NHL Scouting Combine: 82 players in the sights of the Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers are just wrapping up a busy week at this year’s NHL Scouting Combine, a week that will have seen them interview nearly more than 80 players when all is said and done.

630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer put out the final number and shed some light in the process on Oilers Now on Thursday:

The interviews are about 20 minutes long. The Oilers are going to try and interview 82 players – originally they had 84 scheduled – and… they are going to do, I mean do the math, 20 minutes per day, that’s three guys an hour, over the course of an eight hour day. At the most that’s 24, somewhere between 16 and 24 guys per day. They interview Monday to Thursday and maybe a few on Friday and then the testing takes place on Saturday.

In an interview with Jack Michaels on the Oilers’ official website (posted above), Stu MacGregor downplayed the significance of the interviews, saying that in most cases the area scout will already have talked to the players in question and finished by saying that the interview process pales in comparison to what the scouts have seen over the year:

It doesn’t change anything of your impression of the player. It gives you an idea of what the person is all about. It can’t change anything significantly because they have to perform on the ice and that’s where your key evaluation has to come from. This is a confirmation of all those things and it just gives you a little bit better idea and a little bit better feel of what kind of guy they are.

Gazdic and Engelland


Stauffer also touched on that Deryk Engelland rumour we discussed here yesterday, and added an interesting perspective on a second reason the Oilers might be interested in the player: the possible early-season absence of Luke Gazdic.

“He’s a right shot,” said Stauffer, which is an important distinction as the Oilers could use one for their third pair. “And he’s at least an option as a fourth line winger as well. Let’s not forget Gazdic – and I assume that the Oilers will sign Gazdic to a two-year contract extension – but Gazdic is coming off a shoulder issue and may not be ready for day one. Engelland could give them some toughness.”

Stauffer, who guessed that Engelland would get a deal somewhere in the range of $0.8 – $1.2 million per season, also implied that he’d rather see the player in the No. 7 role than in the regular rotation if the Oilers pursued him:

“I hope the money isn’t stupid on him because frankly to me he’s been challenged to prove that he can be a regular defenceman in the NHL,” he said. “I do like his versatility and the fact that he can play some forward, he is legitimately tough, but we’re seeing less and less of that being important in the game.”

The versatility factor is a good point, though Engelland is limited in that he’d likely be playing the same role at forward that Gazdic does – fourth-line enforcer – and once Gazdic returns (all indications being that the Oilers will re-sign him) it’s all but impossible to imagine Dallas Eakins regularly using a line with Gazdic on one wing and Engelland on the other. It’s also not clear that enforcer is such an important position that the Oilers need to have a backup NHL guy in case their regular one goes down; it seems like the minor-league team would be the best place to stash that player.

At the right price (I’d suggest $800,000 qualifies), Engelland wouldn’t be a terrible option as the Oilers’ No. 7 defenceman and having a guy who can fill in on the wing some nights isn’t a bad thing, either. As long as he’s not slated for a top-six role it’s hard to get too worked up one way or the other. 

  • vetinari

    Does it matter what hand of a shot Engelland is if he only scores between 0 and 6 goals per season? He also averages 1.26 PM’s and .19 points per game at the NHL level. Can’t we aim a little higher than that for a 6/7 option at defence?

  • BlazingSaitls

    Ok so if I am interpreting this right he is just like philip larsen except instead of possibly putting up a point or two he will be able to throw a punch or two?

    • The Oilers are going to make it clear this summer what they value.

      We’ve seen signs, for good and bad, last year. But if MacT looks at this team and decides fists and grit are the solution to what ails it, well… it’ll be ugly.

      • BLAKPOO

        I used an improper tense there that made it sound like I was being critical of EDM’s management group for Gazdic/Engelland – I didn’t mean to criticize them for those two things, because they haven’t done them yet, and may not at all.

        I disagreed with both the trade for Fraser and the attempted signing of Clarkson. but that doesn’t mean EDM will try to sign Gazdic, a guy who was either a marginal NHLer last year or an AHLer who happened to be playing in the NHL, to a 2 year deal coming off shoulder surgery. Or Engelland as a 6/7D.

    • Tikkanese

      There’s nothing wrong with signing Gazdic. He’s not only one of the best in the league at the fisticuffs, he is young, can skate quite well, will be signed for near or at league minimum and will improve on his game.

      Clarkson, though way overpaid is exactly the type of player the Oilers need in their top 9. Those types of players don’t come cheap in trades and rarely get traded. Hence his massive overpayment as an UFA. One injury plagued and bad season does not make Clarkson a bad player. The contract would be a bit of a handcuff down the road though.

      There are better options out there than Fraser and Engelland though. I’ll give you that.

  • Darth Oiler

    NO your stats from yesterday are still right Engelland is a bad choice at defense simpson, musil, gernat or davidson are all better players and as for forward acton, pitlik, hamilton,ewanyk are better options this would be a waste of a contract spot we only get 50

  • Maybe MacT is hoping the work ethic of these guys that came through the AHL will rub off on the kids. If you thought you were working hard before, well, look at this guy.

    Mike Weaver is a right shot D. He’s a smaller framed guy but he does a lot of the tough work. I thought he did a good job as a 5/6 guy for the Montreal run.


    I wouldn’t mind signing Gazdic, he’s a great team guy and one of the premier fighters in the league. Regardless of your opinion of fighting in sports, it’s a fact of life in the NHL and I’d rather have a guy that wins all the time over a guy that loses.

    Engelland though. That’s a tough one to swallow. Gazdic’s still young, and has a chance to gain some confidence with the puck and become a serviceable player. Engelland’s 32. He has an injury and suspension history. His Corsi is terrible.


  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    If Larrsen were available from the NJ Devils would you trade for him?

    I think that MacT is going size up over the summer. He will bring in a couple moreMatt Hendricks types to fill out our bottom six.

    Adding Gazdic last year was imo a step to stopping the bs that our core5 were getting from other teams opponents. MH brought energy,truculence and personality to this lineup. Great add on. Need a body or three ho will bring the same thing this summer.

    If its me Steve Pinizotto gets a legit shot at 3rd/4th line minutes with MH and Boyd Gordon. he is a bridge player and really that’s all we need. He gets a 1 year contract. Performs. So be it.

    Arcobello gets the 4th line center position. No questions asked.You use him as needed up and down the lineup. The players in OKC need to know that performance equals promotion.No matter the size of the man.

  • One point on Luke Gazdic: he’s often mentioned as being a young player who will improve on his game. I’m not sure that’s true.

    Gazdic turns 25 in July, the age at which NHL forwards generally peak. It’s true that each individual has his own career curve, but the odds are pretty decent that this is what he is. I wouldn’t be looking for a ton of improvement from him going forward.

    Or putting it another way: Sam Gagner’s a month younger than Gazdic; you could use the same logic to argue the Oilers should keep him as he’s still developing.

    • Tikkanese

      Yes but unlike Gagner, he has had only one year of exposure to NHL calibre coaching(debateable), fitness, diet, skating etc help on a daily basis. It’s all up to him of course, but given his skating ability and willingness to do anything, I am hopeful there is more of a player in there.


      Gagner’s also been an NHL for a number of years, and has received every opportunity a high first round pick usually gets.

      Gazdic is new to the NHL game, and although the ages may be the same, the NHL experience is what tells. Personally, I think that once Gazdic becomes a little more comfortable with the game at this level, and maybe has some success around the net, his confidence level will increase and he’ll contribute more.

      I doubt he ever works his way onto a top line, but I see him becoming a player we could be comfortable with on the 3rd or 4th.

  • What? No parsing of Stauffer’s quote noting that the Oilers planned to interview 82 players and not 84?
    Who are those two players they’re not interviewing? Why don’t they want to talk to them? Why did they have 84 scheduled, only to cut it down to 82? Has Six-Rings meddled with the scouting department?
    Your silence is deafening. It disappoints me.

    • BlazingSaitls

      I admit, the greasy Jack Micheals is rather off-puting when you watch him. Here is the thing though. I am from BC. Because Rodgers are a bunch of A*S F*C*s and regionally lock virtually every game I have to listen to Oilers Radio.

      I enjoy the radio play by play. Its well executed and does a great job relaying the vibe in the Arena.

      I tolerate the on-camera stuff in lieu of his radio personality.