With the start of the pre-season just over a month away, I’m starting to get excited about the 2022-23 Edmonton Oilers and I’ve got five reasons why I think you should be too.

5. FINALLY, THE BLUE JERSEYS ARE BACK

Even though we’ve known for a while that the blue and orange uniforms are coming back, I’m still super excited to see the boys rocking them on the ice. Personally, I was never a big fan of the orange jerseys the Oilers have worn since the 2017 playoff run, and to have them replaced with a much sharper look is an upgrade that we can all get behind. Frankly, I think this switch is long overdue and I was always confused why the Oilers had the perfect kit sitting on the shelf in favour of those pylon-coloured jerseys from the past few years. Either way, the most important thing is that the Oilers are finally writing this wrong, and I’m looking forward to watching the Oilers play with a style that matches their flash on the ice. Besides, look good feel good, right?
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4. STABILITY BETWEEN THE PIPES

Now that we’ve got Jack Campbell locked in for the next five seasons, I’m very excited to see how and if he can stabilize our situation between the pipes. That’s not to take a shot at Mike Smith or Mikko Koskinen — both guys were rock solid for the Oilers when they were playing at their best — but I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say that an upgrade in net could go a long way, and I genuinely believe Campbell can be that guy. That’s not to say that I’m not expecting some ups and downs throughout his tenure with his new team — Gord knows there will be struggles that infuriate us — but even so I would still expect him to be more consistent than anything we’ve had before. At least, that’s what my gut is telling me anyway. Add in the fact that Stuart Skinner will be getting the chance to build upon the fine performances he put in last year, and all of a sudden, the Oilers have some bets between the pipes that could pay off handsomely as the year wears on… in theory, of course.
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3. A FULL SEASON OF EVANDER KANE

Even though Evander Kane was only around for half the year in 2021-22, there’s no doubt that he made a significant impact on the team’s ability to score and play with toughness, and that has me excited to see what he can do with a full year alongside McDavid. On pace for 40+ goals over a full season in his debut, Kane has the chance to build upon the chemistry that saw him work so well with Connor McDavid and I’m pumped to see where that can take him in terms of production. Provided that he can stay healthy all year, would anyone be surprised if Kane smashed his personal bests in goals (30G) and points (57) if he’s riding shotgun with the captain? I wouldn’t bet against him, seems too easy. And not only that, having Kane riding shotgun with McDavid over the next four years means we’ll have a guy that can not only keep up with the captain but also one that can step in to bail him out if anyone tries anything. That’s a long way from trying to find first-line answers in the Ty Rattie era, ya know?
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2. WHAT CAN WOODCROFT DO?

I think it goes without saying that the Edmonton Oilers looked like a completely different team once Jay Woodcroft took over — the boys posted a sparkling 26-9-3 record with Woody behind the bench — and that instant success makes me incredibly hopeful about what he’ll be able to do with a full year of shaping this hockey team. How can you not be excited about having this guy manning the ship for all 82 games after the way he was able to de-Tippett the squad out of freefall so quickly? There’s magic in those power stances, me thinks. Besides, would it be unreasonable to suggest that having him behind the bench from training camp through to the playoffs will have the Oilers playing a tighter, more exciting brand of hockey from the jump rather than struggling with tactics that haven’t worked in a decade? Then again, maybe I’m giving Woodcroft too much credit for what he was able to do as the interim head coach last year, but I really don’t think so based on the results and how the players spoke about him. I truly believe this guy has the goods to lead us to the promised land, and I’ll be volunteering to drive the Woody bandwagon as soon as I see that he’s back in the city.
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1. CONNOR AND LEON

Saving the best for last, how could I not wrap up a countdown of five reasons to be excited about the 2022-23 Edmonton Oilers without including the dynamic duo? These two guys have left a wake of destruction behind them at nearly every turn over the last five years and that dominance has me endlessly excited to see what they come up with for an encore. I mean, would anyone be surprised if these two ran away with the scoring race after putting up a pace that no one has seen in this league since the 80s? I wouldn’t bet against them. Not to mention, after losing out on the Hart Trophy despite leading the league in scoring by a sizeable margin, could you not see Connor McDavid using that as fuel to put down the best season of his already impressive NHL career? I can see it clear as day. Either way, regardless of whether the awards follow after what will likely be another incredible season by either guy, I always feel lucky to watch these two players and I’m incredibly pumped to watch Connor and Leon do their thing again.
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BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

On this week’s episode of Better Lait Than Never, I walked through the latest Oilers rumours that have been circling the Internet, a #NationVacation recap, and worked through another round of your voicemails. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts.