Welcome back to another edition of Sunday Night Pint!
- Pacific Division predictions!
- Oilers enforcers!
- Raising the dead!
1. Pacific Division Predictions
BLH- I think it’ll go down like this: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Edmonton, San Jose, Calgary, Vancouver, Arizona.
I’m not sold on San Jose as a functioning squad this year. Their goaltending is unproven, the lack scoring from the wings and their new coach has done nothing to prove that he’ll take the Sharks any further that where they stand now, out of the playoffs. I’m also convinced that Calgary is going to hit the wall this season. Too many years now of lucking out. Either their young guys, their goaltending, or the coaching dries up this year. Vancouver and Arizona will be in competition for Auston Matthews, Jakub Chychrun, and Jesse Puljujarvi so who cares about them.
L.A. should be good for 2nd place but then again looked what happened to Boston last year…
Edmonton on the other hand is trending up. They’ve improved their roster immensely since last season. I’d say they’re on the opposite end of the spectrum as San Jose. Their top 6 has the potential to be the deadliest in the league and Talbot is entering the prime of his career after putting up some deadly numbers last year in New York. The secret weapon won’t be a player but an aura called The McDavid Effect.
LR – Ducks: The Ducks core is in their prime and they keep getting reinforcements on a maturing D and in goal. Getzlaf, Perry and crew easily have the talent and experience to easily push for another final four appearance and maybe even another cup as Chicago suffers under cap restraints. Finish 1st, 108 pts.
Kings: Many would see the Kings problems as a sign of potential implosion, but the bulk of their core remains intact and the addition of Milan Lucic means they are tougher and heavier in their top six. They could use more depth on D but finishing out of the playoffs will provide tons of motivation for this veteran-laden team only two years removed from a cup. Finish 2nd, 102 pts.
Flames: I hate the Flames, but I have to admit they have the best D in the Pacific and defense gets you wins and points in the NHL today. Look for highly touted rookie Sam Bennett to suffer a severe upper-body injury by mid-season but the rest of the forward group are serviceable if unspectacular and play very well within Bob Hartley’s system. Finish 3rd, 98 pts
Sharks: I predicted this team’s erosion a couple of years ago but they have stubbornly remained relevant… Until last year when they missed the playoffs. Not even Logan Couture’s daunting overbite can save them now. Unproven in goal and leaderless they will continue to drift. Finish 4th, 88 pts.
Oilers: After the draft I took a sip of the Kool-Aid and I liked the taste. Nonetheless, I’m not ready to label this team as playoff bound just yet, still too inexperienced on D and it’s not certain what impact Nurse and Reinhart will have. Nevertheless, they will take a huge step forward and position themselves to challenge the following year. Look for a 75 point season from the Nuge to go with 65 – 70 points from McDavid as he becomes the Oilers’ first Calder Trophy winner. Finish 5th, 84 pts.
Canucks: The Canucks have done nothing to help themselves and continue to drop in talent even further. The Sedins are well into their 30’s and aren’t magicians, so no playoffs for Vancouver. Finish 6th, 82 pts.
Coyotes: The Coyotes have the makings of a very exciting team… In about 3-4 years. Besides OEL they don’t have an impact player and it’s unsure Mike Smith can bounce back from a disastrous season. Missing the playoffs by a lot and being in the thick of the Auston Mathews sweepstakes. Finish 7th, 62 pts.
RC – Anaheim, Los Angeles, Calgary, Edmonton, San Jose, Vancouver, Arizona
2. Who’s Your Favorite Oilers Tough Guy?
BLH – My favorite Oilers tough guy is the team’s all-time leader in penalty minutes (1747) Kelly Buchberger. He lost more fights than he won but there was no backing down when push came to shove. The list of guys he fought is legendary: Probert, Pronger, Neely, McSorley, Kordic, Grimson, McCarty, Tim Hunter, Brashear, Kocur, and Odjick just to name a few. #BraveMan
LR – Dave Brown: This is a close call as I’m also a big Georges Laraque fan, and who could forget Semenko, but Brown was just so devastating. He didn’t just beat people up, he destroyed them.
RC – Dave Semenko without question. I grew up watching Cement Head take on all comers and I loved the epic battles of Alberta even more when Semenko and Hunter would go at it!
3. If You Could Bring Back Any Hockey Player From The Dead To Play For The Oilers, Who Would It Be?
BLH – I’d bring back Maurice “The Rocket” Richard. I remember reading a children’s illustrated book when I was small boy that featured The Rocket and I can’t remember what the name was but the message was about tenacity. I didn’t know what that word meant but by the end of that short story I knew all I needed to know about the word and the player! This man played the game with as much honesty as you could ask for and never asked for anything in return. Not only that but he managed to get an entire city to riot after he was suspended.
LR – Eddie Shore: Shore was much more than a footnote in the movie Slapshot, he was the original two way defenceman. Shore could beat you with toughness and scoring from the blueline, both of which the Oilers could use on their team today.
RC – This is a really tough one for me because the vast majority of the players that I grew up watching are still alive today. I decided that rather than select a former all star from another organization that I would select a player that left us way to young and had a ton of potential. Kristians Pelss was an Oilers prospect when he tragically died in a swimming accident in 2013 in his home country of Latvia. I have always wondered what he could have become had we not lost him.
Well that wraps it up for us here. Let us know in the comments below your Pacific Division predictions, who your favorite tough guy was or who you’d bring back from the dead to play on the Oilers.
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