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Oil leak! Year in review


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  PRESEASON OUTLOOK The Oilers were supposed to contend for the Pacific Division and possibly contend for the Stanley Cup. They added Hyman and Keith to shore up glaring weaknesses and help with their run.


FINAL RECORD 49-27-6 104 points 2nd in the Pacific. Beat Kings in 7 games then upset Division winner Calgary before getting swept out of the playoffs by the Avalanche.


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR Finally winning a playoff series under the McDavid/Draisatl crew was a huge upside that is for sure. Regular season after getting curb stomped 6-0 by the Panthers on January 20th they were at 18-16-2 in 5th place in the Division behind Calgary and all three California clubs.  They went on a streak, going 5-0-1 with convincing wins over Calgary and Nashville along the way. After a couple of losses they won five more in a row as Mike Smithplayed his best hockey and newly added Evander Kane proved to be the final piece. After signing Kane in fact, the Oilers went 29-12-2. 


LOW POINT OF THE YEAR They had actually started red hot (16-5-0) but an ugly six game losing streak with five of the losses at home ruined the hot start, then after winning two they lost 7 in a row (0-5-2 during that stretch which led to signing Kane out of desperation which worked remarkably. before signing him they had went 2-10-2.


  To me tho, the low point of the year was game 1 of the conference finals when with seconds to go in the first and the game tied Makar scored on a breakaway to make it 3-2. Coach Jay Woodcroft chalenged that it was offsides  and lost giving the 'Lanche a power play to start the second which they converted for a 4-2 leadthat Edmonton could not overcome in an eventual 8-6 drubbing. I thought then and think now that the lost challenge and eventual power play goal that ensued was the number one thing that led to the eventual sweep in the conference finals ending the Oilers season.


WHAT WENT RIGHT McDavid is up for another Hart after another brillliant year. Yawn, Draisatl had 50 goals and played flawless hockey again like punching a clock. Hyman was exactly as advertised after coming over from Toronto. Kane overcame his nightmare offseason to have a brilliant year including a club leading 13 playoff goals. RNH had 50 points in 63 games. Evan Bouchard developed and is now the leader of the blueline. Nurse saw his offense slip a bit but his overall game has rounded out, score or not he is a force. Yamamoto quietly had 20 goals. Puljujarvi showed flashes of becoming the player they were hoping for on draft day. Cody Ceci was a solid second pair blueliner. Foegele, Ryan and Mcleod contributed nice secondary scoring. Koskinen in spite of a poor goals against managed to go 27-12-4.Smith missed a lot of time but was good when in the game, Skinner for his first long look and did a good job. They won not one but two playoff series.


WHAT WENT WRONG They won the two series then Smith was shelled four times in a row against Colorado to offset what was a pretty good year. Tyson Barrie went from leading all defenseman in scoring a year ago to having a very average at best season. Keith as a poor fit and didnt contribute much. Oscar Klefbom missed the entire year and his career is very much in doubt. Zach Kassian looked a shell of his former self as did Kris Russell. Kyle Turris and Derrick Brassard were given every chance to center the third line and both failed badly.Broberg and Niemelainen were given a chance to take hold of defensive spots and neither did much with their chances. The defense never developed a rotation and cohesion all year due to injuries and asking too much from young players. Tyler Benson did absolutely nothing to prove he is an nhler in a 29 game trial.


FREE AGENTS AND DRAFT PICKS Draft picks, they still own their first but traded off their second, third and fourth so they better hit on their only pick in the top 150. 

  Free agents, up against the cap, Kane must be made a serious offer although he said he is not sure he wants to return to Edmonton. Koskinen will not be back in net, servicable guys like Sceviour and Archibald and Brassard wont be back either. Cap space is an issue and Bouchard will expect to get paid after his breakout year.and running the 


TOP PROSPECTS I LOVE Broberg and really like Niemelainen both of whom should stick possibly as the second pairing on defense next year. Niemelainen needs to gain at least 20 pounds of muscle, he is 6 foot 6 but 190 pounds and if he bulks up could be a nice nasty add for the middle pairing. If they can handle that role it would be Nurse/Bouchard then the kid pair with Barrie hidden on the third pair and running the second power play unit. The defense could be a strength if both kids come through. Dylan Holloway missed most of the year with wrist surgery but is expected to step into a scoring role in the middle six next year. Stuart Skinner will get lots of starts next year in net and didnt embarrass himself this year. A lot of people are high on Tyler Benson, I just dont see it. I think he is a 13th forward on his best day of his life, nothing more. But still, between the two kids on the back end, Holloway and Skinner the Oil have four kids who can and will step in next season.


 STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR The Oilers led the league in short handed goals with 12, this was a team effort, not just one guy as a whopping 14 players contributed short handed points. 

  They were poor in comebacks. Of the 16 teams that made the playoffs they led them with 20 losses when down after the first with 20, only one other team (Nashville) had more than 14 . 


OFFSEASON OUTLOOK  Two huge decisions loom, can they/will they resign Evander Kane who was everything they could have hoped for and more after signing near the halfway point as the team was foundering. He would eat the rest of the cap space and they would need to see if they can work something out with him. The other huge decision is what to do in net. Koskinen is gone, Skinner is a B minus or C plus prospect and Smith is old and had a goals against of nearly five and a half in the embarrassing sweep against Colorado. Can they fix the net? If not, they are a solid but fatally flawed team because this combo they have in net will never, ever make the Cap finals. They came as close as they ever will with them and still wer swept in the Western finals.

Edited by yave1964
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