Bold Oilers Predictions for 2023
Photo credit:Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
4 months ago
Happy New Year Nation Citizens! With the calendar flipping to 2023, I figured now would be the perfect time to drop my predictions for the new year. 2022 was a lot of fun and the Oilers went much further than a lot of us would have expected. The trip to the Western Conference was wild and when you factor in that at this point 12 months ago the Oilers were playing like one of the worst teams in the NHL and hadn’t yet fired Dave Tippett, it’s even crazier. They turned things around in a hurry and if you’re feeling a little down about the state of the team right now, just remember that it doesn’t take a lot for things to change.
So I found a way to be optimistic with my predictions for the season, starting with the player who it’s the easiest to be optimistic about:
MCDAVID WINS 4+ AWARDS
Connor McDavid is torching the league on a nightly basis right now and that’s not going to change in 2023. He’s on pace for 155 points right now and I think he’ll hit the 150-point mark. I also think he will hit the 60-goal mark this season.
Those numbers will lead to him securing both the Art Ross Trophy and the Rocket Richard trophy, becoming the first player to do so since Alex Ovechkin in 2008. He will then also capture the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP and the players will give him the Ted Lindsay award. He’ll sweep the NHL awards and win all four of those.
Maybe those won’t be the only awards he wins this season either. *wink*
THE OILERS HAVE FOUR NHL ALL-STARS
Nov 30, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) warms up before a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
The NHL All-Star game is just over a month away and when the league heads to Florida for the annual event, I think Darryl Katz will be firing up the private jet for four Edmonton Oilers.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are locks to be at the ASG every season, and they were the only two Oilers at last season’s event. This season, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be making the trip as well. The guy is 11th in the NHL in points and the only players in the Pacific Division with more points than him are McDavid, Draisaitl, and Erik Karlsson. He’s getting in.
I also believe Stuart Skinner will be there. That might sound surprising, but remember how the rosters are picked: two goalies from each division need to be there.
Logan Thompson from Vegas should get one of those spots, although his save percentage is lower than Skinner’s at the time of my writing this. The other spot? Well, if it’s not Skinner’s then whose is it?
The goalies for the Kraken and Kings have all been sub-par, the Sharks haven’t gotten great goaltending, neither have the Ducks, Thatcher Demko is hurt for the Canucks, and Jacob Markstrom has been inconsistent. Skinner is getting the spot, book it.
KEN HOLLAND TRADES THE 2023 FIRST-ROUNDER
I do not know who the Oilers are going to acquire, or if they’re going to use the pick to add a forward or a defenseman, but I do think that Holland will move the team’s first-rounder in 2023. Horvat? Toews? Chychrun? Gavrikov? O’Reilly? All of them could be potential options for the Oiler’s GM and I believe that we’ll hear their name connected to almost big name player being made ahead of the March 3rd trade deadline.
They won’t just make one move either. I think we’ll see as many as three players added to this roster between now and the trade deadline. They’ll get a defenseman who’s capable of handling top-four minutes, they’ll add a third-line centre who makes them better defensively, and they’ll add a winger who makes them tougher to play against. I’m not just talking about someone who isn’t afraid to drop the mitts either, it’ll also be a player who forechecks hard and can help on the penalty kill. Three assets coming in and the first-round pick, plus other assets, heading out the door.
I had Connor Halley, the new host of Oilersnation After Dark, on the live show today and he gave me three predictions of his own as well. You can watch that here:
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Connor will be going live tonight right after the game on our YouTube channel, so tune in for the first episode of our new post-game show!
I figured I’d wrap this up with some rapid-fire predictions as well:
- The Oilers make the final four once again and go toe-to-toe with the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals.
- Two of the three players nominated for the Calder Trophy will be goaltenders. Matty Beniers in Seattle will be the lone forward and two of Skinner, Pyotr Kotchetkov in Carolina, or Logan Thompson in Vegas will also be nominated.
- Kailer Yamamoto gets hot down the stretch and scores 17 goals in the final 44 games of the season.
- Klim Kostin hits the 15-goal mark as well, he’s at five currently.
- Jack Campbell has a save percentage better than .910 between now and the end of the regular season.
- The Oilers will finish second in the division by the end of the regular season and game one of their first-round playoff series will be against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place.
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