If you want to be the guy who starts dropping I-told-you-sos in February then you better damn well be the guy who lays it all out there in October.
The best part about predictions is that not many people actually remember the ones that don’t come to fruition. It’s kind of a win-win situation with the rare exception of someone who doesn’t like me and will search out this article in six months to prove how wrong I was.
Jurco again. pic.twitter.com/GB26IWTeBY
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) September 27, 2019
MCDAVID HITS 120
Connor McDavid hasn’t hit the 120 point mark yet but that’s about to change. Last season Captain Connor missed four games and still finished with 116 points so all he needs to do is stay healthy and 120 is a very achievable target. Kucherov did it last year but how many times over the last ten years have we gone into the season saying that 120 points is achievable for someone? The answer is zero unless that player is McDavid. Nobody expected Kucherov to be close to 120 last year and he did it but I don’t see anyone picking him to do it again. Only four players have hit 110 points in the past ten seasons and three of the four did it last year, with Pat Kane joining McDavid and the Kuch. Final point prediction for McDavid: 124.
OILERS IN A PLAYOFF SPOT AT CHRISTMAS
I’m not too sure where it goes from here but I’ll send out an early present for Oilers fans and say they are in a playoff spot on Christmas Day.
PULJUJARVI MOVED AT THE DEADLINE
If the Oilers are in a playoff spot at Christmas you have to think they will be in a position to possibly add at the deadline and that’s when Ken Holland will pull the trigger on a JP deal. He’ll have a full season in Finland, likely a productive one, under his belt. A team that’s selling at the deadline could very well be in a position to give Jesse Puljujarvi a good shot at a top nine spot next season.
TOMAS JURCO FINISHES FOURTH IN GOALS
We know that McDavid, Draisaitl and Nuge will likely be the Oilers’ top three goal scorers this season, but who comes next? Last year, it was Alex Chiasson but during the pre-season Chiasson didn’t really get much a sniff in the top six.
Tomas Jurco has always had the skill but more specifically he’s always had the hands to put the puck in the net. I’m going to say he finds some early season chemistry with the big boys and rides it to a 23 goal season. Also, I will continue to pronounce his name Yur-Ko the entire season, just like he’s been called his entire NHL career because I refuse to believe that every play-by-play man in the league has been wrong for the past six seasons. Dave Tippett calls him Yur-Ko, I call him Yur-Ko.
EVAN BOUCHARD AVERAGES 20 MINUTES A NIGHT IN MARCH
It may take a little bit of time for Evan Bouchard to arrive but when he gets here he’ll be ready for prime time minutes. Ken Holland won’t recall the young defenseman unless he’s ready but I can see Bouchard playing so well in Bakersfield that he forces their hand in the second half of the season.
MIKKO KOSKINEN GLOVE ISSUES DO NOT GO AWAY
The book is out on Mikko Koskinen. The entire league knows that if you shoot at his glove hand there’s a decent chance it’s either going in or creating a second chance opportunity. Goaltenders don’t miraculously improve their glove hands at the age of 31. The frustrating part about Koskinen is that for the most part other aspects of his game are relatively strong but if the glove hand struggles he’ll spend more time watching Mike Smith than he will in the crease.
GAETAN HAAS SERVES A PURPOSE
Gaetan Haas doesn’t have a lot of upside, but I think there is a very good chance that he becomes an important bottom six piece for the Oilers this season. He’s a right shot centre and, at this point, he’s the only one they have. He has a great shot and can get around the ice pretty well. Haas knows that if he’s going to stick in North America he’ll have to buy into what Tippett is selling and if he does that I believe he has to tools to make it work.
THE THIRD JERSEY’S BECOME A HIT
The first look I got at the Oilers third jersey was a few weeks before they were originally even leaked and I have to say that I didn’t like what I saw. The more I look at them now I’m really starting to come around on the idea and I have a feeling that everyone will be fully on board once we see the Oilers wear them in a game. Especially if they win.
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- Five Things to Ponder
- Tomas Jurco’s Road to Edmonton
- THE GREAT, GOOD, BAD & UGLY: Pre-Season Edition
- The Battle on the Blue
- The Cutting Room Floor