10 Bold Predictions for the 23/24 Season + BRB Getting Married
Hey everyone, this will be my last blog for a little while here as I'm getting married this weekend and then jetting off to Italy for a few weeks for a honeymoon. If some big news happens I will do my best to post something; glass of wine in hand.
Onto the blog.
Every year I post a Bold Predictions Blog for the Oilers to marginal success each year. Sometimes I am bang on with my predictions while other times I completely miss the mark. I am sure this year will be no different.
1) McDavid Has His Lowest PPG Pace in the Last 3 Years
Plenty of people are discussing McDavid and whether he will hit 160 points or more this season. If McDavid continues to play as he has I have no doubts he could hit that number but I do think we will see a slightly different McDavid this season. The goal for the Oilers is a Cup and I think we are going to see an Oilers team more focused on the playoffs. To that end I think we will see McDavid and Draisaitl both get their minutes cut down during the regular season to give some of the other lines a more prominent role on the team.
Let's say McDavid goes 50-70-120 over 82 games next season. That would still be incredible but it would be a lower ppg pace than his past few seasons.
2) Evan Bouchard Puts Up 70 Points
Bouchard just signed a two year deal worth 3.9 million a season. While the long future of that deal will cause some problems for the team, it is a value deal for the next couple seasons. Bouch put up over 40 points in his rookie year, most of them at even strength. Last season after the deadline he exploded offensively on the powerplay.
It would not surprise me in the slightest to see Evan Bouchard put up 20-50-70 or something in that range this season.
3) Raphael Lavoie Puts Up 15 Goals
It's been a long time coming for Raphael Lavoie but the soon to be 23 year old looks like he is ready for NHL games. Lavoie is a shooter and a goal scorer at every level he has played at, though it took him a bit longer to figure out in the AHL.
If he impresses in training camp, I could see him getting top nine ice-time, potentially even top six time. A 15 goal season from a player like this would be a huge boost.
4) Oilers Win The Western Conference
Edmonton won't just win the Pacific Division this season, they will finish as the top team in the Western Conference. They won't win the President's Trophy however... that will go to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
5) Ryan McLeod Gets A Selke Vote
Time for the more wild ones. Ryan McLeod is quickly establishing himself as one of the better defensive centres in the NHL. It may only be a third place vote but I think the young centre is only going to continue to improve and is going to get some recognition around the NHL.
6) Edmonton Has The Best Home Record In The NHL
I already said the team is going to be the top dog in the West and part of that reason is going to be their home record. The Bruins of last season finished with an incredible 34-4-3 record at home and while I don't think the Oilers will hit that, I think a 29-9-3 record is achievable.
7) Edmonton Plays Seattle In the First Round
Oilers fans are sick of grinding out the Kings in the First Round. This season Edmonton will get a different style of opponent, facing off against the Seattle Kraken in Round 1 of the playoffs.
8) Oilers Trade Cody Ceci At the Deadline
I think we see Ken Holland try and pull another Ekholm type of trade at the deadline this year, moving Cody Ceci and his 3.25 million dollar cap hit for a better defensive right shot option in the top four.
9) Jack Campbell Has A Big Bounceback - Has a 0.910SV%
Many are already waving off Jack Campbell as a lost cause for this season. My prediction is Campbell flourishes as the backup and with less pressure from the start and maybe 30-35 games Campbell becomes a strong backup option for the Oilers. Not worth the contract but at least a useful addition to the roster.
10) Connor Brown Puts Up 30 Goals and 70 Points
Brown is likely going to start the season on McDavid's wing and if the duo picks up chemistry to start the season there is likely no looking back. Brown has been on pace for a couple 60ish point seasons and with McDavid I think he finally breaks through.
What are your predictions.
Thanks to all my readers and I will see you guys in a few weeks!