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Monday Mailbag – Bold Predictions for the Oilers’ 2023-24 season

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
7 months ago
Happy Monday, dearest Nation Citizens, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to get your week started and keep you up to date on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at where Connor Brown fits in the lineup, Edmonton’s goaltending, bold predictions, and much more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Oct 5, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Connor Brown (28) on ice prior to the Capitals’ game against the Detroit Red Wings at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
1) @MidnightFalcon4 asks – If Brown and McDavid don’t seem to click immediately, do you think Woody will immediately put Hyman back up with McDavid or will he give them time to try and find the chemistry they shared in Juniors?
Jason Gregor:
They played nine years ago in junior. They are very different players now and the league is much harder. I expect Woodcroft will try different combinations throughout the season, but considering how little production Puljujarvi and Yamamoto had the past few seasons in the top six, I think Brown will be fine and the coach won’t be too concerned if they don’t have instant chemistry.
Robin Brownlee:
What’s the rush? Brown missed an entire season. Let’s see him get up to speed for a stretch of games and then decide where he fits.
Liam Horrobin:
I think they’ll get maybe the first 10 games to figure things out. If it doesn’t work initially then Hyman goes back up there, but I’m sure we will see McDavid and Brown together throughout the season.
Baggedmilk:
I don’t think there’s a rush for the Connors to find chemistry together just because they were junior teammates. Brown only played four games last year and it’s going to take him a minute to get up to speed in general, let alone be able to ride with McDavid.
Apr 1, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) celebrates with goaltender Jack Campbell (36) after his 6-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The win was goaltender Jack Campbell (36) first shout-out as an Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) @PoppaRusty asks – How good do the goalies have to be in order to win the Stanley Cup? I don’t think they need to be elite, but around a .908-.912 and higher would do the trick.
Jason Gregor:
You don’t win the Stanley Cup in the regular season. Their regular season Sv% means very little, to be honest. Adin Hill just posted a .932 SV% in the playoffs. His career regular season Sv% is .910. Here are recent Cup-winning goalies and their Sv%.
Braden Holtby had .922 to lead Washington in 2018.
Jordan Binnington had a .914 for St. Louis in 2019.
Andrei Vasilevskiy had .927 and .937 in 2020 and 2021 for Tampa.
Darcy Kuemper (10 wins) had a .902 and Pavel Francouz (six wins) had a .906.
Hill had a .932 (11 wins).
Colorado was the outlier. It will likely have to be higher than .912sv% for the Oilers to win in the playoffs.
Robin Brownlee:
Depends on the Oilers overall defensive play, not just the goaltenders. If Skinner can stay near where he was last season and Campbell can get back up over .900 from .888 and closer to his career mark of .910, the Oilers will be fine.
Liam Horrobin:
I would agree with those numbers. It’s all about your goalie getting hot at the right time though. If somebody would’ve told me Adin Hill would be a starting Stanley Cup champion at the start of last season I wouldn’t have believed them. However, he got hot at the right time.
Baggedmilk:
The Oilers need league average goaltending and they’ll be fine. If they can get better than that then we’re laughing, but we can’t be in the .800s again.
Mar 22, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) scores the overtime winning goal, his 60th goal of the season against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram (39) at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) jak_g8 (Insta) asks – How many total goals will the Oilers score this year? For reference, Edmonton scored 325 goals in 2022-23.
Jason Gregor:
The Oilers scored 285  goals (7th) in 2022 before scoring 325 last year. Since the 2005 lockout, only 11 teams have scored 300+ goals in a season. And seven of those have come in the past two years. Five teams did it in 2022, but only two last year. I see Edmonton scoring 314 goals this season. More importantly, they will lower their goals against from 256 last year down to 235 this season.
Robin Brownlee:
I don’t see any reason why they can’t be over 300 again even if the power play cools off and McDavid, Draisaitil, RNH, and Hyman collectively drop off in terms of goals. I don’t see McDavid scoring 64 again and I’d bet the farm RNH doesn’t get 37 and Hyman doesn’t get 36.
Liam Horrobin:
340
Baggedmilk:
I’m going to say 305. A lot of things went right last year and I’m not one to assume that the Hockey Gords will be kind two years in a row.
Jan 13, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers fan holds up a sign during the second period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
4) chandlerdickson (Insta) asks) – What is one bold prediction you have for the Oilers as a team or for any individual player?
Jason Gregor:
Cody Ceci increases his goal total from one last year to five this season.
Robin Brownlee:
Oilers win the Stanley Cup.
Liam Horrobin:
Philip Broberg plays top four minutes in the playoffs.
Baggedmilk:
I was going to say Connor Brown scores 25, but I like Robin’s answer way better.
May 8, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel (9) scores a goal during the second period against Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) in game three of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) b.dallaire6 (Insta) asks – If you could pick any seven game series for the Oilers to have this season based being the most exciting, who would you pick and why?
Jason Gregor:
I’d say Oilers v. Toronto. It means they’d be in the Cup, Canada would be guaranteed to end their streak and both fan bases would be on tilt with excitement and nervousness.
Robin Brownlee:
Oilers vs. Vegas. Lots of skill and some ill will with these teams.
Liam Horrobin:
Calgary because the Battle of Alberta was a great time a couple of years ago.
Baggedmilk:
Edmonton vs. Toronto in the Cup final would burn down the Internet. We all know it. Another Oilers vs. Flames series would be great too.

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