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Team Reset

Oilers aiming to jump-start offense

Adding Milan Lucic, Jesse Puljujarvi gives Connor McDavid support

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

NHL Tonight: Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic talks to the crew on NHL Tonight

NHL Tonight catches up with the newest member of the new-look Edmonton Oilers, bruising winger Milan Lucic

  • 10:18 •

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Edmonton Oilers:

The Edmonton Oilers were hoping center Connor McDavid, selected No. 1 in the 2015 NHL Draft, would help them make the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for the first time since 2006, but a fractured clavicle limited the Calder Trophy finalist to 45 games. Although McDavid had 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 45 games, Edmonton struggled offensively, ranking 25th in goals, and finished with the second-fewest points in the League. 

The Oilers signed free agent forward Milan Lucic and selected forward Jesse Puljujarvi with the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The hope is they can offset the loss of last season's leading scorer, forward Taylor Hall, who was traded to the New Jersey Devils.

Here is what the Oilers look like today:

Video: Milan Lucic on his conversation with Wayne Gretzky

KEY ARRIVALS: Milan Lucic, F: Perhaps the biggest addition, the gritty forward, who signed a seven-year contract on July 1, will be on one of the top two lines protecting either McDavid or Leon Draisaitl and creating more space for the young centers to make plays. ... Jonas Gustavsson, G: With a one-year contract, he provides the Oilers with an experienced backup; he played 24 games with the Boston Bruins last season and has started at least 20 games in five of his seven NHL seasons. ... Jesse Puljujarvi, F: Edmonton was surprised to see him fall to them with the fourth pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The 18-year old had 13 goals and 15 assists in 50 games with Karpat in the Finnish Liiga last season, and likely will be a top-six forward. ... Adam Larsson, D: Traded from the Devils for Hall, Larsson provides the Oilers with a right-shot defenseman and fills a need. He had three goals and 15 assists in 82 games last season.

Video: Analyzing Wednesday's Hall for Larsson trade

KEY DEPARTURES: Taylor Hall, F: He led the Oilers in goals (26), assists (39) and points (65) last season. Losing the second-line forward and top scorer is a big hit offensively if Lucic can't produce similar numbers. ... Adam Cracknell, F: He played in 52 games last season and had five goals and five assists split between the Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. He signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 3.

ON THE CUSP: Drake Caggiula, F: The undrafted forward could compete for a roster spot. The 21-year-old helped the University of North Dakota win the NCAA Division I Men's Hockey championship and was named the most outstanding player at the Frozen Four in Tampa. He finished second on the team with 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists) in 39 games, the kind of offense the Oilers need. ... Anton Slepyshev, F: The 22-year old had 13 goals and eight assists in 49 games with Bakersfield of the American Hockey League last season. He was Edmonton's third-round pick (No. 88) in 2013.

Video: EDM@OTT: Sekera scores Oilers' second power-play goal

WHAT THEY STILL NEED: An offensive defenseman. Andrej Sekera led Edmonton defensemen with 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) last season, but no other defenseman had more than 12 points (Oscar Klefbom). The 24 goals by defensemen was the fifth-fewest by any team in the NHL.

PETE JENSEN'S FANTASY FOCUS: So much of the fantasy chatter is about whether McDavid should be considered a top 10 pick. But don't forget the line that carried Edmonton for much of McDavid's injury absence last season included Hall and Leon Draisaitl, who finished tied for the sixth-best point pair in the NHL (38 team goals with each having a point). Hall being traded to the Devils casts a doubt on whether Draisaitl can replicate his performance, especially considering he tailed off in the final two months. On the bright side, Draisaitl has a chance to center Benoit Pouliot and either Nail Yakupov or Puljujarvi. Draisaitl, 20, likely will be available after the first 12 rounds in 12-team drafts. The later you can snag him the better, because his short-term upside is questionable.

Video: Oilers draft F Jesse Puljujarvi No. 4


Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot - Leon Draisaitl - Jesse Puljujarvi

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Nail Yakupov

Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian

Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson

Darnell Nurse - Brandon Davidson

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

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