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Random Thoughts: Connor McDavid’s ridiculous season, Stu for Calder, and the LA Kings rematch

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Photo credit:Axe Cop: From Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle
baggedmilk
11 months ago
It’s Saturday morning before the playoffs get going, and that means the perfect opportunity for your pal Baggedmilk to empty my brain of all its delicious contents to try and make sense of what’s going on with the Edmonton Oilers. This week, I’m looking at Connor McDavid’s ridiculous season, Stuart Skinner’s Calder bid, the LA Kings, and more.

CONNOR McDAVID’S WORLD

What can you say about the season Connor McDavid just put in for the Edmonton Oilers that hasn’t already been said? Back in early October, we did season predictions for how many points he’d end up with and I picked 138 thinking that would be a bump up from last year but still kinda ridiculous. Well, in truly McDavid fashion, he blew that total out of the water en route to a 153-point season the likes of which the NHL hasn’t seen since the 90s. For someone like me that isn’t really old enough to have truly appreciated Gretzky and Mario in their prime, seeing what Connor McDavid is doing here in 2023 is the kind of witchcraft I thought was impossible in the modern NHL. Congrats on another Art Ross Trophy and your first Rocket Richard, Connor, because I’ve got a feeling you’ll be loading up the trophy case with a few more pieces before this year is over.

I LOVE YOU, LEON

One of the funnier byproducts of Connor McDavid’s ridiculous season is that a lot of people seemed to overlook Leon Draisaitl’s ridiculous season. With 128 points on the year, Leon Draisaitl would have won the Art Ross Trophy in any of the 24 previous NHL seasons, but it just so happens that he plays with a supercomputer that seems to see the best league on earth in code rather than shapes and colours. The point here is that I wanted to give Leon some love for the year he had because it seems like the only place he’s getting any appreciation is here in Edmonton. Whether it’s dummies calling him a power play merchant or attributing his success to #97, the reasons people are taking shots at Leon are ridiculous and I’m not having it.

STU FOR CALDER

Even though I know Matty Beniers is likely to win the Calder Trophy this season, I still plan on pumping Stuart Skinner’s tires until the award is actually handed out. Not only has he cemented himself as a legitimate option between the pipes for the Oilers, but he’s actually saved the season from what would have been a total disaster had he not been around. That’s not to say that Jack Campbell couldn’t have gotten us into the postseason — obviously, we don’t know what would have happened had they rolled with Soup — but what I do know for sure is that Skinner was there to bail us all out more than Ken Holland would have hoped or expected. I know I’m biased, but I just think Skinner is more important to the Oilers’ success than Beniers was to Seattle’s. So even though I don’t think he’ll win, Skinner finished the season with a record of 29-14-5 to go along with a 2.75 GAA, .914 save%, and a shutout in 2904 minutes of action, which is certainly worthy of consideration to be named the league’s top rookie.

THE KINGS PART 2

Nothing builds a good rivalry in the NHL quite like a run of good playoff meetings, and that’s exactly what we’ve got on deck starting Monday against the LA Kings. Not only am I expecting this series to get spicy, but I’m also thinking that we’re going to be in it for the long haul just like last year. I don’t know if this thing will go to seven games again or not, but I’m surprised by how many folks I’ve seen on social media that think this series will be a short one. From my side of the TV screen, I’m expecting a hard-fought series that has the LA Kings doing everything they can to lock in the trap to slow the Oilers down, and it will be up to our boys to come up with a few different plans on how they can navigate the congestion. Either way, I still think the Oilers come out on top but I also don’t think this will be an easy out by any means.

WHO WILL HAVE THEIR PISANI MOMENT?

One of our favourite questions around here, whenever the playoffs roll around, is taking guesses as to which player will elevate their game throughout the playoffs to have their own Fernando Pisani moment. Yesterday on Oilersnation Radio, we all took swings at who we think could channel their inner Fernando over the next couple of months and the answers were as varied as they were logical. Personally, my bet is on either Ryan McLeod or Klim Kostin to crank things up in the playoffs and give us a run to remember that features big plays, clutch goals, and memories we’ll carry with us long after they’ve retired. Regardless of who your pick is — let me know in the comments section because I’m curious what you think — I just hope we actually get an unexpected hero that powers our run to the Stanley Cup finals.

THE PLAYOFF WATCH PARTIES

Want to join us for a playoff watch party? We’ll be at Greta for every away game during the playoffs! Book your table today.

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