The Edmonton Oilers won the 2015 Draft Lottery, winning the services of Connor McDavid. The Oilers will pick first for the 4th time in the past 6 years.
The Oilers roster is loaded with offensive talent, adding McDavid just isn’t fair. Yes, I am jealous of this team. Adding McDavid, who should slide into their 2nd line position, has their top 3 centers as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, and hopefully Leon Draisaitl, who should be ready for next season.
Nugent Hopkins was on a tear for the final stretch of the season, giving Oilers fans something to look forward to. Eberle and Nuge make a great combo and should not be slipt up. Nuge had stretch from January 15th to April 1st, (33 games) where he netted 13 goals and 18 assists (31 points). Nuge was a constant threat to score and definitely is a top center in the making.
The Oilers would be wise to put McDavid as the second center, which is ideal for a rookie, even with McDavid’s skill set. The tough question is, has Nail Yakupov shown enough improvement to play next to McDavid, or does he stick on the 3rd line with Derek Roy/ Draisaitl. Yakupov has a tendency to quit on defense, leaving his teammates out to dry, but both these players together might be a dangerous combo. It’s something to keep an eye.
The Oilers have 2 major area’s of need, defensive help, and a legit starting goaltender. Darnell Nurse is in the system and hopefully should be ready for next year. Nurse was the 7th overall selection by the Oilers in the 2013 draft, and should be a staple for years to come on the Oilers blue line. Other than Nurse, the Oilers lack depth at the blue line, bringing up the discussion of trades. Could the Oilers and Sabres swap a forward and d-man respectively, filling both of their area’s of weakness.
Ideally the Oilers would like Nikita Zadorov or Rasmus Ristolanien from Buffalo, with my bet being on Zadorov. Murray already has his patience worn out with the youngster, and might have him marked as expendable.
The question is, who would the Oilers be willing to part with? Buffalo needs a top line RW to pair with Evander Kane, because Ennis excels on the second line. Would Mactavish be willing to give up Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle for Zadorov and another prospect? Both teams would get top prospects in the deal, and neither side would lose. It makes too much sense not to happen. As a Sabres fan, I want Taylor Hall in Buffalo.
The Oilers other glaring hole, is the lack of a sturdy netminder, to keep things close. Granted, the pitiful defense doesn’t help, so this may not be as big of need as thought of at first glance, but should still be addressed. The goalie market will be good in free-agency, making it a good chance the Oilers bring in at least one goalie.
If the Oilers can sign a veteran defenseman, and make a trade with the Sabres or another team willing to part with a young stud D-man, the Oilers have a legitimate shot at finally ending their playoff drought of 9 seasons. This roster is full of offensive talent, and should have no trouble scoring goals. Keep an eye on the Oilers in the off-season, a few moves, and they might be playing playoff hockey next year.
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Edmonton, you better not ruin this McDavid kid.