It’s time for another round of the hottest damn takes you are going to find on both the Oilers and the rest of the National Hockey League. Happy end of February everyone!
20 GOAL SAM
Let’s start with something that many of you may find ridiculous. Sam Gagner will score 20 goals for the first time in his career at the age of 30 with the Oilers. Gagner has come close to the 20-goal mark twice in his career. He buried 18 with the Oilers in 11-12 and actually hit the 18-mark again just two seasons ago with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In order for Gagner to hit the 20-goal mark he will need to see power-play time on the top unit and at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.
CONNOR, PART TWO
The Oilers will finally find a shooter for Connor McDavid and it turns out it’s a dude with the same damn name. I don’t think the Oilers were just randomly linked to Brown prior to the deadline. You have to think McDavid may have suggested that the organization at least explore the idea of acquiring the former Barrie Colt. The Oilers coaching and management group think very highly of McDavid’s hockey IQ and if he thinks Brown will help, they would likely continue to pursue him.
The good news for the Oilers is that the Leafs may be in a position to move Brown at a reasonable price in the off-season. When given an opportunity to play with Auston Matthews in 16-17 he found a way to score 20.
So maybe it could work out, or maybe he’ll be on Brodziak’s line by the middle of November. That’s why it’s so exciting. Connor Brown starts next season in the Oilers top six, even if he’s not really a top six forward.
DRAISIATL SCORES 50, THEN NEVER HITS 40 AGAIN
Leon Draisaitl is absolutely on fire right now. I’m going to say he scores 50 just because I want to have a lot of fun with a 50 Watch hashtag. Any suggestions for an official hashtag for Draisaitl’s 50 Watch? #50watch seems way to simple and lame. Leave your suggestions in the comment section and I’ll make it a thing here on with the Nation and on The Nielson Show.
After scoring 50 this year Draisaitl will never hit 40 again. The big German’s shooting percentage is currently at 22.4%. Brayden Point and Elias Pettersson are the only players in the league who have played at least 50 games and have a better shooting percentage than Draisaitl.
If the Oilers eventually find some help on the wings I can see Draisaitl “settling in” as a 30-35 goal guy with 50-55 assists on the side.
THE FIRST ROUNDER
Unless the Oilers end up drafting first or second overall, I’m going to be all in on moving the pick for immediate help on the wing. A pick in the 3-10 range should be able to land the Oilers a top-six forward that is under control moving forward.
The Oilers need an impact winger who can help right now, not in three years. If you were ever going to move a top ten pick this is the year.
THE BLUELINE IS JUST FINE
When the Oilers blueline is healthy I actually don’t mind it. I don’t love the cap hit for Sekera but he is certainly an important piece. If the Oilers begin next season with healthy versions of Klefbom, Larsson, Sekera and Nurse as their top four I wouldn’t hate it. I certainly wouldn’t be a fan of $4,100,000 for Kris Russell on a third pair.
I’m sure there will be much discussion this off-season about adding an offensive right shot d-man but I would be hesitant to pull the trigger on a major deal with Bouchard coming long term.
I don’t know who the new GM will be or how he will pull it off but I’m going to say right now one of Russell or Lucic will be moved in the off-season.
JETS BLOW IT
The Jets gave up too much for Kevin Hayes and he isn’t going to be the piece that puts them over the top. You want to give up a 1st round pick for Hayes, I kind of get it, but I still wouldn’t love it. The Jets then also tossed in a 22-year old that will have a long career in the NHL, even if it’s in a bottom six role.
The Jets are paying Bryan Little 5.2 million for the next five years, if you feel the need to bring in a better 2nd line centre at the deadline every year you probably shouldn’t have signed him to that deal.
Cam Atkinson is the most underrated offensive player in the NHL. All the talk in Columbus has been about Panarin and then Bobrovsky and then Duchene and then Dzingel but nobody ever talks about Atkinson.
The pint-sized winger has already tied his career high in goals with 35 this season. He had 35 goals two years ago as well and has scored at least 20 goals in every full season of his career. He had 24 goals in 65 games last season which pro-rates to a 30-goal campaign. The Jackets have him locked up long-term at less than six million, nice. #CAMSANITY
It’s a shame everyone else is leaving.
STANLEY CUP PREDATORS
The Predators will win a Stanley Cup in the next 18 months. I’m not sure if it’s going to be this season or next season but I’m willing to bet the Preds are crowned champs sooner rather later.
The entire core of this team will be back next season and they have already come close to getting the job done once. Granlund will be an excellent top six pick up and next year they will likely be adding Eeli Tolvanen to the mix as well.
JERK STORE NEEDS A GOALIE
The Carolina Hurricanes are just a goaltender away from being a legit contender in the East. Curtis McElhinney has done a really nice job for the Hurricanes this season but if they are going to take the next step, they will need to find a true number one in the off-season. I’m just not sure who it is. The NHL isn’t flush with difference making goaltenders right now.
I’ve given you my takes, time to leave yours below.