Hockey News: Oilers Fire 4 Scouts; Flames Sign Backlund

When the Edmonton Oilers ventured away from former players and coaches to hire new general manager Peter Chiarelli, it seemed that a new culture was already being breathed into the organization.

The Jeff Tambellinis and Craig MacTavishes of the northern Canadian city seem to be watching their power dissipate as new blood has taken control. With former San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan behind the bench, the Oilers are poised for a new look in 2015-16.

That new look will come as soon as next weekend, as TSN analyst Bob McKenzie reported that four Edmonton scouts, including head amateur scout Stu MacGregor and head pro scout Morey Gare, have been relieved of their duties.

It’s quite a peculiar move given the timing. Typically, teams will want their staff fully in place before the draft (this mindset expands to head coaches, as well). The fact that Chiarelli and the powers that be would agree to fire four scouts ahead of what is expected to be one of the deepest drafts proves that the culture in Edmonton has already shifted. If you have proven incompetent in the past, you will not be around for long.

Taylor Hall was Edmonton's first overall pick in 2010. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
Taylor Hall was Edmonton’s first overall pick in 2010. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Are you seeking proof? Since 2005, defenseman Jeff Petry is the only player taken by the Oilers after the first round that has appeared in 200 or more NHL contests. That is staggering ineptitude in drafting and/or player development, considering Chiarelli’s former employers, the Boston Bruins, have two players from the 2006 NHL Draft alone that are above this mark (Milan Lucic, 50th overall; Brad Marchand, 71st overall).

It’s unclear what the Oilers’ intentions are with these moves, but the new regime must have a trick up its sleeve. The last thing a new crew wants to do is head into the draft without a scout team; it’s unlikely this is the last news we will hear before Friday’s first round.

Here’s the rest of the NHL headlines for Monday, June 22:

Edmonton’s firing of the scouts is not surprising. [Edmonton Journal]

Flames re-sign Mikael Backlund to three-year extension. []

John Scott and Scott Hannan will not be re-signed by the Sharks. [Fear The Fin]

Justin Williams and the Kings don’t appear to be close on a contract agreement. [Pro Hockey Talk]

Justin Williams
Justin Williams (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Jakub Voracek won the best Czech skater and had a weird occurrence on stage. [Puck Daddy]

Why hasn’t Vladimir Tarasenko been signed yet? [Today’s Slapshot]

Expect some early deals at the 2015 NHL Draft. [Toronto Sun]