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Edmonton • Canada • 25 Years Old • Male
In a previous blog I wrote that I expected Edmonton to finish 2nd in the division, behind the Ducks with the Flames a close 3rd. The Battle Of Alberta has gone on for decades but both teams have had very little to celebrate over the past ten years. Chanting "my team is slightly not as bad as yours" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. Both teams have star players that are just entering their primes and the next ten years should be filled with exciting games (and hopefully some playoff series) for these two rivals.

The rosters for both teams look to be set (unless the Flames do make a move for Jagr) so let's take a line by line look and compare these two teams

Maroon - McDavid - Draisaitl VS Gaudreau - Monahan - Ferland

While both of these top lines combine the most dynamic forwards with a complimentary player, the advantage has to go to Edmonton. Monahan is an incredibly consistent player but well..... McDavid. I would prefer to see Draisaitl producing on his own line but it is also impossible to deny the chemistry between these two players. Maroon and Ferland play similar roles but Maroon has so far been able to produce more while being a stronger physical presence.


Lucic - RNH - Slepeshev VS Tkachuk - Backlund - Frolik

The 3M Line (you Calgary people have the most ridiculous names for things) may not be as flashy as the top line but they are arguably just as important to this teams success. Their ability to limit the production of other teams top players ranks among the top in the league. RNH and Lucic are both coming off down years and should produce more but right now the Flames have the better 2nd line.


Jokinen - Strome - Puljujarvi VS Versteeg - Bennett - Brouwer

Some question marks on both sides. After a strong rookie season Sam Bennett regressed last year. Meanwhile in Edmonton, the Oilers are hoping for a big year from Jesse Puljujarvi. Ryan Strome may be on McDavid's wing before the end of the season but the team will start him as a third line centre so it is difficult what to expect. Versteeg and Jokinen will play similar roles as veteran players who will move up and down the lineup as necessary. At the end of the day it's tough to pick a winner but one of these teams employs Troy Brouwer so......


Caggiula - Letestu - Kassian VS Lazar - Stajan - Chiasson

Lazar and Caggiula are both players that have the potential to break out in a big way and should be fun to watch. I don't think many Flames fans will disagree that the weakest part of their team is their bottom 6 and comparing the two it's pretty clear which the stronger line is.


Looking at the forwards Edmonton has the stronger top line and bottom 6 unit, while Calgary has a stronger 2nd line which also serves as their best shut down line. I have a feeling we will see a different story looking at the defense.

Klefbom - Larsson VS Giordano - Hamilton

A healthy season from Klefbom and the chemistry between the two Swedes was a big reason the Oilers finished where they did last season. Having said that the Gio-Hamilton pair is a stronger unit. Both players are very effective at moving and distributing the puck while playing the toughest minutes.


Sekera - Russell VS Brodie - Hamonic

Hamonic is Russell if Russell knew how to move the puck. Hamonic is a very talented shutdown defender who excels at limiting top opposition, but he also has the offensive instincts to get controlled entrances into the offensive zone instead of just throwing the puck out. Sekera is a wonderful player and the fact that he has done what he has with Russell as a partner makes it more impressive but again, Calgary has the strong pair.


Nurse-Benning VS Kulak - Stone

The Oilers win one! Nurse and Benning both have the skillset to be top 4 players and we may see both of these guys on the second pairing before the season is done. Stone has a offense first mindset but that has seen him make some boneheaded plays in his own zone.


This also went as expected. The Flames have a vastly superior defensive core; arguably the best in the league. Edmonton has some players that might tip the scales in their favour in a couple years but the Flames win this one.

Talbot-Brossoit VS Smith-Lack

Talbot is a goaltender who's best years look to be still ahead of him. Smith's best years are most likely behind him. Calgary made some great moves this off-season but I am not prepared to call the Smith acquisition one of them. The defensive group in front of him will certainly help but the Flames could be spending next off season searching for a new starter...again. Lack looked like he could become a starter with his performances in Vancouver but his time in Carolina changed that. He is certainly more tested than Brossoit though who will need to get some playing time to make life easier for Talbot.


In summary, Edmonton has a stronger forward group with a goaltender who can make up for the mistakes caused by the backend. Meanwhile the Flames may not have as many dynamic options up front but their backend can move the puck up quickly to generate offense.

The Battle of Alberta is back and the real rivalry can begin anew. If what I predicted comes true we will see our first Oilers-Flames playoff series in the middle of April. Start saving your money now everyone because that will certainly be worth the price of admission.

Thanks for reading!
Filed Under:   oilers   edmonton   calgary   flames  
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