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The New Wave: Stanley Cup hopes of Edmonton Oilers constructed on greater than McDavid and Draisaitl

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Sport 1: Oilers vs Canucks

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been simply voted the primary and second greatest gamers within the Nationwide Hockey League by TSN.

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However there’s extra to Edmonton’s Stanley Cup run this yr than McDavid and Draisaitl.

There’s a brand new wave on the group, a brand new wave of younger expertise, a brand new wave of techniques and a brand new angle that has evidently swept over the Oilers.

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New expertise

There’s one new veteran on the group in Connor Brown. He replaces Kailer Yamamoto within the Prime Six. Yamamoto was a high quality participant, however small, and tended to get pushed out of the sport via harm and bodily play. Brown is greater, defensively conscious, simply as quick and simply as tenacious as Yamamoto.

Mattias Ekholm isn’t new to the group, however it’s his first full season with the Oilers. The group is hoping he’ll present a steadying affect for Philip Broberg. A defensive pairing of two 6-foot 4-inch 220 kilos Swedes who can skate and make performs is a tantalizing prospect for the Oilers, all of the extra so as a result of it means the group can have an distinctive bottom-pairing in Brett Kulak and Cody Ceci, two stable veterans.

The opposite new expertise on the group comes with the anticipated blossoming of two third line gamers, Dylan Holloway and Ryan McLeod.

McLeod and Warren Foegele teamed up with Derek Ryan to offer sturdy two-way play in opposition to Vegas, with Ryan main the best way on that unit together with his sensible and conscientious defending. Ryan remains to be an Oiler, teaming up with artful Mattias Janmark on the fourth line, however Holloway provides a lot to the third line. He’s a quick, aggressive and highly-skilled participant, one who ought to problem to make one of many prime two traces if anybody will get injured.

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New techniques and a brand new angle

Edmonton’s nice weak point final season was defensive play. The group was mediocre within the common season, then collapse in opposition to Vegas, getting a lead in each single sport however failing to carry it in 4 of them, giving up virtually 4 objectives per sport on common. It was a shambles, a weak, even embarrassing show, a lot in order that it’s evident Edmonton’s gamers, from the highest of the roster to the underside, have a brand new angle heading into the season. They seem decided to do the little issues on defence — akin to all the time staying on the suitable aspect of your examine within the d-zone — that they did not do in opposition to Vegas.

Coach Jay Woodcroft’s new defensive techniques may even assist immensley. I’ve heard Oilers gamers and insiders say they’ve simply tweaked just a few issues, however that’s not what I’ve seen in preseason. As an alternative, Edmonton’s defence has undergone an enormous overhaul, switching from the earlier man-to-man system (one which Vegas exploited relentlessly and repeatedly) to a zone defence (the sort Vegas used to considerably gradual the Oilers assault). Within the preseason, I noticed no man-to-man in Edmonton’s finish, the group going with the zone solely, and with good outcomes. The video games have been way more managed, with Edmonton reducing down on huge open appears to be like in entrance of its personal internet.

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Edmonton’s additionally adopted a way more conservative neutral-zone lure. It doesn’t use this method solely, however I count on we’ll see loads of it when the Oilers have a lead.

After all in a 32 group league, with about 10 groups have the expertise to win the Cup, there are not any ensures that the Oilers will accomplish that. However this common season I count on to see a way more disciplined and defensively decided Edmonton squad, one that’s going to current an enormous quantity of hassle to the opposition, beginning tonight in opposition to Vancouver.

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