With just over a month to go until the start of the 2021-22 season, I’m starting to get excited about the shenanigans that are soon to come and I wanted to share my quick list of reasons why I think this year will be a fun one and why we should all be excited. Is there anything better than quenching your off-season thirst with a tall, cool glass of Oilers Kool-Aid? No, no there’s not.

HOW CAN WE NOT START WITH CONNOR McDAVID

How could I not start a list of reasons to be excited about the Oilers with anything other than a hat tip to Connor McDavid? Every single night, this guy is a reason to watch this hockey team regardless of what the scoreboard says and after the season he just put up, I can’t wait to see what he plans to do for an encore. From the blinding speed to his hands to the eyes that are allegedly growing on the back of his head, Connor McDavid is the greatest cheat code this league has seen in decades and I’m fired up for another year of magic that brings us from our seats and fills the city with hope. Excited about McDavid? Absolutely.
Advertisement
Ad

I’D BET ON ZACH HYMAN BEING A CROWD FAVOURITE

I don’t know about you guys but I’ll be fascinated to watch how Zach Hyman’s first season with the Oilers plays after he signed a seven-year contract that carries a $5.5 million AAV on the first day of free agency. With a long-term commitment to Oil Country in his pocket, Hyman will be a big part of our future around here, and the closer we get to actually seeing him play the more excited I get about the potential he brings into the mix. Since she’s watched him play hundreds of times at this point, I asked Caroline Szwed what Oilers fans can expect from our new friend and whether or not I’m right in thinking that this dude will be a fan favourite before we know it, and her answer furthered everything that I’ve been reading about.
Advertisement
Ad
When I think of Zach Hyman coming to the Oilers, a few things come to mind. First of all, WE (see… I’m getting the hang of it) are getting a player that is an absolute workhorse and brings it every game. He was notoriously known in Toronto for his work ethic and that is something fans in Edmonton can look forward to.
Secondly, he is also a player that can compliment elite-level scorers. His blue collar approach to the game with the ability to produce points gives the Oilers a unique top line dynamic for this upcoming season.
Thirdly, he was known as the heart and soul of the team in Toronto. He was a guy that made a difference on and off the ice and always made time for the community. I have a feeling that he is a player that Edmontonians will grow to love very quickly.
Advertisement
Ad
As much as I know in my heart that Hyman will do great here in Edmonton, I do hope he gets off to a quick start with his new team so that the haters aren’t jumping on him from the get-go while he tries to get himself accustomed to his new home. If he can do that then I think my prediction of him being a fan favourite will happen even faster than anticipated. Either way, I’m looking forward to Hyman’s first season with the Oilers and cannot wait to see what kind of chemistry he can build with either Connor or Leon.

SECONDARY SCORING??

Advertisement
Ad
Looking at the roster from last year, I’m going to bet on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto (Kassian?) having better seasons in 2021-22 than they did in the 56-game all-Canadian campaign. Both of these guys need to do a better job of punching home their chances and if they can make that happen, it will ease the pressure on McDavid and Draisaitl, and that’s before even getting to the new guys. Chuck Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele into the chilli and all of a sudden there are a few more spicy scoring options available that could truly make a difference. Maybe I’m just being naive here, but I legitimately believe that we’re in line for a boost in offence that will ease the pressure throughout the lineup from the net on out, and that would be a luxury we Oilers fans haven’t had in years.

I’M EXCITED TO WATCH DUNCAN KEITH

Advertisement
Ad
As much as I was annoyed about the trade that brought Duncan Keith to town, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to watch him work through his first season with the Oilers. Obviously, I’m hoping the guy will be able to contribute in a real way, but I’m also open to chaos working its way into the equation too. If he works out at a higher level than any of us expect then it’s an obvious win, but if he doesn’t, the chaos that follows would be very entertaining to watch. Of course we want Duncan Keith to play well and anchor that second pairing — that’s truly what I’m hoping he can do — but if that doesn’t happen, then I’ll be putting my seatbelt on and bracing for impact.

EVAN BOUCHARD

I’ve written about Evan Bouchard a few times this offseason, but as we draw closer to the new season, I’m starting to get very excited to see what he’ll be able to do now that he’ll be in the lineup on a nightly basis. Since being drafted 10th overall at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, we’ve been waiting for his full-time arrival at the NHL level and now that he’s looking to make the jump, my body is ready to watch him work through the opportunity. Even though I know there will be some ups and downs over the coming months, I wouldn’t bet against Bouchard working his way up the defensive depth chart and it’s a ride that has been a long time coming.
Advertisement
Ad