Yes, it's me again. Thank you for those who read. Thank you to the one person commenting on a MH blog who noticed my wife is a total smoke show. She is. She was born in Toronto and grew up in Australia. She's a Maple Leafs fan, and I'm actually starting to like that team, too. There's something about Matthews/Nylander/Marner that make the Leafs worth watching suddenly. When I'm in Toronto in October, I'll go to the October 11 game against the New Jersey Devils just so I can boo Taylor Hall.
I'll be in Miami for two weeks after that. Hmmm... I should go to the Panthers/Penguins game on Friday, October 20, just so I can boo Taylor Hall.
Someone complained about my last blog being boring and discussing nothing important. Sorry folks. Hockey is always hard to write about in summer regardless what team you follow, and Oilers management are making it harder right now by doing absolutely nothing.
Just to keep things fun and interesting, I'll offer you 10 Edmonton Oilers predictions for this season. Let's see how many of these come true.
1. Kailer Yamamoto will make the team and play opening night on the right side of Connor McDavid. Have you been watching this kid play lately? Afterburners. That's all I can say. He might be the perfect winger for McDavid.
2. Leon Draisaitl's contract situation will be sorted only near the end of training camp, and he'll end up signing a two-year deal at around $7.5 million per season.
3. Both sides signing the Draisaitl deal will hate it. The Oilers want a bridge deal at less money, and Draisaitl wants long-term worth huge dollars. Neither side will get what they want, but they'll sign something anyway because it's better than Drai missing parts of an NHL season.
4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will not start the regular season with the Oilers. He will be traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Tobias Rieder and a draft lottery protected first round pick (should the Coyotes win one of the first three draft spots in the lottery, the 2018 pick remains with Arizona and the Oilers get their 2019 first round pick instead).
5. These changes set up the Oilers lines for the season:
Line 1: Patrick Maroon/Connor McDavid/Kailer Yamamoto
Line 2: Milan Lucic/Leon Draisaitl/Tobias Rieder
Line 3: Jussi Jokinen/Ryan Strome/Jessie Puljujarvi
Line 4: Drake Cagguila/Mark Letestu/Zack Kassian
6. Yamamoto playing with McDavid leads to Yamamoto leading league rookie scoring in 2017/2018, but he won't win the Calder Trophy because everyone will give McDavid credit for what happens. It's hard to say who the Rookie of the Year will be this season because there's no clear top prospect.
7. The Oilers will extend Patrick Maroon during the season and keep him for three additional seasons after this one.
8. The Oilers will also extend Jokinen, who will surprise some people in Edmonton. It's important for the Oilers to keep around a few veterans who can play and won't break the bank contract-wise. At his current price-point ($1.1mil per season), Jokinen is a steal. If he can play with Puljujarvi and Strome, management will give him at least one more year.
9. The Oilers will win the Pacific Division but will finish second in the conference behind the... wait for it... Dallas Stars.
10. The Oilers will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. Will they win it all?