4) Connor Brown will justify his bonus
There was plenty of intrigue when the Oilers signed Connor Brown during the offseason. He was expected to be a key acquisition for the top six, while his previous relationship with McDavid at the Erie Otters was expected to be a positive.
Instead, Brown has done next to nothing so far in Edmonton. And by next to nothing, we really do mean next to nothing.
When the 29-year-old agreed his one-year deal with the Oilers, it came complete with an interesting incentive. While the base salary and cap hit for this season was only $775,000, he would receive a bonus of $3.225 million if he played 10 games.
However, no one could have predicted Brown would reach this milestone, without having scored a single point for the Oilers. Even despite him only playing four games in Washington, D.C. last season, before suffering a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.
As a result, there was genuine concern the Toronto native still hadn’t recovered from his surgery. However, there has been at least some reason for optimism of late.
Brown has been playing better more recently, highlighted by finally scoring his first point of the season, via an assist versus the Ducks. The look of relief on his face as he celebrated ‘s Evander Kane’s goal was evident and entirely understandable.
Of course it’s going to take a lot more than one point, for Brown to justify even his base salary never mind his bonus (which will count towards next season’s cap for the Oilers). However, we predict he will indeed start to earn his way.
While never a major offensive producer, this is still the same player who is usually good for 30+ points per season. The 2012 sixth round draft pick is also going to benefit from getting top six minutes for a revitalised team, alongside superstar teammates now playing more like what they’re capable of.
Overall, if we’re being honest, we only feel particularly confident about two of these four predictions, i.e. the middle two. However, if either of the other two bold predictions also come true, the Oilers really will be in a great position come the end of December.