In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Oilers captain Connor McDavid popped in and surprised prospect Cole Perfetti after Perfetti won the Scholastic Player of the Year Award. Meanwhile, head coach Dave Tippett talks about preparing for NHL training camp, the Oilers could draft a defenseman, and Ducks’ GM Bob Murray has some critical words for the Oilers and their former coach.
McDavid Congratulates Perfetti, Offers Some Advice
NHL draft-eligible prospect Cole Perfetti joined Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet to talk about winning the Scholastic Player of the Year award. While ranked No. 5 by the NHL for players in the 2020 draft, and likely not available to the Oilers, McDavid still took the time to pop in and discuss Perfetti’s achievements.
McDavid talked about how difficult it can be to balance becoming a top prospect and getting excellent grades. He noted Perfetti should be proud. When asked how he handles the pressure of constantly being in the spotlight, McDavid said he didn’t have a magic formula or recipe, but told Perfetti to lean on friends and family as much as possible.
Perfetti did say it would be awesome to be drafted by the Oilers and wished them the best of luck in the playoffs.
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Tippett Talks Training Camp
Now that the Oilers know their fate for the play-in round and the NHL has confirmed the number of games in each series, the next step for the Oilers, should Phase 2 and Phase 3 get underway, is training camp. Head coach Dave Tippett hopped on a Zoom call to talk about it.
“Preparation is going to be key, because you’re going to go from a pause to 100/mph in a hurry. There are going to be guys who have an extra jump in their step, and there might be some guys where the pause has taken a toll on their bodies, we’ll monitor that.”
Tippett noted that he likes the combination of having veterans who know how to get prepared, but also having young legs that might not need as much time to get up to speed. He’s preparing to use training camp more as an evaluation tool than a typical camp. He explained:
Training camp will be seeing if there is a player or two who jump up, and maybe somebody falls behind, hasn’t come in as good of shape as they should be after the pause.”
What he does know is that they’ll be no easing players in. “You’ll have to be ready from the first drop of the puck, and we hope we’ll be ready to do that.”
The other challenge is that returning from the U.S., he won’t be allowed on the ice with the players in Phase 2 and will likely have to quarantine for 14 days, something he’s prepared to do and thinks he can work around.
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Could Oilers Draft a Defenseman?
Despite a very stocked cupboard of defensive prospects in the Oilers system and some blueliners really taking the next developmental step and contributing to the big club this season, Allan Mitchell of The Athletic suggests the Oilers might actually draft a defenseman in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
If Ken Holland, Tyler Wright and Oilers scouts can identify another Oscar Klefbom, a complete player useful in all areas, would they pick him in the first round?
I think they would.
In 2020’s draft, there are some strong candidates. It would take some luck, but here are the players who might tempt the Oilers to take a defenceman in the first round again.source – ‘Lowetide: Could the Oilers draft a defenceman in the first round?’ Allan Mitchell- The Athletic – 06/04/2020
Mitchell names Braden Schneider, Kaiden Guhle, and William Wallinder as prospects the Oilers might identify as strong candidates.
Ducks’ GM Critical of Oilers and Former Coach?
In an interesting story coming out of Anaheim, GM Bob Murray spoke on a conference call with media and wasn’t terribly flattering of his coach Dallas Eakins. Eakins used to coach the Oilers and while critiquing his current bench boss, kind of threw the Oilers organization (or at least some of their former players) under the bus.
When asked about his thoughts on Eakins’ coaching results this past season, Murray said:
“I thought he was very organized and well prepared. I thought the communication was good early. It got off track a little bit. As I’ve said before, he had to get rid of some of the things that came from Edmonton. I think those are gone now. He was very hard on some young people in Edmonton and it kind of backfired on him. I’m not saying it’s all his fault, by the way.
It’s not clear if Murray was taking aim at Eakins for being afraid to get on his players or being critical of the Oilers organization. During his time in Edmonton, Eakins was criticized for focusing on the wrong things and having spats with players like Taylor Hall. While he didn’t elaborate about what affect the Eakins’ time in Edmonton did to his coaching abilities, Elliotte Friedman suggested Murray might come to regret making comments about another team.
That said, he was critical of his own players too. He said under Eakins, at points this season, the Ducks’ players would “get a way with murder.” He wasn’t going to let that happen again next season.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”