The Edmonton Oilers endured a fairly miserable 2017-18 campaign and should rebound from that faceplant to some degree, but after starkly different campaigns over the past two years the question remains: what is this team?
Elliotte Friedman fielded that topic during a Friday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960.
“I don’t know what to make of them,” considered Friedman. “I see a whole lot of players - like, I don’t think Oscar Klefbom is as bad as he was last year, and he was hurt. He was hurt. I don’t think Adam Larsson is as bad as he was last year. Is he as good as he was two years ago? But I don’t think he’s as bad as he was last year. Cam Talbot - maybe he’s not as good as he was two years ago, but I don’t think he’s as rough as he was last year.
“To me, that’s the problem right now is there’s a whole lot of guys there that you’re looking at and you’re saying, ‘Okay, maybe they weren’t what they showed two years ago, but they’re not what they showed us last season.’ So what are they.
“I look at that division. Let’s just assume four teams make the playoffs. I think San Jose is making the playoffs. I think you guys are making the playoffs. I like your team, I like what you did in the offseason. I don’t think Vancouver is. I think Vegas is making the playoffs. And then I don’t know what L.A. is, I don’t know what Anaheim is right now, and I don’t know what Edmonton is right now.
“I think McDavid is going to have a massive year. I think Nurse has really come on. I think Draisaitl will be better than he was last year. But I look at a lot of that team and I’m sitting there and I’m saying, ‘This is what they were two years ago. This is what they were last year.’ I don’t think they’re as bad as they were last year. But what are they.”
“There’s three teams in your division I look at them and I say, ‘I have no idea where they’re going to be.’ And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but that’s the way I look at them.”
The Oilers recorded 78 points last season, and their 36-40-6 mark earned them a sixth-place finish in the Pacific Division.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly