Edmonton has now gone ten years without a playoff run when they lost to Carolina in the Finals. The rebuilding process hasn’t been successful over the past few years. This season, they ended with a 31-43-8 record, adding up to 70 points, last in the Western Conference. They had trouble on both ends, as they scored only 203 goals and allowed 245 goals against. It’s hard to tell how much they’ve improved over the offseason.
In the draft, Edmonton selected Jesse Puljujärvi 4th overall. He was ranked as the number 3 European player, noted as a big, mobile, all-around forward with a great offensive ability. I’m guessing he’ll be expected to be in the NHL this season.
On June 29th, the Oilers ended up on the wrong side of lopsided trade. They traded an elite first line forward, Taylor Hall, for a top six defenseman in Adam Larsson. This was part of the “23 minutes of madness” where the league also saw a blockbuster trade involving PK Subban and Shea Weber and the re-signing of sought after free agent, Steven Stamkos, by Tampa Bay. It’s hard to understand the trade made by Edmonton. They need defense, but giving up a point per game player for Larsson seems too much. He has potential to become great, but there were people saying they’d give up elite defenseman, Justin Faulk, for Hall. I would’ve give up Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov for someone like Larsson.
A very good move they made, however, was acquiring Milan Lucic in free agency. He is a big guy who can basically bodyguard Connor McDavid. He gives Edmonton grit, and he can produce 50+ points, as well. It doesn’t make up for the loss of Hall, but it still is a solid move.
Just recently, they gave out a PTO to Kris Versteeg. If he can make the team and produce for them like he did for Carolina last season, that will be a plus, and Hall for Larsson, Lucic, and Versteeg doesn’t look so bad.
I don’t know how much they’ve improved. I don’t think they’ll be in the playoffs, but I will predict more than 70 points next season.