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Connor McDavid’s agent becomes CEO of Oilers field hockey operations

On paper, the Edmonton Oilers are an excellent field hockey club. That said, they can’t go all the way, which can be pretty galling for a lot of people in town.

Is Ken Holland still the man for the job? That’s the question many people are asking.

Obviously, the Oilers don’t seem to have complete confidence in him, since the position of CEO of field hockey operations has been created to work “closely” with Holland.

And the position has been offered to Jeff Jackson. We’re talking about the man who is (or was, until this morning) Connor McDavid’s agent.

We don’t know exactly what the distribution of roles between Jackson and Holland will be, but no one is going to make me believe that Jackson left the world of agents (he left his agency in 2010) to avoid making decisions.

So this is clearly a disavowal of Ken Holland, in my eyes.

Getting an agent’s perspective can be very interesting in today’s field hockey. That’s what the Habs did in January 2022, when they hired Kent Hughes as GM.

Hughes, with Jeff Gorton as VP of Hockey Operations, has both visions: that of the agent and that of the field hockey man who has cut his teeth with several teams.

In Edmonton, it’s both. After all, even though Jackson was assistant GM of the Maple Leafs (from 2006 to 2010) before founding his agency 13 years ago, he represents a breath of fresh air within the Oilers’ administration.

The titles aren’t the same as in Montreal, but Ken Holland brings the pure, unadulterated aspect of how to manage a field hockey club down to the smallest detail to the duo.

I wonder, though, how Holland takes it all….

Note that Jackson was the agent for 18 NHL players. Alex DeBrincat, Aaron Ekblad and Quinton Byfield were among the big names represented by his agency.

The challenges will be great for Jackson, who must bring the Stanley Cup back to Alberta. After all, that’s where the club is in its growth curve of recent years.

Sooner rather than later, he’ll also have to start thinking about a new contract for Leon Draisaitl. The German player will command a hefty raise )he’s earning $8.5m right now) and his contract will expire in two years.

In 11 months’ time, he can theoretically sign a contract extension.

Jackson, who signed Connor McDavid to a $100 million contract, will also have to bear in mind that his new/former protégé, who will therefore have a new agent for his next negotiations with Jackson, will be free in three years’ time.

In Brief

– Speaking of Jackson’s former clients.

– He’ll be ready.

– The CH’s hope is on the ice.

– Of course: the CH’s divisional ranking is not likely to change drastically.

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