Welcome to a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now, where we will take a look at all the teams in the Pacific Division and analyze what they did this offseason. The Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, so keeping an eye on the other teams in the division is key.
The Edmonton Oilers are coming off what could be looked at as a ‘breakout’ season for them as they reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in the Connor McDavid era. With the same core in place and a new goaltender in Jack Campbell, they are shaping up to be one of the better West teams.
The Golden Knights are 7-8-0 all-time in both regular season and playoff games against the Oilers.
Last Season- 49-27-6, 104 points. Lost in the Western Conference Finals 4-0 to Colorado Avalanche.
2022-23 Matchups- 11/19, away at 7:00, 1/14, home at 7:00, 3/25 away at 7:00, and 3/28 home at 7:00
Notable Additions- Jack Campbell, Ryan Murray, Mattias Janmark
Notable Subtractions- Zack Kassian, Kyle Turris, Mikko Koskinen, Duncan Keith, Mike Smith*
A lot of what the Oilers did this offseason was re-signing their depth pieces as they look to take the next step and get superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl their first Stanley Cups. Tyler Benson, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, and the notorious Evander Kane all got new deals.
The Oil also made two decisions on veteran close-to-retirement players in Duncan Keith, who will retire, and Mike Smith, who will be placed on LTIR and likely won’t play at all in 2022-23.
But the biggest addition the Oilers made this offseason was in net as Jack Campbell came over from the Toronto Maple Leafs. This, on paper, fixes perhaps the Oilers’ biggest problem in the McDavid era so far. They now have a more than capable starting NHL goalie, and this should greatly improve their team.
With Kane, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins proving the team with solid secondary scoring to take the pressure off arguably the league’s two best players in McDavid and Draisaitl.
The Oilers are my early pick to win the 2023 Stanley Cup and a team the Golden Knights will need to play hard in 2022-23. A playoff series between these two teams has never happened before and would be a fun potential series for 2023.
VHN’s Pacific Division Prediction– 1st Pacific Division, 1st Western Conference
Projected Depth Chart
*Ryan McLeod is still an unsigned RFA*
Zach Hyman- Connor McDavid- Evander Kane
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins- Leon Draisaitl- Kailer Yamamoto
Warren Foegele- Ryan McLeod*- Jesse Puljujarvi
Mattias Janmark- Derek Ryan- Devin Shore
Darnell Nurse- Cody Ceci
Brett Kulak- Evan Bouchard
Philip Broberg- Tyson Barrie
Jack Campbell/Stuart Skinner
IR: Mike Smith, Oscar Klefbom