Oilers’ Offseason Leading to Respect Throughout the Hockey World

This past offseason should be considered a success for Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland. He signed a number one goaltender in Jack Campbell, re-signed sniper Evander Kane and defenceman Brett Kulak, and even brought in some veteran help on the blue line with the addition of Ryan Murray. Arrows are pointing north in Edmonton, and deservedly so, and now pundits around the league are taking notice. Fans of the Oilers had to do a double take recently when ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski revealed that he believes the Oilers will win the Stanley Cup in 2022-23. This isn’t a misprint or a sign that the world is coming to an end. Wyshynski, a noted critic of the Oilers in the past, believes they have shown enough improvement over the past few months to deserve consideration to win hockey’s holy grail this season.

Media and pundits in Oil Country were quick to reveal their disbelief at Wyshynski’s prediction, as it seems like forever since people outside of Edmonton took the Oilers this seriously – or even noticed them for that matter. With a team led by Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, and Darnell Nurse, things are definitely looking positive for the Oilers. The team also seems hungry for more success after making it all the way to the Western Conference Final last June. Now that they’ve had a taste of playoff success, you have to believe they want even more now.

ESPN’s ‘Pardon the Interruption’ Even Showed the Oilers a Little Love

On the Oct. 6 edition of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser mentioned near the end of the show that McDavid and the Oilers would be the biggest storyline of the NHL this season. It might’ve been a small mention, but it’s another reminder that sports media outside of traditional hockey circles are also sitting up and taking notice of the Oilers.

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While some hockey experts are predicting the Oilers to pick up where they left off in the 2021-22 season, others are saying that their rivals to the south are going to surpass them. Some are even predicting that the Calgary Flames will beat them in the second round of the NHL playoffs and represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final in 2023. That’s bold considering the Flames’ number one goaltender Jacob Markstrom seems to have an issue stopping Oilers forwards. But hey, you never know right?

Oilers Players Also Receiving Personal Recognition Ahead of 2022-23

The Oilers’ dynamic duo of McDavid and Draisaitl are once again in the top five of TSN’s Annual Top 50 Players Ranking. McDavid finished first for the sixth year in a row, while Draisaitl moved up one spot from last season’s ranking to claim the fourth overall position this year.

Leon Draisaitl Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was an interesting list with the Colorado Avalanche’s phenomenal defenceman Cale Makar jumping from 12th last year to third and finishing right behind Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews. The way he dominated last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, capping it off with the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, he could’ve easily been slotted in the second position behind McDavid.

Related: Canucks Broadcast Crew Have Poor Take on McDavid’s Eliteness

As teams finish making their final roster selections for the 2022-23 season, you can expect more predictions to come shortly from fans and media around the league. With the Oilers’ success in last spring’s postseason and the additions of some quality veterans, expect to see more people picking them to go all the way this season. It’s been 17 years since they last made the Stanley Cup Final, and things are looking good for them to get back to the dance this season.

What are your predictions for the Oilers in 2022-23? Your comments are always welcome!

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