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Photo Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers will win the Stanley Cup if ______ ?

THE PLAYOFFS ARE ALMOST HERE! GET HYPED!

I know everyone reading this is probably just as fired up as I am. Optimism is at all-time as the Oilers head into their opening-round series against the Winnipeg Jets and with that in mind, I figured now would be a good time to talk about the ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup.

If anything, now is the time to dream about what could happen over the next few months because once the puck drops for game one, it will get stressful!

I reached out to the team of writers and content creators from around Oilersnation to get their takes on this big question…

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“The Edmonton Oilers will win the Stanley Cup if ________?”

And here are the responses I got:

BAGGEDMILK: The Edmonton Oilers will win the Stanley Cup if Connor McDavid continues his torrid run of destruction on the National Hockey League and Mike Smith can stand on his head in a way you’d expect from a man 15 years his junior? It’s either that or we start pumping the boys full of Gushers and Jolt cola before the game. Either way, I like our chances. 

JASON GREGOR: Ken Holland has a good summer signing free agents and making trades. The Oilers are entering their window to be a legit Cup contender for the next five years. I think that is when they will have a legit chance to win. They could win this year if they remain healthy, their depth scoring emerges and they get a few lucky breaks at key times.

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ZACH LAING: The Edmonton Oilers have a fair path through the playoffs. They should be able to dispatch the Jets with relative ease but a second-round matchup with the Leafs or Habs wouldn’t be anything simple. The Oilers need to rely on what’s got them to the point they’re at now: elite scoring, strong defence, and some really good goaltending. That last point is going to be the most important as if Mike Smith is on the top of his game, anything can happen.

NATION DAN: If they get Roloson-type goaltending from Mike Smith. If Connor McDavid continues to operate at his superhuman pace. If the power play is their main source of revenge for big hits and strong play from the other team. If they come together, ride the emotional waves and don’t lose games back to back.

RICK from ONR: Mike Smith is able to continue his .923 pace for an extra 2 months. We have seen what leaky goaltending can do to this team. The rest of the team needs to play as a tight 5 man unit in all ends of the ice. When they do this, they make it very difficult for the opposition to get into the scoring areas. Smith can handle shots from the outside. And in the other end, their cycle game and short passes can extend shifts and let them feast on a tired team chasing them around.

CAM LEWIS: Mike Smith puts an exclamation point on his career.

WANYE: The Oilers could win the Cup if they get behind Connor McDavid and play him on all 4 lines simultaneously and do exactly as he says in between games.

 

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THE RECAP

First off, shoutout to all my Nation co-workers for sending responses. Especially Coomzy, who really did some hardcore research. But really, there were some good, insightful answers and some fun ones. Exactly what I wanted my final playoff preview to look like.

The common theme here is obviously goaltending. If Mike Smith keeps up his current level of play, then the first round won’t be a problem for the Oilers. If he finds another gear for the next six to eight weeks then this team could go on a deep run. I firmly believe that.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will get their points. I have no concerns about their production, especially in this opening-round series against the Jets. But still, there will be plenty of games when goals from just the big guns won’t get it done. That’s where they need to get some help from the bottom six. Can Ryan McLeod have a breakout moment? Can James Neal get on a scoring heater? Will Zack Kassian find his 2017 form? Those are all questions that we will have answers to shortly.

Finally, the one key that I think might be flying under the radar a little bit is the Oiler’s special teams. Since April 1st, they’ve had the best powerplay and penalty kill in the NHL. If they can keep that up, it will really help propel them to a long playoff run. The powerplay specifically is a big key. Even when they’re not firing at 100%, their powerplay is deadly. If they can get going on a heater with the man advantage, that will not only spark their offence but it will also make the other teams think twice about risking taking a penalty against McDavid or Draisait, which will help their even-strength production as well.

Goaltending, special teams, and depth scoring. If those areas are firing on all cylinders, then the Oilers have a chance to make this spring one to remember for a long, long time.