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Oilers' MacTavish: 'It's going to be a very busy summer'

Perry Nelson / USA Today

The end of their latest disappointing season is only the beginning for the rebuilding Edmonton Oilers.

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish has a long list of priorities as he enters the offseason with an eye to Edmonton taking a step forward in 2015-16, and he shared some of his plans with reporters at a year-end press conference Monday.

"It's going to be a very busy summer," said MacTavish, who will join the team's amateur scouts at the upcoming World Under-18 Championship.

Edmonton has already overhauled its amateur scouting procedures, but MacTavish is focused on adding already-proven players, acknowledging the Oilers' need some critical pieces - especially on defense.

Whether or not a trade is in the offing remains to be seen. Edmonton has plenty of assets in terms of youth and potential and MacTavish is excited about the development of players like Nail Yakupov and Oscar Klefbom.

"I don't know that I've seen a transformation like that in all my years in hockey," MacTavish said about Yakupov's season, in which the 21-year-old recorded 12 points in his first 50 games and 21 in his final 31.

Related: Oilers sign Nail Yakupov to 2-year, $5 million contract

MacTavish praised Klefbom, saying the Oilers need a couple more defensemen like him. He is also interested to see what recent first-round draft picks Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl bring to training camp next season.

Arguably the biggest decision MacTavish faces is behind the bench, where interim head coach Todd Nelson has made strides with the roster after replacing Dallas Eakins mid-season. The Oilers general manager appears to be taking a patient approach in his search for a permanent coach, which could bode well for Nelson.

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