The Edmonton Oilers have started a new chapter of franchise history with the hiring of GM Ken Holland, and he intends to make it a good one. Holland sat down with Sportsnet’s Mark Spector for an exhaustive interview, in which he discusses everything from his take on Milan Lucic to what his dad did for a living. The piece will give Oilers fans insight into their new executive, and when asked what he wanted to tell those fans he gave a clear answer:
I would say, when you make the playoffs once in 13 years, I understand the frustration. I’m coming here to try to make the playoffs now, but to build over time. I want Edmonton to be an elite team. I’d like to see the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup playoffs next season. I got their frustration.
Getting the Oilers to the playoffs next season will be no easy task, given they finished in 25th this year and had a -42 goal differential, but he does have Connor McDavid to work with. Holland mentions Leon Draisaitl multiple times in the piece as well, and notes that his biggest challenge will be finding a way to support his two superstars.
- Joel Quenneville will be behind the bench of the Florida Panthers this season, and he may be bringing in an old friend to help out. Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest tweets that Andrew Brunette’s name is coming up in connection with Quenneville, and the two have a “strong relationship that goes back several years.” In fact, Brunette played under Quenneville in Colorado for three years between 2005-08, and actually experienced the best season of his career, 83 points. He finished his career playing for the legendary head coach again in Chicago for a single season. Brunette was with the Minnesota Wild organization for the past several years, but was fired along with several others last month when Paul Fenton made sweeping changes. He had served in several different roles including assistant GM, director of player personnel and assistant coach.
- Craig Button of TSN has released his latest mock draft, and it has a drastic fall for top Russian prospect Vasili Podkolzin. Podkolzin comes in at 13th in the newest edition, with Button comparing him (in a piece written by Darren Yourk) to Arizona Coyotes Lawson Crouse. One of the biggest risers is USNTDP sniper Cole Caufield, who is all the way up at No. 5 after an incredible showing at the U18 World Championship. Caufield has scored at will everywhere he’s ever played, but measures in at just 5’7″ and 162 lbs.