The Edmonton Oilers finished sixth in the Pacific division and 23rd in the NHL with their 36-40-6 record. This performance followed a 103-point season that sent the Oilers within one game of the Western Conference Finals. The 2018-19 campaign is a bounce back opportunity for the Oilers and their young star Conner McDavid (cover photo).
The loss of Mike Cammalleri could be a big loss for the Oilers because he has a speed game as well as a scorer’s touch. Edmonton may have helped themselves is signing Kyle Brodziak, who had 33 points in 81 games and he doesn’t take many penalties. For a player who will carry a $1.15M cap hit over the next two seasons that is pretty good production.
McDavid comes back to lead the Oilers for his fourth NHL season. McDavid is tasked with leading a young Oilers team back into the postseason. Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Ryan Strome are strong forwards and on defense they are led by two Swedish-borne players Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson.
Goalie Cam Talbot needs to be better than last season. Talbot had a .908 save percentage and his goals against average topped three per game.
I’m going with Milan Lucic. Lucic is coming off an underwhelming season and he may be playing for his job.
After scoring 34 points in 82 games, Lucic looks over-valued. For the cost of the contract (7.6 percent of the Oilers payroll), it’s easy to expect around 60 points. Lucic has to produce more scoring and more thumping. If Lucic is engaged and committed to the team; it can be a win-win for the Oilers. Lucic has to do for the Oilers what he did for the Bruins back in their Stanley Cup Championship run in 2011.
What to Expect
The Oilers aren’t the 103-point team from the 2016-2017 season and they aren’t as bad as they were last season. Yet the Oilers are too good to feeding at the bottom of the Pacific Division. This team is a 90- to 95-point club. They will challenge for a playoff spot but ultimately, in the end, I see them coming up a little short. There is just too much talent in the division to climb over this season.
McDavid Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Lucic Photo Credit:
-Kevin Gesterling covers the Pacific Division in the NHL’s Western Conference for Full Press Coverage. You can reach him on Twitter @kgesterling1_FPC.