News and Notes: Players looking at Edmonton Oilers different, pushed back timeline for Mike Smith and Duncan Keith, and a reunion in St. Louis
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing1 year ago
A few news and notes from the last day or two…
Edmonton Oilers franchise players Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl wrapped up all-time playoff performances this year by scoring 33 and 32 points, respectively.
The performances caught the eye of many around the league, and apparently, it’s changing the way some players are looking at joining the Oilers, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Friday.
One player said last week that the Leon Draisaitl/Connor McDavid playoff explosions changed the way people see the organization. Edmonton’s higher on the list of places people think you can win.
It shouldn’t come as a major surprise. The Oilers were able to get the belle of a ball of the 2021 free-agent class, Zach Hyman, to essentially sign a deal before speaking with other teams last year. Add in some other pieces like Cody Ceci, Evander Kane and even Tyson Barrie choosing to re-sign in Edmonton, it’s clear there’s a shift in the way the market perceives the Oilers.
An extended deadline for Keith and Smith
The Oilers have reportedly extended deadlines for Mike Smith and Duncan Keith in terms of the organization’s request for clairty on their 2022-23 playing status’, The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman reported Friday.
In my eyes, this means there could still be lots of soul searching to do for these two players. If they knew for sure they were going to come back next season, don’t you think they would’ve had answers now? The Oilers initially asked for their decisions by July 1, a date that has come and gone.
Friedman noted in his 32 Thoughts blog that Smith is likely heading to LTIR, as has been already reported, and that the team doesn’t “have clarity on Duncan Keith, but could go either way.”
Goes without saying, but Keith retiring and his $5.5-m coming off the books would be huge for the Oilers heading into next season.
The Oilers in St. Louis
The St. Louis Blues hired Craig MacTavish on Friday, naming him an assistant coach. It’s his first NHL gig since he worked as the Oilers’ senior vice-president of hockey ops last in 2018-19. He spent some time in the KHL and Swiss A league since then, and recently worked as an analytst.
He’s not the only ex-Oiler in St. Louis, either. Peter Chiarelli is in his third year in the organization having started as a senior advisor in 2019-20 and 2020-21, before taking over as vice-president of hockey operations. He served as the Oilers general manager and president of hockey operations between 2015-16 and 2018-19.
Ken Hitchcock, meanwhile, rejoined the Blues this past year as a team consultant. He’s in his second stint with the team having served as head coach between 2011-12 and 2016-17.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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