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BLOG: Playfair's career comes full circle with Oilers hiring

Edmonton's new Associate Coach was also the team's first-round, 20th-overall selection at the 1982 NHL Draft in Montreal

by Ryan Frankson /

VANCOUVER, BC - The Oilers will add a promising young prospect to the organization on Friday when they make the eighth-overall selection during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

The promising young prospect they selected 37 years ago with their first-rounder at the 1982 Draft in Montreal? None other than the same man they announced as their new Associate Coach on Thursday - Jim Playfair.

Tweet from @EdmontonJack: Jim Playfair was drafted 20th overall by the Oilers in 1982, playing two games for the big club in 1983-84, including an unassisted goal during a 13-4 rout of NJ. As a head coach, won the 2001 Calder Cup & led Calgary to a solid 96-point season in ���07.

The 55-year-old's hockey career has come full circle and he reminisced about his draft day while speaking with the media in Vancouver a few hours after he was officially added to Edmonton's coaching staff.

"You think back to '82 and it seems like... well, it was forever ago," Playfair laughed.

The former defenceman played for the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL when the Oilers picked him 20th overall in 1982. Playfair scored a goal and an assist in two games when he made his NHL debut during the 1983-84 campaign before spending the next three seasons with Edmonton's AHL affiliate squad, the Nova Scotia Oilers.

"They had good teams and I wasn't able to crack the lineup," he said of the mid-80s Oilers, who won three Stanley Cup titles in four years during his time with the organization.

Playfair ended up playing 19 more NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks before he retired after the 1991-92 season. He became Head Coach of the ECHL's Dayton Bombers two years later, kickstarting a coaching career that has included a pair of six-year NHL stints with the Flames and Coyotes - the latter as an associate with Oilers bench boss Dave Tippett.

"To be able to coach and come back is awesome," he said of his return to Edmonton and return to coaching after a two-year hiatus. "It's a special thing to be able to coach in the NHL, it's obviously special to coach in Canada and it's awesome to be able to go back to Edmonton where it all started and hopefully get back to winning."

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FUTURE WATCH: Rodrigue invited to Hockey Canada goalie camp

Recently-signed Oilers prospect one of 10 netminders selected for U-20 summer evaluation with sights set on 2020 World Junior squad

by Ryan Frankson /

Oilers prospect Olivier Rodrigue has taken the first step in his bid to play for Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors as he was invited to Hockey Canada's summer goaltending camp.

Rodrigue, who signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers on May 22, is one of 10 netminders selected for the under-20 evaluation as part of Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence, to be held June 5-8 in Calgary.

Tweet from @HC_Men: 26 goaltenders named to the Program of Excellence goaltending camp, running June 5-8 in Calgary, Alta. ROSTERS |U20 - U18 - U17 -

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FUTURE WATCH: Samorukov's Storm eliminated in semifinal

Guelph loses 6-4 to Rouyn-Noranda as Huskies advance to play Halifax Mooseheads in Memorial Cup championship game

by Ryan Frankson /

Friday night's Memorial Cup semifinal matchup certainly lived up to its billing between a pair of league champions.

The OHL champion Guelph Storm, featuring Oilers blueline prospect Dmitri Samorukov, and QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies battled back and forth for 60 minutes with a berth in the Canadian Hockey League title game on the line.

Samorukov's Storm gained 2-1 and 3-2 advantages but three straight goals by the Huskies and an eventual empty-netter allowed the Quebec squad to persevere with a 6-4 decision to advance to play the host Halifax Mooseheads in Sunday's final.

Samorukov was held off the scoresheet in what was almost certainly the final game of his major junior career, but he was a physical presence on the back end with several big hits and also drove a fair amout of Guelph's offence with four shots on goal. He was selected as the game's second star for his efforts.

The 84th-overall pick from the 2017 NHL Draft had 73 points (20 goals, 53 assists) in 83 games combined during the OHL regular season and playoffs. He is expected to begin his professional career with the Oilers organization in 2019-20.

There will be one Oilers prospect competing for the Memorial Cup title on Sunday, however, as forward Ostap Safin (115th overall in 2017) suits up for the Mooseheads, who look to win their second title in seven years.

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WORLDS: Day 10 Coverage

Draisaitl's Germans defeated 3-1 by USA in tightly-contest matchup at IIHF World Championship

by Ryan Frankson /

Leon Draisaitl and the Germans gave the Americans everything they could handle on Sunday in IIHF World Championship preliminary round action but two USA goals in the third resulted in a 3-1 decision.

Quarterfinal seeding was on the line in the lone matchup of the day involving an Oilers player, and Draisaitl made his presence felt early on, setting up the game's opening goal to give Germany the initial advantage.

Draisaitl stole the puck at the blueline, carried it to the high slot, drew American defender Alec Martinez to him and slid a perfect pass over to Frederik Tiffels for the quick wrister at 11:55 of the opening frame.

Draisaitl sets up Tiffels

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WORLDS: Day 8 Coverage

Captain Sekera with an assist as the host nation Slovakia improves to 2-3 at Worlds with a 6-3 victory over France

by Ryan Frankson /

Oilers defenceman Andrej Sekera recorded his third assist and fourth point of the tournament as the host nation Slovakia doubled up France 6-3 on Friday at the IIHF World Championship.

Richard Panik got the Slovaks on the board with a power-play goal at 13:26 of the opening frame as Sekera got the puck at the point, slid it across to Robert Lantosi for the one-timer and Panik capitalized on the rebound.

Sekera assists on Panik's PPG

Matus Sukel, Libor Hudacek, Erik Cernak, Michal Cajkovsky and Ladislav Nagy also scored for Slovakia in the important victory to bump them up to 2-3 through five games.

With Germany's hot start at 4-0, the hosts will be hard-pressed to secure a spot in quarterfinals, but they can earn as many as 12 points with wins in their final two games against Great Britain on Saturday and Denmark on Tuesday.

The most likely scenario for Slovakia to qualify for quarterfinals would be the United States securing four or less points in their final three games vs. Denmark, Germany and Canada. The host squad's opening day win over the Americans could prove vital.

Day 8 was quiet for the Oilers contingent at the tournament, with only Sekera in action, but Day 9 on Saturday features Denmark (Russell) vs. USA at 4:15am MT, Canada (Nurse) vs. Germany (Draisaitl) at 8:15am MT, Sweden (Larsson) vs. Switzerland at 12:15pm MT and, as mentioned, Slovakia (Sekera) vs. Great Britain also at 12:15pm MT.


For full coverage of the Oilers competing in this month's IIHF World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at

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WORLDS: Day 7 Coverage

Nurse & Larsson each score their first goal of the tournament as Canada beats France 5-2 and Sweden smashes Austria 9-1

by Ryan Frankson /

The seventh day of competition at the 2019 IIHF World Championship was a good one for two Oilers defencemen as Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson each scored in victories for their respective national teams.

Nurse tallied the second goal of the game for the Canadians en route to a 5-2 win over France, while Larsson lit the lamp for Sweden's fourth goal in a 9-1 drubbing of Austria. For both Oilers blueliners, it was their first goal of the tournament.

Jonathan Marchessault made a nifty cross-ice feed to set up Nurse for his one-timer, while William Nylander did the same to tee up Larsson, who was later selected as Sweden's top player of the match.

Nurse scores on a feed from Marchessault

Gabriel Landeskog, Elias Lindholm and Elias Pettersson each recorded a goal and two assists to lead Sweden to the victory that bumped them up to 3-1 on the tournament, while Anthony Mantha tallied twice for Canada to help them improve to 3-1 as well.


Next up, it'll be Nurse vs. Leon Draisaitl and the undefeated Germans on Saturday at 8:15am MT, while Larsson and the Swedes face undefeated Switzerland later that day at 12:15pm MT.

Oilers prospect and Bakersfield forward Patrick Russell also made his debut for Denmark on Thursday, since the Condors playoff run came to an end on Monday.

Despite participating in Bakersfield's locker-room cleanout and end-of-season interviews on Wednesday, the 26-year-old made it to Slovakia in time for Denmark's game vs. Finland, playing 16:26 in a 3-1 defeat.

Russell and the 2-2 Danes will play the United States on Saturday at 4:15am MT.


For full coverage of the Oilers competing in this month's IIHF World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at

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WORLDS: Day 6 Coverage

Draisaitl scores with 27 seconds left in regulation to give Germany a 3-2 win over Slovakia and a 4-0 record to start the tournament

by Ryan Frankson /

Leon Draisaitl's third goal in four games at the 2019 IIHF World Championship was a huge one as he lit the lamp with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation to give Germany a 3-2 win over Slovakia on Wednesday.

Markus Eisenschmid tallied the equalizer for the Germans with the goalie pulled at the 58:08 mark of the preliminary round matchup, paving the way for Draisaitl's heroics at 59:33 to break the hearts of the host nation for the second straight game. 

Draisaitl scores GWG vs. SVK

Two days earlier, Slovakia lost to Canada 6-5 in similar fashion when Mark Stone sniped the game-winner with just one second left in regulation.

Draisaitl has now recorded one point in each of Germany's games to give him three goals and an assist on the tournament, with the team sitting atop Group A thanks to a perfect 4-0 record.

Leon wasn't the only Oilers player to score during Wednesday's thriller as Slovak captain Andrej Sekera blasted home a power-play goal midway through the second period for his third point in four games.

Sekera scores vs. GER

Germany will look to stay perfect when they face another Oilers delegate Darnell Nurse and Canada on Saturday (8:15am MT) while Slovakia will look to bounce back after two tough losses when they play France on Friday (8:15am MT).


For full coverage of the Oilers competing in this month's IIHF World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at

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WORLDS: Day 3 Coverage

Draisaitl assists as Germany improves to 2-0 at the IIHF tournament with a 2-1 win over Denmark while Larsson's Swedes and Nurse's Canadians bounce back with victories

by Ryan Frankson /

For full coverage of the Oilers competing in this month's IIHF World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at

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FUTURE WATCH: Samorukov, Storm one win away from OHL title

Guelph edges Ottawa 4-3 in Game 5 for their third consecutive victory; Samorukov's squad leads the championship series 3-2

by Ryan Frankson /

Oilers prospect Dmitri Samorukov and the Guelph Storm are just one win away from capturing their second OHL title in the last six years after they edged the Ottawa 67s 4-3 in Game 5 of the championship series on Friday.

After falling behind 2-0 in the J. Ross Robertson Cup Final, the Storm have surged back with three straight victories to put themselves on the verge of another league title and a berth in the Memorial Cup national championsip tournament.

Tweet from @Storm_City: BIG ROAD WIN! 🌪���🌪���🌪���#GUEvsOTT

Ottawa used its home-ice advantage to stake a 1-0 lead on Friday, but the Storm roared back with three goals in a row. The 67s made it a 3-2 game in the middle frame, but Guelph tallied again to go up 4-2 through 40 minutes.

The home team tallied the only goal of the third but it wasn't enough as the teams now head back to Guelph on for Game 6 on Sunday as the Storm will have a chance to hoist the championship trophy on home ice.

Samorukov was held off the scoresheet in Game 5, but he was +1 with three shots on goal. The 84th overall pick from the 2017 NHL Draft has eight goals and 24 points in 23 playoff games.

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FUTURE WATCH: Samorukov with two assists as Storm even series

Guelph edges Ottawa 5-4 in Game 4 as OHL Championship is now a best-of-three heading back to the nation's capital

by Ryan Frankson /

The comeback kids from Guelph are at it again.

The Ontario Hockey League's Storm - featuring Oilers blueline prospect Dmitri Samorukov - have now battled back in three consecutive playoff series and are tied 2-2 with the Ottawa 67s in the league championship.

Tweet from @Bob_Stauffer: Dmitri Samorukov with 2 assists as Guelph beats Ottawa 5-4 to even the OHL Final 2-2.Samorukov now has 8-16-24 in 22 GP/+15 in the playoffs.Very good Oilers D prospect who will "percolate" next season in Bakersfield

Two rounds ago, the Storm fell behind 3-0 in their series against the London Knights, only to rattle off four consecutive wins to execute the reverse sweep and advance to the conference championship vs. Saginaw.

The OHL West Final wasn't quite as dramatic, but darn close as the Spirit won three of the first four games, only to get taken by Storm courtesy the never-say-die Guelph squad, who ended up winning the series in seven.

Now, with the J. Ross Robertson Cup on the line, the Storm dropped the first two games in Ottawa but have since rattled off back-to-back wins on home ice, including Wednesday's 5-4 decision that has reduced the championship to a best-of-three.

Samorukov contributed a pair of assists in the slim victory, both on the power play, including factoring in on Liam Hawel's eventual game-winner at 2:28 of the final frame.

The 19-year-old, who was selected 84th overall by Edmonton at the 2017 NHL Draft, leads all defencemen in playoff scoring with 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists).

Game 5 is slated for Friday in Ottawa while the Storm will host Game 6 on Sunday.

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