As we get closer and closer to the NHL season we here at Predlines are going to take a look at each team in the Western Conference. In each Western Conference team’s outlook we will take a look back at their season from a year ago, any off-season moves, how they fared against the Predators, and our prediction in regards to how the Predators will match-up against each specific team next season.
First up, we have the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers A Year Ago
The Oilers had another very below-par season last year and finished the season last in the Western Conference and were crowned third-worst team in the NHL. The Predators must have had success against such a young, in-experienced, and overall bad hockey team, right? The answer to that question is no, none at all.
The Predators played the Oilers three-times last season; two-times in Edmonton and a Thanksgiving Day game against the Oilers in Nashville. The Predators scored two-goals throughout the teams three-game series while giving up a total of 13-goals. The Predators lost twice by the score of 5-1 and once by the score of 3-0; that equals zero-points going the Predators way in the Western Conference standings.
The last meeting between the Predators and Oilers in Edmonton was a very big – late season game as the Predators were battling for a Wild Card playoff-spot and the Predators simply couldn’t handle the Oilers young-forwards such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Taylor Hall in that particular game and couldn’t find a way to stop the very-young, talented Oilers forwards in any of the three-games in the season. That particular late season loss stood out as a game where some fans lost their faith for a final playoff-push.
Jordan Eberle really spoiled the party for any Predators success last season, he simply couldn’t be stopped by Nashville as he lit the lamp four-times and also tallied three-assists in the three game season series against the Predators.
Oilers Off-Season Moves
The Oilers have not necessarily been a loud-team this off-season nor a quiet-team either. The most impactful move Edmonton has made this off-season was the trade involving forward Sam Gagner to the Tampa Bay Lightning (very quickly traded to the Arizona Coyotes) in exchange for winger Teddy Purcell.
Gagner only had 10-goals last season for the Oilers to go along with 27-assists, and the addition of Purcell who had 42-points a year ago with the Lightning adds a more experienced forward to the mix in Edmonton.
Along with the addition of Purcell via the trade market they Oilers also signed Benoit Pouliot who played with the New York Rangers last season. The addition of Pouliot and his experience will add even more experienced depth at the winger-position for Edmonton.
The Oilers also added defenseman Nikita Nikitin from Colombus who will slide nicely into their defensive system.
Predators Predictions Against The Oilers
Things can’t get much worse for the Predators this season than they were against the Oilers a year ago. I am predicting the Predators to sweep the Oilers next season; virtually flipping the script from a year ago. The Predators get home-ice advantage this season in the three-game season series and I think they will post a much better home record this season than there 19-17-5 record from a year ago. If that is true they will need to win the “must win games” next season at Bridgestone Arena and Edmonton should be in that category this season.
The reason the Predators should win the contest in Edmonton is because this will be the first game of the dreaded “Canada trip” the Predators embark on next season. Last season, the Predators caught Edmonton at the later-half of the Canada road-trip. This time the Predators will still be in that “excited mode” as they start off their trip in Canada energized and ready to go to work.
The Predators will have success against the Oilers next season, especially with a healthy Pekka Rinne in net.