Our Edmonton Oilers Preview 2021 sees this team as being, once again, highly competitive. Last season, the Oilers finished second in the Pacific Division with a record of 37-25-9 (.585). In the Western Conference, Edmonton finished fifth. The Oiler were 15th in average goals scored (3.14 PG) and 15th in goals against (3.03 PG). Edmonton’s 29.5% success rate on the powerplay ranked first in the NHL. Plus, they were second on the penalty kill at 84.4%. As a result, the PP and PK units really enhanced this team’s chances of winning. The Oilers, who are in the seven-team North Division, will be one of this group’s top teams.
Four of six players on the first two lines accumulated over 300 points last season. On the first line, center Connor McDavid posted 97 points while left wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded 61, and right wing Zack Kassian garnered 34. The second line includes Leon Draisaitl at center, who topped out with 110 points. Those four guys are playmakers. The second line also includes Dominik Kahun on the right and Kailer Yamamoto on the left.
On the powerplay, McDavid recorded 11 goals and 32 assists, while posting an overall plus/minus of -6. Nugent-Hopkins scored seven powerplay goals and accumulated 17 PP assists. Kassian, who’s the low man in the group when it comes to points, recorded 157 hits last season. Draisaitl is a point machine. He led the team in goals with 43 and assists with 67. He also topped the team in shooting percentage at 19.7%. Last season, Kahun played with Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Over 56 games, he had 12 goals and 19 assists. In 27 games with Edmonton last season, Yamamoto scored 11 goals, 15 assists, and 45 hits. His plus/minus of 17 was the best on the team.
Third and Fourth Liners
Also important in the forward spots are wings Josh Archibald, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Alex Chiasson. Kyle Turris steps up as the third center. Archibald, who garnered 21 points, scored two goals and posted one assist when short-handed. After three seasons with the Oilers, Puljujarvi went back to Finland and led Karpat (Liiga) in goals (24) and points (53). He recorded those numbers over 56 games. He’s back to play for Edmonton. Prior to leaving last year, he had 17 goals and 20 assists (37 points) in 139 NHL games. Perhaps he can bring some of that magic he found back in his homeland to the NHL ice?
Turris has spent a dozen years in the NHL playing with Ottawa, Phoenix, and Nashville. Turris, who has four years left on his contract, come to the Oilers via a buyout. He had some great seasons with the Senators, but his production has fallen off the past two seasons with Nashville. It’s hoped that the change of scenery will revitalize Turris, and he’ll become an essential and valuable contributor.
Edmonton Oilers Preview 2021 – Defense
On defense, the first line is composed of Darnell Nurse on the left and Ethan Bear on the right. Caleb Jones and Adam Larrson form the left and right on the second line. Kris Russell and Tyson Barrie make up the rest of the D.
Nurse is a major physical player. Last season, he recorded 141 blocks and 172 hits. He also had 26 takeaways, five goals, and 28 assists. Last year, Bear played his first full NHL season, putting up 21 points while making 106 blocks, 59 hits, and 44 takeaways. Adam and Larrson are top-notch defenders, while Russell offers dependable play and Barrie can score, set up plays, and defend. He’s a fine two-way player.
Last season, Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith split the season with Smith playing 39 games and Koskinen one less. Although their stats were similar, Koskinen did record at better save rate. He saved .917 of the shots he saw, while Smith saved .902. Koskinen was 21st in this category, while Smith was 55th. However, Smith’s record was 19-12-6, while Koskinen’s record came in at 18-13-3. Koskinen did edge out Smith in GAA, 2.75 to 2.95. Our Edmonton Oilers Preview 2021 notes that goaltending on this team is good, but not extraordinary.
Edmonton Oilers Preview 2021: Outlook
Our Edmonton Oilers Preview 2021 observes that this team has some fine players on offense and defense. They can be especially explosive when on the powerplay. Their defense can mix it up. Plus, Edmonton’s goaltending duo is sound. This group will especially competitive.
2021 Edmonton Oilers Season Preview: Projection
Record: 31-20-5, 67 points
Finish: 2nd in the North Division