There are seventeen days between now and the official opening of the 2015/16 season. The young stars tournament held annually in Penticton to me are when things really start to get exciting. This is our first chance to see some of these budding young players in actual games with physical contact. More importantly this is the first time we will get to see Connor McDavid play against someone other than his own teammates in a non-contact game. While I am not discounting his 5 goal performance in the Billy Moores cup it was just a prospect game which obviously presents little in the way of a challenge for Connor.
Thinking about Penticton and all the excitement that will surround the bustling little city gets me to thinking of all the Oilers firsts that we are going to witness this coming season, both for young McJesus and the Oilers in general. The first goal of the season, the first multi-point and multi-goal games of the year. The first time we see hats rain from the sky in celebration. The first pugilistic event of the season, good or bad it’s going to happen soon enough people. The first time the boys bring home the clean sheet and how long into the season will we be forced to wait to see the boys in blue victorious? One final thought I just had, hopefully not the final one ever by the way, was will the Oilers be the first team in NHL history to have four 1st overall picks score for one team in one game? Wouldn’t that be something to see!
That’s a lot of season highlights and they could all happen within the first two to three weeks of the season if things break right finally for these boys. With all the excitement that this train of thought is giving to Oilers fans the world over it is time to make some predictions. I want to hear from as many of you as possible too. Let’s all make our best guesses o all the topics above. The prize will be nothing more than bragging rights but you will get to hold your head high knowing that you somehow pulled a guess out of your ass that actually turned out to be true. I know if I am right I plan to laud it over everyone for as long as I possibly can and if not then I will erase all trace of this conversation having taken place and vehemently deny any and all predictions.
With that being said let’s get down to business and start with the guessing.
First goal of the season/ first goal for Connor McDavid
The first goal of the season will come in St. Louis on October 8th. I think everyone knows that by now. If you don’t then what the hell man? You really need to straighten out your priorities! As you can see I added in McDavid’s first goal as well because 95% of the excitement this off-season is directly related to this amazing young man. And now for the official proclamation, (drumroll please) the player that will score the first goal of the 2015/16 season for the Edmonton Oilers will be…..
The crowd won’t obviously go wild and bras won’t rain from the sky for our very own baby Nuge when he lights the lamp midway through the first period in the Scottrade center. That will unfortunately have to wait a week until the very same Blues will visit Rexall to open the final season of the old barn. Young Connor will light the lamp for his first goal of the season in his second game as a pro. He will score a highlight reel beauty streaking off the wing to beat Rinne. Yeah I know that is a pretty detailed prediction but this is the big leagues folks and if you wanna play with the big boys its time to put on your big boy undies, yeah the ones your mom laid out will be fine, and get to guessing!
The first multi-point and multi-goal games of the season/ McDavid as well.
There is an immense amount of talent in the Oilers top six, hell there was a lot before we added Connor. The phenom just pushed us even higher. Obviously with that amount of firepower it will be a little harder to accurately predict who will be the first to register a two or more point game and a two or more goal performance. Since there is a fairly decent chance that these both don’t occur on the same night we will make separate guesstimates for both. The first player to record a multi-point game will be…
Again the award goes the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The first multi-point game of the season will in fact be the season opener in St. Louis. Nugey will contribute a goal in the first period as we already determined but he will add an assist on a Jordan Eberle third period goal as well to take the honors. Connor will have his first two point night against Dallas in the 3rd game of the season.
The first player to score more than one goal is something altogether different and I really don’t see this one going to RNH. Nuge is more of a playmaker than a sniper and because of that he will prefer to pass the puck more often than not. The winner of the award for first multi-goal game goes to….
Hallsy is still our best offensive weapon for the coming season and adding McDavid as his center is only going to take the speedster to new heights. It won’t take very long for Hall to bulge the twine on more than one occasion in a game. I’m guessing that he completes the task in Dallas against the Stars on the 13th of October. Dallas bled goals last season and with relatively the same D-corps and same starting netminder could see the trend continue this year. Dallas’ saving grace is that for as badly as they give up goals they are also able to find the back of the net more often than nearly any team in the league. Hall will score twice that night and both will be off of passes from Connor McDavid. Goals are obviously a tad bit harder to come by than assists in the NHL so it will be a little longer before Connor is able to see the red light go on twice or more in a game. Although I don’t think that he will have to wait that long and will manage to accomplish the feat in the Battle of Alberta game on the 17th of October.
First Hattrick of the season
The first time that the heavens will open up and hats will pour from the sky will be a truly glorious event to behold for the thousands in attendance and the hundreds of thousands if not millions watching on television at home. Should it occur on home ice you can guarantee a delay in the game while all the errant hats are rounded up and removed from the ice. Even on the road most other teams fans realize how special a three goal performance is and will generally litter the ice with more than a few sun blockers. How long will we be forced to wait to see this wonderous occurrence? Well if my guess is right it shouldn’t take that long at all! The first player to record a three goal game will be…
The first time that we will see hats raining from the sky will in fact by off of the stick of our young saviour Connor McDavid. Not only will the future of the franchise be the first to score a hattrick this season, which is wonderful news in itself, but he will do so in his first multi-goal game of the season too! That’s right folks. I predict that the first time we see the threepeat will be on the 17th of October live on CBC Hockey Night in Canada against the hated Flames. Calgary has been our most hated rival for virtually the entire time that the Oilers have been in the league and it usually means that the players are even more amped up to play than normal. Connor in a normal game will be a formidable player to watch but when he elevates his game to compete in the BOA he will be virtually unstoppable. Good news for Edmonton fans, not so good for Dougie Hamilton and Mark Giordano.
The First Fight/ Will McDavid fight?
The first fight of the season isn’t included as an important seasonal milestone as the rest we are discussing but this is still a contact sport and sooner or later tempers will flair and fists will fly. The only question is how many games it is going to take before we have a couple willing combatants? My guess for the player to drop the gloves and earn a 5 minute trip to the sin bin is going to be…
Matt Hendricks. We all know and love the guy for what he brings to this team and he seems to be a very well-respected vet by the younger guys on the team. Hendy is never going to be a dynamic offensive dynamo but what he does bring is a willingness to do all the little things and the work ethic to handle the tougher zone starts. Another great thing about Hendricks is his willingness to stand up for his teammates. He will definitely be the first guy to come to the defense of his team and I think we will see him drop his mitts if not against the Flames then on the very next night against the loathsome Vancouver Canucks. Will McDavid fight this coming season? I really doubt it, I m fairly certain he will be under fairly strict instructions to keep his gloves on and let others handle the physical violence when it is needed.
First shut-out of the season?
We have a new starting goalie this year in all likelihood. Cam Talbot is basically being gifted the job barring a horrendous camp from him or an absolutely amazing one from either Scrivens or Nillson. Smart money is that we will be seeing the ghostbuster mask belonging to Talbot in between the pipes far more often than the other two goalies combined. Even then just because you are getting the majority of the starts doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be the first to record a perfect game. The first goalie to record a shut-out this season will be…
Just kidding! There is pretty much no possible way that the first shut-out isn’t going to Cam. He is hopefully the future in goal for the Oilers and will want to establish himself as a bona fide starter sooner rather than later. My prediction is that his first one will come against the Detroit Red Wings on October 21st. Seeing as it will be only the second home game of the season after five out of the first six games are on the road should make for a very raucous crowd and a great time for Cam to show what he has to the Oilers faithful.
First win of the season?
Last season the Oilers played and lost the first five games of the season. They could only manage to earn one point out of the possible ten. A rough start to be sure but after the first five game skid the Oil managed to put together a fairly successful little streak winning the next four straight to nearly end the month of October. Edmonton only managed a 4-5-0-1 record in October last season and didn’t earn a win against a Western conference team until December 7th against Todd McLellan and his former team the San Jose Sharks. Not exactly awe-inspiring now is it. For the Oilers to show that they are a much improved team and that they will not again be the basement dwelling team that was nearly unable to beat any teams in their own conference they will need to set the tone early and what better way to do that then to walk into Scottrade Center in St. Louis on opening night and leave with their first two points of the season? That is right peeps, I am predicting that Edmonton, on the strength of the aforementioned RNH two point game, will slay the dragon right out of the gates and not only win their first game but do so against one of the big baddies from the West that they had so much trouble with in seasons past. Edmonton wins the game 3 to 1.
Will all four first overall picks score in one game?
I am not 100% positive but I am reasonably certain this would be an accomplishment that has never occurred in the NHL before. How cool would it be to see all four of these young stars light the lamp in one game? If it happened at home the roof would come off of Rexall in a quick hurry I can guarantee you that! The odds of something like this happening have to be fairly long. I can’t imagine a lot of people contacting Vegas to lay money down on a long shot like this. I completely agree that there is a better than good chance that this doesn’t happen. Not only this year but ever, but what kind of predictions would these be if I didn’t at least make a guess on the subject. My guess is that the Oilers will light up the Maple Leafs on November 30th in Toronto and show Leafs Nation exactly what they are missing by not having Connor. Couldn’t happen to a better group of fans! Leafs fans have always considered themselves the center of the hockey universe so what better place to make history than right there in the ACC.
I want to see your predictions now people. Who will score the first goal of the season? When Will Connor score his first? First multi-point and multi-goal games? For Connor? First fight, first shut-out and first win for the team? Let me know what you think in the comments. Hit me up on twitter, @cooke_rob, and send me your answers. I want to hear from you!
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