2017-18 Edmonton Oilers Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
The Oilers ultimately didn't do too much this offseason. They traded one core player, committed $168 million to two superstars, and shuffled a bunch of depth guys. Largely, though, this is the same team that they had last year. Yet it is favored to win the Western Conference and the second choice to win the Stanley Cup. What changed? Well, they experienced winning when they knocked the Sharks out in Round 1 of the playoffs. And then they learned the pain of throwing away a series when they came from ahead to lose to Anaheim. Connor McDavid will be better this year Leon Draisaitl should be, too. Jesse Puljujarvi could be ready to contribute. The young defensive group should take a step forward. This team was good, and their time to be much better is right now. Other teams should fear them.
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Edmonton Oilers Offseason Moves
The Oilers did a lot of good things and one that they are going to come to regret.
The big-ticket items were obviously their two contracts. Connor McDavid signed a whopping $100 million deal, and is locked up for eight years. He could have asked for, and received, more, so it has to be looked at as a bargain in those terms. And Leon Draisaitl is also aboard for eight years at $68 million. The two deals remove some flexibility from the team's cap situation, but when you can lock down the best player of his generation and a great offensive compliment for most of a decade then you do it.
To free up some cap space they traded Jordan Eberle to the Islanders for Ryan Strome. Eberle is the better player, but his head didn't seem to be into being in Edmonton in recent years, and he wasn't reaching his potential. Strome is nice enough and cheaper. It was a solid deal. We could look for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to be dealt at some point for similar reasons.
They took a nice flyer on Jussi Jokinen, paying just $1.1 million for a shot at his offensive upside. It's like a cheap lottery ticket. And they shifted around some other depth pieces, too.
And now for the move I don't like. Kris Russell is a frustrating defenseman
who blocks shots instead of doing his job. They locked him up for four
years at $4 million a year. By the end of the second year at the latest
they will be looking for any possible way out.
The team picker winger Kailer Yamamoto in the first round of the draft. He's a very exciting offensive player - 99 points in 65 games in junior last year - but he's a year or two away.
Edmonton Oilers NHL Outlook
They have a ridiculously talented core. They have young defensemen who should improve. They have a very strong starting goalie. They have no excuses. Their time is now. Now we just have to wait and see if they want it badly enough. If they want it then the rest of the league could be in real trouble. You can find flaws if you want to, but none of them are so bad that they can't be overcome by the magic of McDavid and the rest of the talent the team has.
Edmonton Oilers Schedule
In Edmonton's final five games of the season they play Vancouver twice and Vegas once. It is very possible that those will be two of the three or four worst teams in the league. In fact, it's all but certain. If the Oilers find themselves in a tight race for a divisional title or for playoff seeding then this easy final stretch of games will be a huge advantage
Edmonton Oilers NHL Futures Odds
Bovada has installed Edmonton as the second choice to win the Stanley Cup at +900, behind only Pittsburgh at +700. BetOnline has them as the favorite to win the Western Conference at +500. Chicago is next at +600. They are favored to win the Pacific Division at +275, with Anaheim close behind at +300. The season win total sits at 47.5, which is the second highest behind only Washington at 50.5. Last year they won 47 games.
2017-18 Edmonton Oilers Predictions
The team should be better than they were last year. It's as simple as that. So many guys have gotten a year older and more experienced, and none of them are yet in their primes. There is a risk that they will believe their own hype and play arrogant instead of hungry, but I don't think they have done enough yet to be that way. I am a believer and expect them to be right at the top of the standings. The over on the season win total is quite attractive. Six teams went over that total last year, and I don't see why Edmonton wouldn't. This team has spent a decade disappointing, but that ends now.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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