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.
The Oilers are champions once again! Well, sort of — Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall were part of the team that captured the Biosteel Cup, a 4-on-4 tournament held during the pre-training camp gathering of NHLers. (Sportsnet)
The Blue Jackets have inked Paul Bittner — their second-round pick (38th overall) at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft — to a three-year, entry-level contract. (Oregon Live)
Lee Stempniak, still an unrestricted free agent, really wanted to remain a Winnipeg Jet (Sportsnet)
Leafs d-man Stephane Robidas has resumed skating after recovering from a shoulder injury, and getting a screw removed from his previously broken leg. (Toronto Sun)
Good piece here on Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay’s “superstar goalie in waiting.” (Sports Illustrated)
Each summer, there are certain stories that just seem to sprout up.
Players who should probably have NHL contracts must consider tryouts instead. Player X thinks his injury rehab is going just swell. A veteran might be in the best shape of his life.
Oh yeah: Taylor Hall hopes the Edmonton Oilers will be more like [insert actual playoff team from the previous year].
Before entering last season, he was hoping they’d be more like the New York Rangers and/or Montreal Canadiens. The latest model may raise a few eyebrows for those deep into the Battle of Alberta: the 23-year-old hopes that the Oilers can ape the 2014-15 Calgary Flames, as TSN’s Mark Masters reports.
“You see how teams like Calgary last year surprise people,” Hall said. “There’s always teams that surprise and we want to be one of those teams.”
Some might sound the broken record on Hall, but perhaps he should get a pardon because this really has been an exciting off-season for Edmonton, a franchise that might finally be “getting it.”
Hall took to the ice for the first time with Connor McDavid on Monday, and Hall said that “I feel like it’s almost my first year again.”
The Oilers also added a respected defenseman in Andrej Sekera, intriguing goalie Cam Talbot and an enviably bright coach in Todd McLellan.
Of course, it’s still important to remember just how optimistic the winger was a year ago, and how familiar the disappointing results felt in 2014-15.
Will he get burned again next season or is there truly light at the end of the tunnel?
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.