Picture your favorite hockey player currently on your respective team.
Connor McDavid is far and beyond a better player than him. Disregard the baby face and polite aura, as of Wednesday the 19 year old captain not only leads his team in points, but the entire league as well. Just 22 games into 2016-17 season the Edmonton Oilers more so resemble the dynasty of the 80’s than the punching bag’s of the last decade.
While other cards were added to the deck, it would be a respectable assumption to believe that McDavid is clearly the biggest factor to Edmonton’s early triumphs. At the same time, Milan Lucic has made his presence felt, Jordan Eberle is second in scoring, while recent draft select Leon Draisaitl has begun his emergence as a lethal play maker.
Currently, Edmonton sits second behind the mighty Blackhawks in the Western Conference overall standings. However, skepticism is expected, considering how young the 2016-17 season is. Yet, it remains difficult not to believe perhaps, the necessary pieces have begun to fall into place.
Now, is it within the realm of reason to believe the Oilers are Cup Final bound? Probably not. But it’s been a decade since one of the sports most sought after franchises has been a part of meaningful spring hockey. During that time, it has been a revolving door at the head coach position, starting goal tender and not to mention the persistent search for an all purpose defender.
Within that struggle a generally young team was constantly redesigning their game plan and identity. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that’s detrimental to the makeup of an inexperienced and vulnerable hockey team.
Within the last 12 or so months, drastic change has breed drastic results. Both newly appointed general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Todd McLellan have shot adrenaline directly into Edmonton’s veins.
Does it help being able to draft Connor McDavid in your first offseason? Of course it does. That being said, you also need to create a team that will coexist with that player.
In order to enjoy success on a regular basis, it’s finally time for Edmonton to grow up. I don’t mean that in the sense like a parent wagging their finger in your face after doing something you knew you shouldn’t have done, I mean it strictly in a professional manor. For years people around hockey have been predicting how bright Edmonton’s future is going to be. That was nearly seven years ago, so when does the future officially begin?
Well folks, you’re seeing it now. Typically, teams within the playoff race after U.S. Thanksgiving remain there. Leaving those just a few points outside to battle it out for the spots that remain up for grabs.
For the first time in a long time, the Edmonton Oilers are a playoff team after Thanksgiving. If history is any indicator, you will see them compete for Lord Stanley’s hardware.
No need to pinch yourself either, you aren’t dreaming.