The Oilers website is reporting
that Kevin Prendergast isn't going to be alone as Assistant to the General Manager next season; Rick Olczyk has been promoted to Assistant General Manager & Director of Hockey Operations/Legal Affairs. In a lot of ways, this promotion is just a change in title; Olczyk already carried significant responsibilities within the organization, particularly when it came to contract negotiations.
I did a fairly detailed write-up
on Olczyk at the end of May; my conclusions then were the same as they are now:Olczyk played four seasons for Brown University (career stats) serving as team captain in his fourth year. He graduated from Cornell Law in 1996, and spent 2001-2007 running his own legal consulting firm. For those of you who are wondering, he was hired ten days after Souray was signed, so he doesn't get any of the blame for that contract ;)
From what I've seen of him this summer (Gilbert, Nilsson, Glencross), I feel confident saying that Lowe went outside the organization to hire a competent negotiator with the necessary education and experience (and with a hockey background)- and that it reflects well on him and the organization.
Olczyk is the younger brother of Ed Olczyk, a successful player and commentator and extremely unsuccessful coach.
Watching the movements this past year, the idea of going out and addressing weaknesses in the management team stands out as the biggest reason for optimism moving forward - guys like Olczyk, Jeff Truitt and Steve Tambellini have nice looking resumes and come from outside the areas where the Oilers have traditionally looked for management types. The hiring of additional personnel to positions that are newly created (Tim O'Connell, Rob Daum, etc.) strengthens the idea that this team is committed to having the best possible off-ice team.
And that can only have positive effects on the on-ice team.