Another NHL season is finally upon us. Eight teams will begin the long journey of an 82-game regular season that hopefully ends with a berth in the playoffs in mid-April.
Will the Oilers end their eight-year playoff drought?
We discuss that and more in our annual Oilersnation Prognostications.
As always we welcome your thoughts and predictions in the comments sections, and today we will look at both conferences, Stanley Cup finalists, Maurice Richard trophy winner, the Oilers leading goal scorer and point getter and one bonus question.
Before we begin: The Edmonton Oilers will try to avoid becoming only the second franchise in NHL history to miss the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons. The Florida Panthers hold the dubious honour of missing the postseason ten straight years from 2000/2001 to 2010/2011. It might have been eleven if it wasn’t for the lockout, but the Oilers are only two years away from tying them.
The Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils franchise did miss the playoffs for nine straight seasons, 1979-1982 in Colorado and 1983-1987 in New Jersey, but that was in two different cities with two different fanbases.
The Oilers, and you the fan, do not want to experience another season of losing, but will the suffering end this year?
My eight playoff teams in the West are: Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Anaheim,
Dallas, Colorado, San Jose, Minnesota.
My eight playoff teams in the
East are: Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Tampa Bay, NY Rangers, Columbus, Detroit,
The Oilers will finish 10th in the conference and 20th in the league.
think the Oilers are improved on the wings and should be better in goal, plus
there’s more experience on defense. I’m also very pleased with Craig Ramsay’s
addition and the overall depth. The Oilers have enough question marks (Yakupov, center quality and depth, goaltending) for me to pick them to finish outside the
playoffs in a pretty easy call.
Stanley Cup finalists: St. Louis and
NHL leading goal scorer: Sidney
Oilers Leading point getter:Taylor
Oilers leading goal scorer:Taylor
First NHL coach to be fired: Randy
Same eight playoff teams as last year in the West:
I think the additions on the blueline and depth of some veterans up front no
doubt makes them better. With solid goaltending I find it hard to believe they
could ever start as bad as they did last season.
much differently. I don’t think it’s out of the question (if here all season)
Arcobello or Draisaitl couldn’t chip in with 35-40 points in that role, and can
they really be much worse defensively? Down the middle they are thin in size and
that two-way presence with or without Gagner. While it is a glaring hole,
it was a pretty big hole last year as well, so I will move them up a bit because of that and because they got better in other
wins and 80-84 points. I think Calgary, Winnipeg and Phoenix will be in
their rear view mirror, but they will be short of the 90+ points needed to
get into the dance.
Stanley Cup finalists: Boston vs St
NHL leading goal scorer:Stamkos, 51 goals.
Oilers Leading point getter: Taylor
Hall, 84 points.
Oilers leading goal scorer: Taylor
Hall, 31 goals.
First NHL coach to be fired: Randy
Oilers will finish 10th in the West. Their D is AHL, their toughness is Atom
Tier 8. A full season with better goaltending will bump them up the standings
from last year.
Cup finalists: CHI vs PIT
leading goal scorer: Stamkos
Leading point getter: Hall (P.S I still love you Ebs)
leading goal scorer: Hall (Don’t want to put to much pressure on you Jordan, honey.)
NHL coach to be fired: Hartley
WEST: Chicago, Anaheim, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Jose,
Minnesota, Colorado, Dallas.
EAST: Boston, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Columbus, NY
Rangers, Detroit, Philadelphia.
OILERS: 12th. Barring a trade, I’m not convinced the Oilers are
good enough down the middle to compete and, for me, that takes away from the
improvements they made on the wings, on defence and in goal over the start of
last season. I expect the Vancouver Canucks to bounce back at least a little and
that leaves Winnipeg and Calgary as the only teams I can see the Oilers
finalists: Chicago and Pittsburgh
NHL leading goal
scorer: Alex Oveckin
point getter: Taylor Hall
goal scorer: Taylor Hall
First NHL coach
to be fired: Randy Carlyle.
West: Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Jose, Dallas, Minnesota,
Anaheim and Vancouver.
York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings
after which it gets difficult. Winnipeg has terrible goaltending and a weaker
defence; they should be an attainable target. Nashville will hinge on whether
Pekka Rinne bounces back or not. The Coyotes are somehow always competitive.
Edmonton should finish in the 10-13 range; I’m guessing the lower end of that
My 8 west playoff teams (IN ORDER!) are:
1. LA Kings
East playoff teams: Boston could get through, Pittsburgh could make it, maybe the New York Rangers… at the end of the day, who cares? All roads will lead through the Western Conference and that will be a problem for any Eastern team.
memory, the rest of the Western Conference is still too good. To get into the
playoffs, the Oilers will have to vault six other teams to get there – that’s a
tough order to fill and a lot to expect. Even though the Oilers will be a better,
and much more entertaining, hockey team the Western Conference is just too good
to expect them to make the dance next spring. It pains me to say it, and for the love of Wanye I hope I’m
NHL Leading Scorer: Steven Stamkos
The Oilers will finish ahead of the Flames and the Coyotes. They have improved
but still as ways to go. I am concerned about the inexperience at centre and on
the back end, especially depending on the D corps Eakins goes with. Injuries at either of
those positions could really derail the season.
coach. Vancouver will improve because of Willie Desjardins and getting rid of Torts. The
Jets are just a better team, but not a playoff team.
close. Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Jose, Dallas, Minnesota,
Anaheim and Colorado.
Cup finalists: Tampa – Blues
First NHL Coach to be fired: Paul Maclean
West playoff teams: St.Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, San Jose, Minnesota and Colorado.
East playoff teams: Pittsburgh, Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Columbus, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Washington.
The Oilers will finish 12th in the west. They will improve by 10-15 points, but it won’t be enough to catch the top teams. The Oilers lack of centre depth will hurt them, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will have a great season. Petry will be dealt during the season, because testing free agency at 27 years young is too good of an opportunity for him to pass up.
Cup finalists: St.Louis and Pittsburgh
Maurice Trophy winner: Alex Ovechkin
Oilers leading scorer: Taylor Hall
Oilers leading goal scorer: Jordan Eberle
First coach to be fired: Carlyle is the obvious choice, but my wildcard is Craig Berube.
Carlyle getting canned first, Hall leading the Oilers in scoring, the Oilers missing the playoffs and the same west teams making the playoffs were almost unanimous. It is rare to have the same eight teams in consecutive years, but we all agree there won’t be much change, save for Willis picking Vancouver over Colorado, which likely means one of Nashville or Winnipeg will surprise all of us and make the playoffs.
Who do you like? Will there be any surprises in the west? Can the Oilers shock the Nation?
Let the games begin.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Weekend recap: Marincin to the minors
- Nikita injury opens up roster spot
- Cherish your father
- Tkachev: Realistic expectations
- Monday Musings
- Ramsay talks coaching, defence and the powerplay