The Toronto Maple Leafs may end up in an All Canadian Division this season.
Yesterday, in the first part of our preview on the potential new division, we looked into the Montreal Canadiens and their disastrous off-season. The Toronto Maple Leafs are probably the only true Cup Contender out of the Canadian teams right now, but today we will look at their biggest competition: The Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers lack depth and appear at times to be almost as poorly managed as Montreal, but they do have Connor McDavid, and he is the best player in the world by a significant margin. That makes a huge difference in a game where there isn’t a large difference between most players and is driven by star performances.
You would have liked to see the Oilers acquire a goalie of some sort instead of signing Mike Smith, a man so old he risks shattering a hip every time he goes into the butterfly. Still, goalies are so random that I respect I move. Honestly, why spend money on a goalie when Tomas Greiss or Darcy Kuemper can just wake up one day and be better than Carey Price?
Toronto Maple Leafs and the Oilers
What’s not to love about the Oilers? Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid make them worth watching on any given night, and the best part about an all Canadian division is getting to watch the Leafs and Oilers play way more often than we normally would.
The Oilers off season saw them bring in Tyson Barrie, who had an unbelievable season after the Toronto Maple Leafs switched coaches (so unbelievable that most Leafs fans still think he was bad). They made another smart move when they brought in the underrated Tyler Enis (another ex Leaf).
Their best move may have been to bring in Kyle Turris for a bargain at $1.5 million. Turris is still a useful and underrated player, and I like him as a lower lineup option.
The Blueline seems very average but it’s underrated and could be very good if Ethan Bear, Philip Broberg or Even Bouchard can make an impact. Those three, along with Jessie Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto give the Oilers are nice secondary group of young, talented players.
Overall, it’s hard to look at the Oilers and not think about the wasted potential of Nail Yakupov and the botched Taylor Hall trade, but they do seem to be recovering and I like their chances this year. The Toronto Maple Leafs may be the class of a Canadian Division, but I think the Oilers are the next best team and, if they get lucky, could finish first.
They are probably the only other true Cup Contender in Canada.