The expectations for the Edmonton Oilers to rebound and perform well in 2021 will be strong. The potential for the Oilers to compete for the Stanley Cup will be high, but the odds don’t suggest that they have much of a shot.
The NHL betting line for the Oilers to win the Stanley Cup is at +2200. The total is very high, especially given how the Oilers have two of the best forwards in the league. But while the Oilers have strong leadership, there are a few problems to note.
About the Leaders
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are the top two players on the Edmonton Oilers roster. Draisaitl is the reigning Hart Trophy winner who had 110 points in 71 games last year. McDavid almost reached triple digits with 97 points in 64 games.
But the team has only one other player who had more than forty points last season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a star on the team’s first power play line, and he had more than sixty points for the second consecutive season.
Is Help Coming?
The Oilers should have some extra help on offense this year. Jesse Puljujarvi is coming back from hip surgery, and Kailer Yamamoto may be a surprise star for the team this year. Yamamoto had nearly a point per game in 27 games after being called up from the minor league midway through the season. Playing alongside Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins on the same line helped his cause, but he’s still interesting for everyone to watch.
A Shaky Defense
The Oilers’ defense remains suspect leading up to the season. Oscar Klefbom may be out for a while due to an injury, leaving Tyson Barrie and Darnell Nurse as the team’s top defensemen. The team is hoping for Ethan Bear to grow, although he doesn’t have much experience.
McDavid Mondays 😤 pic.twitter.com/8EhJuE7CuY
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 30, 2020
The Question At Goal
The goaltending tandem of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskien isn’t inspiring as much confidence in Oilers fans as the team wishes. The Oilers give up about three goals a game on average, and both goaltenders are hovering around the 90 percent save percentage line. Smith also struggled in shootouts last season, completing only one save in that frame. The goaltenders had a combined regular-season record of 37-25-9, but whether they could be good enough for an extensive playoff run remains unclear.
The Possible Canadian Division and How It Will Influence the Oilers
The last point to see for NHL betting purposes involves how the Oilers may be in a new division in 2021. The team could be in an all-Canadian division due to the Canadian government’s border restrictions.
The Oilers are the second-best Canadian team in the NHL, with the Toronto Maple Leafs being on top. The Oilers will have some familiarity in the division, as their current Pacific Division features two other Canadian clubs. But the uncertainty surrounding goaltending may not help the Oilers against some of the offensive threats in Toronto and Calgary.
Overall, we wouldn’t recommend the Oilers for NHL betting this preseason. They will be competitive, but it would be hard to take them seriously due to the team being top-heavy.
*Odds are correct at time of writing.
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