We are 16 days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Edmonton Oilers.
|Milan Lucic – LW – (from LA)||Taylor Hall – LW – (to NJD)|
|Adam Larsson – D – (from NJD)||Adam Cracknell – RW – (to DAL)|
|Jonas Gustavsson – G – (from BOS)||Adam Clendening – D – (to NYR)|
|Mark Fraser – D – (from OTT)|
|Taylor Beck – RW – (from NYI)|
In 2005-06 the Edmonton Oilers lost in the Stanley Cup Final and since then they have been battling to just get back into the playoffs. The Oilers have missed the postseason for 10 straight seasons, never winning more than 41 games in a single season.
Despite years of futility, Edmonton enters the 2016-17 season very hopeful thanks to Connor McDavid. The 19-year-old had a great rookie season, despite a broken clavicle and looked phenomenal in the World Cup of Hockey. McDavid comes into his sophomore season with his eyes on a scoring title and it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. The 2015 first overall pick is a generational talent and will have a new winger this year. After the Oilers traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson, they signed Milan Lucic to be McDavid’s linemate and protector. The 6-foot-3, 233 lbs. winger plays a great power-forward game, mixing physical play with offensive output. Over the last six seasons, Lucic has only missed a combined 10 games while averaging 22 goals and 33 assists (55 points) per 82 games. That is quality production and things should only get better while playing alongside McDavid.
The Oilers are very strong down the middle. Second-year centre Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will centre their second and third line right behind Mcdavid. And each of their lines will likely consist of a talented right winger and power-forward left winger. On the right side, Jordan Eberle has missed 20 games over the last five seasons, but has averaged 28 goals and 35 assists per 82 games and a full season on a line with McDavid could see him return to 30 goals. Behind him is the mercurial Nail Yakupov and this summer’s No.4 pick Jesse Puljujarvi. On the left side, the Oilers have Benoit Pouliot and Patrick Maroon, who play the same style of hockey as Milan Lucic. Edmonton appears to have tremendous balance in their top-9 with a quality fourth line.
The blueline remains a question mark, but the Oilers tried to address it by acquiring Larsson this summer. The 23-year-old was drafted fourth overall in 2011, but he has turned out to be more of a shutdown defenseman than the two-way blueliner he was projected to be. Larsson will play major minutes on the Oilers’ blueline and is expected to play them alongside fellow 23-year-old Oscar Klefbom. He was drafted No.19 in 2011 and is a budding two-way defenseman. While the Oilers’ bluleine is mostly young, their second pair of Andrej Sekera and Mark Fayne isn’t glamorous, but are a solid veteran presence with shutdown ability. The Oilers’ third pairing remains in question, but Darnell Nurse is expected to be a staple there and should be joined by Brandon Davidson. Nurse is a former No.7 pick (2013), but had a tough rookie campaign. Look for him to improve in year-two.
In the first nine years of missing the playoffs, the Oilers had the third worst goaltending in the NHL, posting an ugly 3.10 goals against average. However, prior to the 2015-16 season they added Cam Talbot to be their No.1 and he impressed, posting a 2.55 GAA and .917 SV%. The 29-year-old proved to be a capable starter behind a bad defensive team and should be even better this season. Jonas Gustavsson signed in Edmonton this offseason after spending last year in Boston. The seven-year NHL veteran has posted a 2.87 GAA and .902 SV% in 172 career NHL games.
Overall, the loss of Taylor Hall is a big one, but Larsson should definitely help their blueline. A full, healthy season out of Connor McDavid will be key but there is still a ton of young talent in Edmonton, who will finally at least challenge for a playoff spot.
Oilers in the DFO Top 275:
- 5. Connor McDavid – C
- 80. Jordan Eberle – RW
- 85. Milan Lucic – LW
- 96. Cam Talbot – G
- 149. Leon Draisaitl – C
- 151. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – C
- 255. Jesse Puljujarvi – RW
- 275. Nail Yakupov – RW
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Oilers have their best season since they made the playoffs 10 years ago, but still fall just short of the playoffs. McDavid also challenges for the Art Ross Trophy.
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