Connect with us

Vancouver Canucks

Canucks Daily: The Edmonton Oilers Threat



Vancouver Canucks, Ekman-Larsson
Vancouver Canucks D-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson scores against the Edmonton Oilers in the 2021-'22 season opener.

We’ve already taken a glancing look at improvements made by the Seattle Kraken during the off-season and how the ‘new look’ Calgary Flames might fare head-to-head against the Vancouver Canucks, but what about the Edmonton Oilers.

They finished last season with 49 wins and 104 points, seven back of the Pacific Division champion Flames.

In the postseason, after struggling to get past the surprising LA Kings 4-games-to-3 in the first round, Edmonton whipped Calgary 4-1 in the ‘Battle of Alberta’ 2nd-round match-up before bowing out in four straight in the Western Conference Final to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche.

Are they better now than they were two months ago?

Start in Net

40-year-old Mike Smith’s career is over, barring a miracle, and the final year of his contract is a write-off. Last season’s back-up Mikko Koskinen, who actually ended up playing in 45 games, has since signed in Switzerland.

It’s a fresh start with Jack Campbell and number-two Stuart Skinner. Although Skinner only has 14 games of NHL experience, the big 23-year-old is following the development curve rather nicely after being drafted by the Oilers in the 3rd-round in 2017. If Campbell struggles, and that’s not out of the question, Skinner could step in.

Head to head they don’t match up to Thatcher Demko and Spencer Martin in Vancouver, almost exclusively due to Demko. Martin is similar to Skinner, but with only nine games of experience in the big show and he’s four years older. Both back-ups are making around the minimum.

Top Heavy

When you’re spending more than $20-milliion per season on two forwards, $12.5-million to Connor McDavid and another $8.5-million to Leon Draisaitl, it narrows your spending opportunities on depth, particularly with a ‘flat cap’. Obviously these guys are superstars, with McDavid operating on a completely different level, but a top-heavy salary cap is a top-heavy salary cap.

One could argue the same element exists on defence, where large, angry Darnell Nurse will pull in $9.25-million per season until 2030. He led the team in hits by far, in blocked shots, played 25-minutes a night in the regular season and produced as expected offensively. Let’s just say his possession numbers and his all-around game are still rounding into form, plus he’s coming off a torn hip flexor.

The club re-signed a reliable Brett Kulak and will enjoy right-D Evan Bouchard for one more season at his entry-level rate. This corps is simply better balanced than the Vancouver Canucks version at the moment and even with Nurse’s fat deal the Oilers are spending less money this season on their D group than are the Canucks.

Wild Card

There’s a pun there, as it was exactly one year ago that we were talking about Evander Kane’s NHL gambling controversy, when his estranged wife accused him of betting on NHL games. The league investigated. It was the latest ‘moment’ for the Vancouver native who’s seen his fair share of controversies and team chemistry issues at multiple stops.

Oilers GM Ken Holland signed Kane to a four-year extension in July. Will the 31-year-old, preeminent power forward act like a grown up and make the most of it, or will he meltdown into a distraction.


Vancouver should be more potent offensively this season with the (Russian) talent they’ve added. The Canucks will once again open their regular season in Edmonton, last year losing in a shoot-out 3-2 on October 13th. The BC Boys also lost at home in regulation to the Oilers on October 30th, lost in overtime on January 25th, and then closed their season with a shoot-out loss on April 29th.

Simply put the Vancouver Canucks went 0-1-and-3 last season against the Edmonton Oilers and the biggest issue head-to-head was team speed and mobility. We’ll see if ane how much that’s changed come October 12th.

Click to comment
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Discover more from Vancouver Hockey Now

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading