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Season preview: Edmonton Oilers

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Season preview: Edmonton Oilers

To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.

Today’s team: Edmonton Oilers

2014-15 record: 24-44-14, 6th in the Pacific

How they finished: Did not make the playoffs

Coach: Todd McLellan (1st season)

Notable additions: C Connor McDavid, G Cam Talbot, D Eric Gryba, LW Lauri Korpikoski, C Mark Letestu, D Andrej Sekera

Notable subtractions: C Boyd Gordon, C Derek Roy

RELATED: MacLellan hopes Johansson evolves into two-way player

Schedule against the Capitals: Fri. Oct. 23 at Edmonton, Mon. Nov. 23 at Washington

Outlook: It took them four tries, but it finally looks like the Edmonton Oilers landed the right guy with their fourth number one overall draft pick in the last six years.

Connor McDavid had 44 goals and 76 assists in 47 games in the OHL last season and appears to be the transformational talent bad teams dream of, the kind of player that can resurrect a franchise the way Alex Ovechkin did for the Caps or...that other guy did for Pittsburgh.

Before you start planning the parade, however, let's not forget that this is a team that has not made the playoffs since 2006. They have a lot of question marks that McDavid by himself does not address.

The key word for the Oilers this season is 'potential.'

The Oilers will turn to Cam Talbot in net after trading for him in the offseason. The 28-year-old netminder's NHL career consists of 57 games. That's it. He has looked great in those games posting a .931 save percentage, so he has the potential to be a very good starting goalie, but there's no guarantee he can handle being the number one guy. Was he as good as he looked last season or did he benefit from playing for the eventual President's Trophy winners?

Defensively, Andrej Sekera is a great addition. Expect him to be paired with Justin Schultz who has struggled mightily in his NHL career. The Oilers signed him to only a one-year deal in the offseason making this essentially a make or break year for the young blueliner.

Oscar Klefbom is also a player to keep an eye on. At only 22, he has real potential to be a top defenseman and will likely play on the team's second pair.

Both players have potential to be top four or even top pair defensemen, but Schultz has not lived up to his potential and Klefbom is only just beginning his NHL career.

When the Oilers won the draft lottery, many speculated whether the team would try to trade away Nail Yakupov or Taylor Hall. Instead, the OIlers kept both and with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, will boast four number one overall picks in the offensive lineup this season. Add in young forwards Jordan Eberle (25) and Anton Lander (24) and you have the makings for a championship caliber junior team.

All kidding aside, the Oilers have compiled a lot of intriguing pieces. They just need to figure out who fits where and begin building a team with an actual identity. The hiring of Todd McLellan is a good move, but he has his work cut out for him.

Expectations: Yes, the Oilers have McDavid, but it took Ovechkin three seasons to make the playoffs and Crosby two. This year will not be about reaching the postseason, but finding who fits where.

Edmonton finally has a franchise player to build around and a lot of other good pieces, they just need turn it all into a team. That's usually not a process you can finish in a single season.

The Oilers will be fun to watch this season, but they have a lot of work to do before they can start thinking about the playoffs.

MORE CAPS: NHL 16 adds new feature that should excite Caps fans

See more team previews:

Pacific Division 
Anaheim Ducks 
Arizona Coyotes
Calgary Flames
Los Angeles Kings 8/5 
San Jose Sharks 8/6 
Vancouver Canucks 8/7

Central Division 
Chicago Blackhawks 8/8 
Colorado Avalanche 8/9 
Dallas Stars 8/10 
Minnesota Wild 8/11
St. Louis Blues 8/13 
Winnipeg Jets 8/14

Atlantic Division 
Boston Bruins 8/15 
Buffalo Sabres 8/16 
Detroit Red Wings 8/17 
Florida Panthers 8/18 
Montreal Canadiens 8/19 
Ottawa Senators 8/20< 
Tampa Bay Lightning 8/21 
Toronto Maple Leafs 8/22

Metropolitan Division 
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23 
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24 
New Jersey Devils 8/25 
New York Islanders 8/26 
New York Rangers 8/27 
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28 
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29 
Washington Capitals 8/30

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books. 

Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs. 

The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993. 

"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. 

Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.

 

RELATED LINKS: 

Can Alex Ovechkin still challenge for another Rocket Richard Trophy? 

Inside Alex Ovechkin's Weekend Party with the Stanley Cup in Russia

 

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Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

On Wednesday night ESPN hosts their yearly sports award show, the ESPYs, to celebrate the best of the last 365 days in sport. 

One thing they will not be celebrating, or did not even consider celebrating, was Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final

This year there were 16 plays nominated to be the “Best Play” and were seeded into a bracket. For the past month fans have been voting in each head-to-head matchup culminating in four pretty outstanding plays:

All of those plays can be viewed here

Three of those four were in a championship game, the other was a just a once in a lifetime play from a teenager. 

But the ESPYs are saying that there are 16 plays from this past year that were better than Holtby’s save… Can we really believe that? Everyone loves buzzer beaters, but they accounted for six of the 16 plays. One of them could have easily gotten bumped. 

And aside from the three listed above there were only two that were in the championship event for each sport. Holtby could have rounded it out for six.

We’re not saying that Holtby’s play was the best in the past year, or even in the top four. Heck, there should be no one that tops Ogunbowale’s incredible heroics. But arguably the best play in D.C. sports history not making the top-16 for best plays in a 365 day period? 

It must have been one heck of a sports year.  

For those that are nominated, Alex Ovechkin is a finalist for Best Male Athlete and Best NHL Player. The Capitals are in the running for Best Team.

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