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Is this McDavid's year?

Updated: Apr 17

Connor McDavid is in action in a game at Rogers Place.

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

McDavid started the season pretty slow, but has picked up the pace since December, putting up more point than any other player since, and putting himself back in the Art Ross conversation. So the case should be made for and against this being McDavid's year.

For: McDavid is arguably still the best player in today's game, and definitely the most accomplished. There are players like Sidney Crosby who are as accomplished who got their dues after years of playoff failures and who carried the team on their backs for years. The Oilers have overcome a lot to crawl back to where they are, and this is McDavid's 10th season as an Oiler, and Ken Holland's contract is expiring. They fired Woodcroft after a horrendous 12 game start, and ever since Kris Knoblauch took over the Oilers have gone on multiple long winning streaks to put themselves back up in the standings. They are treating this season as the end-all-be-all for McDavid, knowing that if his only memories of Edmonton are consistent playoff failures, he may want to sign elsewhere.

Against: The Stanley Cup race this year is much stronger than last year's, where the Vegas Golden Knights and a much weaker Stars team were the representatives in the West. This year, every team in the West is strong. Dallas or Colorado will come out of the Central, and they have only gotten better, Vancouver is eager to prove themselves, Nashville has gone on a hot streak since the trade deadline, LA will be a problem for anyone, and the Oilers just can't seem to beat Adin Hill, who was Vegas' MVP in the Second Round last year. The Oilers also just don't have the same forward depth as the strongest contenders, and let's say they do make the Finals, they won't stand a chance in a 7 game series against Carolina or Florida, who are the strongest contenders coming out of the East. They also lack the defensive mobility of a team like Colorado, who beat them in 4 games in 2022 with a similar team. Though that Avalanche team has a different look, they still look the same with different players. Evan Bouchard is good, and Ekholm is having a career year, but there's a lot to be desired from Darnell Nurse and the rest of the Oilers defensemen. The Avalanche also have many defensemen returning from their Stanley Cup team.

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