Happy Sunday everyone.
Little late but here is my season preview for the Oilers. I know they’ve played 2 games but I’ll write this as though they haven’t.
Kass is gone. Keith is gone. Smith is gone. Koski is gone. Archi is gone. That is some solid weeding.
Our top 6 is molten hot.
Our PP should be top 3 in the NHL.
Connor and Drai in their primes.
We don’t have many bad contracts. It used to be that I’d go to capfriendly and see about 10 contracts (and buyouts) and it was disgusting! Now we have 2 contracts that I’d say are suspect. Nurse is overpaid by a million or more (but he’s excellent). Foegele is overpaid by a million or so (he’s okay, worth noting that Bear is a healthy scratch to start the season).
Bouch time! This should be a tremendous coming out for Bouch.
We got a goalie! I don’t think Campbell is elite in anyway at all. I do think he can produce a .915 to .920 average and that is more than enough. I’m guessing it’s a year 3 buyout but I think we’re in our Cup window for 3 years so that is fine by me.
Skinner looks legit. It may turn out that Skinner is our star sooner than later. Everything about him has been arrows up!
We got Kane for a sweetheart deal and everyone seems to love him (but me).
RNH driving a third line.
McLeod in year 2 and hopefully no sophomore slump.
Holloway is in the NHL!!!! I think he’s in for a very solid (and rare) rookie season. I love everything about his game.
That Murray contract was excellent value! I don’t think we’d get a player like that 5 years ago for that price.
We are in Cup window IMO. Our forward group has to be top 3 in the NHL. We finally have forward depth.
Full year of Woodcroft who was brilliant last year. Biggest thing I want to see is him rolling the lines and giving more evened out minutes. Eg. Tippet would play McDrai for 50 minutes and Nurse for 30 in Game 1 of the season like it was a game 7. I’m hoping Woodcroft balances that out a lot more and out big dogs get less minutes this season as we do have fabulous depth.
I think the Kane contract will blowup in our faces at some point. Just a hunch.
Our D is roughly 15th best in the NHL. As always, every guy is one slot too high. Nurse is our 1 but he’s not a guy that can carry you to a cup like Makar/Hedman. Is Ceci our 2? No way he’s a top pair D for the Avs/Leafs/Bs/Lightning/Canes/Flames or any team we will be competing with. Kulak is a career 3D who is playing 2D. Bouch should be on top pair with Nurse. Barrie should be traded for a more consistent defender for a similar caphit.
Bro is untradeable? Why? We are in win now mode and he has value. I’m very high on Broberg but I’d absolutely deal him for Chychrum (when he’s healthy). I’d offer our 1st, Broberg and Foegele for Chychrum and then our D would look like this:
Nurse - Bouch
Chychrum - Ceci
Murray - Barrie
Now that’s a top 8 D in the NHL. Bro’s ceiling is Chychrum/Klef to my eye. He won’t hit that this season.
The path to the cup goes through Colorado. They swept us easily with their backup last year. Averaged 4 goals a game. So what have we done to close that gap? Our Goalie is slightly better (he doesn’t get as hot as Smith but I don’t see him allowing goals from the other teams end either). Our D is about the same. Not sure how we are keeping the puck out of the net?
JP is in his draft plus 6 season. He has yet to hit 100 points. He is easily the most polarizing player on the Oil with the MSM taking a cheapshot every chance they can get. I want him here forever but I’m not seeing a first line player. I’m seeing an excellent 3rd line player on a Cup team.
Nothing is ugly. This is the best I’ve felt about the Oilers in decades. However, I’m done listening to shiny forward talk. Who is our goalie after Skinner? Who is our next best D in the AHL? We’re weak there. We don’t need Patrick Kane to beat the Av’s, we need another legit Top 4 D and that doesn’t appear to be Broberg in 2022.
My bold prediction:
Holland (finally) makes a creative trade or 2 this season and shores up our D. We win the Pacific and we make the Cup Finals. Woodcroft wins coach of the year. Connor wins Hart. Drai wins rocket.