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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What do you expect from Cody Ceci in 2022-23?

At some point, I need to go back and figure out how many consecutive Mondays we’ve given you a Mailbag to start off your week and break down everything that’s happening with our beloved Edmonton Oilers. I mean, I’ve been doing it for years and years now without missing a Mailbag, so you’d have to think the number goes well into the hundreds. Either way, this week we’re looking at expectations for Cody Ceci, our guesses at a breakout player, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

Apr 24, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) in the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gaelen Morse-USA TODAY Sports

1) Blake asks – What are you expecting from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this season? His goal scoring has been down the last two seasons and I’m wondering if this is just what we get now, or if anyone thinks he’s due for a comeback?

Robin Brownlee:

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Not sure RNH needs what you call a comeback. His ability to play both the PP and PK makes him a versatile guy to have around. He’s never been a prolific goal-scorer. He’s more a guy you can rely on for 20-25 goals a season. What impacts his goal totals more than anything is the number of games he’s missed. If he plays 75-82 games he’s going to get his goals.

Jason Gregor:

RNH has never been a great producer at 5×5. In six of his 11 seasons he’s produced at 0.57 goals/60 or less. Twice he was 0.77 and three times 0.98. His SH% mirrors those years as when he struggles to finish he is under 9, and when he is decently productive he hovers around 11-14%. He should be able to score more than six goals in 820 minutes of 5×5. But the bigger issue was last year he only scored one PP goal on 42 shots. He can’t possibly repeat that, so I expect his goal totals to increase this season. He’s averaged 18 goals/season in his career and I’d expect him to be around 17-20 this year.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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As he approaches his age 29 season, I think we should know what we’re going to get out of RNH. He’ll produce little at 5v5, will help out on the powerplay, and play an important role on the PK. He’ll bring value and I’ll always argue that he’s worth that contract, but expecting him to break out and post 80+ points would be foolish. I think his offense can take a small step forward if he stays as a top-six winger instead of the team’s third-line centre. My prediction is we see a small step forward and in 82 game, he scores 20 goals and adds 49 assists.

Baggedmilk:

I’m actually calling for him to set a new career high in points at 70. Last year, he was on pace for 65 over an 82-game season and I think he regains his scoring touch in 2022-23.

May 14, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by defensemen Cody Ceci (5) against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Nick asks – Will Cody Ceci continue to build on a career year, or will he regress? What do you expect from Ceci in his second season with the Oilers?

Robin Brownlee:

Aside from a bump in assists, Ceci delivered pretty much as advertised. He’s a solid, no-frills kind of player who is in the middle of his prime years. Expect more of the same.

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Jason Gregor:

Ceci had one bad year in Toronto and many focused on it more than his other seasons. He is a solid, but not spectacular defender. I expect him will have another solid campaign.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

For me, part of last season being viewed as a success was that it was also a surprise. I wasn’t expecting him to be a defenseman that could not just survive in a top pairing role, but thrive. He can handle tough minutes and I don’t think that will change this season. He’s legit.

Baggedmilk:

I think Ceci is going to be quietly solid for the Oilers again, and it’s going to make us all feel ridiculous that we doubted him in the first place.

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May 6, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan McLeod (71) skates past LA Kings defenseman Olli Maatta (6) in the first period of game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3) Kylie asks – Aside from the dynamic duo, who will be the most surprising and impressive player this season?

Robin Brownlee:

For the Oilers sake, I hope it’s Jack Campbell because they’ve just invested five years and $25 million in him. They need Campbell to deliver. For me, I think it might be Zach Hyman, although that won’t be surprising.

Jason Gregor:

Most surprising will be Bouchard. He was much more competitive and aggressive in the playoffs, and I think he will build off that. Impressive will be Kane. He will set career-high in goals.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’ll say Ryan McLeod. I think he pops home 20 goals next season and really finds his game at the NHL level.

Baggedmilk:

I’m going to say Ryan McLeod because I truly believe he has the skill and the wheels to take a big step forward. What does that mean exactly? I’m gonna say somewhere between 15-18 goals.

Jun 14, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Murray (28) during media day for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

4) Trent asks – Who plays more games this season: Broberg or Murray? And do either make it into a playoff lineup?

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Robin Brownlee:

Broberg. If Murray is more than a 6th or 7th Dman then there’s trouble. Playoff line-up? Can’t look past 82 games when they haven’t even played one yet. Both would likely play in a protracted post-season run.

Jason Gregor:

If both are healthy, I think Broberg plays more. Great question about playoffs. I expect Edmonton to made some additions to the D corps at the deadline, but I do think Broberg will play some in the playoffs.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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I’ll say Murray plays a little bit more and then the Oilers go get a big LHD at the deadline.

Baggedmilk:

I bet it’s pretty even. To me, Murray is Broberg insurance and I can absolutely see times where the rookie will struggle and Murray will step in to try and calm the waters.

5) Yves asks – The NFL season just kicked off this week and that makes me want to know what everyone thinks is the best of the best for game time snacks?

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Robin Brownlee:

Gotta have a cold beer and a loaded up dog, no?

Jason Gregor:

Nachos. Baked in the oven with lots of cheese and chicken. Greek yogurt and guacamole are great dips. I’d also have a bag of red licorice.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

GO BILLS! Also: chicken wings and beer is the McDavid/Draisaitl of the bar food industry. Can’t go against that. Shoutout to Mozza sticks, who I would view as the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the bar food industry. Not sure why, but I do. Should I do a whole article on this subject?

Baggedmilk:

Wings. Wings forever.

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