Conor McDavid has once again had a season of prolific scoring. This weekend he became the ninth player in NHL history to score at least 100 points through his first 53 games of the season, but the Edmonton Oilers captain wants more than individual success.
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Saturday’s game meant that McDavid joins an exclusive list of players that have achieved such a feat, including the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jari Kurri, Phil Esposito, and many more.
While it’s clear McDavid is focused on achieving greatness, having won multiple MVP awards, his main focus is winning championships and trophies for his team. The Oilers have three world-class talents driving the team forward, in the form of Conor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Darnell Nurse.
The fact McDavid continues to break records and is recognized as the fastest, most exciting individual goalscorer in the league, means that this Oilers team should be pushing for more each year.
As the Playoff places are now finally locked in for the 2020/21 season, we can see clearly that the majority of oddsmakers have the Oilers at an outside favourite with odds hovering somewhere around 20.00.
Do the Oilers have a chance at the Stanley Cup this year?
The Oilers will finish second in the North Division this season, having already qualified for the NHL Playoffs. The Oilers haven’t won the Stanley Cup since their string of wins way back in the 80s. The focus for the Oilers now is going into Game 1 of the Playoffs ready to compete and playing sharp as ever.
The win over the North Division leaders the Canucks will give the Oilers some confidence, having struggled against some of the top-tier teams this season. But, the Edmonton roster isn’t anywhere near as quick as Vegas, Colorado, or Tampa Bay.
Within the McDavid-Draisaitl era, the fact the Oilers aren’t bringing home the silverware is concerning and something the recruiters need to pay attention to sooner rather than later. The lack of consistent goaltending and an inability to defend has meant there is a huge overreliance on the two offensive superstars.
It makes the defensive game plan so easy for opponents. Stop the two stars, stop the Oilers. Mike Smith has given the Oilers much more, but he doesn’t match up to the quality of Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Marc Andre-Fleury, Philipp Grubauer, or even North Division rival goaltenders, Carey Price and Frederik Andersen.
As good as Smith has been at certain points during the season, he won’t stay at the level with any consistency. This is quite different when compared to the aforementioned players.
The good thing for the Oilers management is that they know what they need to fix. When they do it is yet to be seen, but with the offensive talent they have on the books, they need to make these replacements if they are to push for the Stanley Cup.
A combination of fundamentally lacking a No. 1 defensive man and a general inability to defend, especially under pressure, is leaving them short-handed when it comes to crunch time. Nonetheless, as long as Draistail and McDavid are playing, they always have a chance.