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Golden Knights Analysis

Golden Knights Potential Playoff Opponent: Edmonton Oilers

In the leadup to the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we're starting a

In the leadup to the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, we're starting a new series here at Vegas Hockey Now where we will look at potential teams the Vegas Golden Knights could play. While a playoff trip is not yet guaranteed for the VGK, it is much safer to assume this team makes the postseason this year compared to last year.

Standings will fluctuate up until the NHL's last day of the regular season on April 13. So the Golden Knights will not have a set opponent for some time. In the meantime, we can do some speculation on which teams the VGK would match up well against, and which teams they would not.

Today we will look at the Edmonton Oilers, who the Golden Knights could play if the Los Angeles Kings pass them in the Pacific standings.

Edmonton Oilers

How it Could Happen: The most likely option for this playoff series to happen would be if the Los Angeles Kings pass the Golden Knights in the standings, making the VGK one of the two non-leading Pacific Division playoff teams. 

The most likely matchups could be VGK (P2) v EDM (P3) or VGK (P3) v EDM (P2).

2022-23 Season Series: 11/19 EDM 4-3 OTW, 1/14 4-3 EDM W, 3/25 @ EDM 7:00 p.m., 3/28 @ VGK 7:00 p.m.

The Edmonton Oilers are once again bound for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the way. Combined, the duo has 232 points as the most offensively gifted tandem in the league. Since the All-Star Break, the Oilers have struggled to put together a major winning streak, but have still collected points, typically going in a rhythm of winning two games and then losing one.

It's no secret that McDavid (131 points) and Draisiatl (101 points) run this team. But Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (83 points) and Zach Hyman (72 points) are having strong seasons as well. As always with the McDavid-led Oilers, depth scoring when McDavid isn't on the ice is the biggest question.

Goaltending and defense are also big question marks for the Oilers. This season they have split Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell. At the trade deadline, they made a big move by trading their leading defensive scorer, Tyson Barrie for Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators.

This matchup, if it happens, would be the first-ever playoff series between these two teams. It would give us a Connor McDavid v Jack Eichel storyline as well as a revenge series for Laurent Brossoit and Mattias Janmark. Evander Kane would also get to face the VGK in the playoffs yet again.

Matchup Pros

In any playoff matchup against the Oilers, the biggest key will be to limit the scoring of McDavid and Draisaitl. Luckily for the Golden Knights, they have one of the strongest defensive corps in the league, led by Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore. Certainly, defensive defensemen like Brayden McNabb and Alec Martinez would see their roles increase alongside defensive forwards like William Karlsson and Teddy Blueger.

While the Golden Knight's offensive depth is something we have criticized all season, but it is not as top-heavy as the Oilers. The Golden Knights would certainly take the trade-off of not having either team's top-six score as they can get depth scoring from guys down the lineup like Will Carrier.

Matchup Cons

Connor McDavid is the best player on Earth and I don't think any teams are lining up to play the Oilers in the first round as a result of it. The Golden Knight's goaltending situation is currently a mess with five goaltenders, four of which are NHL-quality, but none being elite. Putting a trio of three recently injured goaltenders and Jonathan Quick, who McDavid torched last season in the playoffs, up against the Oilers is not a strong defense.


This would be a close series, but our concerns about the Golden Knight's goaltending going up against the best player in the league who is determined to win his first Stanley Cup doesn't give us confidence the VGK could pull this series off. Our opinions on this potential playoff series will surely be more up-to-date after these two teams finish up their regular season series against one another.

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