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Jeff's 2022-23 NHL Western Conference Spotlight Team
Edmonton Oilers (2021-22: 49-27-6, 104 points)
The Edmonton Oilers played their best hockey after head coach Dave Tippett was terminated on February 10, 2022. Jay Woodcroft took over and the team went 26-9-3 with improved play across-the-board. Edmonton got swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals. They will be on a mission this season. The Oilers have a dynamic one-two punch with the likes of Connor McDavid (44 goals, 79 assists) and Leon Draisaitl (55 goals, 55 helpers). A full season with forward Evander Kane and blue-liner Ryan Murray will be noticed immediately. There is a lot of size and skill on the blue-line. Evan Bouchard had a breakout season with 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 81 games after accumulating just six points in 21 games across his previous two NHL seasons. If Philip Broberg can make a similar jump (1 goal, 2 assists in 23 games), the sky is the limit on defense.
Another year in Woodcroft's system can only help. Jack Campbell will take over in goal after his solid regular season in Toronto last year. Jack went 31-9-6 with a 2.64 GAA and .914 save percentage in 47 starts. He did not have a great postseason which is why the Maple leafs moved on. I think he's an upgrade between the pipes and Mike Smith is a solid backup. Jack Campbell has increased his win total in three straight seasons which bodes well for the Oilers this season.
Edmonton had a +143 shot differential and +38 goal differential last season. They were ranked No. 8 in Face-off win percentage. I would expect all of those stats to improve. This is a team that will make a serious run to the Western Conference Finals once again. With most teams, they will need to avoid significant injuries. Although, Edmonton has a lot of young talent in the AHL that could make it to the big club at some point this season. I think the experience Edmonton gained from last year's run will benefit this team in 2022-23.
Edmonton Oilers Best Bet: Over 103 points
Edmonton Oilers Preferred Bet: Win Pacific Division (+240)