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Crystal Ball: Five Predictions for the Fall

I think we have the Oilers fall roster surrounded. The club is at 50 contracts (two slide rules, so a little wiggle room) and if we are honest most of the roster is probably in place. Things change. A year ago, Griffin Reinhart was going to have to play his way off the team (he did) and Kris Russell was looking for a long-term deal (he did not find it). The camp roster for 2016 is here, and contains names like Nail Yakupov, Kris Versteeg, Ryan Vesce and Jonas Gustavsson.

At this time of year, we stare at the 50-man list, put together lines and pairings, and make sweeping statements. I know I do. In the spirit of this point in the offseason, here are five sweeping statements that you may or may not agree with at this time.

  1. Kailer Yamamoto stays WAY later in training camp than expected. He is very small and really young, so the Oilers might send him out before NHL pre-season games. If he gets a sliver of a chance, I suspect the skill will shine through. Could Yamamoto hang around for some actual NHL games? Seems a distant bell, but this guy has ridiculous puck skills and the Oilers are famous for giving youngsters lots of playing time in exhibition games.
  2. Yohann Auvitu makes the opening night roster, and plays more games than Eric Gryba, Mark Fayne or Ryan Stanton. Edmonton has a mobility problem across the roster, and Auvitu helps the speed in a big way. I can’t figure out the best pairing setup with Auvitu in the lineup, but that’s what training camp is for each season. I think this fellow has too much skill to be denied (by the group above).
  3. Milan Lucic will improve markedly in 5×5/60 scoring. Lucic’s 5×5 number plummeted from 2.04/60 with the Los Angeles Kings in 2015-16 to 1.22/60 with the Oilers. Patrick Maroon grabbed the marquee job on LW and only substantial power-play time saved the Lucic boxcars. I imagine he feels challenged and we should see better results.
  4. Oscar Klefbom scores more than 15 goals and exceeds 45 points. With Andrej Sekera missing and Auvitu not a sure thing for the roster, the Oilers are going to give Klefbom major minutes on the 5×4. The more chances he gets to unleash the howitzer, the more goals he scores. Martin Jones still hasn’t seen that shot in Game 5.
  5. Cam Talbot plays 70 games again. I know the plan is to use Laurent Brossoit more, and the Oilers like Nick Ellis. It’s easy to talk about giving Cam Talbot a rest in July, but what about during the regular season? If the Oilers are in a race from wire to wire with a combination of teams from Calgary to California, how many L’s does Todd McLellan risk on the season’s journey by playing the backup? A 90-point season that follows up a 103-point season is noxious for a coach trying to push successful results.
    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I feel Strome will indeed surprise. “Will he fill all those points lost with Eberle?” I do not feel that is the real question as it should be “will he be better defensively and improve on his previous points as well leaving the Oilers with a net gain?”

  • Kale

    Yamamoto will definitely play in at least the split squad games against Calgary. And if Vladdy Tkachev can play in the pre-season I don’t see why Yammy can’t.

  • SRELIOFAN

    For the love of Gord I hope Yamamoto stays at camp for 1 maybe 2 preseason games MAX. I agree with Gregor on this one. The Oilers coaching staff can’t get any silly ideas about letting him play in the regular season. No matter how good he looks. Let him marinate in the WHL for a year and then the AHL for another year. Don’t rush him like they did with Puljujarvi and Draisaitl.

    And we wonder why the Oilers have never had a rookie win the Calder. I think Yamamoto can do it if they’re patient.

  • teammate michael

    Conner McDavid scores 45 goals and gets 80 assists. Kailer Yamamoto knocks everyones socks off and is the opening night RW with 97. JP is on the 3rd line with Cags and JJ. RNH scores 25 goals and gets 65pts playing RW with LD and ML
    Nurse has a break out season. Plus 23 with 10 goals and 16 assists. Benning 7 goals and 14 assists. Lastly Talbot wins 48 games

  • Hockeyfan

    1 – Mcd hurt for 20 to 30 games.
    2 – Drai fails to carry his own line at 9 mil a year.
    3 – Talbot misses min 10 games and struggles to post a .918 avg.
    4 – nugget and lucic blow chunks all year.
    5 – coilers fail to make playoffs, 10th in west.

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        I suspect it is so you will respond and heat up the rivalry a bit more. He has no real value in what he brings to the conversation, just trash talking. From my perspective it is quite humorous though as he seems to need to make quite a list in order for the Flames to beat the Oilers. In reality it is quite a compliment kind of like stating that “Its a no brainer who has the better team so you Hockey gods better listen up and do all this so the Flames have a chance!”

    • Hockeyfan

      pullithard makes team, eats a yearand gets sent down again, even with all the plugs on the coilers. Dcore shows ineptitude, especially russell and klef.

      • TruthHurts98

        Hey lil kid, what was your record in the 8 games that all Flamer fans wanted to win so badly last year?? 4 against the better Oilers and 4 in the playoffs. I’ll answer for you: ZERO. Not much will change this year.

      • The last dynasty

        There was a joke going around this summer, did you hear it?
        – Knock knock, Flames fan.
        – Whose there?
        – Owen.
        – Owen who?
        – 0 and 4! Suckaaaaaaaaa!

      • Freddie the fog

        The insecurities of Flames fans make me laugh. What are the opening odds on Calgary winning a cup …i just saw it on a sports channel…50 /1 ? I believe the Oilers are in at 10/1 which is 2nd best in the league. And hey…good luck with that arena situation down there. And many thanks to the designers of that dump Flames fans call home. Calgary was bypassed so many times by big name music artists because their roof in the saddledome is too low to support a lot of the rigging that bands require for their elaborate stage shows. Thankfully our old barn and now our new palace can support those kinds of operations.

        • chickenStew

          Imagine how much revenue and how many enjoyable events were lost, all because someone thought it would be “cool” to have a building shaped like a saddle. You know, that thing a cowboy parks his sweaty ass on?

    • ATL Oiler

      Shouldn’t you be focusing on the best defense in the league yet you find time to visit OilersNation!! Youre pathetic and find myself being even worse responding your BS. See you Oct 4th ahole!!

    • Tombstone

      Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
      Never gonna run around and desert you
      Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
      Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you…

  • Derian Hatcher

    1) Incompetent referees, such as Dan O’Halloran continue to infuse themselves into games through brutal inconsistency, pathetic calls (or non-calls) and grandstanding gestures. “Notice me, Notice me – I have a whistle and I’m wearing stripes”

    2) Connor continues to bring me off the couch at least once per game as I squeal with delight when he jets down the ice (and my wife shakes her head with disgust at my unabashed glee).

    3) My wife reminds me that Drew Remenda cannot hear be through the TV as I rant and rave about his many silly comments.

  • OriginalPouzar

    1) I’d be surprised if they didn’t give Yakamoto at least one pre-season game and my guess is he shows well against weak competition. I don’t imagine he gets any regular season games and, if he does, it likely means JP (among others) did not have a good camp.

    2) I think they signed this guy to play – the drawback I see is it likely moves Russell over to the right side and I was looking forward to him moving the puck a bit more efficiently from his natural side.

    3) Pretty safe bet here – his 5 X 5 production was just abysmal and he’s got a decade’s worth of work that points to it coming back

    4) 45 points seems a bit aggressive to me but, if he continues to use that shot at every opportunity, he’ll put up some numbers. Key is health – can he stay healthy again?

    5) You could be right – easy schedule early but with Reggie out I fear a slow start – I don’t imagine the boys will have any breathing room at any point of the season.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Oilers finish first in their division…McDavid wins a second scoring title…the entire team has a career year.
    Oilers go to the Stanley cup final against the Leafs…and win in 7 games

  • Serious Gord

    1. The oil roster regresses to the mean with injuries – players on the top six Fwds and the top four D miss significant time.

    2. Players who had career years last season won’t do as well this season.

    3. Talbot will not be able to play as great for 70 games or will play much less than 70 – pick one

    4. RNH or Lucic will not bounce back.

    5. The oil will barely miss the playoffs.

  • Freddie the fog

    Lowetide why do you hate Cam Talbot ? Good grief i don’t think anyone wants to see him play that much again this year ( yourself included). The back up job was/is a real concern for me . And based on LB’s deployment late in the season , im not so sure the coach is 100% confident that LB is ready for the job.

  • Consultant

    Agree on Auvitu, makes roster and plays 70 games.
    Puljujarvi gets 19 goals, plays 3rd line minutes, solidifies roster spot. Scores a couple big goals in playoffs.
    LB gets 20 games.

    Oilers will have seven 20 goals scorers:
    McDavid gets 112 points (41 goals).
    Nuge second in points with 69 (26 goals).
    Leon misses 22 games due to injury, people blame him being 4 days late to training camp due to contract impasse, he ends up with 25 goals, 68 points in 60 games.
    Lucic gets 27 goals, Slepyshev surprises and gets 25, Maroon 21, Strome gets 20.
    Flames miss playoffs, go into draft in shambles with just 4th, 6th and 7th rounders.
    Oilers beat Toronto in 5 games, game 5 in T.O. McDavid with 3 points in final game, a 4-2 win with 4th being a Letestu empty netter with 1:06 to go.

  • 1979

    I think Aiuvitu and Gryba are your 6/7 defensemen and playing time will depend on: 1. How they are playing 2. Who they are playing. 3. How Nurse/Benning are playing. When Auivita plays Nurse will be second pair with Russell.

  • Time to Ride

    I agree that Auvito might challenge for a spot. I checked out his numbers from the WHC and he was among the leaders in plus/minus and was one of the top scoring defensemen. Apparently he played a key role on a surprisingly strong French squad. Let’s hope he fills the hole that Sekera leaves.

    • Jason Gregor

      Asking a lot for a player who only played 25 games in NJ, a non playoff team last year without a very deep D core. Right now I see Auvitu as battling for #7. I don’t see any reason why he would slot in ahead of Russell, Benning or Nurse and be in the top four. He is a fantastic skater, which will help, but his competitiveness needs to increase.

  • madjam

    Unlike Calgary , which has a poor pool of RWingers to choose from , the Oilers RW vacancy created by the Eberle trade should be adequately filled with many/over abundance of Centers being right shots . Filling the RW positions should be Draisaitl , Puljujarvi , Strome , Slepyshev , Pakarinen or Kassian . The biggest battle will be for the top 2 RW positions to start in the fall . I feel Draisaitl will remain as the top RW with Connor – why break up a dynamic duo ? Strome will probably start as second line RW unless Puljujarvi overly impresses . Seems like at least one newbie will impress and make team opening night , and that could be a forward or perhaps a defenseman to help aid while Sekara gets better . Whom might that darkhorse or two be this year , as Chia has really changed the looks and players on this years AHL club ? Sounds like many battles for “up for grabs” positions . How many at rookie camp might make it to main camp ?

  • JimmyV1965

    Although I like the Auvito signing, I really doubt he makes the team. He’s not young anymore and the Devils didn’t want him back so that says something. He was also benched in the Calder Cup.

  • Tombstone

    1. Ethan Bear makes his debut
    2.LB emerges as a solid back-up goalie.
    3. RNH-JP combo becomes a thing
    4. Nurse and Benning emerge as Top 4 D
    5. Oilers make significant trades at the deadline trading a 2nd and 3rd round picks+ conditional for the Sedin twins.

  • ponokanocker

    1. I actually expect him to stay late in camp so if he doesn’t, it will be a surprise. Opening night roster would be a surprise.
    2. Agree on this D. I think he plays top 4 most of the year as I think other injuries will happen.
    3. I think we’ll see improvement, but not a lot. I think it will be RNH that will see more improvement.
    4. Too high for Oscar.
    5.

  • nuge2drai

    Drai moves to the second line and scores 60 points.

    Nuge moves to McDavids wing and finishes top 10 in scoring.

    Oilersnation turns on Drai because he was not signed on a bridge deal.

    Nurse has a breakout season, coming Into camp 10 pounds heavier than the year before.

    Strome and Puljujarvi both score 40-50 points.

    Lucic improves 5×5 simply because Eberle is not on his line.

    Talbot wins the Vezina.

    McDavid wins the Art Ross, Hart and Conn Smyth.

    Oilers win the Stanley cup.

    Oiler Domination To Follow