Update: Prized NCAA free agent Caggiula signs two-year, entry-level deal with Oilers

Jared Clinton
Drake Caggiula celebrates with Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers may not have won the draft lottery, but it appears they’ve won the sweepstakes for top NCAA free agent Drake Caggiula.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Friday evening that Caggiula, 21, will be signing with Edmonton after a weeks-long process that saw him visit more than half a dozen teams in determining where he would sign his entry-level deal. Throughout much of Friday, it was reported both the Oilers and Canucks were close to signing the University of North Dakota product, but McKenzie stated that Vancouver was told they wouldn’t land Caggiula shortly before he chose Edmonton.

In signing Caggiula, the Oilers land one of the NCAA’s top scorers from the 2015-16 campaign. Caggiula scored 25 goals and 51 points for North Dakota this past season, and 62 goals and 127 points in 162 career games in the NCAA. He was especially impressive in the Frozen Four tournament this season, though. Caggiula scored six goals and seven points in North Dakota’s four victories, including two goals in the final as UND won its first national title since 2000, and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Expect Maple Leafs to keep No. 1 pick, and still pursue Stamkos

Steven Stamkos  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs winning the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery generated considerable excitement among their long-suffering fans. It’s also sparked speculation over what the Leafs might do with that pick.

It’s assumed the Leafs will retain it and select American center Auston Matthews first overall at next month’s draft. TSN’s Frank Seravalli doesn’t expect the Leafs will shop the pick in hopes of landing a return than can accelerate their rebuilding process. He does anticipate some teams might at least inquire into the possibility.

Throughout this season, some in the media floated the notion of the Arizona Coyotes pursuing the top pick if they didn’t win the draft lottery in order to select local boy Mattews. Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc last month dismissed talk of his club offering up top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in an effort to land that pick.

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Oilers GM Chiarelli says ‘real, legitimate chance’ Edmonton trades fourth-overall pick

Jared Clinton
Peter Chiarelli (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Oilers finishing the 2015-16 campaign with the league’s second-worst record had some believing the NHL’s draft lottery could again fall in Edmonton’s favor. Instead, the Oilers lost out on a top-three pick and will select fourth overall at the June draft, but that might not be the worst thing for the organization.

Not only did Edmonton’s fall to the fourth-overall selection save the league from a major headache — just imagine if the Oilers had secured the first-overall pick for the fifth time in seven seasons — but it could have very well set the table for GM Peter Chiarelli to really set his plan into motion and shape the future of the franchise. And that plan could include the fourth-overall selection changing hands ahead before the draft.

In an interview with Edmonton’s 630 CHED, Chiarelli admitted he’s disappointed the Oilers fell out of the second spot, but added this could open the opportunity to move the pick now that they’ve fallen out of the top three, where it’s likely Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi will be picked.

“I think that there’s a real, legitimate chance to look to move this pick, to improve our team, to get bigger or to get a ‘D’ or to get something else,” Chiarelli told CHED. “There’s also a chance, as I said in my previous comments, that we could move the pick to get a…top-four defenseman.” Read more

Gostisbehere, McDavid, Panarin named Calder Trophy finalists. Who should win?

Connor McDavid (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The 2015-16 season yielded an outstanding and deep rookie class, one of the best in recent memory. Obvious can’t-miss stars like Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the top two picks of the 2015 draft, delivered, but they weren’t alone by any means. We saw an intriguing blend of stars in the making doing what they were supposed to do; late bloomers bursting onto the scene; and a wild-card rookie flourishing after arriving from the KHL.

The rookie crop included a 30-goal scorer, five 20-goal scorers and 12 players with at least 15 goals. Eight rookies topped 40 points. Two played in the All-Star Game. Eight started at least 20 games in net, and three had multiple shutouts.

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Sorry, but the Oilers might win the draft lottery. What happens if they do?

Matt Larkin
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Welcome, everyone. Thanks for coming. Just walking through the door is a courageous first step. There’s coffee and donuts on the table in the corner. When you’re ready, sit with me in the circle.

Everyone join hands. It’s time to discuss the real possibility the Edmonton Oilers win the draft lottery this Saturday and pick first overall for the fifth time in seven years.

Their chances: 13.5 percent. It doesn’t make the Copper and Blue the favorite – that would be the Toronto Maple Leafs at 20 percent – but Edmonton has the second-best odds. The Oil sat third-best a year ago at 11.5 percent and still managed to win the Connor McDavid Ping-Pong Sweepstakes, so we know they have a chance, technically a better one this time around.

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Prospect Need to Know: Quebec’s future finest is Maxime Comtois

Maxime Comtois  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Finland is golden again thanks to the under-18s in North Dakota and all the international usual suspects came through at the tourney. Jesse Puljujarvi was huge, Clayton Keller took home MVP honors and Tyson Jost led the tourney in scoring. European scouts are basically done watching games now and the CHL playoffs are getting to the big stages, so you can feel the draft combine coming on the horizon. With the AHL starting Calder Cup proceedings, there is still a lot of good hockey left, though. So let’s take a trip around the prospect world again, shall we?

 

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Rumor Roundup: In search for defense, Oilers should target Dennis Wideman

Lyle Richardson
Dennis Wideman (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is expected to acquire some much-needed depth for his D-corps this summer. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests Chiarelli should cast his eye south toward his club’s rival in Calgary.

Appearing on Sportsnet 960 last Friday, Friedman wonders if the Flames and blueliner Dennis Wideman might be ready to part ways. He feels Wideman could get an opportunity for a fresh start with the Oilers.

Friedman points out Chiarelli acquired and later traded Wideman during his tenure as Boston Bruins GM. While the two clubs rarely make deals, he points out the Flames acquired Ladislav Smid from the Oilers a couple of years ago.

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McDavid has shown he’s captain material, and it’s clear Oilers feel the same way

Jared Clinton
Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ahead of the season, the Edmonton Oilers stripped defenseman Andrew Ference of the captaincy in favor of naming four alternates. But following a season in which Ference, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle all shared duty as the leaders of the Oilers, it appears the team is ready to name a captain, and don’t be surprised if that captain is Connor McDavid.

When asked Sunday if the Oilers would have a captain — a definite, ‘C’-wearing leader — next season, GM Peter Chiarelli said he believed that would be the case. Chiarelli stopped short of naming McDavid the future captain, but all signs are pointing in that direction. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reported it’s likely that McDavid will be named the official leader of the team sometime before the 2016-17 season. However, if there was any lingering doubt about McDavid as captain, it was all but put to rest Monday as coach Todd McLellan extolled the virtues of McDavid following the burgeoning star’s rookie campaign.

“Connor was a tremendous leader with us this year in his short time with us. His presence alone when he walks into the room — and he knows it — he exudes confidence, he carries himself properly,” McLellan said. “I think leaders attract to people. You want to be in his corner, you want to be around him and leaders, when they attract people, they care about people, too. And Connor has that going. He’s still 19, but I think he’s close to being the guy and ready for it.”

And whether or not he’s ready for it — and all signs indicate he indeed is — McLellan’s praise makes it seem even more certain McDavid will have the ‘C’ on his sweater next season. And for the Oilers, naming McDaivd captain couldn’t make more sense. Read more