For a third time in five years, the Edmonton Oilers won the NHL Draft Lottery and will have the first pick of the draft. That’s significant as it means they’ll get their hands on Conner McDavid, who is supposed to be a once-in-a-generation talent. But will that make this team a contender right now? It’s unlikely.
Can McDavid Get This Offense On Track?
If McDavid is truly in fact that good – we’re talking, Sidney Crosby good – then he should be able to get this Oilers offense to do a whole lot more than they’ve been able to do so far. Remember, this is a team that’s already loaded with young, talented forwards. There’s Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov. However, this is still a team that finished 26th in the NHL in scoring with 2.35 goals per game. Yes, it’s possible that McDavid is the final piece of the puzzle and maybe the glue-guy that kicks everyone into high gear. But it’s also possible that – just like Yakupov and RNH – the McDavid starts to underachieve and the environment, the losing and everything else drags him down; which could not only affect the team but also the Oilers NHL betting odds.
Goaltending Is the Main Problem
The problem in Edmonton is that there is so much pressure on the offense and the young kids to deliver. But the root of that problem is that they can’t ever seem to stop their opponent from scoring. The Oilers lead the NHL in goals allowed this season, giving up 3.37 per outing. The question is: how is that going to change? Will they be worthy of our NHL picks at some point? The Oilers led the league in this category in 2013-14 as well, giving up 3.26, so this isn’t a new problem. They have to address their play between the pipes because the current tandem isn’t cutting the mustard.
Nobody wants to see another season filled with Richard Bachman/Ben Scrivens/Viktor Fasth starts or even starts from goalies of that caliber. They need to find someone better or this team is going to give up a ton of goals again and get demoralized.
Blue Line Needs Help
While the goaltenders get a lot of the criticism, it’s also the play in front of the netminders that has to get better. It says a lot about the Oilers blue liners that Devan Dubnyk was essentially a throwaway goaltender in Edmonton, yet he goes to a real team and is a Vezina Trophy finalist.
Edmonton has one of the worst collection of blue liners in the NHL and they need to rebuild this unit from start to finish. They need a tough, physical minutes eater. They need depth, they need puck-moving players, they need guys who are smart with the puck and they need leadership. All of those areas are lack among their defensemen and unless it changes, the Oilers are again destined for the dumpster.
Yes, McDavid is going to help but one player does not make a team. The best the Oilers can hope for is that he changes the culture and along with some other offseason moves, maybe they can rebuild and start heading in the right direction.