Stu MacGregor, who has served as head amateur scout for the Edmonton Oilers since 2007, was fired along with three other members of the Oilers scouting team on Saturday night six days before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft, according to a report by Bob McKenzie of TSN.
The Oilers also fired head pro scout Morey Gare. MacGregor and Gare had each been with the organization for over a decade. Two additional scouts not named in the report were also fired.
The Oilers hold 10 picks in this year's draft, including two first- and two second-round selections. The organization won the NHL Draft Lottery in April to gain the No. 1 pick for the fourth time since 2010. The 2015 NHL Draft is June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
Edmonton is expected to pick Erie Otters center Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick. McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the draft, was named the Canadian Hockey League player of the year after finishing with 44 goals and 120 points in 47 regular-season games in the Ontario Hockey League. In the OHL playoffs McDavid had points in 18 of 20 games, and led all players with 21 goals and 49 points.
The move comes at a time when the Oilers appear dedicated to restructuring their managerial department. Bob Nicholson, the new chief executive officer and vice chairman of Oilers Entertainment Group, hired Peter Chiarelli as general manager and president of hockey operations on April 24. Chiarelli then hired Todd McLellan as head coach on May 19.
At the time of his hiring, Chiarelli discussed his objective with the Oilers.
"Each organization has their own challenges," Chiarelli said. "I have to make an assessment of where the team is, where the roster fits, where the direction that we???re going to go in. I have a certain direction that I want to follow, and that will apply to the challenges. I was part of seven, eight years in Ottawa where we had a real fast, skill team, and part of nine years in Boston where we had a skilled, heavy team. The game is changing, so it's finding a balance."
The Oilers, who finished 28th in the League with 62 points (24-44-14) in 2014-15, used prior No. 1 picks to draft forwards Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), and Nail Yakupov (2012). Those choices have yet to pay dividends in the standings. Edmonton has high hopes for 2013 first-round pick (No. 7) defenseman Darnell Nurse, and 2014 first-round pick (No. 3) forward Leon Draisaitl.
Since 2005 the only player selected by the Oilers after the first round to appear in at least 200 NHL games is defenseman Jeff Petry, who was traded at the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2015 second-round pick.
The Oilers have not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since losing a seven-game series against the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.
MacGregor told NHL.com on June 4 that he was happy with the direction of the organization and the prospects of working with Chiarelli and McLellan.
"[Chiarelli] is a man that has a direction and a way he wants to work," MacGregor said. "He pretty much described the kind of player he's interested in during his original press conference. He wants players that are hard to play against and win puck battles."