Vancouver Canucks 2017-18 season preview: Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - MAY 3: Connor McDavid
EDMONTON, AB - MAY 3: Connor McDavid /

Can the Vancouver Canucks hold their own against Connor McDavid‘s Edmonton Oilers?

The Vancouver Canucks did enjoy an era of dominance over the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames. Those were the days when the Sedins brought their magic to the ice on a daily basis.

But now those days are over and the Canucks can only watch as star Connor McDavid grows stronger and faster by the day. By now, Vancouver should stop feeling bitter about Edmonton getting McDavid and just accept and appreciate the greatness of his talent.

The Oilers also saw a new star emerge in addition to McDavid last year and that star was Leon Draisaitl. He was just one goal behind McDavid for the team lead in goals and was Edmonton’s leader for the highest shooting percentage.

The duo will serve Edmonton well for at least the next decade as they are just 20, 21 years old. With the team being very young overall, the Oilers did not do much in the offseason.

Offseason Changes

The biggest priority for the Oilers this offseason was the extension of their two star forwards, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Otherwise, there was not much action during the offseason for Edmonton.

Edmonton Oilers (47-26-8, Conference Semifinals)

2016-17 vs. Vancouver
  • Edmonton (4-0-1) 14GF, 7GA

2017-18 vs. Vancouver

  • Oct. 7 @Vancouver
  • Jan. 20 @Edmonton
  • Mar. 29 @Vancouver
  • Apr. 7 @Edmonton

3 Storylines to Watch in 2017-18

  1. Who shuts McDavid down?

The Canucks do not have a shutdown centre who can play in the top-six. Bo Horvat has proven to be an offensive dynamo rather than a defensive one and Brandon Sutter is not a top-six forward in today’s NHL.

The legend of Cole Cassels shutting down McDavid in the Memorial Cup is just a joke now, with the Vancouver prospect nearly without NHL potential at this point in time.

More from The Canuck Way

There was a glimmer of hope when the big Nikita Tryamkin showed the fans what he could do with his size and reach to contain McDavid.

Now that’s gone as well.

With goaltending as shaky as it is right now, there is nothing stopping McDavid from tearing up the Canucks lineup one by one.

How will Travis Green deal with this dilemma four times this season?

2. Brock Boeser vs. Drake Caggiula

Former linemates for the NCAA champions North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Brock Boeser and Drake Caggiula will likely face off against each other as rivals now that Boeser joins Caggiula in the Pacific Division.

Caggiula, the 23-year-old forward who had seven goals and 18 points for the Oilers last season, also considered coming to Vancouver before signing with Edmonton. Boeser will try to make Caggiula regret that decision to not sign with Vancouver if that is at all possible.

Boeser has the superior upside but Caggiula has experience on his side. How will these two former linemates do against each other?

3. Anders Nilsson has something to prove against EDM

Anders Nilsson has played as an Oiler against the Canucks. He was pretty darn good that night.

If you remember from two years ago, Nilsson was the backup netminder in Edmonton for a year. He then joined the Buffalo Sabres organization for a year and now is back in Western Canada for a stint with the Canucks.

Nilsson improved massively after leaving the Oilers. He now has the chance in Vancouver to show the Oilers how far he has come and to prove them wrong for letting him go.

Considering that the Canucks play Edmonton and the Winnipeg Jets back-to-back on January 20th and 21st, it would not be a bad idea to see what Nilsson can do against Edmonton and what Markstrom can do against Winnipeg.

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The Canucks did draft an uber-skilled centreman as well, hoping he may become what McDavid has become for the Oilers. Elias Pettersson. He likely won’t become the same calibre of player that McDavid and Sidney Crosby have become but there’s nothing that says that Pettersson is less skilled offensively than these two.

It may not be this season, but let’s see what Pettersson will do against the likes of McDavid and Draisaitl.