When an NHL season is young, it’s easy to get fooled into thinking that “This is the year,” or that a great season is going to come tumbling down. Sometimes those assumptions end up being correct, but it’s often far too easy to be roped in by a strong sprint and forget how much of a marathon an 82-game season can be.
Well-oiled machine … running a bit on luck
The Edmonton Oilers came into 2019-20 with very low expectations, yet they’re off to a hot start, even after falling 1-0 in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.
It’s been easy to focus on Edmonton’s skaters for much of the Oilers’ 7-1-1 start.
How could you not, really, with Connor McDavid looking even better than usual, Leon Draisaitl seemingly continuing to prove that he’s probably worth more than his $8.5 million AAV, and James Neal getting off to such a strong start that he’s already blown away his 2018-19 goal totals from that disastrous year with the Flames?
This strong start isn’t just about that, though.
Still-new head coach Dave Tippett made his reputation on insulating goalies with great defense, so he’s probably most excited about strong early returns in that area.
It’s too early to say that GM Peter Chiarelli should feel vindicated for the baffling final move of his run, as he signed Mikko Koskinen to a risky contract basically right before he got a pink slip. But there’s little denying that Koskinen is off to a strong start. The 31-year-old has a marvelous .934 save percentage and 4-0-0 record so far.