He didn’t score a single goal nor block a single shot during the dynastic days of the Oilers, but Glen Sather was the coach and architect of those Edmonton teams and the club is set to honor him for his contributions.
The Oilers announced Monday afternoon that this upcoming season, prior to their Dec. 11 tilt against the New York Rangers, Sather, 71, will be honored at a banner raising ceremony at Rexall Place. He will become the ninth Oiler – and second non-player – to have a banner hung in his honor by the club, joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey, all of whom were members of the team during Sather’s days in Edmonton.
“The Oilers organization has been blessed with tremendous leaders, many of them in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Those great teams and players were a part of one of the great dynasties in hockey. But, I can tell you with certainty, none of that success would have happened without Glen Sather,” said Oilers vice-chairman Kevin Lowe in a statement. “Glen was a mentor, leader, protector and father figure for so many players that wore the Oilers sweater. He showed us what it meant to be champions both on and off the ice.
“It will be a very special day for our fans and organization when we celebrate Glen’s contribution and have him join our other legends in raising his banner to the rafters at Rexall Place.” Read more
Everything seemed to revolve around the Erie Otters this season, from top draft prospect Connor McDavid and OHL scoring champion Dylan Strome to the legal drama between the junior franchise and the Edmonton Oilers.
With the sale of the Otters to Canadian businessman James Waters, a brand-new chapter will begin in Pennsylvania and it will come with its own challenges. Specifically, who will not be returning to the franchise.
Gilbert Brule didn’t pan out how the Columbus Blue Jackets hoped when the club selected the winger sixth overall in 2005 and he announced his NHL retirement in 2014. But Brule suited up this past season in the KHL, and he’s set to play again next season.
After signing a one-year deal with Avtomobilist Yekaterinberg in 2013-14, Brule suited up for 44 games with the club. During his first season in the KHL, Brule notched 10 goals and 15 points, and his season has helped him land another deal in the primarily Russian league.
Croatian club Medvescak Zagreb have announced they have signed Brule to a deal for the 2015-16 season, but the club hopes he can be a top-six player.
“Brule will perfectly fit in our team and we believe it will be of great help,” said Medvescak’s GM Aaron Fox. Read more
By Dave Lambert
There isn’t much that keeps Tony Hand awake at night. Comparisons to Wayne Gretzky…he takes them in stride. Being widely acknowledged as his country’s greatest hockey talent…he doesn’t let it affect him. Even walking away from the 1980s dynasty Oilers as a teenager to return to his native Scotland isn’t something he loses any sleep over.
Now, at 47 years old, the man nicknamed the ‘Scottish Gretzky’ has called it a career after a staggering 34 seasons.
Before the points, the plaudits and the Oilers’ interest, Hand was just a hockey-mad kid, trekking six miles to a barn of a rink each day to get on the ice. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, he used the rink as an escape, spending hours on the ice and eventually saving up to buy his first stick – a sturdy $5 Koho, which Hand said “weighed a ton.”
His perseverance paid off, and he made his professional debut for his hometown Murrayfield Racers at the tender age of 14. Read more
The Edmonton Oilers avoided arbitration with Justin Schultz Wednesday by inking the 25-year-old blueliner to a one-year, $3.9 million deal. But the arbitration wasn’t Schultz’s choice. Rather, it was the Oilers who wanted to plead their case for a lower cost on Schultz’s contract.
However, by opting for team-elected arbitration – which, as mentioned, has now been avoided with the one-year contract – Edmonton was essentially giving Schultz an ultimatum: if he wants to keep his spot in the Oilers lineup for what he believes to be fair value, he’s going to have to prove that he’s worth it. Thus, the one-year deal.
Schultz isn’t the only restricted free agent signed to a one-year contract and he’s not the only player who can, as Mike Babcock put it with regards to Nazem Kadri, “put the screws,” to his club. On the flip side, though, one bad year could see some franchises giving up on their young guns.
Here are 10 players who could have make-or-break seasons in 2014-15: Read more
In recent weeks, there’s been little word regarding the status of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward. Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts and are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.
Of the pair, Staal is the most important and expensive. The 30-year-old center is still considered their franchise player and earns an average cap hit of $8.25-million, though in real salary he’ll be drawing $9.5 million for 2015-16. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside wonders what dollar figures will work best for both sides. If unable to reach an agreement, Burnside suggests GM Ron Francis could be forced to part with Staal.
Appearing on TSN’s That’s Hockey, Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press said he believes Staal has been in a funk for several years, largely because of the Hurricanes’ lack of talent. Lawless feels he needs to move on, believing the Hurricanes could get a top-line player, top prospect and a high pick in return. Read more
What off-season? OK, so plenty of NHLers are vacationing in exotic places or healing their banged-up bodies at this time of year. But when goalies unveil new masks, it’s clear some guys are already thinking about next season.
Pittsburgh Penguins stopper Marc-Andre Fleury shows off his latest lid here:
Unrestricted free agent goaltender Viktor Fasth won’t be back in the NHL next season.
According to a report from Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko, Fasth has signed a contract with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow that will take him back overseas for at least the upcoming season. Terms of the reported deal have not been released.
Fasth, 32, had spent the past three seasons in the NHL after establishing himself in Sweden, but it appears his NHL career is coming to a close just about as quickly as it took off with the Anaheim Ducks. Read more