This Week On Oilers Hockey: 1

Photo by Lawrence Scott/Getty Images

🎵It’s the most wonderful time of the year. McDavid is speeding, La Bamba is playing, so be of good cheer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year🎵

Preseason ended, and now the real hockey begins. I’ll be doing this sort of article every week before the first game of each new week. This will feature slightly different writing from how I usually write and what I normally write about regarding the Edmonton Oilers. It’ll be a fun time had by all.

First, a few notes about preseason…

  • Dylan Holloway made the big club as a regular, it was never up for debate. He played his last couple of exhibition games on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman, and he may end up staying there. An exciting addition to an already-stacked group of forwards. It has the potential to be the best top 9 in the NHL. If Holloway’s rookie campaign mirrors his hot preseason, may he be a Calder Trophy nominee at the season’s end?
  • Tyler Benson still couldn’t catch a break. He was noticeably hellbent on finally making it as an NHL regular. His skating had improved drastically. He added a couple of goals but then got injured. The one year he looks like a solid NHLer, bad luck strikes. His injury is listed as week-to-week. I’m sure the coaching staff will remember his preseason play and give him his chance with bottom six duties when he’s healed.
  • I noted this in my last article, but Philip Broberg didn’t make the biggest impression this preseason. It’s been said he’ll play on opening night, then sent back down to Bakersfield. Maybe he really did play his way off the roster. Starting in the AHL and then seeing what he can do should injuries occur might be best for him. Perhaps Marcus Niemelainen is the seventh defenseman?
  • Whether you’re a radical hockey analytics fan or a radical hockey culture fan, both sides were on the same page regarding Jake Virtanen. The Oilers didn’t keep him, and he was released from his PTO. . Every Oilers fan saw his poor preseason coming, and management waited too long to cut him.
  • James Hamblin is a prospect that got every fan talking in the last couple of weeks. His solid play forced harder decisions on the coaching staff for how the roster will look on opening night. Even though he’s not on the game 1 roster, he has to be a call-up at some point in the season.

Now to talk about the regular season. In the summer of 2021, Oilers fans were flabbergasted by the overwhelming (some head-scratching) changes to the roster heading into last season. But hockey isn’t played on paper, it’s played on the ice. They exceeded expectations and went all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Now that expectations have risen, we’ll see how the boys respond. There is more enthusiasm for the team this year than last year. The first week of Oilers hockey will have just two games, and they are.

Wednesday, October 12th at 8pm VS Vancouver Canucks

A team that, in some ways, is pretty similar to Edmonton. Vancouver also has offensive talent of its own, including a terrifically gifted young blue liner in Quinn Hughes. Although they ultimately didn’t make the playoffs last year, they too had their demeanor and mentality switched up after a coaching change. Bruce Boudreau was getting the best out of the Canucks the same way Jay Woodcroft got the best out of the Oilers. I like Jack Campbell but would take Thatcher Demko in net if I needed to choose between the two. I think Vancouver is a team that could potentially see themselves in either a wild card spot or third in the Pacific Division. They’re not a juggernaut, but I believe they’ll surprise.

Saturday, October 15th at 8pm VS Calgary Flames

Ah, yes. A good ol’ Battle Of Alberta that we’ll only see three times this year. Why Bettman why? Give credit where credit is due. Brad Treliving took what looked to be a painful offseason and kept them into contender status. He lost Johnny Gaudreau to free agency but got Jonathan Huberdeau. While Nazem Kadri doesn’t match the offensive skill of Matthew Tkachuk, the pest qualities are there. And Mackenzie Weegar, part of the Huberdeau Package, adds to a solid comity group of six on defense. Canada’s best chances to bring the Stanley Cup back are rivals. You love to see it.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
  3. Here Come the Playoffs
  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

Stephen Vani

Oilers fan in Toronto. Staying up past my bedtime for Western games since the mid 2000s.

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