Former Oiler and current Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Craig Simpson was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Wednesday afternoon and provided an update as to his son Dillon Simpson’s status moving forward. Dillon was selected in the 4th round, 92nd overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and has completed his four-year career with the University of North Dakota.
The 6-foot-2, 200 pound defenceman is reportedly in talks with Edmonton Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations Scott Howson to sign with the Oilers.
“I know that they’re talking anyways and I think Scott Howson and Dillon and his agent are discussing,” Craig said. “The big thing this week for Dillon because they’ve missed so much school, is to check with the academic advisors to make sure that he can get his degree with the couple of courses that he has left to finish. I know that he’s obviously excited about and was when he got drafted, about being a member of the Edmonton Oilers and I’m sure that will come fairly quickly.”
No team likes their playoff hopes to come down to the final weekend of the season but at least for the Oklahoma City Barons, they hold their destiny in their own hands.
The Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League affiliate has three games remaining in their season, all on home ice. The Barons host the first-place Texas Stars tonight, followed by a two-game series against the Western Conference’s last place Iowa Wild on Friday and Saturday.
OKC is 8th in the West with 79 points, two-points back of the Rochester Americans in 7th. Two teams threaten the Barons as Charlotte and Rockford are tied for 9th with 77 points. However, the Barons have a game-in-hand over each, having played 73 games to their 74.
Three out of a possible six points for the Barons this week will clinch a playoff spot.
THE SCHEDULE AHEAD
The Texas Stars are the hottest team in the AHL, on an 11-0-0-1 streak. They are the top-seed in the conference and should the Barons sneak in as the 8th seed, they’d find themselves playing this very team in the first round. It isn’t all bad news for the Barons however, as the series has been somewhat even as OKC is 4-5-2 against Texas this season.
OKC has also handed the Stars three of their 17 regulation losses, matching the most of any team this season.
Oklahoma City is also on a hot streak with an 18-6-1-4 record dating back to January 30. That is with an injury and call up riddled lineup. They’ve won four straight home games.
The Barons get some help from the schedule gods in their final two games, playing the Wild twice to close out the season. Iowa is last in the Western Conference with 64 points in 73 games. The Barons are 1-1-0-0 against the Wild this season but haven’t played them since October 12-13.
Rochester finishes out their season with a game tonight against Utica (11th in the West) and two games this weekend (Friday and Saturday), a home contest against Syracuse (12th in the East) and an away game in Toronto (3rd in the West).
CHARLOTTE & ROCKFORD
The Checkers are in Milwaukee (5th in the West) on Friday night and finish off the season at Rockford. Before that season-ending showdown with Charlotte, the Rockford Ice Hogs host Chicago (4th in the West).
Defenceman Anton Belov will not be returning to the Edmonton Oilers after playing out his one-year entry level contract. Belov has agreed to a four-year contract to play with the KHL’s SKA in Saint Petersburg.
The Russian native played 57 games for the Oilers this season, recording seven points (1-6-7) and finishing the season -12 with 34 penalty minutes.
Official SKA Release
The Edmonton Oilers will hold the third overall draft selection in the 2014 NHL Draft after the NHL's Draft Lottery concluded on Tuesday night in Toronto.
DRAFT LOTTERY VIDEOS
- Oilers earn the third overall selection
- 2014 NHL Draft Lottery Picks
- Bob McKenzie's Top 10 Draft Prospects
- Meet representatives from the top 5 teams
- Daly on potential draft lottery changes
The Florida Panthers won the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery held this evening in Toronto and earned the right to select first overall at the 2014 NHL Draft. The Edmonton Oilers position did not change and they hold the third overall selection.
The Panthers, who would have picked second based on inverse order of regular-season finish, had the second-greatest percentage likelihood, 18.8%, that one of the numbered sequences assigned to them would be the winning combination. This marks the third straight year that the team projected to pick second has won the first overall selection in the draft lottery.
The Buffalo Sabres, who would have picked first, now own the second overall selection. The Calgary Flames and the New York Islanders hold the fourth and fifth drafting positions, respectively, in the first round.
The order of selection for the first 13 drafting positions in the first round, only, of the 2014 NHL Draft:
|5.||New York Islanders|
|8.||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|10.||Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa)|
The remaining positions (except New Jersey at 30th) are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The drawing was conducted at the NHL’s Toronto office and the results were shown live during a 30-minute program produced and televised by TSN in Canada and simulcast on NBCSN in the U.S. The program also was shown live online and across mobile platforms on TSN GO as well as on TSN Radio stations across Canada.
Fourteen balls, numbered 1 to 13, were placed in a lottery machine. The machine expelled four balls, forming a series of numbers. The four-digit series resulting from the expulsion of the balls was matched against a probability chart that divided the possible combinations among the 13 participating clubs. The chart showed that the Panthers had been assigned the numbers (1-6-11-14) that were expelled.
The 2014 NHL Draft will be hosted by the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28th. It will be the first time the city and facility host the NHL Draft.
Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry is one of the first 15 players announced to the 2014 U.S. Men’s National Team, which will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.
The blueliner played in 80 games this season for the Oilers, scoring 17 points (7-10-17). He averaged the second-most time on ice per game this season for the team, playing an average of 21:35 per game. He led all Oilers in hits with 181 and blocked shots with 132.
Petry is one of six defencemen chosen thus far to represent the U.S.
- RAW | Craig MacTavish Press Conference
- ANALYSIS | Tom Gazzola & Chris Wescott Speak Following Press Conference
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spoke to the media at length on Tuesday. He opened with about five or six minutes worth of opening remarks:
"My assessment of the year was, the season started with high expectations. We had, internally, high expectations for our group at the start and right from the start of the year things didn’t go well. We didn’t live up to the expectations we had internally nor the expectations of our fans in terms of our performance level.
"We didn’t function well. With all the change, we struggled mightily early in the year and played catch-up ever since. It was exactly the start we didn’t want and we tried to overcome all year long."
MacTavish reiterated that the team's goal is not to simply build a playoff team, but one that is able to regularly challenge for championships.
"We’re building a team that’s going to be capable of winning a Stanley Cup. That’s what we’re doing," the GM continued. "I think I’ve got a pretty good idea on the pulse of our fans and what our fans want. It’s been a painful process for them as well as us. Every decision I make starts with that first question, that’s the vision for our group."
MacTavish talked further about the type of player he wants to add to the organization -- and the type of players he has added over his 12-month tenure as general manager.
"We want character. When I took the job over, my mandate was to bring in leadership. We want hard working people, we want competitive people. The strategy is really a simple one. The sophistication is in the execution of that strategy," he said. "I want players on our bench, when that puck goes in our net to feel as bad as the coach."
As he has done throughout the season, even in trying times, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish emphatically got behind his head coach on Tuesday.
"I’m more confident in my decision to hire Dallas Eakins than the day I hired him. I’m more convinced that this is the right coach to lead us into much more successful times. Time will prove, in my mind, that this coach was a very good hire for our organization. I really feel like he’s the guy to add the culture element that are necessary to build the quality team that we’re trying to build."
MacTavish felt that Eakins handled what was a season with a lot of adversity extremely well.
"The thing I like about Dallas is he’s relentless. In spite of the ups and downs, the messaging has all stayed the same," he said. "It’s quite clear to me in watching the development of our group over the last 30 games or so that the players are buying into the leadership of the head coach."
The GM was also asked about the assistant coaches, which he noted are the hires of Eakins and that it is the bench boss's call on whether they come back next season.
"I will sit down with Dallas at the end of the year, after a week or so, to let emotions subside for a bit. My sense is that we have the right people. We have the right coaches in place and it’s my responsibility to support those coaches in any way I can."
MacTavish did say that he felt the assistant coaches have a lot to offer.
"The head coach should decide what his staff is. It’s important that he has the absolute right mixes of coaches for him. We explored other coaches, we brought in Keith Acton as an associate coach last year," he began.
"Kelly Buchberger has a lot of great traits in my mind and he adds to this hockey club. But ultimately, it’s the head coach's decision," MacTavish also praised Steve Smith, adding "I really feel like this staff started to function well together at the end of the year."
One thing Oilers GM Craig MacTavish stressed in his end-of-season press conference was that if he adds a defenceman, he wants it to be of the high-end variety.
"I want to add a very high-end defenceman. To me, I don't want be adding anything in the middle. If I can get something that can move the dial on the back end of our team (I'll do it)," MacTavish began, adding that the move has to make sense for him to do it.
"If we get something that makes sense, we’ll make that change. I’ve got some specific personnel pieces and objectives in mind. I won’t be adding anything middle of the road to this defence core."
Last season, the team added a handful of depth defencemen such as Anton Belov, Denis Grebeshkov, Philip Larsen and others but MacTavish now feels that the young blueliners are ready to step in, hence the need for someone at the upper end of the spectrum.
"Everybody had a pretty good idea of Oscar Klefbom’s ability at the end of this year. He was outstanding, as was Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, Jeff Petry — for some of the criticism he took at times, had a career year."
MacTavish added that Darnell Nurse is also performing well right now in Oklahoma City and isn't too far off.
"There’s a lot of optimism internally. If we have to go young, we go young."
One big offseason priority for the team is to add some secondary scoring for the club. MacTavish talked about going either the signing route or trading route to make that happen.
"That’s an area we’ve identified that we’d like to improve in. We’ll be trying to do all those things to try and get a more productive second line," MacT began. "If Hall, Eberle, RNH are going to continue to play together we need a more productive second line. We’d (also) like to get more secondary scoring out of the third line."
The GM was confident that he could bring in free agents if it came to that.
"I haven’t lost the passion for selling our situation. I was never great in sales but when you’re passionate about something and believe in something, you can sell it," he said. "It has a lot to do with resources. Outside of the city of Edmonton, there’s a lot of optimism out there."
He added that the types of players that he wants to acquire are those which enjoy and thrive in playing in a passionate hockey market like Edmonton.
"Players that we’d like to acquire will find that extremely fulfilling and rewarding professionally."
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish will be speaking to the media at 11:00 a.m. MDT.
Click here to listen live via 630 CHED's website.
You can also listen to the press conference live directly in the Oilers Mobile App by clicking on the "Radio" tab in the top left or by going to the menu and choosing "LIVE RADIO".