Final season was a really profitable one for the Edmonton Oilers. Although they fell wanting making the Stanley Cup Finals, they did make the Western Convention Finals for the primary time since 2006 and that is nonetheless fairly optimistic in my books.
Now, the workforce will look to construct on that success within the 2022-23 season and present that their run to the final 4 was removed from a fluke.
Once you have a look at their roster as at present constructed, it is easy to see a approach for the Oilers to be a a lot better common season workforce than they have been final season once they put up 104 factors and completed second within the Pacific Division.
There are a couple of gamers who might take steps again subsequent season, and I’ll have an article on that subsequent week.
Often, when groups go on lengthy runs, just like the Oilers did, they need to make a bunch of robust choices within the offseason.
Effectively, the Oilers are bringing again the very same ahead group, having simply misplaced Duncan Keith from their blue line, and have really managed to improve their goaltending tandem from Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen to Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner .
One other factor that often causes groups to go on wild runs are loopy hitters from gamers you would not anticipate and actually, the Oilers have not had a lot of that this season went. Truly, there are a bunch of gamers on their roster that might produce higher outcomes than final season.
First, they’ve younger gamers who ought to profit from final season’s expertise.
Evan Bouchard might be trusted to deal with more durable minutes than he did final season and whereas his major job shall be getting the puck out of the workforce’s finish and producing factors within the zone of offense, which he was superb finally season, may be very sensible to anticipate. that his recreation will enhance in his head subsequent season.
I do not assume Bouchard will ever be the kind of participant whose defensive recreation is healthier than his offensive recreation, however he had loads of tough nights final season in his house and a- now that he has his first full season of NHL work underneath a. belt, I feel it is higher to say that we might see important enhancements from Bouchard in his personal discipline.
Elsewhere on the blue line, Darnell Nurse is an attention-grabbing choice to take a step ahead subsequent season. It must be wholesome, which is able to clearly assist. I reached out to our analytics guru, NHL Sid, for his tackle Nurse and Bouchard:
Each Nurse and Bouchard had some offensive luck on the ice in 21-22. I feel each of them might do extra subsequent season, particularly Bouchard, who ought to take the following step.
Forward, there are additionally a couple of candidates.
Jesse Puljujarvi produced a variety of offense early within the season however his manufacturing dipped considerably after being sidelined with COVID and an higher physique damage. Whether or not he is taking part in on a line with Connor McDavid or down on the third line with somebody like Ryan McLeod, the Oilers might very properly have a 20-goal scorer on their palms with Puljujarvi.
Kailer Yamamoto is in the identical place. Coming off an up and down 2022-23 season, he nonetheless wants a brand new contract however as he matures as a participant, I feel we’ll see him discover some form of consistency. I really like his consistency on the forehand and when he is on his recreation, he has that very same nice scoring contact. He simply wants these two issues to be current in his recreation extra typically.
Warren Foegele might very properly be traded earlier than the beginning of subsequent season, as might Puljujarvi, however assuming he is nonetheless right here I feel it is honest to anticipate that The Oilers get a couple of extra targets from the 26-year-old winger.
As well as, I feel the Oilers shall be on the lookout for Foegele to be a extra constant bodily presence of their six. If he will be extra disruptive on the preview, I feel he might be a part of a really stable third line with items like Ryan McLeod, Jesse Puljujarvi, or possibly even Dylan Holloway (though that might require Foegele to be winged off).
NHL Sid additionally had some ideas on the Oilers backside six choices that might enhance subsequent season:
Foegele ought to produce a bit extra, he was low in SH%. McLeod’s on-ice SH% was close to the underside of the workforce. With the precise linemen, his manufacturing might improve.
I might add a participant like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins into this combine as properly. He scored 50 factors in 63 video games however virtually half of them, 24 in reality, got here on the facility play. If he can improve his 5v5 manufacturing, it would undoubtedly assist the Oilers win extra hockey video games.
To wrap this up, I will share yet another notice from Sid:
Regardless of main the league in factors, McDavid’s on-ice SH% was surprisingly low. It is loopy to assume, however he might break much more manufacturing information subsequent season.
Each workforce within the Pacific Division, and all the Western Convention for that matter, must be cowering in concern.
If Connor McDavid can sustain his playoff manufacturing for 82 video games, we might be in for a completely historic season from the Oilers Captain.