Wow, the last 3 seasons have really flown by. It's hard to believe that four seasons ago this team was almost dead last. Words like "rebuild" and "developmental" were commonly seen on the Oiler threads. In the last three seasons we've seen this team narrowly miss out on a second round appearance, watch an exciting Western Conference final with the Winnipeg Jets, and of course watching Captain Ryan "The Mountain" Nugent-Hopkins (who knew he could grow a beard like that) hoisting the cup over his head last season. A thrilling playoff run in which we beat the Flames in 3 games with the controversial "mercy ruling," in the second round.
But now it's time to look ahead at our roster and see what we will be working with what should be another exciting season. Let's go line by line.
The offensive juggernaut that was rated the most productive line in the NHL will of course be back together. Each player tallying 80+ points last season. Taylor Hall with his first 50 goal season, and McDavid his first 100 point season. Who remembers back when people wanted to take Murray over Yakupov. With 40 goals and 46 assists Yak and his deadly one timer (apologies again Gadreau. Glad to see you back on your feet) Yak was crucial on last seasons PP.
Ah yes, the 3 C line. With one of the most envious centre depths in the league this line is once again ready to handle plenty of minutes and tough zone starts. Soderberg and Draisaitl both have become quite the aggitators and both capable of being a force in front of the net and against the walls. Seriously though, Nugey still hasn't shaven that beard. And that article a few weeks ago about him killing that bear? I never want to be in that dressing room after a loss.... too scary to even think about.
It's nice to see after years of failing with later draft picks to see some guys turning out. After spending most of last season on the fourth line, with the departure of Pouliot and Drasaitl most likely taking his place we should see Yak2 anchoring that third line. Pitlick's injury problems seem to be behind him and Lander has turned into a great two way guy.
Moroz- Roy- Slepyshev
This is probably the biggest question mark line. Roy and Sleps both made their NHL debut late into last season and were both able to make contributions on the Cup Run. Moroz will never be an offensive force but he is reasonable defensively and hits hard.
On D most of the roster appears set to return
One of the first big moves Chiarelli pulled off in his first season. Klef has turned into a true top guy and this line has proven to be a great shutdown force.
One of the biggest pairings in hockey. I don't think anyone was more surprised than Marty to find out he wasn't done growing. At 6.07 and 230lbs Marincin has been channelling his inner Chara for a couple seasons now. At 6.05 220, Darnell "Oh God Get That Guy a" Nurse will join his partner in crime. They might rack up the most penalties on the team, but as long as they can remain (somewhat) disciplined I would keep them together.
Okay seriously, how is Ference still playing?
Brossoit will of course be back. After winning the Vezina last season I expect nothing but big things from the guy this season. Brossoit and Dubnyk are both definite Vezina finalists again this season (still can't believe we had that guy).
So that should pretty much cover this years roster. Coach McLellan has plenty of tools at his disposal and anything less than another Western Conference title should be considered a failure. Thanks for reading!