Sports Inside the 2017-18 Oilers: Cup or bust for Connor McDavid and Co.

22:11  11 september  2017
22:11  11 september  2017 Source:   Sporting News

Oilers' Maroon: I wouldn't have had same success without McDavid, Draisaitl

  Oilers' Maroon: I wouldn't have had same success without McDavid, Draisaitl Patrick Maroon gives all the credit for his breakout campaign last season to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Edmonton Oilers forward demolished his previous career high of 11 goals - tallying 27 last season while also putting up a career-best 42 points - largely playing alongside one or both of McDavid and Draisaitl. The Edmonton Oilers forward demolished his previous career high of 11 goals - tallying 27 last season while also putting up a career-best 42 points - largely playing alongside one or both of McDavid and Draisaitl.

After ending a 10-year playoff drought, Connor McDavid and the Oilers have their sights set on the 2018 Stanley Cup .

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid signed one of the richest contracts in NHL history and helped his team at the same time. "'Building a team to win the Stanley Cup was a constant point of discussion,'" Chiarelli said."

Connor McDavid © (GETTY IMAGES) Connor McDavid For the first time since 2006, the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2017. Over a decade after a group led by guys led Dwyane Roloson and Ales Hemsky fell one victory short against the Hurricanes in bringing the Cup back to Edmonton for the first time since 1990, the Oilers, led by Connor McDavid, who was born seven years after Edmonton last captured hockey's greatest prize, were back in the postseason.

And the Oilers made a bit of noise, dispatching the Sharks in the first round before bowing out to the Ducks in Round 2. With largely the same roster — which still features McDavid — the Oilers have major salary cap commitments moving forward, and are very much in a "win-now" window. Finishing second in the Pacific Division in 2016-17 after accumulating 103 points, the goal in Edmonton, once again, is to win a Stanley Cup.

Ten Things The Edmonton Oilers Will Need To Do In Order To Win The Pacific Division In 2017-18

  Ten Things The Edmonton Oilers Will Need To Do In Order To Win The Pacific Division In 2017-18 A Division Championship would be Edmonton’s first in 26 years. We’re less than a week away from the YoungStars tournament in Penticton, BC. Preseason games come quickly afterwards, and the regular season isn’t far off. The Edmonton Oilers will look to build on an impressive 103 point season, one that saw them make the second season for the first time in ten years. The Oilers fell short of the Pacific Division title by two points. Can they get to the top this year?Short answer: yes. Here’s a list of ten things that can give them a big push to the top.

2017 - 18 Broadcast Schedule. From The Locker Room. Heritage Classic. World Cup of Hockey. Sportsnet Ask an Oiler . Team. Connor McDavid . Born: January 13, 1997. Birthplace: Richmond Hill, ON, CAN.

Oilers Captain Connor McDavid talks about a tough 4-1 loss to the Ducks. ICE Level | Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup . Aug 17, 2017 • 03:27. 31 in 31: Edmonton Oilers 2017 - 18 season preview.

MORE:Oilers facing cap crunch, other questions following Draisaitl extension

A lottery team no more, Edmonton has come out of what seemed like a never-ending rebuild with young, talented pieces pegged to buoy the Oilers' next championship team.

Edmonton Oilers schedule 2017-18

Oilers fans won't have to wait long once the NHL reaches opening night for Edmonton to hit the ice: the Oilers' first game and home opener comes Oct. 4 against their Alberta rival, the Flames. It's the first of two divisional games the Oilers open their season with, but then play 15 consecutive against out-of-division opponents, including 12 against Eastern Conference teams.

Included in that stretch is two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Oct. 24 and Nov. 1, pitting McDavid and fellow Canadian superstar Sidney Crosby head-to-head. For an Oilers team also aspiring to own the NHL, it will provide an early litmus test against the two-time defending champions. McDavid has yet to beat Crosby in two tries, though he's found personal success, scoring a goal in a 3-2 shootout loss, and tallying three assists in a 4-3 defeat. Crosby has yet to record a point versus McDavid.

Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli: ‘I wouldn’t call us a front-runner’

  Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli: ‘I wouldn’t call us a front-runner’ Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli: ‘I wouldn’t call us a front-runner’Even Las Vegas has general manager Peter Chiarelli’s team the favourites to win the Stanley Cup heading into 2017-18.

We can finally say this: The Oilers are good. Very good, and are led by Connor McDavid , the only 100-point player from 2016-17 and overwhelming favourite to capture back-to-back Hart and Art Ross Trophies in 2017 - 18 . They’ve got a Stanley Cup caliber goaltender in Cam Talbot, they’re as big as

Jonathan Toews and Joel Quenneville praise Oilers captain Connor McDavid 's rare talent. NHL Points Leader Connor McDavid “Has The Full Package”. Posted 11:13 PM, February 18 , 2017 , by scottkingwgnam, Updated at 12:03AM, February 19, 2017 .

MORE: Connor McDavid, Oilers gain ground in Stanley Cup odds

Before the calendar flips over to 2018, Edmonton has one matchup against the Sharks, and none against the Ducks. A back-to-back Feb. 9-10 — at Anaheim and then at San Jose — begins a stretch of six games against those two teams in 43 days, a compact run that could go a long way in determining the Pacific Division.

McDavid and the Oilers will appear on NBC three times this season: Nov. 21 against the Blues, Jan. 2 against the Kings and Jan. 9 against the Predators. All of those games will be carried on NBCSN.

MORE: Ranking teams' chances of bringing 2018 Stanley Cup back to Canada

In late November, McDavid and the Oilers will travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres and Jack Eichel, selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft after McDavid. Six days later, the Oilers will play host to the Maple Leafs in another matchup of the NHL's next generation when Auston Matthews and Co. come to Rexall Place. Each of those meet twice this season: the Oilers travel to Toronto on Dec. 10 and also will host the Sabres Jan. 23.

McDavid on difficulty of losing close friends Hall, Eberle to trades

  McDavid on difficulty of losing close friends Hall, Eberle to trades McDavid on difficulty of losing close friends Hall, Eberle to tradesAnd as the young phenom began plying his trade in the big leagues, raising his stock with each passing game, the trade chatter regarding star teammates Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle slowly grew. Eventually a move just seemed inevitable, with theories ranging from culture issues, the need for a defensive upgrade, or the fact that the Oilers were simply destined to become “Connor’s team” sparking the discussion.

Offer not valid on Jerseys, Custom Merchandise, 2017 Stanley Cup Champions Gear, Limited Quantity items & others. Show off your love of the Edmonton Oilers and Connor McDavid everywhere you go in this Reebok Name and Number t-shirt.

Top 100 NHL prospects for 2017 - 18 . Playoffs not slowing down McDavid . In his first experience in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid has picked right up where he left off -- generating chances and controlling the pace of the game.

Edmonton's schedule concludes with eight-of-nine games against conference opponents, including each of its last five: at Vancouver, at Calgary, at Minnesota, vs. Las Vegas and vs. Vancouver.

Oilers' key offseason additions

Ryan Strome (trade), Jussi Jokinen (free agent)

Oilers' key offseason departures

Jordan Eberle (trade), Benoit Pouliot (buyout), Matt Hendricks (free agent), David Desharnais (free agent), Griffin Reinhart (expansion)

Oilers' projected lineup

Forwards

Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jesse Puljijarvi

Jussi Jokinen - Ryan Strome - Drake Caggulia

Anton Slepyshev - Mark Letestu - Brian Ferlin

Defense

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson

Kris Russell - Matt Benning

Darnell Nurse - Eric Gryba*

*Andrej Sekera out 6-9 months with torn ACL sustained in May

Goalies

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

The Oilers' best-case scenario is …

Draisaitl matures into a player worthy of the eight-year, $68 million extension he signed this summer as Edmonton's No. 2 center, without McDavid on his line. The one-two punch down the middle and two-line depth helps the Oilers come playoff time, especially with rookie Jesse Puljijarvi thriving in his first season, finding chemistry with McDavid. Cam Talbot continues to play at a high level but backup Laurent Brossoit steps in and is able to lessen Talbot's workload after starting a league-high 73 games a year ago, keeping him fresher for the postseason. The defense bends but doesn't break, boosted by the addition of a blue line rental at the trade deadline, perhaps Calvin de Haan. McDavid leaves little doubt he is the best player on the planet, sweeping the Art Ross, Hart, and Conn Smythe trophies, and bringing the Cup to Edmonton for the first time in 28 years.

Will Edmonton Oilers find new NHL face-off rules a boon? .
Connor McDavid is interested in the NHL's more stringent face-off violation rule, where players have to be firmly set with their skates and their sticks on the ice, not waving about. Linesmen have waived out centres after one infraction of that ruling in the past, but on the second face-off, they’ve often looked the other way, not wanting to penalize teams. No longer.“I don’t think you’ll see a lot of tying up anymore (opposing face-off men),” McDavid said. “You won’t see a lot of turn and kick moves (puck). It’ll be a lot more of a stick battle.

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