Season Series: Chicago 2-1-0
This series has been advertised as McDavid & Draisaitl versus Patrick Kane, and I personally find the Jonathan Toews erasure to be hilarious. Although I don’t think Toews remains at an elite level, I’m intrigued by the Blackhawks’ depth up front. Will Chicago ‘s younger players (Kubalich and Dach) be able to contribute? Will the Oilers secure production outside of their two superstars? I personally think Edmonton’s speed will be too much for the Hawks to handle. EDGE: EDM
Mike Green opted out. Logic would dictate that it was due to coronavirus concerns, but I choose to believe that it was just to mess with Ken Holland, the GM who saved him from the cellar-dwelling Red Wings, but who also signed Justin Abdelkader to a long term contract. The Blackhawks, not to be outdone, will be without an aging defenseman of their own as Brent Seabrook will not be making it inside the bubble. I think both of these defensive groups are underwhelming, and predict that both will eventually fall in this tournament because of it. EDGE: I don’t know, Chicago?
Is Corey Crawford back to 100%, or at least something close to it? How much are the Hawks regretting the trade of Robin Rehner? I’ll be an optimist and give Crawford the benefit of the doubt. Corey played the Oilers twice this year and had good numbers (2.01 GAA, .923 Sv%). The professionals seem to think that Koskinen and Smith might split time in net for Edmonton. EDGE: Slight edge to Chicago (health dependent)
My Twitter feed hates Jeremy Colliton, while it seems like every organization in the NHL loves Dave Tippett. EDGE: Oilers
Draisaitl and McDavid are too good to bet against. They will find some added speed and production with Athanasiou, and some timely scoring from The Real Deal James Neal in an incredibly entertaining series. Oilers in 5.