The Edmonton Oilers first game of the season is right around the corner, which means it is your last chance to join our inaugural regular season pool! Test your hockey prognostication skills against all of us here at The Oil Rig as well as our friends at The Win Column!
Our pool is free to enter and your picks can be made and edited until 11:59pm on Oct 10th.
We created our pool through officepools.com and all you need to do to join is use this link, create an account and select your picks!
The winner will take home this adjustable, one size fit’s most, Adidas Oilers Hat (valued at $35)!
Not sure what picks to make?
There is always a fair amount of luck involved when selecting your team however let’s break the pool down and see just how difficult it is to make the best picks!
Top forward picks
The first two forwards should be a no-brainer, especially for us Oiler fans. I mean you’d have to be quite foolish to not select Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for your team. Even if the Oilers play more conservative to close out games and the Dynamic Duo scores less this year, there is still a good chance they end up leading the league in points, again.
Things get interesting with the third forward pick though. Artemi Panarin and Kirill Kaprizov averaged the same points per game last year but Kaprizov played less games. Clayton Keller is right there too only finishing six points behind Panarin and who knows what Connor Bedard is capable of at the NHL level? One thing to remember is that past performance does not guarantee future results. For me it’s a coin flip between Panarin and Kaprizov but any one of those forwards could win the group, even Johnny Gaudreau could be a nice sleeper pick if Columbus changes philosophy and plays more offence.
I would expect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to be a popular fourth forward pick and why not? It appears he will be playing on Draisaitl’s left wing and he also helped anchor the best power play of all time last year by being the forth forward on the blue line. Nugent-Hopkins just turned 30 but I see no reason why he couldn’t be the winner of this impressive forward group that includes offensive juggernauts Sidney Crosby, Mika Zibanejad, and Tage Thompson. Also worth noting is that all players in this group averaged more than a point per game.
Pick #5 for forwards appears to be a three horse race between Brayden Point, Aleksander Barkov and Tim Stutzle. They all averaged over a point per game however Barkov played less games and Stuetzle has the best chance of progressing as a young gun.
Forward #6 is an interesting group. Kevin Fiala and Steven Stamkos had the best average points per game last season and John Tavares has been a steady performer for years with the Toronto Maple Leafs. With that said Stamkos currently does not have a contract, while Fiala only played 69 games. There is also a chance Jesper Bratt progresses and takes another step forward on a stacked New Jersey Devils team that added Tyler Toffoli during the offseason.
The seventh forward pick is a choice between average points per game versus points produced. Pavel Buchnevich and Alexander Ovechkin had the best PPG, but Nico Hischier ended up with more points last season. Again past performance does not guarantee future results and choosing the winner of this group will help you finish higher in the pool. Your guess is as good as mine.
Forward #8 has plenty to choose from and for different reasons. Zach Hyman lead this group and beat Jeff Skinner by one point however Jack Eichel is available and he only played 67 games last year. Eichel could win this group if he plays closer to 80 games. Skinner had a good year last season, but has had concussion issues in the past. It is possible he get’s injured again but you could say the same thing for any player in the pool. You don’t want to sleep on Dylan Larkin either who was only four points behind Hyman, and can get hot and put points up in bunches. My crystal ball is hazy at best on this one but I suspect Hyman will be a popular choice but fortune favours the bold and maybe selecting another forward moves you up the pool standings?
Lower forward picks
The ninth pick is pretty much a question if 39-year-old Joe Pavelski can do it again? Travis Konecny had a better points per game but only played 60 games. Carter Verhaeghe is right there and maybe Trevor Zegras fresh off his new contract will progress and win the group? I will say this, if someone can guess these last three picks correctly then they have an excellent chance at winning the pool.
Forward #10 seems pretty cut and dry, take Evgeni Malkin and move on.
Pick #11 appears to also be an easy choice as Jake Guentzel will be out until Oct 24 with an ankle injury. Leg injuries suck because more than likely he cannot skate or is skating with limited ability, which will make it even more difficult to comeback. Alex Tuch had the best points per game average and finished with the most points last year.
Forward #12 looks like a coin flip between Anze Kopitar and Jared McCann.
The #13 pick is another three-horse race with a potential sleeper in the mix. Claude Giroux had the best points per game average and most points. Tyler Toffoli is joining a stacked offensive Devils team and Brock Nelson has been steady for the New York Islanders. Is this the year Patrik Laine returns to form?
Forward #14 has a bunch of sleepers mixed in with Andrei Kuzmenko who had the best points per game average and most points in this group last year as a rookie. Can Kuzmenko avoid the sophomore curse and win the group because Adrian Kempe is available too. Maybe a change of scenery will get Vladamir Tarasenko back to form and he could be the forward who wins this group. It’s also possible that Filip Forsberg or Matt Barzal take it if they play more games this year.
Jamie Benn looks like he would be the pick to make and move on for #15.
Pick #16 seems like a no-brainer with Chandler Stephenson who had the best points per game and most points. However it is possible that Rookie of the Year, Matty Beniers, progresses and wins the group. But they don’t call it a sophomore jinx for nothing. Experience versus potential in this coin flip.
That is it for the forwards. Officepools sure liked to throw in a favourite mixed in a few guys who missed games due to injury and could win a group if they maintained their points per game average and stay healthy this season. There were also a few no-brainers but the Hockey Gods have a funny way of messing with so called “sure bets.”
Top defence picks
The first group of defencemen has the exact same choice between a favourite in Erik Karlsson who leads the group in points and average points per game, and Cale Makar who could win the group if he stays healthy and plays the entire season. Karlsson is coming off a historic year and it is unlikely that reaches the 100-point plateau again, but he does have an excellent opportunity to lead all defencemen in scoring with his new team in Pittsburgh.
Defence #2 has Evan Bouchard up for grabs, however he put up the lowest point total in this group and he played all 82 games. He will be on the Oilers top power play unit this season, but again his total is quite surprising when compared to Josh Morrissey, Miro Heiskanen, and Brandon Montour. Tough choice to say the least.
The third pick has Dougie Hamilton as the favourite with the next best option Vince Dunn who put up 10 less points last year. I think it would be risky to not select Hamilton who plays on offensive power house Devils team.
Pick #4 appears to be a coin flip between Noah Dobson and Rasmus Andersson, but if Kris Letang or Shea Theodore stay healthy, they could take this group. Don’t sleep on Mo Seider or Seth Jones. Either Seider could have a breakout season with the Detroit Red Wings, or the revamped Chicago Blackhawks could help Jones regain his form. My Magic 8 Ball said to ask again later.
Defence #5 has three dmen within six points of each other in Alex Pietrangelo, Drew Doughty, and Cam Fowler—the classic officepools choice of potential dmen who could win the group if they stay healthy.
That’s it for defencemen and oh boy did they make it tough. I think it will be damn near impossible to predict all five correctly but if someone does, they should end up near the top of the standings.
Top goaltending picks
The top goalie pick has all #1 goalies for their respective teams from last season. Connor Hellebuyck played the most games but finished third for points in this group. Alexander Georgiev put up the most points with the Colorado Avalanche but Jake Oettinger and Igor Shesterkin are right there too. I have this feeling that the Devils are set for a breakout year and Vitek Vanecek could be the sleeper pick of this group. Goalies are such voodoo to choose from and the team in front of them does impact their win/loss performance. Your guess is probably better than mine.
Goalie #2 would have been more interesting if Andrei Vasilevskiy was healthy otherwise I’m going to go on a limb and say take Linus Ullmark and move one. Juuse Saros is a good goalie on a bad Nashville Predators team and the rest look like they split the net last year or were the back up. Moving on.
The third pick has Stuart Skinner who tied this group in points with Ville Husso last season. Skinner played 50 games last year but it appears he will split the net with Jack Campbell, and based on pre-season its possible Campbell could take the starters net from Skinner. The Florida Panthers have Sergei Bobrovsky as their starter. If they have a better start and find the form they found in the playoffs, they could put up more wins for Brobocop. Worth noting is Tristan Jarry who just signed a five-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins after he was the second fastest goalie in franchise history to 100 wins. I would not bet the farm on my pick to win this group as it truly is up for grabs.
Start making your picks
The only sure thing is that there is no sure thing. There is so much luck involved when it comes to these pools that many times the person with the least amount of hockey knowledge ends up winning. Much to the chagrin of the so called hockey expert.
The one thing that is for sure is that you have to be in it to win it and once your in, you’ll find yourself checking the pool every now and again, if not every morning to see how your team is doing.
We will contact the winner via email provided to officepools.com at the end of the season to award them with the Oilers hat! Best of luck to everyone who entered!
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire