In what will be a pivotal month for the Oilers, we make four daring predictions for how December will play out in Edmonton.
These are good times in Edmonton, at least compared to a couple of weeks ago. There’s actually now hope for the Oilers, that the 2023-24 season is going to turn out as previously predicted.
Of course there’s still a long way to go, but that’s the beauty of the NHL regular season. There’s plenty of time for the Oilers to get to where they want to be, i.e. challenging for the Stanley Cup come playoff time.
Of course, no matter how talented or good you are, there still needs to be some good fortune along the way. Here are four bold predictions for the Oilers in December, starting with a particularly daring one:
1) Jack Campbell will be traded
As things stand, it’s fair to call Jack Campbell’s time in Edmonton an unmitigated disaster to date. He has done nothing to justify the decision to pay him $25 million over five seasons.
Campbell had the worst campaign of his career during his first season in Edmonton, with a .888 save percentage and 3.41 Goals Against Average (GAA). Fortunately for the Oilers, Stuart Campbell had a breakout season, which saw him become the main starter and finish second for the Calder Trophy.
There was some hope for Campbell, thanks to his play in the playoffs and then during this preseason. This proved to be a false dawn though, as he then started this season somehow looking even worse.
As much as the Oilers were floundering defensively as a whole, you could only excuse the 2022 All-Star’s play so much. Thanks to a 1-4-0 record, .873 save percentage and 4.50 GAA, he was placed on waivers and subsequently assigned to the Condors in the AHL to work on his game.
If possible, things got even worse for Campbell in Bakersfield, as he allowed a combined 13 goals and went 0-3 in his first three games. All hope seemed lost.
Since then however, the 2010 11th overall draft pick has seen some improvement in his play, winning two of his last three starts, albeit he still has an overall .894 save percentage and 3.15 GAA in six games. This has led to speculation that he will be recalled to the Oilers.
Our opinion has been that it’s too soon to bring Campbell back, that he still needs more time to work on his game — and confidence — in Bakersfield. However, we now appreciate there’s some method to the madness, i.e. putting him in the shop window to entice someone to trade for him and his albatross of a contract.
Of course it’s a risk, but it does help that the Oilers are now playing better, which can in turn help their beleaguered goaltender. As such, we predict that somehow, someway, Campbell will be traded, potentially helped by including another player on the current roster.