Our final installment of our season preview roundtable asks our panel about Holland’s new acquisitions, plus...after the 2021-22 season is all over, what kind of year will the Oilers have had?
Let’s get right to it.
Question: Other than Zach Hyman, which newcomer to the team will make the most difference for the Oilers in 2021-22?
Corey: The smart money is on Warren Foegele, and Derek Ryan should make a sizable impact as well, but don’t sleep on Brandon Perlini. He’s not going to continue his unbelievable preseason scoring pace (obviously), but he’s got some legitimate scoring talent, and something like 15 goals (which would be fantastic) wouldn’t shock me.
Shona: Duncan Keith. And I don’t think it will be a positive difference. I know that the question is worded for that, but honestly, I think the negative impacts of Keith’s deal are going to be glaring and really impactful this season. So a lot of difference, but moving the needle the wrong way. I also wonder about how the team handles the continued inability of their new star to handle his business like a 16 year veteran of the league and cr3edible force for anything positive in the community. I think Keith has really put their media people in a tight spot to spin some of this BS he’s started out with.
Alex: Foegele & Ryan, combined. Finally having a worthwhile third line driver and a right shot centre who can actually penalty kill and take faceoffs will pay dividends
Matt: Jay Woodcroft, after he takes over in November. The Oilers haven’t had a good coach in years.
Czechboy: Duncan Keith and Cody Ceci will have MASSIVE effects on our team this season. True difference makers. Fun fact, Keith has the same cap hit as Nurse this year and Zdeno Chara’s is just 1.5.
Preston: I hate to say it, but Cody Ceci is going to be critical to how this team performs. He is set to slot into Adam Larson’s spot on the second pairing and so far it isn’t looking like he’s going to be the shutdown guy Edmonton lacks.
Question: Finally, how does this season end for the Oilers? Deep playoff run? Can they challenge for the division? Can they at least win a round?
Corey: I think they’ll win a round. I’m thinking they finish second in the division and get home ice in the first round. Anything beyond that is wishful thinking, and though a playoff miss would be a disaster, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But I think they’ll be one of the last eight teams playing this year.
Shona: I would like to hope they make the playoffs, but I don’t think they win a round. To be honest, I don’t see enough overall improvement. Forwards are markedly better but they’ve cratered the defense. They don’t have cap to fix the defense when it becomes unworkable. They don’t have a coach and GM with vision to play to their strengths, and they’re a giant question mark in goal. I think they find themselves in a division which has the potential to be a lot tighter this year and they just don’t have it. They’re a team that needs to score and if they can just get shut out once or twice by a hot goalie the wheels will all come off... again.
Alex: I think this team finishes second in the division and ultimately reaches the Western Conference Final, losing to Colorado who finally gets over the hump. McDavid wins the Art Ross, Hart and Lindsay again, while Draisaitl challenges for the Rocket Richard trophy with 58 goals. JP = 25 goals and 47 points, RNH = 21 goals and 73 points, Hyman = 32 goals and 57 points, Yamamoto = 19 goals and 42 points, Nurse = 19 goals and 61 points, Barrie = 12 goals and 68 points.
Matt: It’s hard to say. Some models project Edmonton to be second in the division behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights, others put them in the 3-4 spots, while others have them on the outside looking in. That’s how I see them, too. They have a great F group and the best player on Earth. They’ve also got, IMO, the worst D group in the league. It will be an interesting case study in the importance of having good defensemen. I’m nothing if not curious. One thing I think I can say with confidence is that they probably aren’t going to win the Stanley Cup. I’d be quite shocked if they got anywhere near it. Here’s to me being wrong.
Czechboy: Barring injuries, should make playoffs and have a fun regular season. Should be a high octane offence with one of the best powerplays in the league. Playoffs will end poorly unless something is done about our 2 starters and lacklustre D. Definitely not a cup contender.
Preston: I think they’ll win a round. I’m thinking they finish second in the division and get home ice in the first round. Anything beyond that is wishful thinking, and though a playoff miss would be a disaster, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But I think they’ll be one of the last eight teams playing this year.
Thanks again to our panelists for their time and their answers.
The Oilers are out to a quick 2-0 start on the season, their next game is in Anaheim on Tuesday night. Join us on Tuesday, and every day.