The Edmonton Oilers are coming off their first post-season appearance since 2005-2006. Connor McDavid has rejuvenated the franchise that was locked into a cycle of finishing at the bottom of the league, gaining a first overall pick, and never moving forward. The drafting of McDavid looks to have changed the course of the franchise towards a perennial contender. The Edmonton Oilers 2017-2018 Season Preview expects the team to make the push for the postseason once again.
Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy last season, reaching the 100 point mark in just his second NHL season. The 20-year-old won the Hart Memorial and Ted Lindsey awards as well, which are given to the leagues most valuable player as voted by the Press and the players respectively. McDavid’s speed and skill also resulted in surges of points for his line mates Leon Draisaitl and Patrick Maroon. Maroon had 27 goals last year compared to his previous high of 11 set in the 2013-2014 season when he was a member of the Anaheim Ducks. Draisaitl also had a great season, posting 29 goals and 48 assists for 77 points. The German looks to be developing into a star and should post similar numbers again this season.
Edmonton’s biggest loss in the offensive department was Jordan Eberle. Eberle was traded to the New York Islanders for Forward Ryan Strome. Strome, was the 5th overall pick in the 2011 draft but has not lived up to expectations thus far in his career. His most productive season came in 2014-2015 when he posted 50 points in 81 games. Strome will look to meet and exceed expectations with his new team. Along with Strom, the Oilers also bolstered their forward depth by adding Jussi Jokinen from free agency. The skilled Fin saw a declined production last year compared to the year prior, but should slot in nicely as a third line winger.
One player that will look to contribute more next season is Jesse Puljujarvi. The third overall pic in the 2016 draft split his time between the big club and their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield during the 2016-2017 season and will look to make a significant impact at the NHL level.
Last year Edmonton traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey to try and increase their strength on defense, adding Adam Larsson in the swap. Larsson had the best year of his career thus far in 2017-2018. The Swede posted a +21 rating, which was second best on the Oiler’s roster behind only McDavid.
Oscar Klefbom, who was awarded a seven-year contract with a AAV of 4.167 back in 2015, led Oilers defensemen in points, shots, and time on ice and seems to be developing into the player the team believes he can be. On the blue line Darnell Nurse will look to improve upon his performance from last season. The 22-year-old has show steady growth in rounding out his NHL game in each of his past seasons.
Cam Talbot had a career year in 2016-2017. Talbot was a workhorse and started the most games out of any netminder with 73. The next closest to Talbot was Frederik Andersen who started 66 games. Talbot also finished the season tied for the most wins with Brayden Holtby at 42. He posted a strong GAA and save percentage at 2.39 and .919 respectively.
Laurent Brossoit only started eight games last year for Edmonton, but is expected to back up Talbot in the 2017-2018 season. The 24-year-old played well in his limited appearances posting a 1.99 GAA and .928 save percentage. The Oilers will look to lean slightly more on Brossoit, and reduce the number of games Talbot will have to play.
Edmonton Oilers 2017-2018 Season Preview: Overall Outlook
Look for the Oilers to make a push to the Playoffs again this year. The youth of their roster will only continue to improve from last year. The Oilers have all the makings to put together a solid regular season. They have an offense led by generational talent Connor McDavid, a top tier goaltender in Cam Talbot, and a solid defensive corps that is young and will continue to develop. Expect the Oilers to make the playoffs for the second straight season where they will have a chance to make a deep run.
Edmonton has a top tier netminder in Cam Talbot, who has shown that he can play consistently well and give his team a chance to win every night
The Oiler’s roster is still young and can be expected to continue their development
Connor McDavid is one of the top two players in the league if not the best. McDavid can take over a game by himself and is the type of player that opens up opportunities for everyone on the ice with him.