In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the most dynamic duo in the NHL accomplished a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in years, there is buzz surrounding Taylor Hall and the Oilers odds of landing him, and speculation surrounds Ken Holland’s willingness to move a first-round draft pick to improve the team this season. Finally, there are some news items regarding injuries and World Juniors.
McDavid and Draisaitl Combo Continues to Wow
It’s amazing what both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are doing this season as the top-scoring duo in the NHL. Hammering home how impressive their season’s have been, they are the first pair of players to hit 50 points in less than 30 games since Wayne Gretzky & Jari Kurri did so in 1984-85. They are also the first pair of teammates with 45 points thru a team’s first 25 games since Mario Lemieux & Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96.
Even more incredible is the fact that McDavid has been able to produce those results with an obscure penalties-drawn-to-taken ratio. He has now taken eight penalties while drawing only 13 in 29 games. With his speed and ability to break down defenders, this stat is amazingly skewed away from benefiting arguably the best player in the game.
The stat suggests he may be able to produce more if the officiating evens itself out. Amazing considering he easily walked away with the first star of the month honours in the NHL for the month of November.
Holland Willing to Trade First-Round Pick?
As the Oilers continue to rack up wins, the conversation is turning to what Edmonton, specifically GM Ken Holland might do to improve the team this season.
The Oilers current record was a key contributor to the reason Jesse Puljujarvi wasn’t traded prior to the Group 2 free agent deadline but that doesn’t mean Holland isn’t considering what comes this season with the Oilers appearing to be a playoff team.
Holland has said he’s willing to move a pick if the Oilers are a lock for the postseason but he’s not willing to mortgage the future until he knows for sure. Citing how teams have jumped up from the middle of the first round to a lottery position, Holland isn’t willing to simply throw away a chance to draft high in next year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Another question might be what the Oilers actually need to put them over the top and make them serious contenders. One piece might not be enough considering how top-heavy the team is in terms of production.
Would Taylor Hall Be That Piece?
As news broke that the New Jersey Devils were fielding calls and offers on Taylor Hall, most insiders had the Oilers firmly entrenched in the conversation. Still, there seems to be considerable debate over what Hall would mean to the team and how realistic it is Edmonton would be the team that grabs him in trade.
Outside of the questions that exist long-term as a fit in Edmonton, analysts like Brian Burke and John Shannon don’t believe Hall is the right fit. Burke doesn’t think the Oilers have the horses while Short doesn’t see Hall as the right piece. Rob Brown said after the Oilers win versus the Vancouver Canucks that he doesn’t believe fans will ever see Hall in an Oilers uniform again.
Shannon makes a point in that one has to wonder where the Oilers would slot Hall. He’s a first-unit power-play guy and the Oilers likely wouldn’t slot him there. He’s a top-line left-wing and Draisaitl often occupies that spot.
Injuries Starting To Hit Oilers?
The Oilers have been relatively lucky when it comes to serious injuries, Adam Larsson being the biggest one of the early point in the season. That said, the team is starting to get banged up.
Matt Benning can’t catch a break as he seems to be toughing it out, but a lightning rod for errant pucks, nasty hits or unfortunate plays. Mike Smith is day-to-day with a leg injury, Zack Kassian has some back issues and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still nursing a bad hand.
Stuart Skinner has gotten the call-up in net for the Oilers while Smith is questionable. Skinner is an Edmonton kid drafted by the team in 2017 with the 78th-overall selection.
Two Oilers Named to Canadian World Junior Camp
Two Edmonton Oilers prospects were named to the 2020 World Juniors selection camp, Hockey Canada announced Monday. Forward Raphael Lavoie and goalie Olivier Rodrigue will attend the camp in Oakville, Ont. from Dec. 9-12. The World Juniors are set to kick off in the Czech Republic on Boxing Day when Canada squares off against the United States at 11 a.m. MST.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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