As a general rule, the shorter the summer the higher the expectation of a new season when the disc drops in training camps around the NHL.
This applies to the fans here as the Edmonton Oilers open their 2022 training camp today before hitting the ice tomorrow. Playing another series after the Western Conference final and after a three-week shorter summer streak was not in the cards after a sweep by the Colorado Avalanche, expectations were high for the Oilers following a season of 104 points, the team’s highest total since 1986-87.
Throw in the primer for Ryan Smyth and Lee Fogolin as they are named as the first two additions to the team’s just-created Ring of Honor on Tuesday, and everyone is pumped for a drop of the puck and seeing Conor McDavid, Leon Drysittel, and the rest of the next edition Oilers will be able to accomplish in a full season under Leading coach Jay Woodcroft.
Questions? surely. Like you, I have a few when it comes to GM Ken Holland’s roster and Woodcroft will be running camp and prep, which begins on Sunday afternoon, against the Winnipeg Jets. Once things start, everything happens very quickly. Coincidentally, your questions are the same as mine. Here who and what I look at. . .
As Zach Hyman, a former Toronto Maple Leafs teammate, Jack Campbell He seems like a wonderful guy who is easy to fall in love with. More importantly, given that the Oilers signed him to a five-year contract for $25 million, Campbell represents a clear upgrade on the departed tandem of Mike Smith and Miko Koskinen. This will require quality and quantity.
Campbell made 49 appearances for Toronto last season and the Oilers will need at least that many or they will rely on Stewart Skinner too hard. Campbell will have to hit the .914 that set last season to make the Oilers noticeably better at blue paint — it was 0.921 in 22 games two seasons ago. If the Oilers weren’t better at goal, all that talent up front wouldn’t be enough to take another step.
It has been said more than once that the Oilers scored a lot of goals last season. This was the problem. True in both cases. but while mcdavid And the Draisaitl attack command, Hayman And the Evander King Provided the depth of offensive pop the Oilers didn’t have. Kane, in particular, had given the Oilers a game-breaking opportunity and made the difference behind McDavid and Drysattle. Heymann scored 27 goals in his career. Kane scored 22 goals in just 43 games and added 13 goals in 16 post-season games.
I didn’t think the Oilers could re-sign Kane as a UFA, but he’s back in a four-year deal worth $20.5 million. Simply put, Kane is a rare combination of skill, speed, and poor competitive advantage. If he can reasonably produce more than 82 matches, it will make a huge difference in taking the next step. Kane coined it this way today: “High expectations are a good thing and nothing is higher than in our room. We are looking to build on last season.”
Hyman is more adept at getting the job done, but he’s competitive and has a drive that never stops. Rubber takes to the net, competes in every shift and is multi-talented. Wind Hyman and fire him. It is plug and play.
The Oilers’ defensive play against Campbell and Skinner should be improved. Everyone, especially veterans Darnell and Cody Sissi, should take a big chunk out of that. Having said that, I look at him Evan Bouchard After the big step he made last season and wondering about more to come. Bouchard, who will complete on October 20, had an upcoming gig with 12-31-43 in 81 games, averaging 19:48 of ice time.
With only 102 NHL games in the books since his 2018 draft day, Bouchard hasn’t sped up and there is still room for growth. With the nurse, Cissy (injured to start camp), Tyson Barry and Brett Colak in the blue mix, there is enough cover to allow Bouchard to come as his performance dictates. What is the higher end of aggressive production? Is he ready for more ice times this season? What do you say dad?
Dylan Holloway He’s an intriguing player up front after drawing rave reviews at Penticton and even if he’s not ready to stay and commit to start the season, he’s upped his stock and looks, according to those who watched him firsthand, like a player. . . I would like to see Jesse Poliogarvi Go from lovable Analytics to a dependable striker to play an entire season and achieve goals more consistently. If he did, the Oilers would be much better off their right side. . . Ryan Nugent Hopkins He sometimes gets lost in the dribbling, but his versatility gives Woodcroft some options for up and down the lineup on the wing and center. Where does RNH play the bulk of its time this season?
The way I see it
There are more things to consider, of course. Having made a big splash behind the bench when he took over from Dave Tibbett, Woodcroft has a tough job to follow the 26-9-3 record he set together in the second half. What does his appearance look like after his full season and training camp to get ready? And what answers will the Netherlands, who met the media today, give? I see a move or two coming before the regular season starts.
The Oilers won the Pacific League last season, as did a lot of people. I was wrong about that. I see them do another run this season and finish against Calgary this time. What comes next – another step in the playoffs – is what matters most. Find out how (and if) Oilers manage that starts to show up tomorrow. here we are.
- When: On Thursday, January 12, we’ll hop on a flight at Edmonton International Airport and head to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we will be returning from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates you have to block for this trip are January 12-15.
- Where do we live: After landing at LV, we’ll hop on the free shuttle and make our way to Park MGM before we settle for a good night’s sleep. 😉
- What did you get: Round trip, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry – we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry to the “meet everyone” event before the flight.
- What is the price: The total cost of the flight, flight, hotel and entrance to the game $1,499 per person (based on double occupancy)
- the tickets: Ready to dive? Click on this link.