Connor McDavid is the real deal. It’s true that the Edmonton Oilers hit the jackpot on him. However, it doesn’t help when he is the shelf. Almost immediately the impact of McDavid was felt. The Oilers looked like a much better team than what we saw from them last season. He is going to be a special player. McDavid is currently on the mend after breaking his clavicle over a week ago after going in hard against the boards. Whether it was a clean play or not is debatable. In the old NHL that would have just been a hard hit. Now every hit that results in an injury is put under a microscope. The hit on McDavid, of course, sparked debate, with Don Cherry heating it up claiming that it was a deliberate act to injure McDavid. All I can say is that it makes the Oilers a much worse team without his services on the ice. I don’t expect the injury to hinder him in the future, but as long as he is out there will be struggles.
Regressing back to 2014-15 form probably isn’t in the cards, but McDavid proved he was good enough to jump in right away and have an impact. The Oilers head into this matchup tonight against the Blackhawks with a record of 6-12. Since the McDavid injury against the Flyers, the Oilers have gone 1-4. The lone win coming against the Ducks in overtime. Like I have been saying, McDavid is a key cog in the Oilers roster, even this early in his career. Without him and I suspect Oilers fans are going to start to get restless. It is certainly a setback, but McDavid has given the Oiler faithful some hope moving forward to the future. The Blackhawks turn their attention to the Oilers tonight after defeating another Alberta foe and the Calgary Flames.
At 10-7-1 I’m not worried about the Blackhawks. In the sense that I believe they will be handful to deal with late in the season again. However, if the Minnesota Wild still can’t get further than the Hawks, the Wild should just give up. The Blackhawks didn’t get better in the offseason, they in fact lost some components from their Stanley Cup team. With that said, the core is still intact and they should still be dangerous in the playoffs regardless of their seed.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers Pick
With the rape allegations against Patrick Kane in the past, he can focus on hockey now and not have to stress over that. He was playing pretty well even with that going on. Kane has already scored 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. A guy like him and Jonathan Toews will have to carry the Hawks this season. On the season Chicago is averaging 2.72 goals per game and 2.44 against. That is pretty well right in line with the Blackhawks. But it is noted that the defense isn’t quite as strong as it was a year ago.
With McDavid out the Oilers’ numbers will take a dive. They are currently 28th in the NHL in goals against, allowing 3.22 goals per game. The Blackhawks just took advantage of a poor defense, the Flames, in a 4-1 victory. Further, the Oilers offense is averaging 2.61 goals per game for 18th in the league, but those numbers will slide without McDavid. Note since his injury, the Oilers have averaged 2 goals per game and allowed 3.4 goals a game. The Oilers are much improved over last season, but without McDavid they’re not far off. I like the Blackhawks to get another win in Alberta.
PICK: BLACKHAWKS TO WIN -150