Mike Halford

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26: Peter Chiarelli of the Edmonton Oilers attends the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Oilers part ways with Howson, Dellow as front office shakeup continues

Edmonton’s hockey operations overhaul continued on Tuesday, as the club made a flurry of changes under the Peter Chiarelli regime.

The most noteworthy, and one we passed along yesterday, was the hiring of Keith Gretzky as Chiarelli’s assistant GM. Gretzky, 49, had spent the past five years with the Boston Bruins — which was his connection to Chiarelli — and most recently served as the club’s director of amateur scouting.

And the Oilers weren’t done there.

— The guy that held Gretzky’s new post, Bill Scott, has been re-assigned from AGM to “Director of Salary Cap Management and Assistant to the President of Hockey Operations.” His business card must be the size of a billboard.

— Kelly Buchberger, who was working in player development, will now serve as the group’s VP. Duane Sutter has been promoted to VP of player personnel, while Frank Jay and P.J. Fenton were hired as amateur scouts.

— In a pair of exits that will undoubtedly get some coverage, the Oilers have parted ways with Scott Howson (replaced by Sutter) and analytics consultant Tyler Dellow.

Howson, oft-maligned during his six season as GM in Columbus, returned to the Oilers in 2013 — the same organization that employed him as an assistant GM From 2002-07.

He started as a scout, worked his way up to senior VP of hockey ops but was demoted following Chiarelli’s hire last summer.

Dellow was hired two years ago. Though it wasn’t the first addition in the NHL’s “analytics movement,” it was arguably the most high-profile.

A Toronto-based lawyer turned amateur statistician, Dellow was one of the Oilers’ fiercest critics prior to joining the club. He reportedly had overtures from other teams before Edmonton offered him a contract.

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    Evander Kane sued by woman claiming he injured her

    HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 20:  NHL player Evander Kane attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "We Are Your Friends" at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 20, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) A 21-year-old Buffalo woman has sued Sabres forward Evander Kane, saying he seriously injured her in the hotel room where he lives.

    Documents filed July 1 in Erie County State Supreme on behalf of Rachel Kuechle Court say Kane met her in a bar, invited her to what he said was a party and then attacked her, causing cuts and bleeding that required multiple surgeries.

    Kane had been cleared in March of any criminal charges after authorities investigated the Dec. 27 encounter initially described as a possible sexual assault.

    His lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday but has denied any wrongdoing by his client.

    Kane pleaded not guilty Monday to non-criminal harassment, disorderly conduct and trespass stemming from an unrelated incident at a bar in June.

    Related: Kane pleads not guilty to charges in Buffalo bar incident

    Edmonton will have a captain by opening night, says McLellan

    Todd McLellan
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    After going without a captain last season, the Oilers will have someone wearing the “C” in 2016-17.

    “Will we have a captain? Yeah, we will,” head coach Todd McLellan said on Wednesday, per the Oilers’ website. “We will have a captain.”

    The last player to serve as captain in Edmonton was Andrew Ference, who inherited the position from Shawn Horcoff in ’13 and held it for two seasons.

    Last year, the veteran blueliner appeared in just six games, and underwent season-ending hip surgery. He was in no position to serve in the club’s leadership group and, ergo, the Oilers opted to play without a captain.

    So… who will be next to wear the “C?”

    Most are thinking about Connor McDavid. Though he’s not publicly campaigning for the role, the 19-year-old did say it would “be one of the greatest honors. ” Though he missed significant time to injury last year, McDavid still enthralled Oilers fans with a rookie campaign that saw him rack up 48 points in 45 games, finishing as a Calder Trophy finalist.

    Of course, there will be others in the mix.

    Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Matt Hendricks have all served as alternates in Edmonton, and Hendricks captained the U.S. at this year’s world championships. There’s definitely some leadership to choose from, and it’s worth noting Eberle is one of the most vested veterans in Edmonton, having appeared in 425 games over the last six seasons.

    Oilers’ Yakimov going back to KHL — this time, on loan

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Bogdan Yakimov #39 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on prior to the start of the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on October 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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    Bogdan Yakimov is on his way back to Russia.

    On Wednesday, the Oilers announced they’ve loaned Yakimov to KHL club Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, the same team he joined after leaving AHL Bakersfield last season.

    The 83rd overall pick in 2013, Yakimov has appeared in one game for the Oilers since getting drafted. He’s spent almost all of his time in North America in the AHL, and didn’t impress the club last year when he bolted the farm team to return to his native land.

    “He made a career decision to return to Russia and I’m not sure how he played or how many games he played,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said at the time, per the Edmonton Sun (McLellan was then informed Yakimov was away for 11 games).

    “Well, that’s 11 games he didn’t spend with us. During his time away, there were a number of players recalled. I would have preferred to see him in an Oilers uniform and he was real close. Now he has to reset his Oiler clock and get playing again.”

    All told, Yakimov played in 36 games with the Condors last season, scoring five goals and 15 points.

    At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, Yakimov has impressive size and is still only 21 years old, so he’s got some value. But it remains to be seen whether he wants to try and push for an NHL career, or opt to stay in the KHL.

     

    Max is back: Lapierre to attend Rangers camp on PTO

    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 01: Maxim Lapierre #40 talks with Craig Adams #27 of the Pittsburgh Penguins before a face-off during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Consol Energy Center on April 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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    After a year abroad, Maxim Lapierre is getting a shot to rejoin the NHL.

    Per TVA, Lapierre has agreed to join the Rangers in training camp on a professional tryout. The news comes after he split last season between Swiss League outfit Lugano and Swedish League side Modo, with midseason rumblings there were NHL teams interested in bringing him back.

    In New York, Lapierre will be reunited with Alain Vigneault, his former head coach in Vancouver. Vigneault has brought in a few former Canucks during his time with the Rangers, including Tanner Glass, Nicklas Jensen and Michael Grabner.

    Lapierre, 31, last played in the NHL during the ’14-15 campaign, splitting time between Pittsburgh and St. Louis. A known agitator, he finished the year with 11 points in 80 games, and appeared in all five games of the Pens’ opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

    Prior to his time in Pittsburgh and St. Louis, “Yappy Lappy” played in Montreal, Anaheim and Vancouver. His best season came in 2008-09, when he scored a career-high 15 goals and 28 points, earning a handful of Selke votes.