Edmonton Oilers ’15-16 Outlook

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With Connor McDavid in the fold there’s a renewed sense of optimism in Edmonton, and rightfully so. The 18-year-old is the best player to come out of the NHL Draft since Sidney Crosby did in 2005.

McDavid finished last season with 44 goals and 120 points while appearing 47 games with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters. He added 21 goals and 49 points in 20 playoff games. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound center won both the OHL and CHL player of the year.

Oilers’ GM Peter Chiarelli knows there’ll bumps in the road for his star forward as he adjusts to the NHL game.

“He does have some challenges that he’ll have to meet as any good, young, elite prospect will have,” said Chiarelli. “It’s a strong game, strong players and they lean on you. He’s smart, he’ll figure that out, but he’s going to have some learning curves.”

Front office shakeup

Former Hockey Canada boss Bob Nicholson is now in charge, and has left his mark on the organization in the few months since taking over as the Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group.

Chiarelli along with head coach Todd McLellan represent a new era in Edmonton. Nicholson has since re-assigned Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe.

Joining McLellan behind the bench are three new assistant coaches in Jay Woodcroft, Jim Johnson and Ian Herbers.

As Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur said in April, “They’re not the same old Oilers, and that’s a start.”

What to expect

Despite addressing issues in goal (Cam Talbot) and making additions to the blue line (Griffin Reinhart, Eric Gryba and Andrej Sekera), the Edmonton Oilers chances of ending their nine-year playoff drought are slim at best.

Given the Oilers play in the Pacific Division with the likes of the Anaheim Ducks, L.A. Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, making the playoffs is this season is unrealistic.

The Oilers have not reached the 30 win mark in a season since 2011-12 (32) and should see an improvement on their 24-44-14 record from last season.

Related: Oilers’ biggest question: What about the blue line?

Oilers fill out coaching staff, hire Woodcroft and Johnson

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The Edmonton Oilers have filled out Todd McLellan’s coaching staff. The club announced the hiring of Jay Woodcroft and Jim Johnson on Thursday.

Both Woodcroft and Johnston were assistants with McLellan in San Jose.

Prior to his stint with the Sharks, Woodcroft was an assistant in Detroit for three seasons and was a part of the Red Wings’ coaching staff for the club’s Stanley Cup win in 2008.

In addition to his time in San Jose, Johnson also spent time as an assistant coach with the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning. The 52-year-old served as the interim head coach of the Arizona Coyotes during the 1999-00 season.

Related: Oil change continued: Edmonton fires top scouts

Report: Pisani interested in job with Oilers

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With the Edmonton Oilers currently searching for assistant coaches, former NHLer Fernando Pisani has voiced his interest in joining the club according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.

Edmonton fired assistant coaches Keith Acton and Craig Ramsay last week.

It was believed Todd Nelson would be considered for a role on Todd McLellan’s staff; however, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been granted permission to interview Nelson for their vacancy with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Jay Woodcroft, who was with McLellan in San Jose, is expected to join the Oilers, but there could still be room for Pisani, if the club is interested.

Pisani served as an assistant coach with the University of Alberta Golden Bears men’s hockey team during the 2014-15 season.

The 38-year-old spent parts of seven seasons with the Oilers during his playing days. Pisani played a significant role in the Oilers reaching the 2006 Stanley Cup Final scoring 14 goals and 18 points in 24 playoff games.

Oilers relieve Keith Acton and Craig Ramsay

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The Edmonton Oilers front office overhaul continued on Thursday.

The club announced it has relieved Associate Coach Keith Acton and Assistant Coach Craig Ramsay of their duties. The pair were hired by former head coach Dallas Eakins who was fired in December.

Today’s moves could pave the way for Todd Nelson to return to the club.

Nelson was given permission to explore other opportunities following the hiring of Todd McLellan.

However, hockey insider Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday that Nelson has had discussions with the Oilers about joining McLellan’s staff.

Jay Woodcroft, who was an assistant with McLellan in San Jose, is also expected to join the Oilers’ staff.