The Oilers signed University of North Dakota standout Drake Caggiula to a two-year entry level contract this weekend, after he spoke and visited with numerous teams.
“Drake is a good prospect,” Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli said on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer Monday. “He’s one of those guys who will play. He’s very smart. He’s got good speed. But the reason why he’ll play, because he’s 5-10, 185 and that is a bit of an obstacle for him, is his hockey sense and grit. When you combine those two ingredients with skill, these guys find a way to play. No accident that I would suspect there were 29 teams after this player.”
The forward put up 51 points in 39 games as a senior and was named the most outstanding player at the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament as UND won a national title.
“We’re happy he chose us,” said Chiarelli.
Although there is excitement with the prospect, Chiarelli says there’s still a learning curve as he enters the professional ranks.
“He’s got to learn the pro game, he’s got to learn to temper his aggression,” said Chiarelli. “You may ask, why we’d get someone to temper their aggression? Well, if he gets aggressive for an undersized guy he’s going to get hurt. He’s been real big in big games. Happy to get him. He’s still got some work to do, but he enjoyed his visit with us, enjoyed our plan we were pitching so we look at him like a free draft choice.”
Caggiula has compared his style of play to the likes of Minnesota’s Zach Parise, Boston’s Brad Marchand and Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher. Chiarelli can see that.
“Smaller guys have a lower centre of gravity than other guys, so if they have the strength to protect the puck then they actually can be quite good at it,” Chiarelli explained. “I would put Drake in that category. That was one of the things we noticed in Drake. There’s a number of players who put up numbers in college, but how he controlled the play by protecting the puck and with speed was something that’s hard to find. I don’t know if he’s as much of a pest as those other two, but he is aggressive, he likes to go after bigger guys, he’s hard on the forecheck, he likes to hit. I haven’t seen that pest in him but you never know what might come out.”
Drake Caggiula, who signed a two-year entry level contract with the Oilers Saturday earned two team awards from the University of North Dakota.
Boeser, Caggiula double winners for team awards https://t.co/WH56X1wgqi— North Dakota MHockey (@UNDmhockey) May 9, 2016
Caggiula was named UND’s most valuable player, earning the Jeff Anderson Scholarship Award. Caggiula scored 25 goals and added 25 assists for 51 points in 39 games as a senior in 2015-16. The forward was instrumental in UND’s national title run. He scored two goals in each of UND’s Frozen Four games and was named the NCAA Frozen Four's Most Outstanding Player.
In addition to the MVP honours, Caggiula took home the team’s Plus/Minus Award. He led the nation with a school record 46-rating.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed forward Patrick Russell to a two-year entry level contract.
Russell, 23, appeared in 41 games this season with the St. Cloud State Huskies in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), posting 41 points (20G, 21A), 14 penalty minutes and a plus 24 rating. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (21) and points (41) in his second season with the Huskies.
Russell received several accolades in his time with St. Cloud State, including being named to the 2015 All-NCHC Academic Team and to the 2015 All-NCHC Rookie Team.
The 6’1”, 205-pound forward has accumulated 66 points (30G, 36A) and 26 penalty minutes in 81 career games with St. Cloud State.
The Seattle Thunderbirds find themselves down 2-0 in their WHL Final series with Brandon following a 3-2 loss Saturday night. Both of the losses for Seattle have come in overtime.
Oilers defensive prospect Ethan Bear tallied what would have been the game-winning goal had Seattle been able to hold on. Bear made it 2-1 for the T-Birds at 10:30 of the third, on the power play.
Brandon got the equalizer from Tyler Coulter at 14:40 of the final frame, sending things to overtime.
In OT, Jayce Hawrluk potted the winner for Brandon to put his team up 2-0 as the series shifts to Seattle. Game 3 is Tuesday.
Bear finished Game 2 -2 with a goal. The 18-year-old defenceman, taken 124th overall by the Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft, has seven goals and 10 assists in 15 post-season games for the Thunderbirds.
The Oilers have landed a highly-regarded NCAA free agent, agreeing to terms with forward Drake Caggiula on a two-year, entry-level contract.
Caggiula played four years at the University of North Dakota, scoring 25 goals and adding 26 assists as a senior this year, finishing second in team scoring behind Vancouver Canucks prospect Brock Boeser.
The talented and speedy 21-year-old is a 5-foot-10, 185-pound Pickering, ON native who helped UND capture the NCAA title last month, scoring two goals in their 5-1 national championship win over Quinnipiac.
He was an assistant captain with the team and was lauded for his leadership, character and competitiveness.
Oilers defensive prospect Ethan Bear recorded an assist in the Seattle Thunderbirds’ 3-2 overtime loss to Brandon in Game 1 of the WHL Final.
Brandon’s Reid Duke scored at 17:36 of the first on the power play to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Seattle scored shorthanded at 8:55 of the second to tie the game at one.
In the third, Ryan Gropp scored a power-play goal, assisted by Keegan Kolesar and Bear to give Seattle their first lead of the night.
Brandon tied things up shortly after with a goal from Nolan Patrick, which sent the game to overtime.
In OT, Tanner Kaspick scored to lift Brandon to victory and give them a 1-0 series lead.
Bear, taken 124th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, has 16 points (6-10-16) in 14 playoff games for the Thunderbirds.
Game 2 takes place Saturday in Brandon.
Just call him Captain America. Oilers winger Matt Hendricks will don the “C” as captain for the 2016 United States Men’s National Team for the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
This is the second year in a row that Hendricks has earned this honour. He captained the Americans to a bronze finish in 2015.
Columbus’ Nick Foligno and Arizona’s Connor Murphy have been named alternate captains for USA. Hendricks is joined by fellow Oilers winger Patrick Maroon as the two Edmonton representatives for Team USA. In total, eight Oilers players are taking part in the 2016 tournament in Russia, and the preliminary round begins Friday, May 6. We will have full coverage of the tournament on edmontonoilers.com.
The NHL announced today that Oilers forward Connor McDavid is a finalist for the 2015-16 Calder Memorial Trophy.
Awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL," McDavid is one of three finalists alongside Chicago Blackhawks Artemi Panarin and Philadelphia Flyers Shayne Gostisbehere.
Though the Oilers centreman missed half of the season due to a shoulder injury that sidelined him for 12 weeks, he finished the season recording 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points in 45 games.
McDavid recorded multiple points in 12 of his 45 outings, highlighted by a five-point (2G, 3A) game on February 11 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. His average of 1.07 points-per-game led all rookies and ranked third in the entire League.
On Friday, Oilers goalie prospect Keven Bouchard stopped 34 of 35 shots in Moncton’s 2-1 win over Royn-Noranda in the QMJHL Semi Final.
The Game 5 win extended the series, with Moncton now trailing the Huskies 3-2. Bouchard’s Wildcats hope to once again stave off elimination this afternoon in Moncton.
Should the Wildcats win, Game 7 is on the road Tuesday evening.
The Edmonton Oilers now hold the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, following Saturday night’s NHL Draft Lottery.
Of the 14 teams to miss the playoffs, the Oilers came into the night owning the second best odds at winning the first-overall pick. They had a 13.5% chance.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had the best odds at 20.0% and they secured the first-overall pick. The top 14 is as follows:
1. Maple Leafs