Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Edmonton Oilers.
For a ninth consecutive season the Edmonton Oilers found themselves on the outside looking in when the playoffs began last spring.
Edmonton’s 24-44-14 record was good for 13th in the Western Conference and 28th overall.
As a result of another poor regular season, the Oilers landed in the NHL Draft lottery and for a fourth time in six years won the first overall selection picking Connor McDavid at the June draft.
Jordan Eberle led the Oilers in scoring with 24 goals and 63 points in 81 games, but finished well off his career-high of 34 goals set during the 2011-12 season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continued to see his goal totals rise setting a new career-high with 24 goals and matched his personal-best 56 points.
Injuries limited Taylor Hall to just 53 games. The 23-year-old scored 14 goals and 24 assists. His 38 points were good for third in Oilers scoring.
Justin Schultz was the top scoring defenseman with six goals goals and 31 points to go along with a minus-17 rating in 81 games.
In goal, Ben Scrivens shouldered the load going 15-26-11 while posting a 3.16 G.A.A. and a .890 save percentage in 57 appearances.
The biggest off-season moves for the Oilers came off the ice as Peter Chiarelli replaced Craig MacTavish as the club’s general manager and hired Todd McLellan to take over as head coach from Todd Nelson.
On the ice, Chiarelli addressed some of the club’s biggest issues trading for goaltender Cam Talbot and defenseman Griffin Reinhart.
Edmonton also added depth trading veteran Boyd Gordon to Arizona for Lauri Korpikoski.
Chiarelli dipped into the free agent pool and inked free agent defenseman Andrej Sekera and center Mark Letestu.
Derek Roy’s agent understands why his client wasn’t re-signed by the Edmonton Oilers, but he “can’t believe” that one of the other 29 NHL teams won’t give the 32-year-old forward a contract.
“When (Oilers GM) Peter Chiarelli looks down the middle, he’s pretty small there with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, (Connor) McDavid’s not that big, Derek’s not that big, especially playing in the West. But I can’t believe nobody in the NHL will sign Derek,” Rob Hooper told the Edmonton Journal.
Roy started last season with Nashville before he was traded to Edmonton in December. In 46 games with the Oilers, he had 11 goals and 11 assists while earning partial credit for Nail Yakupov’s improved production.
“I was waiting for a center for three years,” Yakupov said in March. “It’s the first time I’ve had a really good center and I’m really happy for it.
“It’s easy to play with him. He can move the puck and he’s really smart. All I have to do is try to get open for a shot.”
Though Hooper concedes it’s “been very quiet for Derek,” he believes that some of that lack of interest can be attributed to the “cap issues” facing a number of teams.
The Vancouver Canucks made a somewhat unexpected return to the playoffs last season, putting up 101 points to finish second behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
But there’s a widespread belief that the Canucks will be hard-pressed to repeat that performance in 2015-16. While Vancouver’s roster isn’t significantly different than the one that ended up losing to Calgary in the first round, the competition in the Western Conference hasn’t gotten any easier.
Consider five of the six teams that missed the playoffs last year:
— The Kings obviously have the roster to make the postseason.
— The Sharks are eyeing a “big bounce-back”.
— The Stars should win more, assuming they get halfway decent goaltending.
— The Avalanche can’t be counted out, given what they did in 2013-14.
— Even the Oilers, with Connor McDavid, could make a push.
About the only team that nobody’s expecting much from is Arizona.
The reason there’s pressure on Jim Benning and the Canucks to make the playoffs is because management has resisted the calls from a growing segment of the fan-base for a more aggressive rebuild.
“We want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play,” Benning said in April.
OK, time to vote:
PHT Morning Skate: Crosby, MacKinnon donate 2015 Worlds checks to hometown youth hockey
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon gave their winnings from the 2015 IIHF World Championship to promote youth hockey in their home of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. They were both members of Canada’s gold medal winning team. (NHL.com)
Sun Devil Athletics are teaming up with the Arizona Coyotes to bring college games to Gila River Arena. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Examining Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek’s contracts. (CSN Philly)
Devin Slawson sees Edmonton, Washington, and Columbus as three teams that have the potential to take a big leap forward this season. (The Hockey Writers)
Speaking of the Oilers, here’s a look at what Connor McDavid means to the franchise in the short and long-term. (CBS Sports)
Patrick Sharp sees similarities between the Dallas Stars and what the Chicago Blackhawks were like when they were on the cusp of breaking out. (Dallas Morning News)
“We are pleased to embark on our new partnership with the Tulsa Oilers,” said Jets’ assistant GM Craig Heisinger. “Tulsa is an organization that shares our level of commitment to success and we look forward to working together to provide our players’ opportunities to further develop themselves on and off the ice.”
The Oilers, who have not had an NHL affiliate since partnering with the Colorado Avalanche and Lake Erie Monsters in 2010-11, have a history with Winnipeg. Tulsa served as the Jets’ primary affiliate from 1979-1982.
Jason Christie, who was named the new head coach of the Oilers last Thursday, has strong ties to the Jets organization as well. Christie had two separate stints with the Manitoba Moose during his playing days appearing in 88 games. He was also an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves from 2008-10 under current Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff.
Most recently Christie served was the head coach of the Ontario Reign – the Jets’ ECHL affiliate since 2013-14.
“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with the Jets and the Moose,” said Oilers GM Taylor Hall. “Both teams are first-class organizations that share our commitment to winning and not only is this an exciting day for our fans, but it is also an important day for our players who want to continue their development and succeed at the next level.”
In May the Jets announced its new AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, would play at the MTS Centre beginning next season.