qWe wrap up our season premier roundtable talking about two things that are essential: Connor McDavid and the playoffs. We’ve got Shona, Coopsie, Corey, Czechboy and Patrick for our final frame.
Question: This team goes as far as Connor McDavid will take them. What does Connor McDavid’s statline look like in 2018-19? (GP-G-A-PTS)
Shona: I don’t know. Let me go get some darts to throw at a board of numbers... Let’s say a nice even 50 goals, and 70 assists (50-70-120)...about 10% growth over last year.
Coopsie: 84 even strength points. McDavid produced 84 points at even strength this past season which were 18 more than Giroux in 2nd place and the most this century (Henrik Sedin, 83 points in 2009 and Jaromir Jagr, 79 points in 2001). McDavid is so dominant at even strength that he led the lead in scoring while being 67th in power play scoring. Does anyone truly imagine that the powerplay will be as awful as it was last season? Of course not. Even if the powerplay improves to the middle of the pack, one can reasonably assume that McDavid will produce an extra 15 power play points.
Let’s also not forget that McDavid was even more dominant in the 2nd half of last season and, in particular, the last third of the season. His P/60 and G/60 were off the charts. McDavid seemingly decided that he just wanted to score more goals. I’m convinced that, if McDavid wants to with the Rocker Richard this year, he’ll win the Rocket Richard.
Subject to health: 48G, 72A – 122 points.
Corey: I’ve actually been thinking of handicapping his post-season awards chances in a post, while the season’s still young. So, hopefully I’ll have that done before this answer gets published. Without doing a real deep dive, I think 40-45 goals and 70-80 assists sounds realistic if he’s healthy all year. A link to my full statsy post can go here.
Czechboy: Connor needs to win the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophy. Can anyone picture this team without Connor carrying it? I think we’d be the legit worst team in the NHL if he got hurt for a long time.
Question: Are the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team in 2018-19? Why or why not?
Shona: They damn well better be. I am sick of disappointing Hockey Jesus. I think they are and I think it’s because Connor doesn’t like losing. He’s going to elevate his game and it’s going to take parts of this team along with him. Other parts are just going to be glaringly incapable, but maybe we can work around that.
The Oilers have a healthy Klefbom which will help a little, we’re not pretending Sekera is at his previous levels of play (like we did in the back half of last year) because he’s on the LTIR, and we didn’t trade RNH for what amounts to a bag of gently used hockey pucks. I’d like our chances better if the rest of the division hadn’t spent the summer getting better... seriously San Jose, was Karlsson really necessary?
I still like our chances of sliding in at like 7th or 8th.
Coopsie: Talbot looks like he is ready to bounce-back. Three right wingers had solid offensive camps. Klefbom looks 100% healthy. The young defence is learning from Trent Yawney daily. Puljujarvi and Khaira look like they are each ready to take the next step.
The Oilers will be in the playoffs.
Corey: It’s certainly possible. Fix the special teams, stay relatively healthy, get solid play from Talbot. If two of those things happen, we’re at least in the mix. If all three happen, we may even get home ice in a series. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on the Oilers making it straight up. But, we have best player in the world. Simply making the postseason shouldn’t be that hard. Nevertheless, here we are.
Czechboy: The Pacific is the most improved division in the NHL. I think it is also the hardest division (although that is up for debate). Most of our opponents got better. We did nothing to improve in the offseason. Vegas was supposed to suck last year and this year (and next year) and they look strong. I can’t see us beating out 5 teams in the Pacific. Although, Anaheim is down Kase and Perry now. Maybe they are new low hanging fruit? I could see us maybe battling for the final Wild Card spot but the West is pretty strong. I think it will be a huge uphill climb all season. A few injuries, a few early goals, PP runs dry, PK gets exposed, the brutal schedule to start and it could all unravel real fast. Might be entering the World Jr’s 95% certain that we are out of the playoff race already. I honestly thought, 2 years ago, that we’d be a Stanley Cup contender this season.
Patrick: Yes. Worse rosters make the playoffs every year, Todd McLellan just has to do his best to not screw up what he has.