Hockey

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers Timeline: 2015-2018

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The Edmonton Oilers have had an adamant time since drafting Connor McDavid in 2015. McDavid is a fantastic player far none. He amazes fans year after year, but it doesn’t mean anything if the Oilers don’t make it far into the playoffs if they get there. You also have the problem of the Oilers cap space since they also have Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl to pay as well. But to get the idea of how the Oilers have been since drafting McDavid, here’s a timeline of every Oilers season since drafting him. First up the 2015-18 years for the Oilers.

2015-2016 Season: Connor McDavid‘s Great Rookie Season, Except the Oilers is Still Bad

Despite McDavid not scoring on opening night, he eventually scored his first goal against the Dallas Stars in the year’s third game. McDavid began to heat up, scoring five goals and seven assists throughout the first month. However, against the Philadelphia Flyers on November third, 2015, McDavid went down with an injury after colliding with Brandon Manning into the boards.

McDavid broke his collarbone and would be out for four months until February. When he did return, he managed to score three points in his first game back. As for the rest of the year for McDavid, he did well, scoring 19 goals and 32 assists. An excellent fitting end to a decent rookie year. As for the rest of the Oilers, that’s an entirely different story.

Taylor Hall did continue to be impressive, as he gained 65 points. Draisaitl had a great year with 51 points as well. Jordan Eberle also had a great 48 point season, but aside from those guys, the rest of the team was horrible. Nail Yakupov is in his fourth year with Edmonton, and yet he still isn’t playing like the first overall pick when Edmonton got him.

Despite signing a contract extension earlier in the year, Cam Talbot did not have a great year at all, including a 21-27 year. The Oilers did not have a good year scoring-wise as they were 25th in scoring that year. The Oilers finished last in their division that year and failed to make the playoffs. There was a positive toward the end of the year. The Oilers got the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery. However, things were about to change, in both good ways and wrong ways.

2016-2017 Season: Connor McDavid Has an Explosive Sophomore Year, and Oilers Make the Playoffs.

The Oilers’ offseason began when they drafted Jesse Puljujarvi with the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Five days later, the Oilers traded away Hall on perhaps one of the craziest days in hockey history. Hall got traded away to the New Jersey Devils, as the Oilers acquired Adam Larsson to help fix Edmonton’s poor defense. Then Peter Chiarelli had another move up his sleeve, signing Milan Lucic to a seven-year, $42 million contract. The deal was insane, but Chiarelli hoped he could turn the Oilers into the Boston Bruins by acquiring Lucic.

As for McDavid, he started his second year with him getting the captaincy. He would become the youngest captain in the NHL until Nico Hischier broke the record last year. Thankfully, McDavid showcased why he is perhaps the best NHL player right now.

He turned into a powerful scoring machine for the Oilers, as he put up points in most of the games that year. McDavid took one of his best assets, which is his passing, and put up 70 assists that year and scored 30 goals on top of that. He also showed off his smooth skating ability, as many people wanted to see that from him. McDavid made his first All-Star game appearance that year and won the Hart trophy and Ross trophy.

Most of the Oilers also improved. Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins both continued to be significant assets. Lucic started his first year as an Oiler with 50 points, which was suitable for Chiarelli. Talbot rebounded as he became one of the best goaltenders that year with a 42-22 record. The Oilers managed to finally get to the playoffs that year for the first time since 2006. The Oilers won the first round against the San Jose Sharks in 6 games and then went onto round two.

In round two, however, they had trouble against the Anaheim Ducks. In game five of that series, the Oilers lead three to zero with just under 3:18 left in regulation. The Ducks then proceed to score three goals in the final three minutes to tie the game. Then the Ducks finished off the game in the second overtime, thanks to Perry. While the Oilers did win the next game to force game seven, the Ducks managed to win game seven and eliminate the Oilers.

2017-2018 Season: Oilers Fail to Return to the Playoffs After Connor McDavid Breaks His 100 Point Streak

During that 2017 offseason, the Oilers traded Eberle to the New York Islanders to acquire Ryan Strome. While Strome had two respectful seasons, he never worked out in the long run for the Oilers. As for Eberle, he’s been a main contributor for the Islanders in his time there. That wasn’t the only piece the Oilers lost that year. The Oilers would send Pat Maroon to New Jersey that season for a 3rd round picks and prospect J.D. Dudek. Maroon would end up joining a Devils squad that ended making the playoffs that year.

After McDavid’s amazing second year, his third year showed people that he could become even more incredible. It all began when McDavid scored his first hat trick on opening night against the Calgary Flames. McDavid wanted to focus on scoring a lot more goals. He scored 41 goals during that season while also continuing to help gain assists on his team.

He managed to finish with 67 assists, breaking his point record from 100 last year to 108. McDavid got rewarded again with an All-Star appearance and another Art Ross scoring trophy. But while Connor McDavid was hot, the rest of the Oilers team was a disaster.

Though Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins continued to play well, the rest could never get on their level. It seems that a pattern has started to begin for the Oilers. Lucic dipped in quality as he only scored 34 points that year. But Lucic wasn’t the only player that year who changed his performance from good to bad. Talbot also dropped in his performances since the year prior. Against the St. Louis Blues, he got removed from allowing two goals on three shots.

While he finished with a 31-31 record, it was clear that he didn’t look like the goalie that guided Edmonton to the playoffs last year. With the lack of defense and no offense besides McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins, the Oilers ended up 6th in their division. Because of that, the Oilers blew another fantastic season by Connor McDavid go to waste. Tune in to the following article of this series, where we look at the Oilers’ years of 2018-2021.

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I write articles about the New Jersey Devils.