Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets Series
The Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets is a series that will face-off in the first round of the western conference playoffs. This will be the first time that the Oilers have faced the Jets in the playoffs since before the Jets moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. The two franchises have changed a lot since the last time they met in the playoffs and both of them have plenty of talent to advance far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Connor McDavid of the Oilers became the ninth player in franchise history to earn 100 points in a season. The fact was done during a shortened season and a global pandemic makes this all the more special. After all, the 2020-2021 NHL regular season was only 56 games rather than the usual 82 games. McDavid had a historic 1.89 points per game during this season.
McDavid is far from the only talented player on the Oilers roster. Leon Draisaitl is an underrated player, that plays on a team with a generational talent like McDavid. If Draisaitl was on any other team in the NHL, he would be known by fans league-wide. Draisaitl scored 31 goals and added 53 assists for a total of 84 points during the 2020-2021 season. Draisaitl is a 25-year-old from Cologne, Germany. He was drafted third overall in 2014.
The coaching staff could split up the duo in order to make the Winnipeg Jets’ coaching staff need to deploy defensive lines against both players. Dave Tippett has been the head coach of the Oilers for two seasons now. He has been quoted in the past as saying that McDavid and Draisaitl want to take their games “to the next level” and that all of these games, especially those in the bubble last season, are learning experiences. Winning the Edmonton Oilers vs the Winnipeg Jets series would be a step in the right direction for their careers.
The issue for the Oilers is that beyond those star players, the team does not have enough depth to breakthrough in the playoffs. This is the reason that the team has not had playoff success recently. The franchise has not won a Stanley Cup championship in 31 years. They defeated the Boston Bruins in five games and Bill Ranford was named Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Mark Messier was captain of this team as Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in one of the most surprising moves in the history of the sport.
The Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets series features talent on both rosters. The Jets also have talented players on their roster as well. While they are certainly not on the level of McDavid (nobody else in the league is), the Jets have more depth than the Oilers. Mark Scheifele has McDavid’s number when it comes to offense, outshooting McDavid’s line 64-43 and outscoring his line 10-2 when they were both on the ice in five-on-five situations. These statistics have to concern the Oilers coaching staff.
That is why Scheifele could be an x-factor in the Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets series. The 28-year-old from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada scored 21 goals and added 42 assists in the abbreviated 56 game NHL season in which the Canadian teams only played against each other. The Edmonton Oilers vs the Winnipeg Jets series could expose the Oilers as having a severe lack of bottom-six scoring.
Whereas the rosters of Oilers’ championships in the past were put together without the cost of players in mind, the 2020-2021 Stanley Cup participant Edmonton Oilers were put together with the NHL’s salary cap being a chief concern. The global pandemic is responsible for the salary cap being flat for the foreseeable future. The Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets is a series that features two teams that were near the top of the league in salary cap space available. If the Oilers do not defeat the Jets, they will not feel good about continuing to waste the career of McDavid.
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