Random Thoughts: The Jeff Jackson Era, Ryan McLeod contract reaction, and Jack Campbell

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
10 months ago
It wouldn’t be a Saturday morning without a few Random Thoughts from your ol’ pal, Baggedmilk, would it? Of course not. This time around, I’m diving into the Jeff Jackson era, Ryan McLeod contract reaction, Jack Campbell’s summer, and a whole lot more.


On Thursday morning, the Oilers announced that Jeff Jackson would be stepping into the role of CEO of Hockey Operations, essentially putting himself second from the top behind only Daryl Katz himself. While some folks rolled their eyes at the hire — it is generally odd to see a team bring on their best player’s agent in an executive role — I actually love what this means for the Oilers as a whole. Not only do I think a power agent would have all the connections you’d want, but he’s also been working with Connor McDavid since he was a teenager. When asked about Jackson, McDavid offered his support for the move:
“Jeff and I have had a long, fruitful relationship. I have witnessed his care, relentlessness & obvious knowledge of the game & industry firsthand. I look forward to working with Jeff in his new role & am excited about what this means for the future of the Oilers.”
From where I’m blogging, I couldn’t be more pumped with this decision by Katz and the Oilers because it not only sets the organization up with some fresh blood at the top but also brings in one of Connor McDavid’s confidants into the fold as well. I mean, if you’re one of those people who are nervous about whether or not he’ll re-sign in Edmonton when this contract wraps, bringing in his agent as the GM’s boss has to be good news, right? Frankly, if it was up to me, I’d be giving important jobs to all of Connor’s friends and family to make the Oilers feel as close to home for him as humanly possible. If it would legitimately make a difference in whether he stays or not, I’d be making Cam McDavid the CFO and I’d give Lauren Kyle a contract to re-design the whole arena. Too much? I don’t think so.


I have to say that I was legitimately surprised to see a small section of Oilers fans who were bothered by the two-year deal Ryan McLeod signed that will see him get paid $2.1 million/season. Even though I probably should have expected some folks to get annoyed no matter what his contract looked like, my first thought was that it was a pretty reasonable deal for both sides given some of the contracts signed by his peers. If I’m being honest, I was expecting him to land around $2.5-2.6 million after the Philipp Kurashev arbitration award came in, so to see him get a second year added in at $2.1 million is a win in my books. Maybe it’s because I’m pretty bullish on McLeod but I think there is still plenty of room to progress left for him, and I also believe that he could be a 15-20 goal guy on this team with more at-bats and a little bit of luck.


As I sat down to write my article this morning, I started thinking about Jack Campbell and how we haven’t heard a single word about the Oilers’ netminder since the 2022-23 season ended. Not a peep. There haven’t been any pictures, quotes, signs of life, or updates on what he’s been up to this summer, and I find that to be both interesting and odd at the same time. If you Google the guy, all you get are stories from around the Internet that talk about a) buying him out or b) why the Oilers won’t buy him out. So what has Soup been up to all summer? In my heart of hearts, I hope he’s done literally nothing but work out and focus on bettering himself for next season. I’m talking about locking himself in a cabin in the woods with nothing but weights and focus toys to play with. Okay, so maybe that’s a little bit much but it is true to say that one of the most important things that could happen to this team would be a bounce-back campaign from the guy after he finished the first year of his five-year contract with a 3.41 GAA and a .888 save% in 36 appearances. Dare to dream? I’m a dreamer.


Last night, I was at Rogers Place for the Avenged Sevenfold concert and I just wanted to take a quick minute to talk about what an incredible show they put on. When the Oilers season ended, I decided that I wanted to get as much done around the city as I possibly could this summer, and getting back to watching live music was right at the top of the list. And with blink-182 and Volbeat already checked off my summer concert list, I was extremely excited to see Avenged Sevenfold last night and they did not disappoint. Not only was A7X’s two-hour performance fantastic, but seeing Alexisonfire for the first time was also a blast and so too was the people watching.


Just because the Oilers aren’t giving us anything to talk about doesn’t mean I don’t still have plenty of useless information to talk about. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you get podcasts. New episodes come out every Wednesday.

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