McDavid needs help in Edmonton in order to advance in the playoffs
Connor McDavid is the greatest forward of this generation. He is a never-ending highlight reel and consistently is very high on both assists and goals. On top of all that, he is an incredibly fast skater. He is accompanied by star forward Leon Draisaitl who is last year’s Hart Trophy winner. This sounds all well and good until you hear what team he is on. That’s right, he is stuck on the Edmonton Oilers. No matter how good a player is, the realization needs to be you have to have a team. Now let’s talk about the Oilers.
The first issue we are going to cover is goaltending. Here are the last five goaltenders to win a Stanley Cup. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jordan Binnington, Braden Holtby, Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury. And yes the 2021 Stanley Cup counts and so will this season’s Stanley Cup. Do you see the obvious here? All of these goalies, at least during their time, have been great.
The goaltending for the Oilers right now is less than ideal. Mikko Koskinen has started all of the Oilers games to this point. He has been a wreck to this point. His goals-against average sits at 3.55 and his save percentage is below .900. That’s not a recipe for success. In addition, Mike Smith’s numbers last year weren’t promising either. His save percentage sat at .902 and over the last two years at .900. Not only that, but his goals-against average was 2.95 in the 2019-20 season. Overall, the goalies need to be significantly better.
Next up, the depth has been and still is an issue in the Oilers organization. It is literally McDavid, Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and then the depth drops off a cliff. This is not an ideal situation for any NHL team. The worst part of this for McDavid and Draisaitl is they are both stuck on the team for a while before they can become unrestricted free agents unless they get traded.
There is a lot of hype around so-called “McJesus” but the truth is he is the one that needs help, not with his game but with his team in Edmonton. That’s right, he is the one that needs a savior right now. The Oilers need to support him Leon and Ryan with proper depth and goaltending.
In the case of Draisaitl and McDavid, I can imagine it would be hard to do so fantastic and then never see a Stanley Cup. This will continue to be the case in Edmonton for a long time to come unless something changes.
Basically, the Oilers are a team with no depth to be spoken of, they have shaky goaltending but two of the top five best forwards in the league. Now, let’s have a look at some history since McDavid came aboard.
Over the course of the few years (since McDavid got drafted in 2015), the Oilers have made the playoffs twice, if you include the qualifying round from this last year as the playoffs. They lost in that round to the Chicago Blackhawks and lost in the second round of the 2016-17 playoffs also. They missed the playoffs in the 2015-16, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons. This year is to be determined. Not saying this is all to do with the problems previously mentioned, rather McDavid has experienced a lot of pain in Edmonton. How long before he gets tired of it and if he does, would his leaving actually be a benefit to the team? I can not say anything for sure.
The lesson here? Hockey is a team sport, straight and simple. It is harder to trust Edmonton because of the issues they have despite having two of the top five forwards in the NHL. McDavid can be a praised highlight machine all he wants, but if the team stays the way it is now, he will not win a Stanley Cup there.
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