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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Want List – Forwards Edition

Connor McDavid wants to score more goals this year. McDavid has been working on his ability to put the puck in the back of the net and gosh darn it I’m going to bet he gets the job done.

Hearing that McDavid wants to improve his ability to finish got me thinking about things that everyone else on the Oilers roster should want for the upcoming season. I’m going to skip over the obvious answer of “playing alongside Connor McDavid”.

DRAISAITL

Leon Draisaitl should want to become the best second line center in the National Hockey League. Let’s be honest, he’s probably a number one center on close to half the teams in the league already, but I’d like to see him silent the small group of doubters that remain. 

NUGENT-HOPKINS

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should want to hit 70 points. Part of me wanted to say 35 goals, another part of me wanted to say a point per game, but I’m pretty sure Nugent-Hopkins would be more than happy with 70 points. If he spends the entire season on McDavid’s wing I’d be surprised if he didn’t reach the mark.

LUCIC

Milan Lucic should want to prove he still belongs. I’m not sure if this means a 45-point campaign or ten ass kickings dished out by mid-season, but he needs to prove he can still serve a purpose.

STROME

Ryan Strome should want one more look in the top six. I know Strome played his best hockey after he settled in on the third line but I’m sure the second year Oiler would love one more chance to prove himself alongside McDavid or Draisaitl.

PULJUJARVI

Jesse Puljujarvi should want to shoot more on the power-play. JP barely saw any time on the first unit PP last season and when he was on the second group he was usually stuck in the middle of the ice. He should want, and needs, to be on the left half wall on the second unit to start the season.

RIEDER

Tobias Rieder should want to play alongside a fellow German. One of the newest Oilers can play either wing and right now there aren’t a lot of better options to play alongside countryman Leon Draisaitl.

RATTIE

Ty Rattie should want a very, very good start. If Rattie isn’t producing at the beginning of the season he may never see the NHL again. If he does it may end up being the beginning of a solid NHL career.

CAGGIULA

Drake Caggiula should want to actually find a role on this club. What does he do well? He needs to determine exactly what that is and focus on it. At this point I’d bet on him being a third line energy guy, but is he capable of that on a nightly basis?

KHAIRA

Jujhar Khaira should want to play every night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if Khaira can prove to the coaching staff that he’s a roster regular the production will come.

KASSIAN

Zack Kassian should want to turn back the clock and won’t need to go back very far to once again find success. The big fella needs to bottle whatever he had going for him in the 2017 playoffs and release it on regular basis this upcoming season. If he can do that he’ll be just fine.

BRODZIAK

Kyle Brodziak should want to fit in immediately. We know Brodziak can center a fourth line and kill penalties but if he wants to also provide some veteran leadership for this club he will have to acclimatize quickly to a team lead by a 21-year old superstar.

ABERG

Pontus Aberg should want one more look on McDavid’s wing. He got the first crack with McDavid and Nuge but completely pissed it away. I’m sure he’s still kicking himself in the ass for blowing that opportunity and would give anything to get a second chance.

YAMAMOTO

Kailer Yamamoto should want to be properly developed in Bakersfield. I know the taste of NHL action he got last year probably leaves him wanting more but Yamamoto should be happy with loads of playing time in the AHL.

UPSHALL

Scottie Upshall should want someone to actually call him Scott. Why in the world are we still calling a 34-year old grown ass man Scottie? At no point has he ever even considered just going with Scott? This should be question number one when he rolls into town for training camp in September. Outside of the name issue, he should also want a spot in the opening night line up. I think he’s capable of earning that spot but I wouldn’t bet on it right now.

ONE MORE THING…

Let’s bring this all the way back to the beginning with a small list of things Connor McDavid should also want this season.

  1. The Art-Ross Trophy
  2. The Rocket Richard Trophy
  3. The Hart Trophy
  4. The Ted Lindsay
  5. A mixtape from Nuge

At this point, a mixtape from Nugent-Hopkins may be the most difficult thing for McDavid to get his hands on this season.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • JudgeDredd

    Let’s bring this all the way back to the beginning with a small list of things Connor McDavid should also want this season.

    1-The Art-Ross Trophy
    2-The Rocket Richard Trophy
    3-The Hart Trophy
    4-The Ted Lindsay
    5-A mixtape from Nuge

    6- The Playoffs
    7- The Stanley cup

  • OriginalPouzar

    McDavid seemingly decided that he wanted to score more goals down the stretch last season.

    He finished the season at 1.34 G/60 at 5 on 5 but, for the last 20 games of the season, he was scoring goals at a rate of 2.15 G/60 and 2.3 G/60 in the last 10 games.

    I remain convinced that, if McDavid wants to win the Rocket Richard, McDavid will win the Rocket Richard.

  • OriginalPouzar

    1) The numbers show that Strome play well with both McDavid and with Drai last year (and both McDavid and Drai had good numbers with Strome). The sample size with McDavid was too small to put any stock in to but I am on board with moving Strome to the wing in the top 6 when the team needs to shorten the bench and load up for a goal or two (unless, of course, Puljujarvi and another, maybe Yamamoto, are establishing themselves as legit top 6 wingers).

    2) In my opinion, Khaira has already established himself as an every day NHL player, he did that last year. Now the question is if he is able to play left wing in the middle 6 and maybe even battle Lucic for the 2LW job.

    • toprightcorner

      I think the failure of young players taking a step last year shows that Khaira needs to prove he can do it again and not fall on his face like half the team did last year. A break out season needs to be followed up with a good start and at minimum an equally solid season.

  • Rama Lama

    And Todd McLelland should want to NOT screw with the lines too much. Todd has a habit of not having his team prepared for the start of the season, too many players still trying their NHL training wheels 10 games into the season, too many line combinations, too much line juggling……..which all leads to nowhere!

    If our Head Coach can be forced out of his comfort zone, just maybe we can be ready for the start of the season.

      • LAKID

        Who will be first Chia or Todd? it looks like Keith is the far superior GM and Todd has really only Yawney to replace him. The Oil have to be a winning team after November or else?

  • TruthHurts98

    No player including Yamamoto should ever WANT to be seasoned in the AHL. His goal is the NHL and if he’s not ready accepting a role in the AHL is great. But I wouldn’t bet against him this year, I think he will come to camp and out play most if not all the right wingers. He has a drive I wish most players on this team had excluding Connor and a few others. Just my opinion, in a perfect world the winger depth cupboard wouldn’t be so barren. Then he would have to fight harder to make it. But beating out Rattie, Aberg etc probably is doable.

    • Lausbube

      Couldn’t agree more, Yamamoto, Poolparty, Rieder and Kassian will take up the four spots on the right winger this season in my opinion. Rattie and Aberg will be in competition (with some others) for that extra forward spot.

      • Moneyball

        Tough to see that. Rattie came in and in 14 games produced 9 points.A small sample size but he showed he can be a good addition to the top line at a bargain price. Puljujarvi has got 28 point in 93 nhl games. Unless your happing with a winger on the top line producing like a 3rd/4th liner i’d Give Rattie a good look on the top 2 lines.

  • Spoils

    We have McDavid on a long contract, so I hope we can be patient and build to the CUP rather than weaken ourselves to fix gaps like the one Sekera creates

    here’s my view 2-3 years out:

    XXX – McDavid – Yamamoto
    Strome – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
    XXX – RNH – XXX
    Lucic – Khaira – Kassian

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Nurse – Bouchard
    XXX – Bear

    Talbot
    XXX

    I like the unicorn three-line attack that worked so well for the Pens. So Strome moves to wing to avoid $9M on the 4th line. Tough as it is to have >$6M on the 4th, I have Lucic OWNING teams from the 4th line (with PP time to offset)… but that will be a contract that hurts.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      2. By that time, Lucic will have 1-2 years left so you can trade him.
      2. Can’t you put Jones with Bear or are both RHD?
      3. I say Skinner would backing up a Talbot and/or taking the starting job

    • McRaj

      The 3 line attack is not possible.

      1. Sid, Geno, and Stall being on 3 lines was way back in 2009.
      2. Sid, Geno, Kessel being on 3 lines can not be compared to Oilers. Had we still had Hall then you could compare. Drai is not Malkin simply because Geno is the most under rated player in the league and on 29 other teams he would be the #1 C. Only on Pitts and Edm would he not be. And who is our Kessel? Nuge def is not. We have no wingers who are proven to be as good and consistent as Hornqvist or Guentzel.

      We need to load up 2 Lines, and just hope the bottom 6 evens out.

  • The Future Never Comes

    If I was Lucic, I would come out first game of the season like a freight train running people over. Maybe start a fight, that shows everyone you mean business and are putting words to action. This would also do him a favor in getting some fans back in his corner coming out of the gate.

    • TKB2677

      The most telling photo is the one where they are standing side by side. Take away the broad shoulders of Lucic and their boy composition doesn’t look a lot different.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    What I want?

    I WANT SOME DAMN RECOGNITION AROUND HERE! I’m sick and tired of GOOD, SOLID players being “forgotten” or “shafted” simply because they play for the Oilers. Leon Draisitl isn’t a top-50 player? Give me a break.

    One bad season after the best season we witnessed in a decade and the NHL is all like “welp, guess nothings changed in Edmonton. Better start pretending that they don’t exist anymore”.

    ARGH!!!!!

  • toprightcorner

    Draisaitl should want just one winger to play solid and shoot his deliciously sweet dishes. If JP can take a solid step forward, Draisaitl will score over 70 pts again, without McDavid at even strength and he can push JP to 20+ goals and 45+ points.