Every once and a while we sit down with a writer from another team’s blog to find out what is happening over there prior to the game. Today we talk to Jeff Chapman of Copper and Blue to learn about what is happening in Oiler Land.
1. How much better than the rest of the NHL is Connor McDavid?
If I were to ask you how many stars were in the sky, your answer would probably be something like “a whole lot”. And, that’s the only answer I can give you. He’s a whole lot better than the rest of the NHL. He’s 21 years of age and he’s won two scoring titles in the three years he’s been in the league. To think that we are likely four or five more years away from his peak is kind of scary. Though the Oilers have played just three games so far this season, literally every goal has been scored either off his stick or he’s had an assist on the play. It’s frightening. We are not worthy of Connor McDavid. It’s his world, and we’re just living in it.
2. Can Cam Talbot rebound or are fans clinging to false hope?
I think it’s fair to expect Cam Talbot to rebound form his lacklustre .908 SV% in 2017-18, though after three games it’s difficult to judge how much. Talbot looked like his old reliable self in Saturday’s 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. He looked a little shaky in Sweden against the Devils, and he probably wished he had a better outing in Boston. If I was a guessing person, I’d say he’s likely to finish around .914and this season. That’s not a great number, but it’s a cut above last season.
3. Is Darnell Nurse actually good or was last season an aberration?
Depends on what your idea of ‘good’ is. He’s absolutely a top four defenceman on the Oilers this season, but the Oilers lack a number one defenceman in the traditional sense. Nurse signed a two year bridge deal just as training camp began, so he’ll get a chance to prove that he deserves to be paid once 2020 rolls around. I think he’ll be a mid-pair player for the Oilers at that time.
4. Can the Edmonton Oilers make the playoffs this season?
Sure they can. A few things have to happen for playoffs to become a reality, and they’ll be in. A) Connor McDavid will need to blow the doors off and score 100+ points again. B) The Oilers are going to have to go relatively unscathed as far as injuries go, and C) Cam Talbot will need to regain his 2016-17 form. If all three of these things happen, it’s going to be a fun April. If they don’t, well, we’re pretty good at this drafting thing by now.
5. Who should be fired first, Todd McLellan or Peter Chiarelli and who should replace them (not will)?
Todd McLellan has not been good with the Oilers, but Peter Chiarelli should be fired into the sun. How anyone can trade an MVP player in Taylor Hall for a mid pair defenceman and still have a job is beyond me. How anyone can sign Milan Lucic for seven years at six million dollars per year with a no-movement clause and still have a job is beyond me. How anyone can trade the number 16th overall pick and the number 33rd overall pick in the deepest draft in ages for Griffin Reinhart and still have a job is beyond me. How anyone can sign Kris Russell to a four year deal at four million a year with a no-movement clause and still have a job is beyond me. How anyone can trade Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome and still have a job is beyond me. How anyone can strip the right wing position to where Ty Rattie is the choice for the top right wing alongside Connor McDavid and still have a job is beyond me.
Who should replace Chiarelli? If I had my wish, my top GM would be Nashville’s David Poile. He’d be fine.