The NHL’s top players and coaches have converged on Las Vegas for the 2016 NHL Awards, which will be doled out on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, many of the award finalists spoke to the media and expressed plenty of praise for Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, including his Calder Trophy competition.
“He’s an excellent player, very skilled, very smart and very fast on the ice,” said Chicago Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin, one of the few freshmen to outscore McDavid, putting up 77 points in 80 games compared to Connor’s 48 in 45.
The other finalist is Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Shane Gostisbehere, who said it’s an honour to be up for the Calder with McDavid, considering the tremendous potential of the young centreman.
“He’s going to be the face of the NHL for a while now,” said Gostisbehere, who scored 46 points in 64 games. “He’s a great player and it’s fun to watch him.”
Los Angeles Kings d-man and Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty said he was impressed with McDavid’s ability to make such an impact as a teenager.
“He’s just so good,” Doughty said. “He’s a threat every time he has the puck… He’s going to be one of the best players in the league, without a doubt.”
McDavid will arrive in Vegas on Tuesday night and hit the red carpet on Wednesday afternoon prior to the Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenceman Jordan Oesterle to a one-year contract.
Oesterle, 23, registered 25 points (4G, 21A) and 10 penalty minutes in 44 games last season with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Bakersfield Condors.
In 2015-16, the 6'0", 182-pound blueliner, appeared in 17 games with the Oilers recording five assists.
The Dearborn Heights, Michigan native has accumulated 51 points (13G, 38A) and 20 penalty minutes in 113 career AHL games.
The Edmonton Oilers announced today, they have signed winger Tyler Pitlick to a one-year contract.
Pitlick, 24, appeared in 37 games with the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bakersfield Condors last season, posting 21 points (7G, 14A) and four penalty minutes.
The Minneapolis, Minnesota native has accumulated 85 points (25G, 57A) and 60 penalty minutes in 196 career AHL games.
The 6’0”, 202-pound winger has appeared in 27 career NHL games, accumulating three goals and four penalty minutes.
Pitlick was selected by the Oilers in the 2nd round, 31st overall in the 2010 NHL Draft.
The Oilers have the fourth-overall selection in the first round. They choose 32nd overall in the second round.
In the third, the Oilers hold their own pick (63rd overall) as well as two via trades. Edmonton has Florida’s 84th-overall selection and the 91st pick from Pittsburgh. They received Florida’s third-round pick in exchange for Teddy Purcell at the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline. The Penguins sent the Oilers their third-round selection in exchange for Justin Schultz.
Edmonton has no selection in the fourth round, after trading it to Anaheim with Martin Gernat in exchange for forward Patrick Maroon.
The Oilers have the 123rd and 139th-overall (from St. Louis) picks in the fifth round. The Blues’ fifth-round pick came to Edmonton in exchange for goaltender Anders Nilsson.
The Oilers close out their draft with the 153rd (sixth round) and 183rd (seventh round) picks.
The draft takes place June 24-25 in Buffalo, NY.
84th Overall (From FLA)
91st Overall (From PIT)
149th Overall (From STL)
- FEATURE: Combine is a useful tool to the Oilers
- BLOG: Laine still striving to be first
- BLOG: Green assesses top forwards and D
- BLOG: Bob Green on the quality of 2016's draft
- BLOG: Oilers at Combine to learn more
- THE PANEL | Peter Chiarelli Interview
- COMBINE RAW | Bob Green one-on-one
- COMBINE RAW | Matthew Tkachuk
- COMBINE RAW | Pierre-Luc Dubois
- COMBINE RAW | Auston Matthews
- COMBINE RAW | Jesse Puljujarvi
- COMBINE RAW | Patrik Laine
- COMBINE RAW | NHL Director of Scouting Dan Marr
Many draft prognosticators have Auston Matthews going first overall to Toronto at the end of this month. Don’t remind Patrik Laine, who is hoping to convince the Leafs he is worthy of that spot.
“Sure, of course,” said Laine. “There’s lots of time until to the draft to show the Leafs that I’m worth the first overall. I will do everything I can to make that happen.”
Laine concedes that there isn’t much left he can do to swing their decision at this point in the off-season, but he’s still hoping the tape will speak for itself.
“I can’t do that much anymore, it’s just interviews and a couple of tests,” he said. “I think I showed my skills this season. I think I’ve done my work on the ice and they can now decide.”
Laine won the Jari Kurri Trophy as playoff MVP with Tappara in the Finnish Elite League. He had 17 goals and 33 points in 46 games this season.
There are a number of players that the Oilers could potentially draft in the fourth spot. Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green talked about a few of them.
Among the defencemen who will be available, Green was asked about Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev and Jakob Chycrun.
“Those three guys, they’re all good. They’re all a little bit different one way or the other. Physically, they’re good-sized kids. Juolevi is going to get bigger and stronger. Sergachev and Chycrun are big, strong kids already but they all move the puck really well. Sergachev may have a little bit more offence in him but Juolevi put up good numbers, as did Chycrun. They’re three really good defencemen.”
Up front, Jesse Puljujarvi and Matthew Tkachuk are two potential options who may be available at number four. Green talked about both.
“They’re high-end skilled guys. The biggest difference is probably size. Puljujarvi is a big kid and is strong. That’s a big part of his game, puck protection and everything else. Matthew (Tkachuk) is a really smart, clever player with the puck. He sees the ice very well and thinks ahead of the play an does a good job complementing Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak this year. We watched him play last year with Auston Matthews and he did the same thing with him.”
Oilers director of player personnel Bob Green was asked to give his thoughts on the talent level of the 2016 NHL Draft while at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo.
“We’ve liked the draft right from the very beginning," Green enthused. "Obviously, the top end is very good. Everybody’s going to get a good player in the first round. There’s depth to it. You know that some of the kids later on are going to turn into players, you’ve just got to figure out which one it is.”
Green specifically talked about the four spot, which is being universally regarded as one of the very top spots in the second tier of prospects with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and perhaps Jesse Puljujarvi in the top tier.
“There’s some good forwards there (and) there’s some good defencemen there. They’re just good players. You want to take the best one at that point in the draft, for sure. We like the guys there. There’s a mix of positions: centre, left wing, D. There’s a nice combination of players and we like all of them.”
Whether the player the Oilers select is ready to step into the NHL right away next season won't be a determining factor based on who the team selects, but Green talked about what precisely is the factor which does decide whether a player can play right away.
“There’s things in their game that probably means they’re going to have to go back and play another year of junior or college. It usually boils down to their size and strength. A lot of them are good enough to play in the NHL, it’s a matter of whether or not they’re big enough and strong enough to compete with men yet.”
The Edmonton Oilers have been in Buffalo, New York all week for the NHL Scouting Combine. They've been interviewing prospects -- 85 of them to be exact -- in anticipation of the NHL Draft later this month.
Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green, who helps head up the scouting department, was asked about some of the benefits of this event.
“Just putting a face to the name of the player that you’ve been watching all year,” Green began. “We don’t get a chance to meet these kids during the course of the season. We’ve had our area scouts out and they’ve interviewed these kids during the year but it gives us a chance to meet these guys and talk to them.”
After a week's worth of interviews with all 30 NHL teams, the prospects will undergo a grueling physical test on Saturday (we'll have full coverage here on edmontonoilers.com). Green was asked about the importance of the interviewing and the physical aspect.
“It’s all important. We want to watch them work out as well. We have people here doing that. And just get a sense of what kind of shape they’re in. What type of body they have. Their ability to put on weight and muscle and just to get a sense of how big they can be.”
Following draft week, the scouting staff will get together leading up to the June 24 draft and reassess their rankings.
“We’ll continue to stay in touch. We’ll take a look at this past week and we’ll talk about these guys and see what we like, what we didn’t like and see how it’s going to affect where we have them ranked.”
Green did add that what goes on at the Combine will be a factor but not necessarily the determining factor on which player the team takes.
“You’ve gotta be careful. You can’t put too much stock into this. It’s just another part of the bigger picture of watching them.”
The top hockey players from Canada and the United States who are 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016 are available for selection exclusively by Team North America.
Nugent-Hopkins, 23, has appeared in 55 games with the Oilers this season, posting 34 points (12G, 22A) and 34 penalty minutes. The Burnaby, BC native has represented Canada several times internationally, most recently at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship where Team Canada placed fourth that year.
Named to Team North America are:
G John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
G Connor Hellebuyck, Manitoba Moose – Winnipeg Jets hold NHL rights
G Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
D Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
D Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
D Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
D Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets
D Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues
D Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs
D Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets
F Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers
F Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning
F Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
F Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
F Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings
F Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
F Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
F J.T. Miller, New York Rangers
F Auston Matthews, Switzerland
F Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames
F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
F Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets
F Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets