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What Makes Edmonton Believe They Can Eliminate The Reigning Champs?

(Photo Credit: TNT)

All summer long, continuous noise has been coming out from Edmonton. Beginning with Connor McDavid’s postgame decree following a Game 6 loss to Vegas. Also, deflated superstar Leon Draisaitl flatly stated it was Stanley Cup or bust for the Oilers. Now, Edmonton’s front office are vocally optimistic about a better outcome in 2023-24.

I feel good about the team. Obviously the depth is a question… What I’ve learned through my experiences, through the years, is that you’ve just got to keep with it. –Ken Holland, EDM GM to Sportsnet

Sure it’s common for NHL general managers to sound off about the way the roster was built. If you ask a first place team or a last place team, each front office will give the same response. Of course, they love the team they drew up. Eventually, the players and coaches will answer if the managers were right or wrong. That leads us back to the Golden Knights.

They have a proven Stanley Cup-winning lineup, and all but one significant player is returning. So what gives other Western Conference organizations the confidence that they will leapfrog Vegas in the 2024 playoffs?

We’re going to start with the seven defencemen who finished last year. The goalies are set. Up front, we signed Brandon Sutter this summer. We’ll go to camp, see what they can do, watch the waiver wire. –Holland to Sportsnet

Although Holland wasn’t speaking to them, his message is very confusing to Golden Knights fans. They’re not threatened by a team that plans on dressing the same defensive unit that allowed 3.6 goals per game against Vegas in the playoffs. Not to mention their unsteady goaltender that the Golden Knights picked apart.

Edmonton’s complacency only benefits the reigning champs. It’s been proven time and time again, McDavid and Draisaitl cannot do it alone. And the rest of the Oilers lineup isn’t deep enough to eliminate a well-rounded Golden Knights team.

However, there was one comment out of Edmonton that could worry the Golden Knights a little.

You’ve got to be good year, after year, after year, after year, after year. The teams that you’re talking about, that’s what they do… I can’t worry about the ‘24-25 team right now. I’ve got to worry about to ’23-24 team. –Holland to Sportsnet

Maybe the Oilers have seen Colorado and Vegas’ success and thought they need to copy their formulas. Both Cup champions aggressively built successful rosters by dumping salaries, moving popular players, and ignoring the future. With both McDavid and Draisaitl in their prime, Edmonton really doesn’t have much of a choice. Vegas isn’t going anywhere, Colorado will likely bounce back and Dallas will be a problem.

To beat the best, Edmonton will need… sorry let me start that again. To beat Vegas, Edmonton will need to make better in-season moves, possess home-ice advantage and significantly overachieve. And if both teams run out the same playoff rosters, the Oilers will need suspensions, plenty of luck, and 25 goals from McDavid and Draisaitl to eliminate 2023’s Stanley Cup champs.


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  1. GWNorth

    Vegas over achieved in the playoffs. They are one-Cup wonders. Their key players are old and it will start to show. They haven’t improved their lineup. Goaltending was the key difference in the series last year. The Oilers have improved and their young players (Bouchard, Holloway) will be bigger contributors. Oilers goaltending will be better (goaltending cant be any worse). Even with bad goaltending they still took Vegas to six games. If Hill doesn’t stand on his head in game six it could have been a different series outcome. Oilers core players are still in their prime. Vegas should be worried.

    • knights fan in minny

      dream on ass clown your goalie sucks

    • Jailbird

      You are allowed to dream GW, but your comments are not rooted in reality!

    • Ice Warrior

      Ho hum. More blowing out of the anal orifice by GW.

    • Sorvino

      Hey GW North, do you remember when I said that the coach of the Oilers is an inexperienced loser and you argued, that fact.


      Nice move by that schmuck to keep starting Stuart Skinner especially in game six.

    • TS

      Ummmm…doesn’t EVERY team dream of the goalie WE have, dude? EVERY top tier team has a SUPERB goalie. And they ALSO have a top- tier lineup to take it ALL THE WAY. THAT, sir, is PRECISELY what the VGK did. Sorry to break it to you, but we won because the ENTIRE TEAM played better than ANY OTHER!! Is that so hard to grasp?? The BEST TEAM IN NHL WON THECUP. PERIOD.

  2. Jason – I admire your optimism and hope it turns out correctly. That said without sounding negative you have no idea of what the final outcome might be. There are many a slip between the cup and the lip as they say so now is no time to count the chickens before they are hatched. I am not sure going into the season believing you will repeat is necessarily a good thing. WE have all witnessed what over confidence cal do and it isn’t always good. There are 80 plus games to play before we worry about the playoffs so anything could happen. To many unknowns.

    • Jailbird

      What’s not unknown is, We area the defending Stanley Cup champs. We are built for the playoffs. The only thing that can stop our team is injuries. That is the only unknown!

      • Jailbird – being the 2022/ 2023 champs is known but that is no guarantee they will emerge 2023/2024 champs. Are we going to start off the upcoming campaign disagreeing about everything. There are more unknowns than just injuries despite what you think otherwise. Do l know what they are N,O but l can also say without reservation you don’t know either

        • Jailbird

          I’ve never said they are going to win this years SC. That is more of you reading things that aren’t there, into others comments. Hd you are such a passive negative poster. Even when you rarely post something positive, it’s always clocked in a negative overlook.

          • Jailbird – just reality versus wishful thinking. You are wrong I want them to win as much as anyone else. I just happen to see both sides so there are no misgivings. I didn’t say you indicated they would win the SC again but if you read many posts on this site people are of the impression it is a for gone conclusion. Its one thing to be built for the playoff as you say but all I am saying lets see how it pans out. Sorry you interrupt realism as being negative.

  3. Jake

    Draisaitl plays zero defense, McDavid, casual defense.

    I don’t think The Oilers don’t need to draft or sign anyone until they can motivate their “stars” to play 200 feet games, with a passion.

    • GWNorth

      No, they just need to manipulate the Cap by #10M like Tampa and Vegas and have their star players miraculously recover for the first game of the playoffs.

      • knights fan in minny

        go away you crying little bitch canuck

        • GWNorth

          Can’t face the reality your team are one-Cup wonders?

          • knights fan in minny

            go bother the leafs fans there underachievers like your oilers

          • TS

            GW, just wondering how on earth you KNOW THIS?? Guess that crystal ball was a good purchase, huh ??

          • Mike Smith

            One Cup Wonder? Ok, sure, I will agree for the moment. But what lives in the past are FACTS! How about in our 6 years of existence the VGK have 1 cup win, 2 cup appearances, 2 WCF, 5 playoff births. Hmm, the EO made it to the wcf once that same timeframe and they lost to the Sharks who had no business being there, missed the playoffs twice and lost in round 2 twice. Look every year is different, that is for sure, but you have zero cred with your stupid statements. Do not get me wrong, EO is good with your top stars, no doubt, but if that is all you have then getting the SCF is not in the cards for EO. Those are facts. Not saying that VGK will win it again this year but I will bet the house we go further than the EO.

      • GWNorth

        Vegas currently $4M over the Cap. How will they deal with that? which player will go on IR?

        • knights fan in minny

          don’t you worry about the cup champs worry about your choking oilers

        • Pistol Pete

          That is simple. Lehner will stay on LTIR and they’ll be under the cap. Just don’t see the Oilers have the Cassidy-like defensive structure they need to win a Cup. McDavid could use his speed and stick to be a really good 200 ft. player like Eichel has become but Draisaitl is just too slow and not motivated for it. Cassidy plays defense first which few coaches do. The roster bought in and won the Cup. Defend first and the offensive opportunities always come.

      • Jake

        Medical records were checked by the NHL after Edmonton went “Waaah Waaah.”

        All good and above board. Edmonton needs to manipulate Draisaitl and C McD so they play defense.

        And the standard of the NHL is now – you can exceed the cap in the playoffs if injuries are an issue.

  4. Jailbird

    GW the whiner. The rules are there for a reason. If Edmonton is not smart enough to use those rules, that’s on them. Edmonton is a two player, Power play team. That’s it. They can’t stay with the Knights 5 on 5 and everyone knows it!

  5. Jose

    I’ve been waiting for that idiot GW North to come back.

    Please please please please continue to hang around and comment.

    I am Canadian but a little bit embarrassed by Oilers fans and leafs fans and I want the Americans who comments on here not to paint this all at the same picture.

    I apologize in advance GW North, but you are a moron and I will explain why using Albert Einstein’s wisdom.

    Leafs fans continue to keep their same philosophy and keep their core and expect a different result. Oilers fans just watched their team get steamrolled bye a juggernaut Vegas team with incredible depth.

    Albert Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    The Oilers have decided to use pretty much, the same exact roster with their shitty defence and shitty goalies and horrible third and fourth forward lines.

    Basically, they’re doing the exact same thing which has failed them for several seasons, already in the playoffs.

    Through trial and error and past failures, Vegas realize that they needed a number one centre and number one defenceman and eventually plug those holes with Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo. Thank God they didn’t go to GW North, rude and just say that the teams they lost against we’re lucky.


  6. Tim

    Canadians have this desperation to win a cup hasn’t happened since Montreal 1993 that’s 30 years. When you listen to the hockey channels it’s the same S.O.S, Edmonton is ready to make a run. Let’s evaluate the 8 Canadian teams. Vancouver going nowhere, Calgary disgruntled team good luck with that, Winnipeg everyone wants out that says it all, Toronto the pretty boys with no heart it’s been since 1967 since they’ve held the Cup and it ain’t happening anytime soon. Montreal There’s no way Suzuki and Caulfield bring the a cup. Next we have Ottawa before he died the cheapest owner in the NHL. Do you really think that cheap ass organization will ever compete with Bill Foley and his desire to win. Let’s say it’s a given these 7 teams have no chance of winning a Cup which leaves us Edmonton and that’s why every Canadian announcer is picking Edmonton because that’s the only team with a chance.

  7. ESD

    What the prognosticators fail to recognize is that, just like every other team, Vegas can get better too. Being the Stanley Cup Champions is not the ceiling. Look at the deadline acquisitions this year and how much they helped during the final push and the playoffs. Yes, losing Reilly Smith is a blow but the Knights have always found ways to improve. As has already been proven, there’s no scenario in which management just takes a knee and hopes for the same outcome.

    A huge takeaway from this article, and from those who are ready to anoint Edmonton as the Champions in waiting (a team who has yet to deal with the deficiencies that were exposed in the post season), is the assumption that the Oilers are unstoppable and the Knights are stagnant. I encourage other teams to keep thinking that about the Knights just like they did last year.

    And another thing, there is no salary cap during the playoffs. It is quite literally impossible to be over the cap during the playoffs. So, folks can whine about the playoff roster all they want, but it’s like complaining that Elon Musk is over the cap on his savings account.

    And using the LTIR as a strategy to get into the playoffs is not a good one. Teams aren’t stashing players away thinking it’ll get them to the promised land. We had players on LTIR last year too and it cost us a trip to the playoffs. But, if your team believes its a viable strategy, by all means, put McDavid on LTIR all year (I say this to make a point and in no way want to see players injured) and see how that works out for you. Keep on complaining about this because it too will distract you from your team’s real issues.

    Specifically to GWNorth (I assume the W is for Whining), I hate to mention you specifically since going to another team’s site to complain is clearly about getting attention for yourself and I hate to feed your ego. But, your issues are with your own team, not ours. They are the ones you should be complaining to. Any team who can’t score 5 on 5 should not be expecting to win the Cup.

    • Daniel Foley

      Honestly at this point Vegas is kind of playing with house money having won it all. I’d be satisfied with them getting into the playoffs to attempt the back to back which is damn tough in the modern NHL. All the pressure is on EDM and if these two teams meet again I would not be at all surprised if the result is exactly the same and EDM is left scratching its head yet again while another year of McDavid and Drai is wasted away. Vegas can afford to play loose – EDM must win at all costs and that’s a horrendous way to mentally enter a season if you’re EDM

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