10 Reasons Why Stanley Cup Oils Are Competing

Edmonton Oilers fans can’t wait for the season to start. After their best playoff run since 2006 followed by off-season successes and efficiency, optimism is running high in the Alberta capital. why not? Oilers (GM) General Manager Ken Holland along with GM assistants Brad Holland and Keith Gretzky had what many considered a successful free agency period to sign goalkeeper Jack Campbell, striker Evander Kane and defender Brett Colack.

The Netherlands also detained head coach Jay Woodcroft for another three years. The building blocks that Holland particularly assembled midway through the 2021-22 NHL season are coming together. As the 2022-23 NHL regular season approaches, here are 10 reasons why the Edmonton Oilers are considered contenders for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23.

1. Conor MacDavid

Every conversation relating to the Oilers’ success begins and ends with their leader. Not only did Conor McDavid win the Art Ross Cup for the fourth time last season with 123 points, he also led the playoffs in scoring despite having only run three rounds.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan McKinnon skis against Edmonton Oilers center Conor McDavid (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Aikon Sportswire via Getty Images)

At 25, McDavid was in the prime of his life, and after he stepped up and led the Oilers in the final playoff round, you know he’s hungry for more.

2. Leon Drystel

The second best player in the world, and who often does not get the recognition he deserves, Leon Drysittel is now just 26 years old and continues to improve every season. In the 2022 playoffs, Driesitl finished second in scoring, one point behind McDavid, and he did so on one good leg after suffering what could have been a game-ending injury in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings.

Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers
Leon Drysitl, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Curtis Cuomo/IKON Sportswire via Getty Images)

The only person who crave more team success within the organization than Draisaitl could be McDavid. Look for another great season of it.

3. A strong group of veterans

It’s been 16 seasons since the Oilers had this depth of team. Led by veterans Darnell Nurse, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Zach Hyman, Kane, Kulak and Cody Ceci, this is the best line of talent the Oilers have seen in a generation.

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Barring injuries or career setbacks, this streak of veteran Oilers could give fans a legitimate reason to believe entering the 2022-23 NHL season.

4. Oilers boast a good youthful nucleus

Only four players out of what could be considered a core oiler are over the age of 30, which isn’t a lot. Hyman and Campbell are both 30 years old while Tyson Barrie and Kane are only 31 years old. When you consider a group of guys like Evan Bouchard, Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan McLeod, Stuart Skinner and Jesse Puljujärvi all under 25, throwing in the 25-year-old MacDavid and 26-year-old Drysattle, you have to admit It is a promising nucleus. Fans are still waiting for breakout seasons from Yamamoto and Puljujärvi, and while they’ve shown promise, it could be this year.

5. Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft

On February 10, 2022, Jay Woodcroft replaced Dave Tibbett as the Oilers head coach after a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and never looked back. Woodcroft brought fresh thinking and bragging to the team, and it resulted in the Oilers reaching the Western Conference final in the 2022 qualifiers. What Oilers fans got in those five months was a small sample size of what Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson can do. Now that Woodcroft has been re-signed for the next three years, fans are excited to see what he, Manson and the crew can do next season.

6. Goaltending Oilers

Based on the direction of both Campbell and Skinner, Oilers fans should be satisfied with their goals in the 2022-23 season. Campbell signed for five years and could be the start of the next two or three seasons. Fans can expect Skinner to compete for first place.

Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs
Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvine/The Hockey Book)

Skinner may be the real wildcard here if he shows signs of matching performance by young goalkeepers like Jake Oettinger of the Dallas Stars, then the Oilers’ goals fold will be in good hands for years to come.

7. Lubricants management team

The Oilers’ management group blends the best of the new NHL with the feel of good old hockey. Brad Holland, coveted by other teams in the off-season, chose to sign with the Oilers. He brings an analytical approach to the front office to complement his father Ken’s experience. In the meantime, Keith Gretzky will continue to direct the fortunes of the Oilers’ farm team, Bakersfield Condors. Gretzky’s contributions to Oilers and building their farm system have remained under the radar for many years, but he certainly made a difference in helping to turn the fortunes of the organization.

8. Oily Youth Prospects

Oilers’ tanks have been refitted with vistas that look like they’re ready for prime time use. Potential clients such as Philip Broberg, Markus Niemelainen and Dylan Holloway will compete for sites with legitimate opportunities to make the opening day list. The organization also includes winger Carter Savoy, defender Dmitriy Samorokov and young sniper Xavier Borgolt, who may all see a showdown with the Oilers this season. Fans should tip their hats to former General Manager Peter Chiarelli, who really set out to change the Oilers’ farm system. The club is really reaping the fruits of its initial work.

9. Tradable assets

The topic of who should keep the Oilers and who should be traded has been one of the most contentious topics on the sports pages and sports radio over the course of the off season. With Ryan McLeod remaining unsigned, Oilers will need to consider eliminating some of the salary in order to receive the maximum salary. Barrie and Warren Foegele seem to be the two names that come out most prominently when it comes to talking about trade and lowering the salary cap. However, you can’t rule out the possibility that Yamamoto or Puljujärvi could be wrapped up in a deal as well, especially in the short-term bridge contracts the two players signed recently.

10. Oilers and their fans are starting to believe

The oil country has been in short supply for the past decade or so, but it doesn’t feel that way now. It looks like Oilers have pulled off a turn in the 2022 qualifiers and gained valuable experience and belief that they have what it takes to reach the promised land. Realistically speaking, the Colorado Avalanche and the amazing Cal Makar still stand in their way, but hockey is an unpredictable game. You just never know. That’s why the 2022-23 NHL season will be fun if you’re a fan of Oilers. They might have the talent, the chemistry and the right people to drive the ship to get them out of the Stanley Cup in 2023.

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