On New Year’s Day, I posted ten bold predictions for the Edmonton Oilers over the course of the calendar year. We are now over halfway through the year, with the 2017-18 season, NHL Entry Draft, and start of free agency behind us.
So, as we sit in the dog days of summer, let’s take a look back at those predictions and see how many of them I hit on and how many of them I was way off on.
10.) The Edmonton Oilers will miss the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Can’t say this was really bold, but Edmonton did end up missing the playoffs. After a terrible start to the season, the Oil showed life around Christmas but then completely blew any hope in January. This one is a disappointing hit.
9.) The Oilers will fire Peter Chiarelli after the season: There was a point where I thought this would be reality for sure. It wasn’t, and Chiarelli is still running the Oilers. He’ll enter his fourth season at the helm on an extremely hot seat, and likely won’t survive another playoff-less season. The pressure is on, and Chiarelli made more bets on young players this year. Maybe things work out differently this fall and winter.
8.) The Oilers will name Ken Holland their new General Manager: Another miss. The Oilers kept Chiarelli, and Holland decided to re-sign with the Detroit Red Wings to run Hockey Operations for the organization.
7.) Todd McLellan WILL return as coach next season: The second hit on my list comes with an unpopular decision among fans. Did Todd McLellan do all the right things last season? No, he didn’t, but he also had a flawed roster. McLellan returns for his fourth season, and like Chiarelli will be on the hot seat this October. He’ll need a strong start to keep his job in my estimation.
6.) Patrick Maroon will be traded at the 2018 trade deadline: Another hit. Maroon was dealt to the Devils for a third-round pick in 2019 and prospect JD Dudek. The pick was flipped to Philadelphia for Cooper Marody. Maroon, meanwhile, signed with the Blues a few weeks ago.
5.) Edmonton will actually win a late June trade involving a big name: This one was a miss, but the good news is that the Oilers didn’t lose a big late June trade either. They simply didn’t make one, electing to keep the powder dry. That, in the end, was probably the smart play by the club.
4.) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be an Oiler on opening night next season: I won’t call this a hit yet, but RNH is still an Oiler and all signs point to him returning in the fall. His unreal stretch at the end of the season with Connor McDavid may have saved him, and he probably starts the season on the top line.
3.) Edmonton will add a goalie to challenge Cam Talbot: This depends on what you think of Mikko Koskinen. I think the Oilers believe he can challenge Talbot, but I have serious doubts that is the case. The organization clearly wanted to challenge Talbot, however, so I’ll give myself a half point here.
2.) Ralph Krueger returns to the Oiler bench: I got real bold here and it didn’t work out. I was surprised, however, that there were almost no Krueger rumors anywhere in the NHL this past summer.
1.) The Oilers will sign Joe Thornton on July 1st: Thornton elected to stay with the Sharks, inking another one-year deal. A clear miss.