Saturday, September 15, 2018

Edmonton Oilers 2018-19 season preview



         When Connor McDavid was named captain and lead the Oilers to a playoff spot in 2016-17, things were looking good for Edmonton. But, in 2017-18, Taylor Hall won the Hart in New Jersey, while Adam Larsson scored 13 points in 63 games, while the Oilers finished with a wimpy 78 points. They are hoping some players can get past their struggles in 2018-19. Let's look at some fast facts for the Edmonton Oilers.

Head Coach: Todd McLellan
General Manager: Peter Chiarelli
Arena: Rogers Place
AHL Affiliate: Bakersfield Condors
2017-18 record: 36-40-6 (78 points)
2017-18 placement: 6th
Division: Pacific
2017-18 goals leader: Connor McDavid  (41)
2017-18 assists leader: Connor McDavid (67)
2017-18 points leader: Connor McDavid (108)
2017-18 points leader (defenseman): Darnell Nurse (26)
Captain: Connor McDavid
Assistant Captains: Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson
2018 first round pick: Evan Bouchard

Offseason additions: Tobias Rieder, Alex Chiasson, Kyle Brodziak, Mikko Koskinen, Jakub Jerabek

Offseason subtractions: Michael Cammalieri, Laurent Brossoit, Iiro Pakarinen, Eric Gryba, Yohann Auvitu

Forwards: Kailer Yamamoto might make the team. Connor McDavid is hockey's best player. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl are pretty good, and could be could top-6 players. Jesse Puljujarvi has things to prove this year. Ryan Strome does too, but I think he's already a bust. Milan Lucic had a really bad year, and needs to do more. This is a group that has a lot to work on.

Forward lines:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Connor McDavid - Drake Caggiula
Milan Lucic - Leon Draisaitl - Jesse Puljujarvi
Tobias Rieder - Ryan Strome - Kailer Yamamoto
Pontus Aberg - Kyle Brodziak - Ty Rattie
Other: Zack Kassian, Jujhar Khaira, Alex Chiasson

Defenseman: Another injury to Andrej Sekera will keep him out of the lineup for the beginning of the season. Adam Larsson, Kris Russell and Oscar Klefbom could really use a bounce back year. Matt Benning is a solid bottom pair defenseman playing middle pair. Ethan Bear, Ryan Mantha, Jakub Jerabek, Kevin Gravel and Evan Bouchard are among those fighting for a spot. Darnell Nurse still hasn't come to camp, and is in need of a contract. It's an interesting situation to watch.

Defensive pairs:

Adam Larsson - Darnell Nurse
Oscar Klefbom - Matt Benning
Kris Russell - Ethan Bear
Other: Jakub Jerabek
Injured: Andrej Sekera

Goalies: Like his team, Cam Talbot had a really disappointing 2017-18 after a Vezina contending 2016-17. If the Oilers want to reach 80 points, Talbot needs to rebound. Mikko Koskinen signed a two year deal to return from the KHL. He hasn't seen NHL action since 2010-11, where he played in the only four games of action he's ever seen in the league.

Goalie alignment:

Cam Talbot
Mikko Koskinen
Other: Al Montoya

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Connor McDavid
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic
Kailer Yamamoto

Playoffs: No
Division: 6th

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