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IN DEPTH: The Global Game

Oilers fans traveled from near and far to converge in Cologne and Gothenburg and support their team in the NHL Global Series

by Ryan Frankson /

It was the perfect NHL Global Series moment.

As if eight-year-old Isak Axelsson's day could have gotten any better.

Decked out in his brand new Global Series hat and bright orange and blue Edmonton Oilers hoodie, Isak and his mom had arrived at a Gothenburg pizza café a couple of blocks away from the Scandinavium arena.

They had just finished watching Isak's hockey heroes skate during their open practice at the Scandinavium, one day prior to their first 2018-19 regular season game against the New Jersey Devils.

Hockey. Pizza. Quality time with mom. How do you improve on that?

Enter Swedish-born defencemen Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson, arriving at the café to shoot an episode of Oilers TV's new series The Drill.



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IN DEPTH: Leon the Leader

by Ryan Frankson /



Leon and I started playing hockey together when we were five or six years old and we liked each other right away.
Since then, we've been best friends. We skate together, we vacation together. Our whole families are really close friends too.
Him and the Edmonton Oilers coming to play us in German is probably one of the biggest events ever for our city.
Leon's success has pushed German hockey big time. It's opened so many doors for young players.
They want to go overseas like he did and try to make it in the NHL.




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Keeping up with Jones in Cologne

Former Oilers winger looks back fondly on time in Edmonton and forward to Wednesday's Global Series Challenge game

by Ryan Frankson /

COLOGNE, GERMANY -- Ryan Jones reached a crossroads in his professional hockey career at the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign.

After spending the majority of five seasons with the Edmonton Oilers organization, he was signed to a professional tryout by the American Hockey League's Utica Comets but was released after six games.

Faced with the difficult question of "what now?" Jones took a leap of faith and signed for the remainder of the season with the Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks) of Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) in Germany.

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BLOG: Nurse glad contract is done

Oilers defenceman to return to the ice on Tuesday after inking two-year deal

by Ryan Frankson /

On the afternoon of their pre-season opener against the Calgary Flames, the Oilers solidified a key contributor on the back end by signing Darnell Nurse to a two-year contract.

The 23-year-old defenceman concluded his entry-level contract last season, making him a restricted free agent, but he'll now patrol the blueline through 2019-20 thanks to Monday's new deal.

RELATED: Nurse aims to up offensive production | Read the press release

"We all love to play the game and that's the main reason why we do it," Nurse told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now. "But there's a business side to it too and it just takes some time to hash things out. I'm glad it's done."

Nurse, who played all 82 games for the Oilers last season and contributed six goals and 20 assists, had been participating in informal skates with many of his teammates prior to the first official day of training camp last Thursday.

Without a contract in place, he was unable to report for camp and opted to return home to southern Ontario until the deal was done. Nurse said he'll be on an Edmonton-bound plane on Monday night and make his camp debut on Tuesday.

"I was losing my mind sitting at home and not being able to be on the ice," he said. "I'm happy it was only a few days and I can get on the ice again tomorrow."

Back on the ice and back to the team's collective focus of redemption after a disappointing 2017-18 campaign.

"We all want to have a big step this year and we know what we're capable of as a team, so it'll be exciting for me to be back on the ice," Nurse said. "I know we're capable of a lot better than what we had last year."

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DRAFT: Kesselring & Siikanen round out Oilers picks

Plenty of time to develop for Edmonton's later-round selections in Dallas

by Ryan Frankson /

DALLAS, TX - The Oilers tied a bow on their 2018 NHL Draft selections by picking a blueliner and a forward with big developmental years ahead of them.

In Michael Kesselring, Edmonton adds a 6-foot-4, 192-pound defenceman slated to spend 2018-19 with Des Moines of the USHL before advancing to the NCAA level the following season.

Video: DRAFT RAW | Bob Green

"He's a big kid who's a little raw but moves the puck well," said Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green. "He can shoot. He's 6-foot-4 so his feet have to catch up to his body a little bit. But he's going to the USHL next year and then add on three years of college after that… It gives us four years where he can develop."

In Patrik Siikanen, they get another big body as the Finnish forward checks in at 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds. He spent 2017-18 with Espoo in the Finnish junior league, but he'll move up to play at the senior level SM-liiga next season.

Video: THE PANEL | Weekend Wrap-up

"Hard-working kid, our guys in Europe really liked him," Green said. "Bigger guy, has some skill… We've got some time on him now to let him develop over there. He'll play in the men's league next year and we'll see how he develops."

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DRAFT: Oilers see top 'tender potential in Rodrigue

Team had Drummondville Voltigeur tabbed as top goalie at NHL Draft

by Ryan Frankson /

DALLAS, TX - There's a reason the Oilers dealt two of their remaining four draft picks to move up and select goaltender Olivier Rodrigue on Saturday.

"We had Olivier ranked as the best goalie in the Draft," said Director of Player Personnel Bob Green following the conclusion of this weekend's event in Dallas. "When there's a guy that good, we felt it was the right move."

Video: DRAFT | Olivier and Sly Rodrigue

Edmonton exchanged picks 71 and 133 with Montreal for pick 62 - the last selection of the second round - which they used to land the highly-touted Drummondville Voltigeurs puck-stopper.

Rodrigue went 31-16-1 during the 2017-18 season with a 2.54 GAA, .903 save percentage and three shutouts in 53 appearances.

He's excelled on the international stage with Hockey Canada as well, posting a 1.00 GAA and .942 save percentage at last summer's Ivan Hlinka tournament, followed up with a 1.33 GAA and .949 save percentage at the World U-18 event this past spring.

It's numbers like those that lead Green and the Oilers brass to foresee big things ahead for the Chicoutimi native.

Video: DRAFT RAW | Olivier Rodrigue

"We feel he's got the potential to be a number one goalie in the NHL," he said.

Rodrigue joins fellow top goalie prospects and major junior standouts Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner in the Oilers organization.

"You can never have too many goalies," Green said.

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DRAFT: Rodrigue ready to develop with dad in Oilers system

Edmonton trades 71st and 133rd picks to Montreal to select top-ranked North American netminder 62nd overall

by Ryan Frankson /

DALLAS, TX -  Olivier Rodrigue wasn't born a goalie, but it was pretty darn close.

Edmonton's 62nd overall selection at the 2018 NHL Draft was wearing puck-stopper pads as a one-year-old thanks to his father Sylvain, a former major junior and minor pro netminder who's now the Oilers goaltending consultant.

"I was in street pads playing in the basement with the whole family every day, even the dogs," Rodrigue recalled, moments after the Oilers traded up to call his name and anoint him as the second goalie selected at this year's NHL Draft. "I always wanted to be a goalie."

Video: DRAFT | Olivier and Sly Rodrigue

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BLOG: Oilers options with 10th pick

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli discussed the options available to him with the 10th-overall pick at the 2018 NHL Draft

by Ryan Frankson /

DALLAS, TX - A number of different scenarios could play themselves out for the Oilers during the opening round of the 2018 NHL Draft Friday night in Dallas, according to President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli.

The team currently holds the 10th-overall selection, and Chiarelli outlined a variety of options he and Edmonton's management team may have on the draft floor at American Airlines Center.

The most obvious first situation is the Oilers sticking with their pick and calling the 10th name of the night. Chiarelli said he's confident there will be a solid player available in that spot.

Video: DRAFT RAW | Chiarelli Media Avail  

"The sense that I got is after the first group of names, that there's kind of an equal group," he said Thursday during his pre-Draft media availability. "That's what our scouts tell us also. We're in that equal group, that next group."

Scenario number two is the Oilers potentially making a trade to move up a couple spots in order to select a specific player they covet.

"The moving up and moving down is positional-based, based on what I got from other GMs," Chiarelli said. "You're going to get a good player at eight, nine, 10. They could be taken five, six, seven."

Though a lot of the chatter around Edmonton's top pick has focused on the glut of smaller, puck-moving defencemen available, the aforementioned player the Oilers covet may not necessarily be a blueliner.

"There are some good defencemen in the top part of the draft, (but) we're going to draft the best player available," Chiarelli said. "If we can move to the right spot to get the right type of player, we'll look at that, too."

There's also a chance the Oilers could involve the 10th-overall pick in a trade to acquire an established NHL player - specifically a blueliner.

"We would look to move the pick if the right NHL defenceman is available," Chiarelli said. "I have had discussions with teams and it's still ongoing but I would look at that."

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Full slate of games includes plenty of movement as teams fight for quarter-final spots at the IIHF World Championship in Denmark

by Jamie Umbach & Ryan Frankson /

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

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Follow the Oilers abroad as Day 1 of the 2018 IIHF World Championship gets underway in Denmark

by Ryan Frankson /

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

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