Obviously there was a big jump in production from the last year. This is a team that has always had goal scorers but with the focus on two way hockey, the exciting players now on the scene, and those players still coming up to the big stage, this is a team that will be a threat in playoffs to come. Since we know Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are here to stay, lets look at who has yet to make a real impact and what players will cement the Oilers into playoff spots for the next 5 years.
At the top of the list we have Jesse Puljujarvi. Drafted 4th overall behind Patrick Laine and Auston Matthews, played over in Finland and did have 28 games under his belt for the Oilers this year already. Although he only totaled 8 pts, we have the remember that Jesse is only 19 and should be a factor coming into next year as he adjusts to the transition to the NHL. And what favors the Oilers as well is that they won’t have to worry about resigning until the 2019-20 season.
Laurent Brossoit – still believed the be the goalie of the future moving forward for Edmonton but with the way Cam Talbot had played this year and in the playoffs, that does give the Oilers time to develop Brossoit and make sure he is comfortable and equipped before having him anchor the goal line. But after this season the Oilers will need to spend some money to resign him outside of the rookie contract and but that will be a question for next off-season.
Drake Caggiula – Only came up with 18 points this season but the exciting thing about this player is that many scouts thought that he was officially going to make his debut in 2017-18. Ahead of schedule and still a part of the cheap talent pool, Drake will be a player to watch and see if he can give the Oilers extra scoring power they need as the begin their journey back to the postseason. And in weighing development with cap hit, this is a player that is still under contract this year so Drake will definitely be playing for the money this upcoming season.
The thing that is so exciting about this team is that we are seeing a plus minus balance with a strong offensive output from a young core making the impact. The Oilers team has been very young in recent years, but one thing that made Oilers games fun to go to as a Wild fan was because they were always high scoring. The Oilers did not play defense but to their credit did have the offensive fire power to make it interesting. On this current team, the average age on this team is 25.8 years old so the team is not spending a lot, but there will come a time in the upcoming years where the Oilers will have to fork over the cash and diversify their payroll in a way that will not take Edmonton out of this golden era that this city truly deserves. (Payroll and Cap hit article of Edmonton will be following this one soon so check back).
– Joey Almars