Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli: ‘I wouldn’t call us a front-runner’

Gene Principe caught up with Edmonton Oilers prospect Kailer Yamamoto, who’s used the constant criticism about his size as motivation, and likes to think and play like he’s 6 feet.

The Edmonton Oilers are a team on the rise, and expectations from around the hockey world have followed suit.

Even Las Vegas has general manager Peter Chiarelli’s team the favourites to win the Stanley Cup heading into 2017-18.

Managing those expectations will be one of the Oilers’ toughest tasks this season, according to Chiarelli.

“That will be one of our biggest challenges,” he told Tim Campbell of NHL.com. “There are a lot of new experiences that these guys will face.”

Edmonton broke a playoff drought that lasted almost 11 years last season, barrelling its way into the second round before falling to the Anaheim Ducks.

A somewhat quiet off-season (the team did ship out Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome before signing Jussi Jokinen to a one-year deal), will see the Oilers ice a similar group in October to the one they had in 2016-17.

The biggest moves Chiarelli did make were signing star forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to long-term deals.

“If you look through our lineup, outside of last year, there’s not a lot of playoff experience or having success as a, well, I wouldn’t call us a front-runner,” said Chiarelli.

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