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The perfect factor for the 2023-24 Edmonton Oilers may very well be a goaltending controversy: 9 Issues

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The Edmonton Oilers are right down to the brass tacks of roster constructing.

The variety of roster combos and wage cap contortions forward are sufficient to set the thoughts on a tilt-a-whirl.

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Who might make the grade, and who might not, on this version of…

9 Issues

9. A wholesome Evander Kane might be an necessary issue within the Oilers season. The wrist shot he scored with towards Seattle was a bullet. I’ve not seen him shoot a puck that arduous since earlier than his unlucky wrist harm. That high quality of a shooter with Connor McDavid all season may rating 40.

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8. has the Oilers as odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They edge out the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights and Dallas, in that order. Some might marvel if expectations might be troublesome to handle. However I can’t think about anybody having larger expectations for them than the gamers.

7. What a narrative Ben Gleason has been this coaching camp. He has delivered greater than any of us may need anticipated. On benefit alone, he deserved to make this membership. Sadly, with the cap being what it’s, I nonetheless count on Gleason to be waived later immediately. One would hate to lose that type of depth, as certainly Gleason has earned consideration as the primary or at the very least an early call-up.

6. Brady Stonehouse has signed an ELC with the Edmonton Oilers. An undrafted junior, Stonehouse is precisely the type of prospect the Oilers might want to discover over the subsequent few years as they lack a lot in the way in which of draft picks. A really good man whose opinion I belief and who noticed the children play for the Ottawa 67’s this previous yr stated, “you’ll be able to’t inform me there have been 224 higher draft eligible gamers than him”.

5. Colin White has inked a 1-year take care of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Within the Summer season I had advocated for the Oilers to look onerous at White. In any case, he was a 26-year-old former 1st Spherical choice, a 6’1, right-shot Middle who was a UFA and possibly obtainable for the league minimal. Certainly, that’s what the Pens at the moment are paying him. Would he not have been extra of a certain factor than Brandon Sutter, who had not performed in 2+ years? Now, the 4C seems to be to be winger Mattias Janmark.

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4. Of the issues that struck me whereas watching the ultimate pre-season recreation towards the Seattle Kraken was how gradual the Oilers bottom-6 appeared compared to the speedy Kraken. It illustrated to me simply how necessary Ryan McLeod and Dylan Holloway might be to the success of the membership this season. The underside-6 would look very completely different with out these two younger gamers. If they didn’t have them or if each weren’t wholesome, then this membership may very well be uncovered in that means. I count on McLeod, Holloway and Warren Foegele to be a harmful third line for the Oilers this season.

3. Evan Bouchard picked up within the Oilers pre-season the place he left off final season, offensively. Bouchard registered 6 assists within the pre-season, essentially the most throughout the league heading into motion Saturday. The younger defender did have a nasty turnover towards Seattle that led on to a aim towards. Nevertheless, I believe we should be ready to provide an offensively gifted performer like Bouchard a number of of these. Perceive that he’ll search for prospects not all the time obvious to the remainder of us and is prone to convert on a excessive proportion of them. If we all the time need Bouchard to take the secure route, then we threat placing him in a field and creating a man-made ceiling above him. That stifles expertise. And that will be a mistake.

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2. The time span from now till 5pm Jap on Monday stands out as the most intrigue-filled of the Edmonton Oilers 2023-24 season. It’s secure to say that the lineup we see on Wednesday in Vancouver may look very completely different by the point we get to the house opener a number of days later. Accidents on the blueline, the shortage of a transparent front-runner for the 12F slot and a tight-as-a-drum wage cap have created a difficult 30 hours forward for Ken Holland. There are such a lot of completely different instructions this might go, together with a pre-season commerce. And whereas the ahead battle has grabbed lots of the headlines by coaching camp, it could finally be the harm scenario on defence that presents a better long-term threat to the membership.

Up entrance, who wins that 12F place? I believe Raphael Lavoie could also be the perfect participant in the long term. However on this Oilers squad, he doesn’t determine to play double digit minutes in additional than the 13 in 51 video games that Dylan Holloway did final season. He doesn’t take faceoffs, he’ll get subsequent to no PP time, no PK time, and on this stacked membership 5v5 minutes will not be considerable, both. Can be clear if waived immediately? Maybe not, however extra doubtless so within the flood of waivers to return immediately than if he struggles and it’s a must to farm him out later within the yr. Within the short-term, Lane Pederson might be a greater match.

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On Protection, the Mattias Ekholm harm is a priority. It actually doesn’t seem to have resolved itself as quick as hoped. They’d be proper to not rush him. And whereas Brett Kulak is again skating it has not been with the principle group but. Whereas these two issues have been taking part in out, Markus Niemelainen has additionally been absent from the ice. Whether or not it’s a relapse from final yr’s harm or one thing else, who is aware of. However that’s three D-men that won’t have the ability to reply the bell on Wednesday. And that will be an issue, forcing each the G.M. and training employees to be…nicely…inventive.

1.Jack Campbell turned in a pre-season that’s practically inconceivable to search out fault with. He was flat-out terrific over three video games, posting a .971 SV%. You might simply argue that he was the principle motive why they received all three. It has led many to consider that Jack Campbell has earned the fitting to begin Recreation 1 of the common season come Wednesday in Vancouver. And if the pre-season have been the one measuring stick by which the starter can be decided? Nicely, then I’d most likely be inclined to agree. Jack has completed all the pieces requested of his fall.

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Nevertheless, can we additionally agree that the better forex within the minds of most coaches can be given to the goaltender who carried out greatest when the video games actually mattered? What would have grow to be of the Edmonton Oilers final season had Stuart Skinner not picked up the ball when Campbell dropped it? Skinner subsequently ran with it to Calder-worthy outcomes over the common season and nicely into the playoffs earlier than he ran out of gasoline. I’m not in any respect certain you dismiss that on account of recency bias alone.

Stuart Skinner can also be the goaltender who Jay Woodcroft discovered to belief after they have been collectively within the AHL. These experiences follow coaches. And I don’t imply to recommend that Woodcroft doesn’t like or worth Campbell. However the observe information he has with these two males is admittedly fairly completely different.

Ultimately, does it matter who begins the season opener? I believe not. It’s largely, if not nearly totally, symbolic. That it has grow to be a battle and a debate is a good-news story for this membership. A goaltending battle is a pleasant downside to have.

And in what has grow to be a two-goaltender league, it beats the hell out of the choice.

Now on Threads @kleavins. Additionally, discover me on Twitter @KurtLeavins, Instagram at LeavinsOnHockey, and Mastodon at [email protected]

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