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The Unofficial Guide to Picking a Favourite Oiler (Part 2 of 2)

Need some help picking a favourite player going into this season? We’ve got you covered.

NHL: Preseason-Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

As an Oilers fan, you've probably thought to yourself, "Gee, I wish my favourite team would miss the playoffs for 10 straight seasons." Or possibly, "Wow, if only my team would trade away its leading scorer this offseason for someone I've never heard of." If so, you're in luck! Welcome to another season of Edmonton Oilers hockey.

Oilers fans have long been estranged from the concept of winning, but that's not going to stop us from cheering our hearts out season after season. You may have promised at some point last season you would never cheer for this team again. Well, the Oilers are back, and would you look at that, so are you, ready for whatever rollercoaster ride the team has in store for you this year. As you strap in for the journey, you may start thinking about choosing a new favourite player, making room in your heart for an additional player to cheer for, or perhaps mulling over which player's jersey you want to buy. Here are some fresh picks for this year, as measured by the extremely unscientific 7-Factor Test (on a scale of 0 to 5, with a score of "Connor McDavid" being the highest level) listed in the unofficial guide posted previously.

Milan Lucic

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Milan Lucic. A player you hate so much you wanted to punch him repeatedly all over his body, until he got traded to the Oilers and you suddenly realized you actually love him.

The most high profile free agent acquisition of Peter Chiarelli's time in Edmonton so far, Lucic signed a seven-year, $42 million contract and came into town riding on a wave of good vibes and hardcore fanboying of Connor McDavid. I used to resent this man with the loathing of 700 cockroaches, 500 rats and 14,000 ants but now I feel he is dangerously close to growing on me-- it's kind of magical what throwing on an Oilers jersey and smiling like a decent human can do for one's perception of a player.

The transformation is stunning

What kind of player will Lucic be for the Oilers? Well, however Jordan Eberle behaves along the boards and after the whistle, Lucic will do the exact opposite. Whereas Eberle will deftly remove his 183-pound body from any physical contact, cleverly maneuvering his stick to do the work for him, Lucic will throw his 235-pound mammoth frame into any player who makes the colossal mistake of standing in his way, punishing them with all the force of his Serbian heritage. Whereas Eberle will stand calmly and passively watch his teammate get shoved in the face like he's watching an episode of Planet Earth, Lucic will likely be the one delivering the shoving, marked by that signature snarl you loathed and may soon learn to love.

I have been an Eberle fan for seven years now-- if I were a hockey player, I am pretty sure I would play like Eberle, referring of course to the avoiding physical contact part and not the highly skilled hockey player part. But there's something immensely satisfying about watching a player like Lucic, who never takes any abuse, whether to himself or his teammates-- he's that amazing asshole all us nice Canadians wish would step in for us from time to time. Now, we have this asshole on the team, and claim him now because barring injury or a very cold season offensively, soon there will be a legion of Lucic fans in Edmonton.

7-Factor Test

Skill: 4

Led all Kings forwards in ice time last season, and his 55 points (20 goals, 35 assists) in 2015-16 would have placed him second in Oilers scoring last season (after a guy named Taylor Hall).

Status in Organization: 4.5

Just signed a massive long-term contract, expect him to be around for at least four years. If he's good, we won't trade him. If he's bad, we won't be able to trade him.

Health: 4

Despite physical playing style, rarely gets hurt and missed only one game last season, likely due to beastly body. Tends to inflict injuries on others more than the other way around.

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 2.5

“Honestly, kind of looks really terrifying most of the time, but I'm secretly scared of him so will give a neutral score here.”

Personality: 3.5

Seems quite candid in interviews, and contrary to all expectation, seems to actually make an effort to seem likable. Seeing him smile was one of the stranger experiences of my life. I've outlined some of his better qualities in this piece I wrote in trying to convince myself not to hate him.

Grit and Other Intangibles: 5

Lucic is the epitome of grit and other intangibles, those other intangibles likely being even more grit. Milan Lucic is so gritty, if Milan Lucic were a sandpaper, he would be rated as EXTRA COARSE, 20-36. He always ensures the "fast removal" of his opponents and sure is known for "roughing up surface" everywhere he punches ;)

Milan wins on the Grit Index

Kris Versteeg, who is joining the Oilers on a PTO, told Jason Gregor:

I’m not a guy who is going to challenge teammates or be vocal, but Lucic is. He’s comfortable doing it, he can back it up on the ice.” Lucic is not only tough, but willing to call his teammates out when necessary.”

The Indie Factor: 2

Lucic is now probably the biggest household name on the team after only Connor McDavid. The only Indie points he gets is for being new to the team, so if you purchase your Lucic jersey, like, TODAY (which doesn't exist and only comes customized- major indie points) you'll be special, but probably only for like three more weeks.

Overall Score: 26/35

Oscar Klefbom

Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers
Yes, it’s okay to clap for me
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

I’m often afraid of going public with support for Klefbom, as most people automatically assume this is because of his handsome face and envious abdominal muscles. I can assure you this is 99.5% false. Us Klefbom fans know of the judgment that often comes with this endorsement, but it’s just so easy to like him— whether it’s skill or personality, Oscar Klefbom is as close as one comes to a perfect specimen of a hockey player.

The loss of Klefbom last year truly sent the Oilers’ season, which was actually looking up at the time of his injury, into a never-ending tailspin, and the conflicting reports of his return timeline, whether from the team or media, has significantly eroded my sense of trust in the world. Some part of me still believes the staph infection Klefbom suffered was half “just Oilers things,” and half punishment for being otherwise perfect. The other thing it did was make Klefbom even better, by adding a dimension of vulnerability, diminishing that intimidating sense of perfection; by becoming less perfect, he somehow made himself even more perfect. On top of top-two defender, Mr. Congeniality, and most aesthetically pleasing, Klefbom now adds the title of Heartwarming Comeback Story to his collection. Unbelievable.

Signed to a cap-friendly six-year deal, Oscar Klefbom improves the team in virtually every way. It’s so hard not to like him, I hope young kids everywhere start answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with the most correct response there is- “Oscar Klefbom.”

7-Factor Test

Skill: 4.5

Status in Organization: 4

Signed to a very friendly contract and seemingly a staple on the blueline, but may still be exchanged for a bigger name defenseman.

Health: 4

The staph infection was scry, but no other lingering concerns as long as Dustin Byfuglien can keep his elbow away from his face.

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 5

“I don’t think I need to explain this one.”

Personality: 5

Always upbeat and friendly, seems happy to be wherever he is.

Grit and Other Intangibles: 4

Indie Factor: 4

Despite being well known amongst Oilers fans, still somewhat underrated in the rest of the league.

Overall: 30.5/35

Connor McDavid


7-Factor Test

Skill: Connor McDavid

Status in Organization: Connor McDavid

Health: Connor McDavid's Titanium Clavicle

Looks: Connor McDavid

Personality: Connor McDavid

Grit and Other Intangibles: Connor McDavid

Indie Factor: Connor McDavid

Overall: Connor McDavid/35

Jesse Puljujarvi

NHL: Preseason-Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Jesse Puljujarvi doesn't just smile, he grins, and he grins so widely it exceeds the outer corners of his eyes. I did not even know that was physically possible--sometimes it feels like he needs extra teeth just to sustain the extraordinary width of his mouth.

I happen to work with a few Finnish people, a wonderfully blunt group of Scandinavians with blindingly light-colored hair. Upon the miraculous drafting of Jesse Puljujarvi, I asked a few of them if they knew of Puljujarvi, and they responded, "Of course! Everyone knows his big smile." The kid is a star in his home country, and moreover, is already known for a happy-go-lucky personality that will win him many admirers in Edmonton. Watch him dress up as an old man and prank a group of youngsters in Finland. If only that huge grin would infect Leon Draisaitl just a little bit and raise the stolid corners of his mouth.

After the hype surrounding the draft faded, Puljujarvi's name hasn't been mentioned much, as the focus shifted back on McDavid with the World Cup of Hockey and all the extremelysubtle hintings of his impending captaincy. Many have forgotten about the magical Finnish unicorn we landed, which now scores him major indie points.

If all goes according to expectation, Puljujarvi should finish the year with the Oilers at some point after getting some solid development time in Bakersfield. He also brings quite a lot of confidence; in a recent interview, Puljujarvi told reporters he hasn't even thought about going to the AHL, adding, “My [knee] is perfect and I’m 100 per cent,” he said. “I think I’m ready.” Puljujarvi is not even kidding about how perfect his knees are and he wants you to have a look, displaying them proudly for the world to see:

7-Factor Test

Skill: 4.5

If you need a refresher on his potential, here is a small excerpt from International Scouting Services:

" Big and strong with a long reach and he just shrugs guys off. Always seems to have good body position whether protecting the puck or defending. Has a powerful skating stride and has another gear when needed – responsible in all three zones – soft quick hands and a heavy shot. Reads the play well and plays well away from the puck. Has excellent hockey sense. Character guy with all the attributes to be a top end player in the NHL – Showed superstar potential."

From Hockey's Future:

He projects as a dominant, top line playmaker with a rare combination of size, skill and hockey instincts.

Part of me still cannot believe we got this player, and McDavid, and Draisaitl, and Nuge and Eberle, and at fourth overall, too. It's like already owning a Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari, and Porsche, then being randomly gifted an Aston Martin in the summer. It's kind of nice. Size and speed, hockey sense and soft hands-- let's get this pool party started.

Status in Organization: 4.5

No one is untradeable, except Connor McDavid, but Puljujarvi comes pretty close at this point, as the new top prospect in the Oilers' system. Seen by many as the future playmaker on McDavid's wing, on the top line leading the Oilers the Cup in three years, and oh my god I can't write anymore, I'm too excited.

Health: 4

Young, big body, and aside from knee surgery earlier this year, no major problems

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 3

"He should be a 2.5 but because he looks adorable when he smiles, I'll give him 0.5. He looks very comical."

Personality: 5

Grit and other intangibles: 3 Probably not the type to fight, unless the does it while smiling widely, which would presumably be absolutely terrifying.

The Indie Factor: 3. If he has a good year, the Indie Factor will die dramatically. If he has a Nurse-like year, likely to go up. For the sake of the team, we hope the Indie Factor dies.

Overall: 27/35

Darnell Nurse

Ottawa Senators v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

For a prospect so highly touted when he was drafted, and a defenseman, at that, it's sad how the Oilers' complete lack of depth at that position forced the then 20-year old into the NHL prematurely and damaged his stock substantially. It's like eating a pizza pocket when it's not fully microwaved-- no matter how much potential it had to be delicious, it won't be if you don't bide your time and consume it when it's actually ready.

Let's not forget, though, that Darnell Nurse was touted as, and will still likely become, a hard-hitting, top-pairing defenseman. He was third on the entire team last season in ice time as a rookie, behind only Sekera among defensemen. Though he was thrown in the deep end (of Marianas Trench proportions) rather abruptly, he's grown more mature and gained experience-- if Nurse has a breakout year and the Oilers get a tough, shutdown defenseman out of him, it will definitely make a sizeable impact on the season.

Let's also not forget the most important thing Darnell Nurse has going for him-- his awesome dad. One of my favourite moments from the Oilers' entire previous season was the memory of Richard Nurse emphatically shouting "BEAT HIS ASS! BEAT HIS ASS!" as his son pummeled the daylights out of Max McCormick. Not sure if my Asian parents will ever reach this level of #ParentingGoals, but I do look forward to more outbursts containing affectionate promotion of mild violence in the coming season.

7-Factor Test

Skill: 3.5

Status in Organization: 4

Close to untouchable last year, but seen as expendable for the right price now.

Health: 5

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 3.25

“3 with the beard, 3.5 without the beard.”

Personality: 3.5

Grit and Other Intangibles: 5.

His first NHL fight was with Milan Lucic.

Indie Factor: 4

Overall: 28.25/35

Leon Draisaitl

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - United States v Team Europe
Hard carrying
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Deutschland Dangler gave us a season that can only be described as tantalizing. After starting the season on fire, playing with everyone's disgruntled ex-boyfriend *trigger warning* Taylor Hall, he finished with a very respectable 19 goals and 32 assists, behind only *trigger warning* Taylor Hall. Though his offensive production fell off a hill (not cliff, just a small hill) after the halfway mark of the season, next season will be crucial for evaluating whether first-half Drai was the real deal, or just a flash in the pan.

Draisaitl did finish the season second on the team, and first amongst forwards, in 5v5 CF%, and has been a standout on Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey, tallying a hat trick to defeat Team Sweden and scoring the overtime winner against Team Czech Republic. Team Europe Captain Anze Kopitar said of Draisaitl, “To be quite honest with you, I was 90 percent sure he was going to score. The way he’s going right now, there aren’t a whole lot of people that can stop him," continuing, "He’s a good guy and he deserves the spotlight.”

On the personality side, meanwhile, when I think of Leon, this is what comes to mind:

Emoji Island

For better or worse, if Draisaitl is a person who feels joy like other humans, he does not like to show it very often. The concept of emoting is rather foreign to him, stoic after a good game and sullen on an okay one. His interviews are terribly depressing, and in fact, I would describe his on-camera demeanor, especially in this Sad Blue Towel Interview, as the modern day manifestation of Picasso's Blue Boy.

Of course, there's nothing at all wrong with this, and reticence in front of the camera is not something worthy of criticism, but rather a manifestation of a natural introversion that translates into a more reserved demeanor when dealing with the media. He is certainly very much his emo self at all times and wonderfully free of artifice or pandering; in fact, if you are into rainy days, sad blue blankets, and singing Adele songs melodramatically while staring out the window, then Draisaitl's personality may just be a perfect match for you.

Draisaitl was also one of the only Oilers to have escaped the injury bug last season, and meaning because he is an Edmonton Oiler, he will likely be injured next season (*runs outside and knocks very hard on big oak tree*). For now, though, factoring in all the criteria, especially including longevity and skill, Draisaitl is as solid a pick as you can make this season-- I think he is poised for another breakthrough season, smashing through ceilings in Super Saiyanschnitzel mode.

7-Factor Test

Skill: 4.5

Flashes of brilliance, more experience and maturity should round this into great form.

Status in Organization: 4.5

Health: 5

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 5

“Just look at that face. Mike drop.”

Personality: 3.5

Grit and Other Intangibles: 4

Indie Factor: 4

Overall: 30.5/35

Adam Larsson

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers
The Larsson era has begun
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Because of the context surrounding his arrival in Edmonton, some fans' expectations of Larsson can be equated to one acquiring a Volvo and expecting it to perform like a Ferrari. It's not going to happen. Sometimes in life, though, when you already have tons of sports cars, you really just need a Volvo, even if it means giving up one of your shiny toys for a decidedly less sexy vehicle. The Ferrari was fun, allowed you to speed irresponsibly and look cool sometimes, and though some live the maxim of Get Rich or Die Trying, Volvo is For Life™. You need it so your crease won't get crashed into night after night. You need it so you don't die.

“He’s not a sexy defenceman,” said Peter Chiarelli when he acquired Larsson in the summer.

Okay, now, before we irrevocably connect Larsson’s name with “not sexy” forever, let’s take a step back and give this man some credit— Larsson has some good qualities, too. Like a solid family-friendly Swedish minivan, he is a an absolute workhorse, finishing second on the New Jersey Devils in TOI last season (1844.48), which would have led the Oilers in that category. He brings with him from Newark a sorely-lacking hard point shot and significant offensive potential, highly touted when he was drafted fourth overall, yet to be unlocked (perhaps due to the paltry 11 minutes he got on the powerplay last season).

He's already proven himself to be a steady defenseman, matching up consistently against elite competition, but given more opportunities on the powerplay, a more competent defensive partner (#Larsbom), and the opportunity to play on a team that doesn't rank dead-last in Goals For, we definitely have the ingredients for a breakout season.

I've had the opportunity to observe Larsson in a few interviews now, and I can confidently say that if we have a Pool Party incoming from Finland, Larsson brings the fun-factor of a networking event for Alberta real estate professionals. I've actually never heard somebody zap all the meaning out of a word as effectively as Larsson when he repeatedly said the word "fun" in the most unfun tone possible. He may subscribe more to the Draisaitl style of media interviews, but if he can successfully ice opponents with his defensive play and contribute a bit of firepower on the other end of the ice, his work on the ice will do all the talking for him.

Another advantage of Larsson is he's a shiny new toy who was previously mired in relative obscurity due to his captivity in the dumps of New Jersey, scoring him major Indie points from the get-go. You may also encounter a few Taylor Hall fans for whom Larsson will forever be entangled with a traumatic event; it may do you well to be more subdued about your ardor for Larsson around these folks, as recent social media observations indicate the scars are still raw and they are an easily provoked group who need space to mourn in peace.

7-Factor Test

Skill: 4

Status in Organization: 4.5

Health: 5

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 4

Personality: 3.5

Grit and other intangibles: 4.

Indie Factor: 4

Overall: 29/35

Brandon Davidson

NHL: Preseason-Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

An Alberta boy who emerged from obscurity to a top-two role at the end of the season from seemingly nowhere, conquering cancer in the process and always greeting fans with a genuine smile while doing it? It would be strange indeed if all Oilers fans weren’t screaming for Davey with the might of a million One Directioners, who seems to check every box and come packaged with a bunch of awesome intangibles, too.

With the highest CF% on the entire team in 5v5 situations last season and a team-leading +/- 7, Davidson quietly established himself as a steady presence on the thirstiest blueline in the whole league, a small miracle and one of the only rays of sunshine to emerge last season. Watch this video (while attempting to ignore the stunningly obnoxious enunciation… seriously, how does anyone talk like this?) about his battle with cancer and you'll appreciate how much he's overcome to get to the two-year contract extension he signed at the end of last season.

It's all the more remarkable when you consider last season was his rookie season-- it's wholly possible that he has an even better breakthrough season in his sophomore campaign, slated comfortably in a steady second or third-pairing role and perhaps bringing some more offensive upside, too. The biggest risk with Davidson comes with his longevity on the team; with the Jacob Trouba trade request, one of the first names tossed out there was Davidson's, likely due to him not being a blue chip prospect and being seen as having already reached his ceiling. I purchased a one-way ticket on the Davidson Hype Train last season and am not about to get off this season-- he's my indie pick, resilience pick, hometown pick, and nice lopsided smile pick.

7-Factor Test

Skill: 4

Really solid defensively, needs to maintain consistency to cement his position on the Oilers' blueline.

Status in Organization: 3.5

Good showing last year improved his stock significantly but also made him a viable trade option.

Health: 4

His leg injury at the end of last season really led me to believe the team was cursed and I immediately initiated a shaman ritual to rid the team of its bad juju. It didn't work.

Looks (as rated by my roommate Nicole): 4

Personality: 4.5

Nice. Plays well with kids. What more could you ask for?

Grit and Other Intangibles: 5

Indie Factor: 4.5

The name Brandon Davdison equates to "treasure" in Oilers' fans eyes but still "who?" to most other fans in the league.

Overall: 29.5/35

The Ghost of Taylor Hall

<Press play before reading>

Sometimes in life, what's dearest to you is snatched away, and though your fingers clutch at what was once so firmly yours , so true and constant, it's now inexplicably, cruelly, heartbreakingly morphed into some random gingerey Swedish guy. As you listen to the lush vocals of Mariah Carey, appreciate some of the incredibly eloquent lyrics of her masterpiece "Always Be My Baby."

"We were as one babe

For a moment in time

And it seemed everlasting

That you would always be mine"

'You'll always be a part of me

I'm part of you indefinitely

Boy don't you know you can't escape me

Ooh darling 'cause you'll always be my baby"

For many out there, cathartic tears are now streaming down their face as the reality of the situation hits them. The Edmonton Oilers will be a team without Taylor Hall this year, without the man who has endured all the terrible things it means to be an Edmonton Oiler, and felt with the same acute pain as the fans the agony of consecutive losing seasons, Nikita Nikitin, and Dallas Eakins. He tried as best he could as one man to reverse the course of a franchise, attempting to put a team on his shoulders, even if that meant breaking his own back in the process. It was worth it, because we all knew how much he meant to this team, and how much the team meant to himself. At the point when it seemed the tide was finally turning, he was deemed replaceable and shipped out to Newark.

That kinda sucks.

There will be those out there who choose defiance, who choose loyalty, and continue to choose Taylor Hall as their favourite player, though his uniform now looks different. It doesn't mean you don't like the Oilers, or are at odds with reality over the trade; it means you love Taylor Hall a lot-- the player, the individual, and all he means to the team-- and this is perfectly okay.

The Taylor Hall trade reminds me a lot of Korean dramas where the catty mother-in-law intervenes and forcibly breaks up a couple when they love each other very much (if Chia were a catty Korean mother-in-law, which is totally plausible); you can still continue loving your significant other from afar, even as they end up with different people, all the while knowing you can never be together.

7-Factor Test

Skill: 5

Status in Organization: Immortal (but 0)

Health: 5

Looks: 5

Personality: 5

Grit and Other Intangibles: 5

Indie Factor: 5

Overall: #RIPTaylor/35

Let us know your favourite player in the comments! And meanwhile, here are...

Picks from The Copper & Blue Family


Obviously, it's got to be McDavid. As he goes, so go the Oilers. He'll have to make up for the likely sub par defence that the Oilers will be forced to ice every night, so here's hoping the Oilers score four goals every night, McDavid scores 140 points and a wild card spot isn't out of the question come April.

Benjamin Massey

To be honest, family, I can't imagine exhalting a current Oiler as a "favourite." No, not even you, Connor.

It's not because I hate most of the team.

It's no reflection on their skill. Not directly.

And it's not even related to their skill, which would surely-to-God get Connor through.

No, the element which determines who my favourite Oiler is, is who best suffers through the unalleviated misery of being an Oiler. That's why we loved Taylor Hall: he was not only an exceptionally talented player, but he was a talent on a team that didn't deserve his powers. Underrated, unrespected, and unheralded, but if you watched him every week, obviously brilliant.

Connor McDavid is too famous to win those awards. Can any other Oiler do it? Oscar Klefbom is my favourite but, in truth, I suspect we fans will have nothing to inspire us but the memory of seasons past. Again.

Alan Hull

I agree with Ben, my favourite Oiler is generally the guy who I feel most deserves better. It's hard to specify the criteria for that, but you know it when you see it.

The player who produces in spite of a lack of respect and a lack of opportunity despite being far more deserving than others who do receive the cherry picked minutes.

The Jeff Petry/Ales Hemsky award is how I would best describe it.

I'm not sure yet who that player is because the decisions haven't been made. It could conceivably become a guy like Davidson or even Oesterle if they force feed Nurse and Reinhart.

Pouliot has bits of that but he takes too many stupid penalties for me to fully embrace him, despite drawing enough to mostly off-set them.

Could be a Versteeg, RNH (if they push Draisaitl too quickly)... It's really tough to say yet, but it will quickly become clear as the suspect decisions begin to mount.


My favorite Oiler is still Taylor Hall and I refuse to acknowledge that he plays for another team.


McDavid is an amazing player but I don't think I could list him as my favourite player. It feels a little too much like bandwagon jumping for me. And that I'm twice as old as he is too, it's just weird.

I am looking for a new favourite player though, since my previous favourite is now a member of the New Jersey Devils organization; I am of course talking about Luke Gazdic. The heart wants what the heart wants so I can't say for sure who that favourite will be, but I suspect that I'll end up landing on Oscar Klefbom. He's an excellent player, one that has progressed nicely for the Oilers, and is now trying to come back from an injury that keep him out of the lineup for most of last season, seeming at times as if he's the forgotten man on the Oilers' blue line. That's a story that I like and one that I can root for.

Alan Hull

My early sentimental favourite is Davidson, who I'll always be a fan of no matter what and I'm really pulling for him to bring it again this year, but I agree it will sort itself out in the first part of the season.


I was always a Hall fan but he was never my favourite player so this one is easy. Yakupov is my guy and as much as I know the Oilers are gonna screw him over again somehow at least he is an Oiler today so he's my guy.


I don't actively look for a favourite player on the Oilers anymore. Given the history of trading guys away, I tend to just cheer for the team. I do have favourite NHL players (guys like Thornton, Kessel, etc...), but they tend to be guys who just stand out for one reason or another for various reasons.


Pulling for young Adam Larsson. The trade to bring him in was awful, but I'm looking forward to seeing what difference he can make on the back end. A lot has been written about him from a statistical standpoint, but we won't know (and I don't think the management won't know) what they have until the season is done. I don't think he'll be asked to play the same role he had in New Jersey, mainly because McLellan doesn't have a history of giving defencemen designated zone starts. So if he has some hidden offensive potential, he has a pretty good opportunity to develop it. I'm predicting at least 10,000 articles about Larsson's performance, and why the trade was terrible/awesome, will be published by the end of October.

Also pulling for Jujhar Khaira. He took some nice steps last year drawing in with RNH and Eberle when the team was dealing with injuries. Tracking his progress in the AHL has been frustrating at times as he's struggled to produce, and found himself further down the depth chart. Hopefully that changes, so that he and the younger prospects get more ice time than what they've received in the past.

And of course, I'll still be pulling for Anton Lander. After a brutal season, I'm hoping he can bounce back and be that reliable, depth centerman the Oilers need.


I think my pick would have to be Eberle, for a lot of the same reasons why I liked Hall and Hemsky so much. Fun to watch, suffered through rough times, consistent producer, passes every stats-based litmus test. Yet still underappreciated enough by the fanbase that I don't feel too mainstream for picking him.


I think that one of the reasons people loved Taylor Hall so much, myself included, was that he endured a good chunk of this never-ending rebuild along with us, looked and sounded absolutely devastated by its failure, and desperately wanted to become a winner. It felt to me like he could relate to us on an emotional level. Jordan Eberle has been on the team just as long (and in the organization longer), but he seems like a much more cerebral guy (I obviously don't know him, but this is my impression from his public comments; I should also be clear that that's not a criticism of him). It makes a favorite hard to pick. McDavid is clearly the most fun to watch. If the Oilers are terrible again this year and McDavid is healthy, he'll probably have endured enough pain to become a favorite player. If they're good, I guess we'll see who gives an authentic, "Finally! YEAHHHHHH!" interview. That guy is my favorite Oiler now. I just don't know who he is yet.