockey.

“It’s an exciting opportunity. I had such a great experience this past spring in the Czech Republic with the National Team. It left such a good taste in my mouth to be around the players and to have a chance at success. I’m looking forward to this opportunity," said McLellan, adding he hasn't had a lot of time to think about it. "It’s so far away, I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. Obviously, all the time and energy I’ve got is being put towards what I’ve got going on here and that’s something that will continue to be our focus and needs to be our focus going forward.”

McLellan was asked if he felt it might be a disadvantage for him to be away from the team for a majority of training camp next year while being away in Toronto coaching the Under-23 squad. His answer was two-fold.

“I feel, with having a staff that’s familiar with myself — coming from San Jose is a benefit. We’ll be a year into the program," McLellan began. "We should be polished, or at least working towards advancing our game and our program so I feel good about that.”

He also added that the way the schedule works out, the opening round ends on September 22. Only the top-two groups out of four advance from each pool and NHL Training Camps are set to commence immediately after that, on September 23.

“From a selfish standpoint, you hope you miss training camp because that means the young team has played very well in that tournament. But if it doesn’t have success, I think we can be back for opening day of training camp as well," he said. "The NHL and the Player’s Association have done a good job — Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the rest of the federations — of planning the tournament and setting it up so a lot of players and coaches can be back if they don’t have success.”

The Oilers head coach was also asked about coaching a younger team. He pointed out that it's not a lot different from what he's doing right now here in Edmonton.

“It will be, when you compare it to the World Championships, but not a lot different from what we have going on here. You’ve got Reinhart and Connor and Nuge and Leon and Darnell Nurse. Those types of young players that are involved in the organization.

“It’s a pool of players that we’re going to be growing up with over the next three or four years.”

POSTED ON Friday, 10.16.2015 / 11:23 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

The NHL announced today that Oilers head coach Todd McLellan will be coaching the Under-23 North American team at the World Cup next September.

The NHL's official press release had a quote from Oilers GM and Team North America GM Peter Chiarelli:

"We are excited to name our head coach and management team for our World Cup squad. They all know what it takes to win at the highest level and we're looking forward to working together for next September's competition."

Read the Entire Press Release Here >>

POSTED ON Friday, 10.16.2015 / 11:17 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers
The Oilers are on the ice for practice at Rexall Place on Friday. The forward lines are the same as they were to start last night's game:

Gazdic-Letestu-Slepyshev (with Klinkhammer rotating in)
POSTED ON Monday, 10.5.2015 / 9:59 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

UPDATE: Ben Scrivens has cleared waivers and has been assigned to the AHL.

The Oilers have placed goaltender Ben Scrivens on waivers for the purpose of assignment.

Scrivens had a 15-26-11 record last season with a 3.16 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in 57 games played. The season before, he was 9-11-0 with a 3.01 GAA and .916 save percentage for Edmonton in 21 games.

Overall in 78 games, Scrivens has a 3.12 goals-against average and .898 save percentage with two shutouts and a 24-37-11 record.

POSTED ON Sunday, 10.4.2015 / 9:58 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

UPDATE: Nikitin has cleared waivers and has been assigned to the AHL's Bakersfield Condors.

The Oilers have placed defenceman Nikita Nikitin on waiver for the purpose of assignment. Last season, Nikitin had four goals and 10 points in 42 games with the Oilers with 12 penalty minutes and a -10 rating.

POSTED ON Monday, 09.28.2015 / 10:26 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers
The Bakersfield Condors training camp opens today at 11:15 a.m. MDT (10:15 a.m. Bakersfield time). The club announced its 33-man camp roster:


Laurent Brossoit (NHL – Edmonton)
Eetu Laurikainen (NHL – Edmonton)
Ty Rimmer (AHL – Bakersfield)

Ben Betker (NHL – Edmonton)
Tim Daly (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
Brad Hunt (NHL – Edmonton)
Joey LaLeggia (NHL – Edmonton)
Joe Marciano (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
David Musil (NHL – Edmonton)
Jordan Oesterle (NHL – Edmonton)
Nick Pageau (AHL – Bakersfield)
Charles-Olivier Roussel (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)

C Greg Chase (NHL – Edmonton)
C Josh Currie (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
LW Braden Christoffer (AHL – Bakersfield)
RW Matthew Ford (AHL – Bakersfield)
LW Ryan Hamilton (NHL – Edmonton)
LW Kale Kessy (NHL – Edmonton)
LW Jujhar Khaira (NHL – Edmonton)
LW Jonathan Lessard (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
C Alexis Loiseau (AHL – Bakersfield)
C Philip McRae (AHL – Bakersfield)
RW Andrew Miller (NHL – Edmonton)
C Michael Pelech (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
RW Tyler Pitlick (NHL – Edmonton)
RW Kyle Platzer (NHL – Edmonton)
RW Alexandre Ranger (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
C Connor Rankin (AHL – Bakersfield)
LW Marc-Olivier Roy (AHL – Bakersfield)
C Steven Whitney (ECHL – Norfolk // AHL tryout)
LW Josh Winquist (AHL – Bakersfield)
C Bogdan Yakimov (NHL – Edmonton)
LW Daniil Zharkov (AHL tryout)

NOTE: not all players on this roster have arrived to training camp, but will be doing so over the course of the next few days
POSTED ON Monday, 09.28.2015 / 10:23 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

Four Oilers players cleared waivers this morning: Brad Hunt, Andrew Miller, Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick. The four of them were sent down to AHL Bakersfield along with eight others on Saturday evening.

POSTED ON Monday, 09.28.2015 / 10:20 AM MT
By Marc Ciampa - / Inside the Oilers

An interesting name on the Bakersfield Condors camp list is Daniil Zharkov. Zharkov was drafted in the third round by the Oilers, 91st overall, in the 2012 NHL Draft. Zharkov is attending the Condors camp on a pro-tryout basis.

Last season, he played with HK Sarov in Russia's VHL and had four goals and nine points in 39 games. He also played with the Nizhny Novgorod junior squad for four games, scoring one goal. The previous season he played in the KHL with Nizhny Novgorod and prior to that he played a pair of seasons with the Belleville Bulls.

He could be an interesting player to keep an eye on, having slipped off the radar of Oilers prospects the past several seasons.