It's really going to have to start with the supporting cast in this coming season, as we all know what Connor McDavid is capable of, filling up the scoresheet at will. His unbelievable finish to the hockey season, finishing atop the scoring ranks all by himself, but he still couldn't carry the team into the playoffs.
A lot of what the Oilers will be looking for will stem from a healthy blueline, which they didn't have a lot of in the 2018 season, as Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom suffered injuries in the year, but it looks like both will be ready to get off to healthy starts this season.
If Vegas showed us anything last season, it was just how important team speed actually is and the Oilers have added more in Tobias Rieder and potentially, their 1st round pick in 2017, Kailer Yamamoto.
Potential is a word that would probably best suited to describe the Oilers heading into the season, but living up to it is getting harder and harder these days.
Table last updated on August 13th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
The blueline seems to be a pretty good spot to focus on for the Oilers in this post, as they could be receiving a breakout season out of Matt Benning in the 2019 year, as he joined the hockey pool worthy ranks last season with 21 points in 73 games and he flourished with added minutes, thanks to their injury situation.
Benning came through the college ranks, before signing as a free agent with the Oilers and now after a couple of eye-opening seasons with the club, it could very well be his time to shine. The Oilers could sure use a boost from the back end, especially in their own end. Benning was a plus player last year, which says a lot, looking at the team he was playing on.
First Round Picks
Do we really have to go through the whole thing about telling you about Connor McDavid? I don't think I should really have to, we all know who he is and what he is capable of. How does he not go 1st overall... unless it's a Flames fan that gets the pick, right?
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
I'm not sure if this is really going to be Edmonton's year, since I don't really have a lot of support for McDavid on my list. Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan Strome and Milan Lucic are the only other forwards I deemed worthy of being selected this year. There are some players on the bubble, but even still, I don't really see it being enough if they make the leap into the conversation. Anything is certainly possible with these guys, but it can't be just McDavid all the time, it's just not enough.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
The back end does seem to be improving and that's very important to how successful the Oilers are, not only now, but down the road. Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Kris Russell could all be very good veteran picks on the blueline, as long as they tighten up at their own end as well. There's one big omission from the list, yet to sign, and we'll touch on that in a second.
It was too bad for the Oilers that Cam Talbot couldn't carry the load again last year, but he was worked pretty hard in the last couple of seasons and that may have caught up with him. A fresh start could be better for him, but I'll go back to that lack of depth up front... if it can't score, Talbot won't be able to stop them all.
Team to Pick From Late?
There are certainly going to be some out there that will have their own differing opinions about the Oilers and they'll probably hope that Jesse Puljujarvi breaks out of his shell or Kailer Yamamoto makes the leap and impresses... both could happen, but this team's track record with play-making talents hasn't been very good and I'm not going to start betting on them to change their ways just yet.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The biggest name missing from this list is defenseman Darnell Nurse, who remains unsigned out of his entry-level deal. The team seems to believe that they will have a deal done before training camp, but the argument between bridge and long-term is going to be a dicey one. The Oilers only have about $3.2 million in cap space with a 23-man roster currently and moving forward, it's not going to get any easier for this team.
As it was mentioned earlier, the injuries to Sekera and Klefbom were pretty big draw backs on the Oilers' season and neither finished the 2018 season healthy. It does appear that both of them will be ready to go at the start of training camp, leading to more optimism for the team's following.