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2017-2018 NHL Preview: Edmonton Oilers

Ryan Strome will be a big help to the up and coming Oilers.

Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Thirty-first up are the Edmonton Oilers. Two things I’ve learned, when you make bold predictions like this - it always come back to bite you and the Edmonton Oilers have a recent history of failures (wait, can I back track this pick?). The Oilers have used their 4 number 1 overall picks over the past 8 years to little avail. They made the playoffs just once in their last 11 seasons. last year was different as they made a strong push beating the defending Western Conference Champion Sharks in the first round before succumbing to the Ducks in game 7 of round 2.

Basic Stats:2016-2017 NHL Standings: 8th

Western Conference Standings: 4th

Pacific Division Standings: 2nd

Goals for Rank: 8th

Goals against Rank: 8th

Overview: Edmonton Oilers. I did a little homework on this one – Sidney Crosby’s Penguins were 1st in the Atlantic with 102 points finishing 4th in the NHL in Sidney’s 3rd year and I would argue that Connor McDavid has more help defensively then Sid did (although I think Sidney had more help offensively). What he has done in his first “2” seasons has been well ahead of any anticipated possibilities. Offensively they finished 8th last season and now Jordan Eberle is out and Ryan Strome is in, I’ve been outspoken on my bullish beliefs in Ryan Strome especially if he gets top line minutes with Connor McDavid. They locked down Leon Draistl and I’ll admit I’m not 100% sold on his abilities long term (i think he is a beneficiary of being woth Connor) but he has shown plus/plus talent thus far. The offense is diverse and deep. Want playmakers – go with Connor McDavid, Jesse Puljujarvi and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Want some muscle? Patrick Maroon, Milan Lucic and Jussi Jokinen have your back. Want pure scoring abilities? Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Strome have elite shots. Want solid two way play and shut down abilities? Drake Caggiula and Mark Letestu are gritty PK players who you can match against opposing first lines. Defensively they added Adam Larsson last year to bolster a defense that includes Oskar Klefbom, Kris Russell and Matt Benning. The four of them were a combined plus +40 last year while injured Andrej Sekera just adds to the depth. This team is the 5th youngest in the league and on the rise in terms of maturing talent (Drak Caggiula, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Strome, Jessee Puljujarvi, Matthew Benning, Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson are all under 25). I would argue their biggest question mark comes in net with Cam Talbot who had 42 wins last year (1st in the NHL) with a 2.39 GAA (12th in the NHL); .919 sv % (12th in the NHL). The previous year he had 21 wins (25th in the NHL); 2.55 GAA (24th in the NHL) with a .917sv % (23rd in the NHL). Part of this equation was that Edmonton was the 8th lowest team in shots against last year vs. the 25th worst in 2015-2016. I have to imagine Connor’s impact carries this team more than any other player in the league (no offense Sidney). His talent is evident in the huge success vs. dismal struggle when he is present vs. not. (Career with Edmonton - 38% win percentage without him vs. 50% win percentage with him)

Major Additions: Ryan Strome and Jussi Jokinen

Major Subtractions: Jordan Eberle and Tyler Pitlick

Prospects and Picks:

- Jesse Puljujarvi slipped past Columbus last year in the NHL entry draft at pick 3 right into the Oilers lap and they were all too glad to take him at number 4. He scored 8 points in his first 28 games including just 3 points in his first 14 games before producing efficiently through November and December. He spent the remainder of the season in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors where he had 28 points in 39 games. He will rejoin the squad ready to succeed in year 2.

- Kailer Yamamoto. Taken 22nd overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, Kailer has a lot going for him, he reads the ice well seeing plays develop and moving the puck into open areas, he is deceptively quick and able to elude defenders but he is also small and much more of a pure passer than a scorer. Being 18 and of small stature, he probably has at least 2 years before he is cracking the Oilers lineup.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

Ryan Strome. See: any person who is on Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane or Connor McDavid’s line will see a 10+ point inflation in production. He had 30 points last year but during his OHL years he showed 100+ point capabilities. I keep waiting for him to become a 60+ point player and I think he can be that on Connor’s line. BIG SLEEPER HERE if no one in your league is paying attention.

-Oscar Klefbom. 13th in the league in power play assists last year, Oscar won’t have the flashiest plus minus but he can be a sneaky power play producer as he sits on the top PP line and is very disciplined with only 6PIM meaning he’s available for good minutes.

Cap Situation:

They currently have around $8.3MM with 24 players signed.

Projected finish:

2017-2018 NHL Standings: 2nd

Western Conference Standings: 1st

Pacific Division: 2nd

NHL 2nd: Pittsburgh Penguins (Eastern Conference 1st; Metropolitan Division 1st)

NHL 3rd: Columbus Blue Jackets (Eastern Conference 2nd; Metropolitan Division 2nd)

NHL 4th: Minnesota Wild (Western Conference 2nd; Central Division 1st)

NHL 5th: Washington Capitals (Eastern Conference 3rd; Metropolitan Division 3rd)

NHL 6th: Nashville Predators (Western Conference 3rd; Central Division 2nd)

NHL 7th: Toronto Maple Leafs (Eastern Conference 4th; Atlantic Division 1st)

NHL 8th: Chicago Blackhawks (Western Conference 4th; Central Division 3rd)

NHL 9th: Tampa Bay Lightning (Eastern Conference 5th; Atlantic Division 2nd)

NHL 10th: Anaheim Ducks (Western Conference 5th; Pacific Division 2nd)

NHL 11th: Ottawa Senators (Eastern Conference 6th; Atlantic Division 3rd)

NHL 12th: Montreal Canadiens (Eastern Conference 7th; Atlantic Division 4th)

NHL 13th: New York Rangers (Eastern Conference 8th; Metropolitan Division 4th)

NHL 14th: Calgary Hurricanes (Western Conference 6th; Pacific Division 3rd)

NHL 15th: Carolina Hurricanes (Eastern Conference 9th; Metropolitan Division 5th)

NHL 16th: San Jose Sharks (Western Conference 7th; Pacific Division 4th)

NHL 17th: Dallas Stars (Western Conference 8th; Central Division 4th)

NHL 18th: Philadelphia Flyers (Eastern Conference 10th; Metropolitan Division 6th)

NHL 19th: Winnipeg Jets (Western Conference 9th; Central Division 5th)

NHL 20th: St. Louis Blues (Western Conference 10th; Central Division 6th)

NHL 21st: Boston Bruins (Eastern Conference 11th; Atlantic Division 5th)

NHL 22nd: Buffalo Sabres (Eastern Conference 12th; Atlantic Division 6th)

NHL 23rd: Arizona Coyotes (Western Conference 11th; Pacific Division 5th)

NHL 24th: Los Angeles Kings (Western Conference 12th; Pacific Division 6th)

NHL 25th: New Jersey Devils (Eastern Conference 13th; Metropolitan Division 7th)

NHL 26th: Detroit Red Wings (Eastern Conference 14th; Atlantic Division 7th)

NHL 27th: New York Islanders (Eastern Conference 15th; Metropolitan Division 8th)

NHL 28th: Vancouver Canucks (Western Conference 13th; Pacific Division 7th)

NHL 29th: Florida Panthers (Eastern Conference 16th; Atlantic Division 8th)

NHL 30th: Las Vegas Golden Knights (Western Conference 14th; Pacific Division 8th)

NHL 31st: Colorado Avalanche (Western Conference 15th; Central Division 7th)