The Edmonton Oilers have two players who will compete for the Art Ross Trophy in 2021, but those two players are not alone. We find the Oilers will do well in the Canadian Division in our NHL predictions, but we find it hard to pick the Oilers to go further in the playoffs. Here’s a look at our NHL predictions for the Oilers and why we feel they might not go as far as people would expect.
Reviewing the Offense
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will lead the Oilers’ once again. The two competed for the Hart Trophy last season, with Draisaitl taking in the award. Both players have a potential to tally at least a hundred points each.
But McDavid and Draisaitl won’t be alone when it comes to the coming season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hopes to average a point per game, and Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi could be sleeper surprises for the team.
McDavid Mondays 😮 pic.twitter.com/5Md1TVpGyM
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 14, 2020
But outside of these players, the Oilers’ offense isn’t as deep as the team wishes. Outside of acquiring Kyle Turris from the Nashville Predators and Dominik Kahun from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team hasn’t done much to build its offense.
The Other Side
There isn’t much to say about the Oiler defense. Tyson Barrie is expected to take a more substantial role, as Oscar Klefbom will be out with an injury. Barrie was a significant acquisition from the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he saw a light slump last season with a plus/minus of -7.
Darnell Nurse and Ethan Bear are expected to take in more of a role this coming season, but whether they will be ready to handle the defense remains unclear.
The goaltending situation also remains suspect in Edmonton. Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen haven’t shown much promise. Smith had a 2.95 GAA last season, and his save percentage was slightly over 90 percent, one of the weakest numbers among starting goaltenders.
Mikko Koskinen didn’t fare as well either, as he had a 2.75 GAA. He had an 18-13-3 record, which is good enough to make him a number-two option. But the combination of Smith and Koskinen may not be good enough to make the Oilers true contenders.
Where Will They Finish in the Division?
The Edmonton Oilers will finish in second place in the Canada Division. The Oilers will be behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, as the team doesn’t have as much of an all-around roster as what the Leafs hold. The Oilers will still be competitive enough against all the other Canadian teams in the same division.
How Far Will They Go in the Playoffs?
Our NHL predictions have the Edmonton Oilers reaching the first round of the playoffs. They will get in the postseason, but they will not last very long. As talented as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are, the rest of the roster isn’t as thorough and unique as the team wishes.
The Oilers will need to focus on building around McDavid and Draisaitl if they want to compete further. Improving the goaltending situation and developing Yamamoto and Nugent-Hopkins and the other young forwards on the roster will also be essential to their success. Big Oil has a chance to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada, but they will need extra help if they are going to take that next step.
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