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5 Issues: Edmonton Oilers open season in opposition to Vancouver Canucks

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One recreation doesn’t a season make.

However Wednesday’s season-opening puck drop on the highway in opposition to the Vancouver Canucks might definitely go a good distance towards setting the tone for the Edmonton Oilers on a 12 months stuffed with sky-high expectations.

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With that in thoughts, here’s a handful of issues to look out for in Recreation 1:


It might be purely symbolic, given the very fact goalie tandems throughout the league are trending towards extra of a 60-40 break up in duties lately, however it’s nonetheless a significant alternative. Do the Oilers go together with Jack Campbell, who put up some spectacular numbers over the pre-season after dropping the beginning function to rookie Stuart Skinner final 12 months? Or do they offer Skinner the nod as thanks for righting the ship and puck-stopping them into the playoffs on his solution to an all-star look and Calder Trophy nomination?

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Simply while you assume he can’t do something extra, Connor McDavid manages to one-up himself the subsequent 12 months. And after main the league throughout the board with a career-high 153 factors, 64 objectives and 89 assists a season in the past — essentially the most since Mario Lemieux again in 1996 — what does the captain have in retailer for his ninth skilled season? Regardless of the math finally ends up being, you’ll be able to guess the addition begins Wednesday.


How quickly will we see McDavid paired up with Leon Draisaitl, or will they each centre the highest strains all recreation? Will we get to see the a lot anticipated Connor connection, the place McDavid will get paired up with former Eerie Otters linemate Connor Brown? Ultimately, no matter head coach Jay Woodcroft decides to do Wednesday will solely add to the continued experimentation that may little doubt proceed all season lengthy as he tries to steadiness out the top-end ability with third- and fourth-line grit to find the combos that work finest in any given state of affairs. And all of the permutations and combos at his disposal to start working by means of on opening day is an efficient drawback to have.

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With an influence play that hit a historic excessive in changing 32.4 per cent final 12 months, the Oilers are as soon as once more planning to make opponents pay for committing infractions in opposition to them. At this level, it’s virtually a superpower. And having the ability to instantly implement their will on the person benefit in opposition to the Canucks would remind not solely them however the remainder of the league that justice is finest served within the type of chilly, arduous rubber at the back of the online. Unsurprisingly, McDavid led the league final 12 months with 71 power-play factors. However he didn’t do it alone. Wednesday will present the primary peak at any tweaks to the special-teams models Woodcroft has deliberate.


As final season confirmed, a gradual begin doesn’t essentially imply a poor end. But when the Oilers can keep away from having to flirt with .500 over the primary two months earlier than firing on all cylinders, they certain would make issues simpler on themselves heading down the playoff stretch. And there’s no time like opening day to lift their sticks in victory and begin setting the usual ASAP.

E-mail: [email protected]

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

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