Jets partner with ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers

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The Winnipeg Jets will have a new East Coast Hockey League affiliate for the 2015-16 season.

The club announced it has partnered with the Tulsa Oilers for next season. The Jets were affiliated with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign last season, but Ontario is now the AHL affiliate of the L.A. Kings.

“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.

The Next One? Oilers take McDavid first overall

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SUNRISE — On Friday night, the Oilers cashed their winning lottery ticket.

Edmonton did the expected to open the 2015 NHL Entry Draft at the BB&T Center, picking OHL Erie wunderkind Connor McDavid with the first overall selection.

In McDavid, Edmonton gets a franchise center that’s routinely drawn comparisons to Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby. McDavid dominated the OHL this season and went on an amazing run during the playoffs, scoring an eye-bulging 21 goals and 49 points in 20 games and put together a highlight reel of goals.

The Oilers won the right to draft McDavid — dubbed a “generational talent” — after winning April’s NHL draft lottery. It marked the fourth time in six years the Oilers earned the right to pick first; previously, they drafted Taylor Hall in 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 and Nail Yakupov in 2012.

A dynamic player with elite-level skill and speed, it’s expected that McDavid will make an immediate impact in Edmonton next season — and the Oilers will need it. The club has struggled mightily over the last 10 years, failing to make the playoffs while struggling through a number of regime changes.

But the McDavid selection caps off what’s been a summer of transformation. There’s a new GM (Peter Chiarelli), a new head coach (Todd McLellan) and new hope for an organization that hasn’t been to the playoffs in an awfully long time.

Click here to read PHT’s McDavid draft profile.

PHT Morning Skate: Lightning put on their version of ‘Blades of Steel’

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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.

Tampa Bay Lightning fans were treated to a Blades of Steel inspired show at Amalie Arena between periods. For those unfamiliar, Blades of Steel is an NES game from an era where its chief competitor was simply titled Ice Hockey. (Puck Daddy)

The Chicago Blackhawks have a perfect playoff record in games where Marian Hossa scores. (Chris Kuc)

Taylor Hall seems very upbeat as he prepares for the 2015-16 campaign. (Edmonton Journal)

Given how young the Lightning are, you would think that they’ll be one of the league’s top teams for years to come and they might be, but it’s not easy to pull off in the salary cap era. (Tampa Bay Times)

Paul Kariya is spending his retirement surfing in California and doesn’t seem interested in trading that in to work as a hockey coach or part of a team’s front office. “My love was for playing. If I could still play, I’d still be playing out there,” Kariya said. (Vancouver Sun)

Mike Amendola is no longer with the Carolina Hurricanes. The former chief financial officer spent 35 years with the organization, making him their longest-tenured front-office employee until his departure. (Washington Times)

Report: Five years, $15M for McLellan in Edmonton

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According to multiple outlets (see here and here and here), Todd McLellan has struck it rich.

McLellan, who on Tuesday was introduced as the new head coach in Edmonton, has reportedly received a five-year deal worth $15 million — a $3M average annual salary that, for a brief time, made him the NHL’s highest-paid coach.

He has since been eclipsed by new Toronto bench boss Mike Babcock, who signed a reported eight-year deal worth $50 million on Wednesday — an AAV of $6.25M but, due to the contract’s front-loaded nature, could possibly reach $8 million in salary in each of Babcock’s first three seasons.

As for McLellan, his deal — though not as long as Babcock’s — still has plenty of term, which will allow him to grow with a young Oilers team that will get even younger next season when Connor McDavid (in all likelihood) makes his NHL debut at age 18. McLellan will also be tasked with further developing a relationship with 23-year-old Taylor Hall and 25-year-old Jordan Eberle, who he coached on Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

Report: Oilers to announce McLellan hire this week

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Edmonton is set to name Todd McLellan as its new head coach this week, according to sources of Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

McLellan, 47, would inherit a team that went 24-44-14 last season — the third-worst record in the league — under Dallas Eakins and Todd Nelson, who took over as an interim bench boss in mid-December (no word yet on what Nelson’s future has in store.)

Despite those ugly numbers, the Edmonton situation has to be appealing for McLellan. He’ll not only get to further work with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle — the trio combined to win gold for Team Canada on Sunday at the World Championships — but will also inherit the No. 1 overall pick at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which the Oilers will use to select OHL Erie phenom and “generational talent” Connor McDavid.

McLellan has spent the last seven seasons in San Jose, making the playoffs six times while recording at least 40 wins every year (and three 50-win campaigns.) A former assistant under Mike Babcock in Detroit, McLellan’s been pegged as the frontrunner for the Edmonton job for a while; in early May, new Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli flew to the Worlds in the Czech Republic to interview him for the head coaching gig and the Edmonton Sun reported both Hall and Eberle had been asking “a lot of questions” of McLellan’s former player, Team Canada d-man Brent Burns, while also praising their experience under the ex-Sharks bench boss.

Assuming the Sportsnet report is accurate and McLellan does get the Oilers gig, the team will also get an assistant coach as well. In speaking with the Sun, McLellan acknowledged he already has a hire in mind: Jay Woodcroft, his longtime right-hand man in San Jose.

“Jay, if I get the opportunity to move on, will be part of my staff. I believe in him that much,” McLellan explained. “I think it’s really important when you find a guy that you can trust and who can keep you organized and prepared and works his butt off.”

Per Sportsnet, the announcement date hasn’t been finalized yet, but McLellan could be introduced as the new head coach as early as Tuesday.