Having started the year 8-13-2, it’s safe to say the Edmonton Oilers are not (currently) in the position they might have hoped to be after making the playoffs for the first time in 11-years last season.
Inevitably questions are going to be asked about why the team has slumped from Conference semi-finalists to 29th overall, but the manner in which these questions are manifesting seems somewhat mind boggling.
The One Puck Short Podcast returns just in time for the new NHL season with some thoughts on Nail Yakupov’s move to St. Louis, your Cup predictions and a bunch of listener questions!
Since being selected first overall in 2012, Nail Yakupov has morphed from potential 30 goal scorer in to the boy nobody wants.
Nobody wants him – and it’s not for lack of trying on Edmonton’s part, nor because the Oilers are asking too much.
And that seems absolutely crazy.
In the six games Edmonton have played this season there has been plenty of room for hyperbole, celebration of bizarro statistics (they became the first franchise to have four separate 1st overall picks score in the same game) and general excitement over the teams future.
Connor McDavid’s arrival in Alberta was always going to generate its share of headlines through the opening weeks of the new campaign – first home game, first goal, first point and so on – and thus far things have stayed true to expectation. The Oilers look better for the summer changes they’ve made, but are still a work in progress, while McDavid, perhaps not unsurprisingly, has been their best player.
Having started the season 0-4-0, the Oilers found their feet against a struggling Flames side on Saturday, before beating Vancouver in overtime 24 hours later. Edmonton were on the board and McDavid had his first multi-point game. Celebrations all round.
And while the 18-year old has garnered much of the press so far this season, it is his burgeoning partnership with Nail Yakupov which might bare the greatest fruit for the organisation in the coming years.
Home of two of the NHL’s powerhouse franchises, Pacific Division clubs also boast some of the finest prospects in the league and is bracing itself for the media tsunami Connor McDavid’ arrival is set to bring.
Whilst it may mean there are only two clubs with a serious chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season, the potential on display is tremendous and the Division may be about to get seriously interesting.
Waiting for Gretzky: The President’s Confession
In response to Ron MacLean’s prediction of an Oilers’ Stanley Cup within 4 years, Kevin Lowe, Edmonton’s President of Hockey Operations, has released an open letter to desperate fans. We reprint that letter here in its entirety.
On what felt like the busiest July 1st for a number of years, the 2015 ‘free agent frenzy’ began with a flurry of activity; with Phil Kessel’s trade to Pittsburgh the biggest move of the day.
But the talented wingers move to Pennsylvania should not overshadow the savvy signings made by a number of clubs – nor the risks others have taken in the hop of boosting their teams fortunes.
Here are seven of the most intriguing moves made on the opening day of free agency: