With MacTavish and Eakins on board, the Oilers will experience a culture change in 2014.
Dallas Eakins was brought in to be the new head coach for the Edmonton Oilers primarily for the work that he was able to accomplish with the Toronto Marlies, and also for his ability to groom young players.
The work Eakins put in with Nazem Kadri helped rescue a player who was treading on possible bust status. Though Kadri has only had one productive season, the change in attitude and work ethic was apparent.
Along with Eakins, naming Craig MacTavish as the new GM in Edmonton signaled a change in identity for the Oilers.
MacTavish’s mark was immediate as he was able to trade the embattled Shawn Horcoff to Dallas and was able to bring in some key veteran players to fill holes in the lineup.
Even drafting Darnell Nurse was a shift in attitude for the team. There were some talented forwards available at the seventh overall selection, but the Oilers decided to draft a defenseman who has raw talent and may one day blossom into one of the top two blueliners for the club.
The Oilers have quietly stocked up on size with defensive prospects who will go a long way to help change the culture in Edmonton and provide some strength to a smaller Oilers team.
Eakins and MacTavish will demand total commitment from the Oilers players, and those who do not buy into the new phase in Edmonton could find themselves a part of a bold move or significant trade