As we wait patiently for the puck to drop on the first Oilers game of the year I thought it’d be worth seeing what the folks that fill this site with content think will happen when the season wraps up 82 games from now. So I asked the question:
After nine seasons without making the playoffs, is this the year that the streak comes to an end? Where do the Oilers finish? How many points do they finish with?
Shona: The Oilers don’t make the playoffs this year. They still have a few pieces to put in place to be a stronger team, and few pieces to finish up with permanently. They do have a much better year though. I’d expect that they’ll finish just outside the playoffs. 9th in the West seems likely. I’d expect them to finish somewhere between 76-80 points.
Zach: I want to say yes so bad however I do not see the team making the playoffs. Defensively, we are still far from where we need to be and there are still questions as to whether or not Cam Talbot will be able to run with the starting job. The streak won’t end this year, but we will be close. I say 10th in the West, somewhere around the 85 point mark would be fair in my eyes. A 23 point increase from last season could very well be in the books for this offensively loaded Oilers team.
Curtis: Forever the optimist, I’ll predict the Oilers finish in 8th place in the west—3rd in the Pacific—with 98 points. That’s a huge leap up from the 62 points they managed last year, but this summer’s organization-wide overhaul, combined with the coming of McDavid, warrants a sunnier outlook.
Sunil: This is the year that the team starts facing the right direction, but we'll only see a slight movement towards glory. I think this team will finish with 85 points, somewhere in that 10-12th range. That would be HUGE for this franchise, a 23 point jump from the previous season, so it's not like this prediction is overly pessimistic. My hope is that the coaching staff along with the strength at center will play a factor. And if that defence falters early on, let's hope to God that Chiarelli acts quick and gets things on track.
Matt: The Oilers have not done enough to be a playoff team this season. After enduring the last nine years of disappointment and substance abuse that is life an Oilers fan, I want nothing more than to see them in the playoffs this year. Unfortunately, my brain tells me that it will take - and stop me if you've heard this before - a miracle akin to winning the draft lottery for the Oilers to have a shot. Think about it this way:
- The Oilers are better up front. That happens when you add the best teenager to come along in a decade.
- The Oilers are not better on the blue. That happens when you trade away Martin Marincin for pretzels, refuse to buy out Niki Nikitin, and give Brandon Davidson an NHL job.
- The Oilers may, or may not be, better in net. That happens when you roll the dice on two relatively unproven NHL goalies and hope for the best. I mean, last year, that bet didn't cover. This year? Who knows?
I think the Oilers will finish with around 80 points, give or take 10. This would represent an 18 point improvement in the standings, and a points percentage of 0.488. I'd consider that a success. We can't forget where the Oilers are coming from. It really is the bottom. And if the Nikitin hits the fan, the Oilers will probably stumble across the finish line with about 70 points. If the Oilers start beating the Ference out of everyone else, they might just have enough to scrape 90 points out of this season. I think the Oilers will finish above Arizona and Calgary in the division, but that they will ultimately find themselves 11th in the West. I can't see them having enough go right to be a playoff team this season. Bring on 2016-17.
Ben: After nine years of false hope and bogus change, I shall assume that the Oilers are bound for the draft lottery until I am proven wrong.
Alan: The Oilers blueline, specifically the right side is not NHL calibre and nothing short of a near-Vezina season from Talbot (or Nilsson) and a supernova rookie season from hockey Jesus will get them to the post season. They lack the ability to move the puck effectively on the back-end and transition it to the forwards in a manner that enables the offence. This is why I won't be shocked if Eichel out scores McDavid this year. I have them being better, but still on the outside. 5th in the Pacific division. I'd be hard pressed to pick an over/under on 84 points, so I'll go with that as my guess.
bituman: Changes in coaching and goaltending as well as continued development of talented young forwards will result in an improvement of at least 20 points on the year. The recruitment of Sekera will help, but will not outweigh the loss of Petry and Marincin. While toughness on the blue line is needed, only talented toughness can bring the reduction of scoring chances required for significant improvement in the Pacific division. I expect a low of 75 points and a high of 85 with a projection point of 80. The Oilers will fight hard to win this year, and the divisional battles will be bone-crushing.
Zsolt: The Oilers' season will not end in the playoffs but at game 82 like it has for the past 9 seasons. Let's face it the Oilers management team did not do enough to fix all of the holes in the lineup in the offseason and those holes in the lineup will probably end up being their downfall. On the other hand there were definite improvements made throughout the organization after last season's train wreck; some of them on purpose and some by a complete and utter fluke (see Connor McDavid). With that in mind I think that there will be some positives out of the season. They will probably end the season outside of the bottom 5 maybe even challenge to get out of the bottom 10 but that may be a stretch. They'll probably end the season with somewhere between 79 and 86 points which I am completely ok with. A record close to .500 would be very good for this team, sure its not the playoffs but it is a big step forward.
Ryan: This team still has enough holes that making the playoffs would require everything to go their way for a full 82 game schedule if the playoffs are going to be in their future. With Eberle set to miss the first month of the season, we already know that everything going their way won’t happen and we haven’t even seen a minute of hockey yet, so no, there will be no playoffs for the Oilers this season. They will be better though, finishing somewhere in the 85-90 point range. Which will feel like winning the Stanley Cup after what we’ve endured over the last nine seasons.