Cleat Geeks

Edmonton Oilers: 2015-16 Season Projection

2014-2015 Overall Record: 24-44-14 (62 Points) 13th in the Western Conference

***Did Not Make NHL Playoffs***

OILERS TEAM LEADERS

Edmonton Oilers: 2014-2015 Team Leaders

Notable Offseason Losses:

G Viktor Fasth (New Team: CSKA in the KHL)

F Matt Fraser (New Team: Winnipeg Jets)

G Richard Bachman (New Team: Vancouver Canucks)

F Boyd Gordon (New Team: Arizona Coyotes)

D Martin Marincin (New Team: Toronto Maple Leafs)

F Travis Ewanyk (New Team: Ottawa Senators)

Notable Offseason Acquisitions:

F Connor McDavid (Drafted 1st in NHL Draft)

F Lauri Korpikoski (Former Team: Arizona Coyotes)

D Eric Gryba (Former Team: Ottawa Senators)

G Cam Talbot (Former Team: New York Rangers)

D Griffin Reinhart (Former Team: New York Islanders)

G Anders Nilsson (Former Team: Chicago Blackhawks)

Main Team Stats Breakdown:

GFA (Goals For Average): 2.31 (NHL Ranking: 26th)

GAA (Goals Against Average): 3.31 (NHL Ranking: 30th)

SV% (Save Percentage): .888 (NHL Ranking: 30th)

Putting it plainly, the Edmonton Oilers had nothing going for them aside from heart. If one looks at the team breakdown, it does show quite a lineup. The true glaring issues continued to pile on for the Oilers last season. Two goaltenders that lacked consistency, a defense that couldn’t maintain the defensive zone, and a system without any true leadership including behind the bench. Since 2007, Edmonton has drafted in the top 10 of the first round 8 of the last 9 seasons. 2007 also marks the beginning of the Oilers Playoff drought. This is telling for a team whose previous season before (2006) concluded in a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Final.

The look of the Oilers hasn’t changed dramatically, but the components that have been added should finally formulate a much more disciplined and cohesive unit. Todd McLellan comes in as the new head coach after a dysfunctional departure in San Jose. After looking at San Jose collectively for the past few seasons, it’s apparent that McLellan wasn’t the overall issue, but change on both sides were needed. The acquisition of Connor McDavid, the number one overall draft pick, is projected to be one of the best players out of any draft in a very long time and has reenergized the organization by just his mere presence.

It will be interesting to see what McLellan does with his defensive pairings. The back end should look different for sure. Eric Gryba has been brought in from Ottawa to be an integral part of the defense, while up and comer Griffin Reinhart will push for a roster spot coming in from Washington. There’s only one way for the Oilers defense to go and that is up.

The goalie situation should finally be solidified just as much as the coaching. Time will be the true test, but if Cam Talbot puts on the performance he did while filling the net for Henrik Lundqvist back in New York, Edmonton’s numbers in net will soar from last year’s hard to look at statistics. Though Talbot’s career is a very short sample size at the NHL level, Edmonton is confident that his consistent play will continue. Talbot posted an impressive cumulative .931 save percentage and 2.00 goals against average in 57 games over the last two seasons.

It is highly doubtful that the Oilers will shock the NHL in the way Colorado did in the 2013-14 season, or like the Calgary Flames of last season. What can be expected (as noted above) is a much more rounded and cohesive organization that has the tools to compete against most teams on any given night. The Oilers have the many of the keys pieces they need. Putting it together is a whole other task at hand. Many of the Oilers that are considered by NHL standards young are for all intense purposes now veterans; veterans that will be expected to carry themselves in such a manner. Anything other than such will surely be dealt swiftly with by McLellan. The Oilers are a far cry from a Playoff spot, but will surprise some around the league and finally begin building off an enormous pool of talent.

2015-2016 Season Projection: 5th in the Pacific Division

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