Inside look at the Edmonton Oilers

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NHL.com provides in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams from November 16 through December. 16. Today, the Edmonton Oilers.

The challenge for the Edmonton Oilers this season is to become a perennial Stanley Cup contender with two of the best players in the NHL, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.“We don’t want to back down,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said. “But it’s getting harder and harder [to move up the standings]. You have to be in the playoffs every year, and over a 10-year period you would like to be in seven or eight. [times] if you have a good program. And you have to stick to it.

“I don’t see it as if we have to win the Stanley Cup in 20-21. We need to make our way to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Then you have to win this series, and it gets harder and harder. from 16, to 8, to 4 to 2. ”

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Led by Draisaitl, the Hart Trophy winner was voted the NHL’s Most Valuable Player and the Art Ross Trophy awarded to the scoring champion (110 points; 43 goals, 67 assists), and McDavid (97 points; 34 goals, 63 assists ), Edmonton finished second in the Pacific Division with a 0.585 point percentage (37-25-9), after a seventh place (35-38-9) in 2018-19, but lost the best of the 5 playoffs in the Stanley Cup. in four games against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Oilers have won a Stanley Cup playoff series (2017) since entering the final in 2006.

“I think there is still a lot of potential for our group to move forward and improve,” said Draisaitl. “We are obviously looking to take the next step this season. ”

Oilers will likely have to do this without the No.1 defenseman Oscar Klefbom, who could be sidelined for the season with a chronic shoulder injury. Defender Tyson Barrie accepted a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent on October 10. His role will be to lead the power play, which was No. 1 in the NHL last season (29.5%).

To improve depth up front, the Oilers signed a two-year contract with Kyle Turris on October 9 and project him to the third-row center with winger Jesse Puljujarvi, who signed a two-year contract on October 7 after playing two seasons for Karpat in La Liiga, Finland’s top professional league. Puljujarvi was Edmonton’s (4th) first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft and has not played in the NHL since 2018-19, when he left the Oilers after his entry contract expired. on July 1, 2019 and signed with Karpat as a restricted free agent. He led Karpat and finished fourth in the Liiga with 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) in 56 games last season.

“Last year the lower end of the list did a great job of checking,” Holland said. “There are people out there who have done a big job, being us in the top two in the NHL in penalties (84.4 percent), but we’re trying to spread the offense more evenly in the lineup. ”

The Oilers will build on the goalies they had last season, Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith; the latter was an unrestricted free agent who agreed to a one-year contract to stay on October 10. Edmonton is also hoping a better balance will help 5-5, where it was outplayed 154-144.

“I think our 5v5 game can improve a bit,” Draisaitl said. “We’ve had some great special teams and we’re looking to continue. But you can’t always rely on this and you need your 5v5 game to be strong. This is something that we can improve.

“We can get better. We have taken a small step there, but there is still room for improvement. “



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