Jordan Eberle

Todd McLellan

New Oilers GM Chiarelli interviews McLellan

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Todd McLellan’s focus right now is on coaching Team Canada in the 2015 World Championships, but he did admit that he’s had an interview with new Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli while they’re both in Prague, per the Edmonton Sun.

In fact, the Sun thinks that interview was Chiarelli’s primary motivation for making the journey to Europe. While he’s there though, he’s also met with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Anton Lander, and Oscar Klefbom.

McLellan, who has a career 311-163-66 record, mutually parted ways with the Sharks after San Jose failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It’s believed that other teams are also interested in his services, including the Buffalo Sabres. At the end of the day though, whether or not he’s teams’ top choice might be dependent on what Mike Babcock decides to do next. The highly regarded Detroit Red Wings coach has the option to become a free agent this summer.

The coaching market might remain at a standstill until Babcock announces what his plans are, but in the meantime McLellan has made his interest in the Oilers clear.

“It’s a team with a rich history and they have some good players there. Now you add in McDavid, Bob (Nicholson) taking over and Peter (Chiarelli) coming in,” McLellan said. “I really do think there were good people there before. What job descriptions they end up in, I’m not sure. But there will be a very strong team and group of people there.

“For any coach to consider all of that, it has to be a positive. It has to be exciting, not just for myself but for anybody. With all those good players there, it will eventually get going the right way. I think some of the changes and the No. 1 draft pick on Connor McDavid’s year make it enticing.”

Related:

Report: Former Lightning coach Boucher has been contacted by NHL teams

PHT Morning Skate: Lightning, Stamkos feel better prepared for Habs

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning
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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.

After being swept in first round of last spring’s playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens, Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning feel they’re better prepared for this year’s rematch.

“We weren’t ready to play at that level. We had a lot of young guys,” Stamkos said per The Associated Press. “We have another year under our belt. Now we have a series win, and a Game 7 win under our belt. Guys get more confidence.” (AP)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $15,000 league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s just $3 to join and first place wins $1,400. Starts tonight at 7:30pm ET. Play Now!

Having won just three bronze medals in the past 20 years at the World Hockey Championship, Ken Campbell writes it’s time for the Americans to pay a little more attention to the international competition. (The Hockey News)

A St. Louis Blues fan won an unfortunate radio contest. Prior to the Blues being eliminated in the first round, a fan had a St. Louis Blues 2015 Stanley Cup champions tattoo paid for by 105.7 the Point. (Bar Down)

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson made good on his bet with Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi following the Canucks first round loss to the Flames. (Yahoo)

With it being Thursday, here’s a little throwback highlight pack. The pack features Stamkos, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Pietrangelo, Jordan Eberle, Travis Hamonic, Martin Jones and Tyler Johnson participating at the 2000 Super Novice Brick Hockey Tournament at Edmonton’s West Edmonton Mall.

So…what do the Oilers do now?

Craig MacTavish.
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The Edmonton Oilers have some major decisions to make.

None of those decisions will involve who they’ll draft first overall in June. After winning today’s lottery, they’ll take Connor McDavid. We’re 99.99999999 percent certain of that.

But things have definitely changed for the team with the longest active playoff drought, now nine seasons long. McDavid is ready to play in the NHL today. By all accounts, he’s ready to be a star, a la Sidney Crosby, who put up 102 points in his rookie season.

As Oilers GM Craig MacTavish put it, winning today’s lottery was “a game-changer” for his club.

Now, for the record, it’s been reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that MacTavish has informed forwards Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov that they will not be traded.

But one has to wonder, is that still the case? Because the Oilers weren’t counting on getting McDavid. They only entered the lottery with an 11.5 percent chance of winning. Chances were, they were going to get a player like Boston College d-man Noah Hanifin or Erie forward Dylan Strome. Two great prospects, sure. But not McDavid.

On top of Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov and (presumably) McDavid, Edmonton also has 19-year-old center Leon Draisaitl, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft.

That’s six top-six forwards, even if Draisaitl isn’t quite there yet.

It’s also three centers. Which begs the question, if MacTavish does hold true to his reported word and keeps Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, and Yakupov, could Draisaitl be an asset the Oilers would consider trading for defensive help?

Maybe, maybe not. But just so you know, here’s what MacTavish said a few days ago:

“Make no mistake, we have the assets to go out and acquire more proven players.”

And then he said this:

“Do I envision a scenario where a proven top one or two defenseman becomes available? Potentially. I think there are going to be some very unhappy teams here in the next couple of weeks. There are going to be teams that are up against a very tight salary cap, and that’s going to create an environment where they potentially could be looking to offload some high-end assets.

“We’d be in a position — because of the developing assets that we have — where we’d be able to acquire them.”

Anyway, it’s only been a few moments since the Oilers learned the good news. They’re going to need some time to think about what they want to do. The draft isn’t until June 26–27 in Sunrise, Florida.  

“We’re going to enjoy this for now,” MacTavish said today after the big win. “It’s a pretty special night for all the Oilers fans. It’s a game-changer for the franchise. I feel great for the players and I feel really good for the fans. We’ll enjoy that for an evening and then figure out how this all works going forward.”

If you’ve got any advice for MacT, please do share it in the comments section.

Seguin, Giroux highlight Team Canada roster for Worlds

Dallas Stars v Philadelphia Flyers
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Canada won’t be lacking for offensive weapons at this year’s World Hockey Championships.

Two of the league’s top-12 scorers — Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and Philly’s Claude Giroux — will wear the red and white in Prague from May 1-17, Hockey Canada announced on Tuesday. Seguin and Giroux were part of the original 19-man roster set for the tournament; Canada can register up to 25 players as teams are eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The rest of the Canadian roster looks like this…

Goalies: Martin Jones, Mike Smith

Defense: Tyson Barrie, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, Jake Muzzin, David Savard

Forwards: Seguin, Giroux, Matt Duchene, Cody Eakin, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan O’Reilly, Jason Spezza, Tyler Toffoli.

Team Canada will be coached by Todd McLellan.

MacT promises ‘very busy summer’ in Edmonton

Craig MacTavish.
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Upon being hired as Edmonton’s GM in 2013, Craig MacTavish called himself a “man of action” prepared to do “bold things” to make the Oilers better.

Two years later… well, at least he’s still on message.

“It’s going to be a very busy summer,” MacTavish said during Monday’s season-ending presser. “We’ve got to make some additions.

“Make no mistake, we have the assets to go out and acquire more proven players.”

Which begs the question — what assets?

Per Sportsnet, MacTavish has informed Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins they won’t be moved. Nail Yakupov was believed to be in that group as well, and today signed a two-year contract extension.

One would assume Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse are off the table. That leaves some less-than-enticing roster pieces available for trade… and the big ticket.

That, of course, is Edmonton’s first-round pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

The lottery goes on Saturday, with the Oilers holding an 11.5 percent chance at the first overall selection and locked into —  at worst — the No. 4 pick. While it might seem crazy to trade that high a selection in an extremely deep draft, do consider what MacTavish said back in November.

“I don’t view another first-round draft choice as what we need. Whether I can get suitable value for that remains to be seen.”

Of course, that was back in November, before Edmonton’s season went in the toilet — the thinking might’ve changed since then. But if it didn’t, MacTavish’s comments today suggest that pick could very well be in play, especially given how he thinks this summer could unfold.

“Do I envision a scenario where a proven top one or two defenseman becomes available? Potentially. I think there are going to be some very unhappy teams here in the next couple of weeks,” he explained. “There are going to be teams that are up against a very tight salary cap, and that’s going to create an environment where they potentially could be looking to offload some high-end assets.

“We’d be in a position — because of the developing assets that we have — where we’d be able to acquire them.”