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BLOG: Timeline & plans change slightly

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

At his end-of-season press conference, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish declared next season a, “development” year. This, because of all of the youth currently on the roster and the potential of more on its way. After winning the draft lottery and being gifted with the first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Oilers might have altered their timeline just a bit.

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Wednesday afternoon and he said that things “marginally” change now that they have the opportunity to add one of two “generational” talents that sit at the top of the draft.

If the Oilers selected Connor McDavid, MacTavish says it would give them three of the best, if not the best, players in the CHL playoffs. Leon Draisaitl and his Kelowna Rockets advanced to the WHL Western Conference Final. Darnell Nurse and his Sault Ste. Marie team will tango with McDavid’s Erie Otters in the OHL Western Conference Final.

“I think it marginally changes,” said MacTavish. “I said at the end of the year, before we were fortunate enough to win the lottery, it’d be a very important developmental year for us. I still believe that. We arguably have the three best players in the CHL right now and they’re going to be flowing into the program, certainly Leon. All three will. Next year, Leon is done with his junior eligibility, as is Darnell. The player we pick will be on our team next year.”

All that said, there is still work to do for the Oilers, and MacTavish believes it will be, “a very important developmental year.”

“We also talked about some very critical positions that we need improved upon,” said MacTavish. “Without getting into those specific too much, we’re highly motivated to improve our club so we can make the step everybody has been waiting for for quite some time. I think with a few critical adds, it will still be largely determined by the internal growth of our team and the guys that are flowing into the system for next year. We’ve got to make a few key personnel changes and improvements and I think that could ignite it quickly. It’s not as simple, in our minds, as we got the first pick, we’re off and running. We still need to do the things that we talked about at the end of the year.”

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