Ten way too early predictions

It’s the end of July, time to stop reviewing last year and looking forward to next year. IT’S PREDICTION SEASON. For your enjoyment, here are ten way too early predictions for the Oilers 2019-2020 season.

1. 45 Goals For 97

It’s not a sexy 50 goal projection but 45 is a number McDavid hasn’t been able to track down just yet. He scored 41 goals in 17-18 with a shooting percentage of 15% while taking 274 shots on goals. Last year he missed four games but once again hit the 41-goal mark while shooting 17.1% on 240 attempts. If you split his last two seasons and project him to shoot at 16% in 19-20 he would need to take about 280 shots to score 45 goals, that’s certainly not a reach. Just for fun, he would need 313 shots to score 50 if he shoots 16%. For comparison’s sake, Draisaitl shot 21.6% during last years 50 goal campaign attempting just 231 shots along the way.

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2. Klefbom Sets A Career High

IF Klefbom stays healthy this should be a prediction he can live up to as his career-high currently sits at 38 points. I know that’s a major IF, after all, Klefbom has played more than 66 games just once in his career. If he can play 75 games it’s not unreasonable to think he could hit 40. Those totals obviously would require him to be the primary point man on the Oilers top power-play unit, a title I think he will hold for at least the first half of the season.

3. Nygard Scores 15 goals

There should be an offensive opportunity for one or two of the guys Ken Holland took a flier on this summer and I’m betting Nygard will be the guy. He has one of the most important tools needed to provide offense in today’s NHL, speed. Will he crack the second line with Nuge and Neal? Will get some power-play time on the second unit? If he ends up getting time in either of those situations 15 goals isn’t unreasonable.

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4. A D-Man Will Be Moved

At some point between the beginning of August and the beginning of January, the Oilers will trade a veteran defenseman. The odds on favourites to be moved are Russell or Benning with Darnell Nurse being a wild card. The only reason I’m even suggesting that Nurse could possibly be traded is because of the changes in management. It’s highly unlikely but I guess there could be a chance that  Holland evaluates his blueline in the first half of the year and makes Nurse available, as I said, a wildcard.

5. Mike Smith Plays 50 Games

I’m not sure if this will end up happening because he is playing very well or simply due to the fact that Dave Tippett is familiar, and possibly, comfortable with him. Smith played 55 games in two of the past three seasons.

6. Tyler Benson Finishes The Year In The Top Six

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I’d be pretty damn surprised if Benson isn’t a full time Oiler by the three-quarter mark of the season. An injury in the top six could give him the opportunity he needs to stick around full-time or he could be a third line call up after some impressive play in the AHL. I know a few folks who thinks he could take a run at the top six in camp, I’m not sure I’m ready to go there just yet.

7. Kassian Fights Lucic

You have to think at some point an Oiler will drop the gloves with Lucic, I’m putting my money on Kassian. Even in a league where fighting is dying you could probably sell pay-per-view tickets to this tilt. Kassian has fought former Oilers in the past, in March he dropped the gloves with Maroon.

8. Evan Bouchard Scores Five Goals In The Final 20 Games

There is a chance that Bouchard makes the Oilers out of camp but I see a mid-season call up being in the cards. There are usually one or two players who play well down the stretch and get the hype train going in full force heading into the off-season, Bouchard will be that guy. I’m going to say that Bouchard is getting power-play time with the Oilers for the final 20 games of the season and fires home five bullets from the point.

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9. Puljujarvi Starts The Year In Edmonton

Let me start by saying I’m not going to pretend to have any inside info on Puljujarvi, I’ll leave that up to other folks in the city. The Oilers made changes to management and the coaching staff and according to JP’s agent Markus Lehto that wasn’t enough to change his mind about Edmonton. What about moving Lucic out? Could Puljujarvi now have a “change of heart” and be willing to give it another go? I could see Holland convincing Puljujarvi that he’ll be easier to trade if he’s playing in the NHL as opposed to Europe.

10. The Gaetan Haas Goal Song Goes Viral

I really hope Gaetan Haas makes the Oilers out of camp. Many people have been texting into the “SMASH HIT NIELSON SHOW” on TSN 1260 and suggesting his goal song should be a parody of Du Hast but I refuse to give into the masses. The Haas goal song will be a remake of Nelly’s “It’s Getting Hot In Here.” I”m giving you fair warning now, it will be awesome.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Reider was fast… Let’s hope Nygard has a shot to go with his speed?
    I think Archibald will be the biggest new asset, just based on his experience and a chance for a new beginning…
    Either way, I’m excited.

  • Gary Chalmers

    Nurse is untouchable, Benning or Russell, maybe both, will be moved, you trade a Nurse, you regret it instantly. Klefbom, Larsson and Nurse is you core on the back end. Some of the guys in the minor’s will make Russell and Benning movable.

    • Abagofpucks

      In my world nurse is one of my untouchable players, He keeps trending up by all stats. I don’t know how long Russell and Benning will be here, but my guess is their not here in 2 years anyways.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      This must be one of the Serious “I haven’t been wrong about anything in 18 years” Gord with another one of his many insights into everything Oiler. The Value Village site I am sure could use some of your brilliant insights into everything hockey, you should go their and pump the tires with how they will win a cup and johnny whathisname will get 180 points… but nah, we all know you just couldnt stop posting here trolling away…hey!

  • Bond 0097

    Tyler Benson is going to be the hometown boy that makes good on all of our hopes. He is going to make the team, he is going to play in the top 6 and if he stays healthy he is going to be in the running for rookie of the year. That’s a feel good story I think we can ALL get behind and cheer for

  • norm

    Benson makes oilers;3rd line . Hits awesome passes nobody finishes then is put on kid line final 40 games finished 12 g 22 assists for 34 points in 55 games😜

  • chezzychez

    Can we add in another prediction…
    Neal gets 25 goals, we gift wrap our 3rd round pick to Calgary and a year from now this trade is cemented as one of the funniest trades of the last decade.

  • Kevwan

    Good article and definitely a conversation starter.

    I don’t see Nygard as a 15 goal scorer this year- he has to transition both to the NA lifestyle and a more physical league. .

    Koskinen plays 50 games. He’s made the transition from Europe last year and should be comfortable.

    Lucic will NOT fight an Oiler. All those spirited games against LA the last 3 years and zero fights. He never fought a Bruin after leaving. Besides the Oilers know better than anyone to leave Milan alone to sleepwalk through a game.

    Bouchard makes the team out of camp. Jones starts in Bakersfield but called up before Christmas after Russell is traded. Bouchard plays a sheltered 15:00/gm and 1st PP . He ends up with 45 pts.

    Puljujarvi will score 20+ goals and play all year in Edmonton. He will be traded at the ’20 draft for a mid 1st rd pick.

  • OilCan2

    I LOVE glass almost full articles. With even a few of these prognostications coming to fruition it could be a VERY entertaining season. The defense is looking awesome and the only way someone like Benning or Russell gets moved is if 1) Ken fleeces someone or 2) if Pearson or Bouchard go super nova in camp & pre season. Nygaard & Benson are my two favourites for secondary scoring and they are going to get a run for the money by JP and Neal. I have not felt this good about the Oilers since watching Nuge and Drai get hat tricks in the same game.

  • I’m a big believer in the goal differential stat. If you look at the teams that made the playoffs last year they all had a + in the goal differential stat. All the teams that missed has a negative GD. Gee score more than you get scored on and viola you’re pretty much in the playoffs…. The Oilers were -42 in goal differential last year. So they need to make up that difference by either adding or subtracting about 50 goals or a combination of those two factors in some form. If Nygard comes in and scores 15 (replacing blame Reider’s zero goals), and Neal Scores 20 (an increase of 13 over Lucic’s 7 from last year) that is adding 28 goals right there. Add another +10 from the rest of the bottom 6 and defense combined (not a tall order) and we’re now at 38 goals for better than last year. Now, I doubt Leon scores 50 but assuming between RNH, McD, And Leon they combine for about the same number, they’d only need to reduce the goals against by five to ten goals to be a playoff team. Not beyond the realm of possibility.

  • RJ

    I think Klefbom must be a part-owner of this site. Nurse beats Klefbom’s career best and almost nary a peep from this site. Then some wishing that Klefbom can actually play a full season and out-score his career best.

  • Moneyball

    What does trading Lucic have to do with Puljupouty coming to training camp? Lucic provided some positive leadership for younger Oilers and was a good team player, he didn’t produce but we can’t say he wasn’t a good ea, player. (He also didn’t whine through his agent and cause problems when he wasn’t traded previously)
    I think we have to accept the idea that pulju is responsible for his own actions and lack of on ice production. It’s not related to Lucic or anyone on his shoulders and he needs to grow up or get out.