After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Edmonton Oilers:
2020-21 season: 35-19-2, second in Scotia North Division; lost in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Zach Hyman, F: The 29-year-old signed a seven-year contract on July 28 after scoring 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 43 regular-season games and one goal in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. … Duncan Keith, D: The 38-year-old was acquired with forward Tim Soderlund in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on July 12 for defenseman Caleb Jones and a conditional pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Keith scored 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 54 games for the Blackhawks last season. … Cody Ceci, D: The 27-year-old signed a four-year contract July 28 and is an important addition given the loss of defenseman Adam Larsson, who was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21, and the expected loss of defenseman Oscar Klefbom for a second straight season due to shoulder surgery. Ceci scored 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 53 regular-season games and had two assists in six playoff games for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. … Warren Foegele, F: The 25-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Ethan Bear on July 28 and signed a three-year contract July 31. Foegele scored 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 53 regular-season games and two points (one goal, one assist) in 10 playoff games last season. … Derek Ryan, F: The 34-year-old signed a two-year contract July 28. He scored 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 43 games for the Calgary Flames last season.
Adam Larsson, D: He signed a four-year contract with the Kraken on July 24 after being selected in the expansion draft. He scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 56 regular-season games and had two assists in four playoff games for the Oilers last season. … Ethan Bear, D: He was traded to the Hurricanes after scoring eight points (two goals, six assists) in 43 regular-season games last season. He did not have a point in four playoff games. … Caleb Jones, D: He was traded to the Blackhawks after he had four assists in 33 games last season. … Dmitry Kulikov, D: He signed a two-year contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 28 after he had four assists in 48 regular-season games with the New Jersey Devils and Oilers last season. He did not have a point in three playoff games. … Tyler Ennis, F: He is an unrestricted free agent after scoring nine points (three goals, six assists) in 30 regular-season games and no points in two playoff games last season. … Alex Chiasson, F: He is an unrestricted free agent after scoring 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 45 regular-season games and one goal in three playoff games last season. … Dominik Kahun, F: He is an unrestricted free agent after scoring 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 48 regular-season games and no points in two playoff games last season. … James Neal, F: The final two seasons of Neal’s five-year contract were bought out July 28 after he scored 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 29 regular-season games and no points in two playoff games last season.
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On the cusp
Evan Bouchard, D: The 21-year-old, the No. 10 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, scored five points (two goals, three assists) in 14 games for the Oilers last season, after scoring 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 23 games for Sodertalje in Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second division, when the NHL season was paused. … Ryan McLeod, F: The 21-year-old, a second-round pick (No. 40) in the 2018 draft, had one assist in 10 regular-season games and played in all four playoff games with the Oilers last season. He scored 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 28 games for Bakersfield of the American Hockey League. … Tyler Benson, F: The 23-year-old, a second-round pick (No. 32) in the 2016 NHL Draft, scored 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists) in 36 games for Bakersfield last season after scoring 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 15 games for GC Kusnacht of the Swiss League, the second division in Switzerland, before the AHL season began.
What they still need
A long-term plan in goal. Mike Smith signed a two-year contract July 24 and the Oilers plan to ride the 39-year-old as they did last season, when he was 21-6-2 with a 2.31 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and three shutouts in 32 regular-season games (30 starts). Mikko Koskinen and Alex Stalock will provide support but a succession plan for the future remains elusive in Edmonton.
They said it
“First and foremost, most important to me is to go to a team that has the opportunity to win, and in Edmonton I just see there being so much opportunity and a chance to win a Stanley Cup with the players they have there. And then just the city and the passion and the fan base, I’m just so excited to be joining an organization like Edmonton and I can’t wait to get started.” — Forward Zach Hyman
Hyman frequently had an elite center linemate in either Auston Matthews or John Tavares during his time with the Maple Leafs and now could be in an even better spot with exposure to Connor McDavid and/or Leon Draisaitl. Hyman, who has a higher 5-on-5 goals-per-60 minutes rate (0.82) than Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner (0.79) since 2017-18 and was barely behind Toronto right wing William Nylander (0.83) during that span, also would have a much higher ceiling if he’s utilized on the first power-play unit in Edmonton. Hyman, who also covers hits (1.4 per game during his NHL career), is worth targeting outside the top 100 in fantasy. — Pete Jensen
Zach Hyman — Connor McDavid — Jesse Puljujarvi
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Leon Draisaitl — Kailer Yamamoto
Warren Foegele — Derek Ryan — Zack Kassian
Devin Shore — Ryan McLeod — Josh Archibald
Darnell Nurse — Tyson Barrie
Duncan Keith — Cody Ceci
Kris Russell – Evan Bouchard