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NHL outsiders, thanks to successful substitutions, began to qualify for the Stanley Cup

NHL outsiders, thanks to successful substitutions, began to qualify for the Stanley Cup
Photo: pixabay.com

After Wayne Gretzky's exchange, the Edmonton Oilers, the strongest team in the second half of the 80s, slipped first into the middle peasants and then outsiders. Only in the 2005/06 season, the club was able to surprise everyone and refute forecasts for hockey, when he got to the Stanley Cup final, but then a black streak followed again and for 9 seasons in a row the Oilmen did not even make it to the playoffs.

Fortunately, the North American leagues have a unique mechanism to help the underdogs strengthen their squad and rise again. This is a rookie draft, in which the worst teams are chosen first, respectively, they get the most talented youth.

The failures of Edmonton have allowed the club to secure several potential stars at once. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was selected as the number one pick in 2011. In 2015, the Oilers' first pick brought Connor McDavid to the team. A year earlier, Edmonton had received the third draft and German talent Leon Dreiseitl. There were also Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov - a whole scattering of promising young hockey players that other coaches can only dream of.

For several years, the club with talents, but no experience, has been balancing between missing the playoffs and being eliminated in the first rounds. But gradually the young stars matured, with both Dreiseitl and McDavid winning regular season MVP titles in the last two seasons. This means that they have fully grown to the solution of serious team tasks.

At the start, Vancouver became the rival of the Oilmen. After two periods, Edmonton were leading 2-0, in the third, the Canucks evened the score, but Edmonton took the upper hand in shootouts. Calgary did not give Dave Tippett's team similar problems, the Oilers methodically increased their advantage and defeated the opponent 5: 2.

The next meeting with "Anaheim" resulted in a real shootout. Four times "Edmonton" came forward and each time the opponent restored balance. It was only in the last 10 minutes that the goals of Bouchard and Dreiseitl ensured success for the Oilers. This was followed by the defeat of Arizona 5: 1 and a strong-willed victory over Vegas 5: 3.

Five wins at the start, best attack in the NHL (4,8 goals per game), McDavid and Dreiseitl are leaders in the top scorer race - Edmonton fans have every reason to be optimistic Management has been gathering young talents in the team for years and perhaps now is the time reap the benefits of this painstaking work. From the status of promising to move to the category of teams that really qualify for the Stanley Cup.


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