Welcome, dear Internet friends, to a brand new edition of the Mailbag to help you start your week and break down everything that’s happening with our beloved Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at expectations for Connor McDavid, who’s off limits for a trade, 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.
1) Oilers fan in Van asks – I already know Baggedmilk’s opinion about the length of the pre-season because he won’t stop complaining, but what does everyone else think about having eight games for evaluation?
Jason Gregor:
It is ridiculous. No need for eight. Edmonton is one of only seven teams in the NHL who have eight games. It is the max allowed, and the only reason they do it is for money.
Advertisement
Ad
Robin Brownlee:
I wrote about it Sunday. Having worked the beat for many years with various numbers of pre-season games along the way, I don’t think you can pick one number and say definitively it’s the only way to go. From a non- hockey ops angle, the revenue that can be generated matters. In any given season, set teams that are already Cup contenders might only need four games to knock off the rust and get back at it. Teams with lots of turnover and available jobs might need a full eight — even more. I think six games is a happy medium.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Totally pointless. Do more scrimmages in camp and keep it to four pre-season games. Eight is insane and I don’t know anyone who likes it.
Baggedmilk:
The pre-season is about five games too long. I say four pre-season games max. LFG.
Advertisement
Ad
Mar 10, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (6) pursues the play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
2) Ashlea asks – The Jacob Chychrun rumours popped up again this past week with a reported ask of a blue chip prospect and a 1st round pick being the first part they would need. Do you have any Oilers prospects that would be untouchable for you in a hypothetical deal like this?
Jason Gregor:
None are untouchable. It depends on the return. But for Chychrun I wouldn’t part with Dylan Holloway or Philip Broberg. My biggest concern with him is he can’t stay healthy. In his six NHL seasons, he’s only played the full year once, and that was the 56-game shortened 2021 season. In the other five he has missed 14, 32, 29, 7 and 35 games. In three of his six seasons he missed a combined total of 40% of the games.
Advertisement
Ad
Robin Brownlee:
I can’t say there’s a prospect who is absolutely untouchable. What I would say is the higher rated the prospect, the less you give in other parts of the deal. I’m not of the mind to sell the farm to Chychrun. He’d be a nice addition, but I don’t see him as a must-have with this line-up.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I’d say Dylan Holloway is untouchable. Everyone else should be on the table. Chychrun is a legit difference maker who would help the Oilers win a Stanley Cup for the next three seasons.
Baggedmilk:
I don’t see anyone as untouchable tbh. If there’s a move that will make the team better now and in the future, I think you should consider moving any of our prospects.
Jun 6, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) celebrates his goal against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) (not pictured) during the second period in game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
3) Kevin asks – If you’re putting together the best top 9 you can for this team, would you have RNH on the wing or at 3C? Where do you think he’d be most effective with the current lineup?
Advertisement
Ad
Jason Gregor:
He is a winger. That is where he’s been the entire training camp. He was also only 40% in faceoffs last year.
Robin Brownlee:
Don’t mind RNH as a 3C, but he’s been slotted in as a winger. Could see him on LW on a second line with Draisaitl and Hyman on RW if Puljujarvi isn’t a factor in the top six.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I would have him as a LW. I want to see him produce more offense this season, which means I want him with either 29 or 97, and I also really want to see Ryan McLeod continue to develop as a centreman and I think he has a better chance of driving a third line that can score because of his speed.
Baggedmilk:
I’d rather have him playing in the top six and the only way that works is on the wing. I’m betting on his shooting percentage bouncing back to historical levels this year too so I’m expecting quite a few more goals from RNH this season.
Advertisement
Ad
May 20, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal with Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) during the second period against the Calgary Flames in game two of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
4) Mason asks – Every year we set expectations for Connor McDavid and he finds a way to beat them. What are you thinking for Connor McDavid in 2022-23?
Jason Gregor:
He will set a new career high in points. I see him scoring between 128-132.
Robin Brownlee:
52-78-130 if he plays 82 games.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
My very bold prediction is 51 goals and 92 assists for a total of 143 points. He’ll be the first player this century to hit the 140-point mark.
Baggedmilk:
First, I’m expecting Connor to blow my mind on a regular basis. Second, I’m betting that he hits 50 goals this year as it is one of the wild NHL milestones he hasn’t been able to reach yet.
Apr 26, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) and center Leon Draisaitl (29) talk prior to a face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
5) Mathieu asks – We all know that the Oilers have more pressure on them this year after making the WCF but what does the roadmap look like for making that happen? A good start is a must, but what else comes to mind as ‘must haves’ if the Oilers are going to keep the momentum going?
Advertisement
Ad
Jason Gregor:
They need to continue to limit their goals against 5×5 under Woodcroft. They were tied for 7th lowest GA at 5×5 in their final 38 games. If they are in the top-10 they will contend for the division, because I have no concerns about their offensive production.
Robin Brownlee:
As is the case with all teams, the best players have to stay healthy. McDavid and Draisaitl both played 80 games last season. Evan Bouchard and Kailer Yamamoto both played 81 and Zach Hyman played 76. Everything — scoring, special teams, defensive play — begins with having your best players available. Having Evander Kane for a full season will help. RNH at 63 games was the most significant absentee up front while Darnell Nurse was limited to 71 games.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
They’ll need their goaltending to be very solid all year long and players like Evander Kane and Zach Hyman to be just as productive as they were last season. I would add that Cody Ceci will need to be just as effective as he was last season and they’ll need Brett Kulak to show he can play consistent top four minutes. There are some question marks, but nothing that’s overly concerning.
Advertisement
Ad
Baggedmilk:
They’ll need their power play to be a hammer that puts fear in their opponents again. They’ll need their new goaltending tandem to be consistently average. They’ll need more scoring from the bottom six. I don’t know what the order of importance is for all of those things necessarily, but I’d have them all on my list.

MAILBAG PRESENTED BY CANADA SNOWBOARD 

Experience a world-class mash-up of snowboarding and style, right here in Alberta. A heightened fan experience grants you front-row seats to watch the best snowboarders go head-to-head in the largest stadium Big Air contest Canada has ever seen. Get your tickets here.