The whole hockey world is talking about the NHL team located in Alberta and no it’s not the Calgary Flames… it’s the good old Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have been one of the biggest talking points in the NHL since Connor McDavid put on the orange, blue and white jersey back in 2015. The pressure for this team to have playoff success is huge because of players like McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins in their lineup every night. With Ken Holland as their new GM and Dave Tippet as their new Coach, they will do whatever it takes to make things run smoothly for the franchise to have success. A big part of their success has to deal with the up-and-coming prospects aspiring to be part of the Oilers plans for their Stanley Cup run, take a look below at some young names to remember:
Oilers Prospect Pool
- Rapheal Lavoie, Age 18, Drafted 38th Overall in 2019
- Ryan McLeod, Age 19, Drafted 40th Overall in 2018
- Kailer Yamamoto, Age 20, Drafted 22nd Overall in 2017
- Tyler Benson, Age 21, Drafted 32nd Overall in 2016
- Philip Broberg, Age 18, Drafted eighth Overall in 2019
- Evan Bouchard, Age 19, Drafted 10th Overall in 2018
- Dmitri Samorukov, Age 20, Drafted 84th Overall in 2017
- Caleb Jones, Age 22, Drafted 117th Overall in 2015
- Ethan Bear, Age 22, Drafted 124th Overall in 2015
- Stuart Skinner, Age 20, Drafted 78th Overall in 2017
- Dylan Wells, Age 21, Drafted 123rd Overall in 2016
The Current Oilers and the Future
Some would say it’s a complete mess in Oil country, and some would say the sun will be brighter one day in Edmonton. The state of the team is not ideal, but when you have number 97 as the face of your franchise, you don’t know where this team will end up in the standings. The Oilers recently acquired forward James Neal in exchange for Milan Lucic who struggled to buy goals this past year. Neal in certain situations will be an upgrade over Lucic because of the possibility of playing with one of McDavid or Draisaitl to resurrect his scoring form.
Some other signings that happened between July 1st and now were, Alex Chiasson, Mike Smith, Markus Granlund, Tomas Jurco, Josh Archibald and Gaeten Haas. Yes some of these players will make an impact on the Oilers roster but some may be classified as a “bad” signing once the season gets rolling.
Now, going onto the whole lineup for the 2019/20 season, The Oilers have $2,433,001 million dollars in cap space to sign RFA forward Jesse Puljujärvi who is currently having a contract dispute with the entire managing staff of the Oilers. Puljujärvi was the fourth overall pick back in the 2016 NHL Draft. Besides the older goaltender tandem of Mike Smith who is 37 and Mikko Koskinen who is 31, the Oilers team as a whole is fairly under the age of 30. The top 6 forwards will be quick and tough to play against including McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Neal, Chaisson and maybe Gagner or Kassian. The bottom six will bring a slower pace, but shutdown presence if each player can bring that style of play every game of the season.
For the Future now after the 2019/20 season, the Oilers will free up cap space this offseason with 9 UFA’s and 4 RFA’s. I assume the Oilers will try hard to resign two of the UFA’s including Markus Granlund and Josh Archibald, but the rest may have to walk in Free Agency. The Oilers will trend into a younger, faster team with some veterans sprinkled in to the mix for the future if they want to compete for a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Broberg and Bouchard should grow into everyday, good defenseman. If developed properly and put into safe roles on the Oilers blueline, the potential is there. Now, going to one of their roster players not named Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl deserves all the attention as a pure goal scorer in the NHL. Years ago he was insulted and the Oilers management was bashed because of the deal he signed where the price tag was way too high for his play but, now in 2019 Draisaitl scored 50 goals and recorded over 100 points where the contract looks very suitable now. He now will have to develop into a role where McDavid and himself play on separate lines to spread around the offence on the Oilers forward group to improve in the standings. The Edmonton Oilers can be on the way to success if they do indeed “re-tool” or “rebuild” properly and carefully.