NHL Season Recap – Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers

2016-17 season: 47-26-9, 103 points

Beat San Jose 4-2 in the First Round

Lost to Anaheim 4-3 in the Conference Semifinals

Head Coach: Todd McLellan (2015)
2nd Place Pacific Division General Manager: Peter Chiarelli (2015)
4th Place Western Conference AHL Affiliate: Bakersfield Condors

ECHL Affiliate: Norfolk Admirals

Draft Position: 22nd

Top Forwards

POS Age Name GP Points Goals Assists +/- CF%
C 20 Connor McDavid 82 100 30 70 27 53.8
C 21 Leon Draisaitl 82 77 29 48 7 52.1
RW 26 Jordan Eberle 82 51 20 31 3 52.8
LW 28 Milan Lucic 82 50 23 27 -3 51.5
C 23 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 82 43 18 25 -10 49.6
LW 28 Patrick Maroon 81 42 27 15 13 53.6
C 31 Mark Lestestu 78 35 16 19 -2 45.4
RW 26 Zack Kassian 79 24 7 17 4 47.4
LW 22 Drake Caggiula 60 18 7 11 3 47.6
LW 30 Benoit Pouliot 67 14 8 6 -5 48.6

Top Defensemen

POS Age Name GP Points Goals Assists +/- CF%
D 23 Oscar Klefbom 82 38 12 26 7 50.6
D 30 Andrej Sekera 80 35 8 27 14 49.8
D 24 Adam Larsson 79 19 4 15 21 49.9
D 22 Matt Benning 62 15 3 12 15 52.3
D 29 Kris Russell 68 13 1 12 5 46.5

Top Goaltenders

POS Age Name Games Started W/L Record Shutouts GAA Save %
G 29 Cam Talbot 73 42-22-8 7 2.39 .919
G 32 Jonas Gustavsson 5 1-3-1 0 3.10 .878
G 23 Laurent Brossoit 4 4-1-0 0 1.99 .928

Trades Made During the Season

What They Acquired Team They Traded With In Exchange For
F Justin Fontaine New York Rangers F Taylor Beck
C David Desharnais Montreal Canadiens D Brandon Davidson
F Henrik Samuelsson Arizona Coyotes F Mitchell Moroz
F Zach Pochiro

Conditional 2017 

3rd RD Pick

St. Louis Blues F Nail Yakupov

Impending Free Agents

POS Age Name 2016-17 Cap Hit
C 30 David Desharnais $2,800,000
D 38 Andrew Ference $3,250,000
D 30 Kris Russell $3,100,000
LW 35 Matt Hendricks $1,850,000
C 26 Anton Lander $987,500
D 29 Eric Gryba $950,000
G 32 Jonas Gustavsson $800,000
RW 25 Tyler Pitlick $725,000
RW 29 Justin Fontaine $600,000
D 24 Jordan Oesterle $585,000
D 30 Mark Fraser $575,000

Draft Needs

  • The Oilers have eight picks in the upcoming draft and will be drafting outside the top 10 for the first time since 2005.  The Oilers have some of the best young players in the league and already have one of the best forward groups at the NHL level.  That doesn’t even include Jesse Puljujarvi, who was drafted by Edmonton fourth overall last year.  They also have a young core on defense with veterans in depth roles with not as much depth in the minors at the position as they do at forward.  I think that they spend several picks on defensemen in the draft but will probably take the best available player with their first round selection.

What I Said About Them Before the Season

  • I hated the move GM Peter Chiarelli made to send elite winger Taylor Hall to New Jersey for top four defenseman Adam Larsson.  I also hated that they signed veteran Milan Lucic to help replace Hall’s production.  I even questioned the decision to draft Jesse Puljujarvi with the fourth overall pick last year and thought that they should have taken a defenseman or goaltender at that spot.  Finally, I made the bizarre decision to write that Edmonton isn’t much further ahead in their rebuild than Buffalo or Toronto and thought that this team wasn’t good enough to be a playoff team this season and should have traded Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle instead of Hall in order to acquire a defenseman.

Success/Failure

  • Absolute Success – I was completely wrong in my preseason coverage of the Oilers and was also wrong in my analysis of the team’s transactions last offseason.  The Taylor Hall/Adam Larsson trade ended up working out for the Oilers as Larsson was the team’s best defenseman and ate up a lot of ice time.  I’m not saying that Hall and Larsson are the same caliber of player, just that trading Hall was the requirement to acquire a defenseman with Larsson’s abilities. All that the Oilers ended up doing this season was become one of the best teams in the Western Conference and get all the way to the seventh game of the Conference Semifinals.  They were even the better team in that series and would have advanced had they not been on the short end of some very questionable calls by the referees.  That being said, the didn’t have to experience the playoff letdown that most young teams deal with in their first taste of the playoffs.  The Oilers made the playoffs as a result of the continued development of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Oscar Klefbom on defense.  McDavid, who is a generational talent and was selected first overall in the 2015 draft, should win the Hart Trophy as league MVP this season and staked a claim on the title of best player in the league.  They also got surprising production from Patrick Maroon, who more than doubled his career high in goal this season, by netting 27 of them while skating on McDavid’s line for much of the season.  In net, they were led by Cam Talbot, who started 73 games in the regular season and was approaching 100 games started by the time they were eliminated if preseason games were included.  His 73 games started were the most in the league this season and his play began to slip as the playoffs progressed most likely the result of exhaustion.  This was a very good team this season who easily could have been in the Western Conference Finals and will be one of the favorites to win the Western Conference next season. Edmonton should win a Stanley Cup in the next few years.

Offseason Needs

  • I think that something has to happen with one of or both Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  RNH was drafted first overall in the 2011 draft and it’s becoming more and more evident that he isn’t good enough to warrant being taken with that selection, nor is he worth his $6 million contract.  Eberle was better than RNH during the regular season but was awful in the playoffs, often looking sluggish on the ice.  He is also being paid $6 million per season and isn’t worth this contract considering he has become a third liner for Edmonton.  There have been rumors that Eberle played his last game with the Oilers in game seven of the Conference Semis which would be the right move in my opinion.  My biggest question is whether they will be able to find a suitable trade partner considering his cap hit and I think that they’d have to eat some of his contract or take another bad contract in return.  RNH is still a good player but just isn’t a player good enough to warrant his contract.  In any trade they make, I would like to see Edmonton target a defenseman since Kris Russell and Eric Gryba are both free agents this offseason.

*All stats and information came from hockey-reference.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, NHL.com, hockeydb.com, capfriendly.com, tsn.ca, and eliteprospects.com*

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