1) Let's assume McDavid plays the full season, what do his numbers look like after 82 games?
Matt: McDavid has the ability to lead the league in scoring this season. With Crosby likely on the shelf due to the World Cup of Hockey Ownership, McDavid might be the best player in the league to start the season. That said, I figure he gets about 400 points. At a canter.
Alan: If he plays every game I think he exceeds a point per game. 87 feels about right, but he's so talented if you asked me to bet against him getting 100 a wouldn't. I'll stick with 87 for now though.
Scott: It's tough to find actual comparables for Connor McDavid given that he's... well... Connor McDavid. A quick look at something roughly approximating comparables (teenagers who scored at least 0.7 points per game in their rookie season in the last twenty years) suggests a pretty wide range for McDavid this season. The guys who played 90% of their team's games are highlighted in green in the table, so if McDavid stays healthy and plays all 82 games, I'll take the average improvement from that group, which would give him 1.15 points per game and thus 94 points.
Jeff: A healthy McDavid is the only way this team comes within a whale fart of a playoff berth. Fortunately for the Oilers, predicting a great season for 97 isn't out of the realm of reality. I've got him at 90 points (31-59-90) if we see him in 82 games.
Minnia: McDavid has shown that his improvement every month is exceptional, exponential even. If a brief break to nurse a clavicle created such an improvement, an offseason and extra honing through two international competitions should do even more wonders. If all Oilers fans pray diligently enough, 100 points.
Ryan: In the last six season only four players have broken the 100-point mark. I have no doubt that McDavid gets to that plateau eventually, but I’ll guess that he plays at least one more year before doing so. I’ve got him finishing between 30 and 35 goals and 95 points. That’s okay for a sophomore, right?
2) Who will be the biggest surprise on the Oilers this season?
Matt: The biggest surprise this season will definitely be the amount of injuries that still happen to Oilers within 200 feet of Milan Lucic.
Alan: I honestly don't know who to peg as a surprise this year. Davidson or Pitlick might be good choices if Davidson keeps growing or if Pitlick can get back on track with some good health. Larsson might be the best bet as he's likely to get some opportunities offensively he didn't in NJ. I'll say Larsson as I don't think anyone else is in a position to truly surprise anybody
Scott: I'm not sure what people are expecting of each player, but I'll say that Cam Talbot will be a big positive surprise of the season. There seems to be a significant number of people who aren't convinced that he can carry the load as a starter. I expect that the Oilers will have him start 60 times or more and that he'll perform at or above his career save percentage of .924.
Jeff: The Oilers are running two rookies on the third line to open the season. The biggest surprise is of Drake Caggiula or Jesse Puljujävi takes the ball and runs with it. Fun part about this pair is that if anyone gets injured on the top two lines, they'll almost certainly get a promotion. That's good, right?
Minnia: I really have high hopes for Adam Larsson. Maybe I like shiny new toys, but from all I've seen from his play in New Jersey and the steady play he's shown us so far in preseason action, he seems like he could be the absolutely solid shutdown d-man we've been waiting for, even with the extra pressure from the circumstances in which he joined the team.
Ryan: It might sound a little silly, but I’m going to say McDavid. We know that he’s great. We say that last season and then again at the World Cup. But a year older, and a little stronger, he should be even better this season, and I don’t think we really know just how good that’s going to be. I think there is a very real chance that we could be talking about McDavid as one of, if not the best player in hockey shortly after the new year. Even with the high bar against which measured, that should surprise some people.
3) Who will be the biggest disappointment?
Matt: The biggest disappointment so far is Peter Chiarelli. I cannot recall an Oilers GM I haven't been severely disappointed in before their second season in charge. Why can't we have nice things? Ever?
Alan: The disappointment one is difficult because I think it will be different people for different aspects of the fan base. There will be some who want Larsson to be something he's not and will put the loss of Hall at his feet which is unfair. For others it might be Darnell Nurse because honestly if he isn't showing at least glimpses of emerging as a star by the end of this season it is extremely unlikely he ever will. Maybe a player, but not an impact guy. For me though it might be Lucic. Not because he will be bad and certainly some fans will love him for his physicality, but there's a belief out there that playing with a star can greatly increase your scoring totals, which it usually doesn't. I don't think Lucic exceeds 55 points and that may bother some. I think people may also think he's a big net front presence guy on the power play but he's not really. He's good in corners but he's really more of a passer than the old Dave Andrechuck prototype I think people are hoping for. He'll be fine to me, but I think some expect 65-70 points. And I don't see it but would be happy to be wrong. He's really struggled handling McDavid's passes in the pre-season.
Scott: This is another difficult one to peg because you need to know what folks are expecting, but I'll pick Oscar Klefbom. If he stays healthy Klefbom is going to be relied upon for big minutes all year, and I expect he'll struggle at times as a result. He hasn't played more than 69 games in a single season since turning pro in his draft year, and has never averaged more than 22 minutes per game. Klefbom is a really good player and he'll have a good partner in Larsson, but he's slotted a little bit higher than his established level and it seems like folks are expecting him to be very good in that spot.
Jeff: Peter Chiarelli, hands down. If anyone gets injured and this team is incapable of plugging in a suitable replacement, there's only one finger to point. But don't worry, no one gets injured on the Oilers.
Minnia: I'm really afraid that Darnell Nurse once again fails to have a good season. I think back to the beginning of the previous season, and how highly we all viewed Nurse. His stock has fallen a lot since then at a scary pace, and it's hardly his fault that he was rushed into the league at such a young age, but I'm very afraid of the long-term repercussions of this premature debut. Very afraid. And also afraid for Puljujarvi of having the same thing happening to him given the events of the past few days with "Oilers and Disappearing Wingers" saga. In short, I am just afraid. Going into this season, I feel optimistic despite my best rational thoughts, and afraid because it's the Oilers.
Ryan: I think Leon Draisaitl is going to let a lot of people down this year. He’s got a tremendous skill set and will be a great player one day but I think that day is today. He’s also going to get bounced around the lineup a little, starting the season on the right side and likely playing some centre this season as well, for a player still trying to find consistency in his game this isn’t ideal. When paired with Hall last year we saw what he can do, now we will see what he can do without Hall. I’m not sure that we’re going to love the results.
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