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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- The Art-Ross Trophy
- The Rocket Richard Trophy
- The Hart Trophy
- The Ted Lindsay
- 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:
- Jesse Puljujarvi: The 26 Goal Man
- The Nielson Ratings (Part 2) – An Offseason Review
- 22 Points for Lucic?
- August Hot Takes
- The Fringe Five
- 20 in 20: A Line Combination Extravaganza Part 4