Oilers News & Rumors: McDavid, Nurse, Kane, Kuzmenko

In a news and rumor update from the Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid set a new career high for points in a single season. How incredible is what he was able to achieve? Meanwhile, there’s an update on Darnell Nurse’s health and status, and it’s clear just how important he is to the team. What’s likely to happen to Evander Kane and what’s the outlook for the Oilers? Last but not least, do the Oilers have a shot at KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko?

McDavid just keeps getting better

It’s just amazing what McDavid has accomplished since joining the NHL. He set a new career high in a season with 118 points on Sunday and isn’t done yet. With a three-point lead over Jonathan Huberdeau in the Art Ross Trophy race, it appears the Oilers captain will make one last effort to secure another trophy win.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Here are the best seasons for McDavid since the 2016/17 season:

  • 2021-22 – 118 (and climbing)
  • 2018-19 – 116
  • 2017-18 – 108
  • 2020-21 – 105 (56 games)
  • 2016-17 – 100
  • 2019-20 – 97 (64 games)

He just seems to be getting better, and the incredible thing is that he’s become a much more versatile player, backchecking more often and playing solid defensively. This was also his best season to date in which he scored goals. He has scored 43 goals this season, beating his previous best of 41.

Evander Kane hits 20, only got expensive

20 goals in less than half a season is outstanding for any player. When it comes to Evander Kane and the pressure he may have felt joining a new team in what may have been his last shot in the NHL, what’s particularly impressive is that he worked so well together and did everything what he and the Oilers could have wanted in his window of opportunity this season.

Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Oilers will certainly try to re-sign him as he is everything McDavid needs on this top line. Kane is fast, physical, skilled and eager to make the difference. Unfortunately, all this will make him extremely expensive. What GM Ken Holland does this summer will be fascinating and certainly polarizing.

See Also: 3 Takeaways from the Oilers’ 5-2 Loss to the Blue Jackets – 4/24/22

There’s really no way the Oilers can keep all of Kane, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod long-term when Kane is counting on $5 million a season to start with.

Nurse Injury Update

Head coach Jay Woodcroft confirmed this weekend and before either player was missing from Sunday’s lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets that neither Darnell Nurse (LBI) nor Puljujarvi (not ill with COVID) were making the trip to Columbus. The Oilers lost to the Blue Jackets and their absence was felt.

Darnell Nurse Oilers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As Lowetide wrote: “Nurse is a two-way defender, he has value and he helps his team win. He’s not Bobby Orr, or Nick Lidstrom, or Paul Coffey, but he’s consuming tremendous minutes in a team that needs just that from their No. 1 defenseman.” He added:

The great philosopher Taylor Swift once sang “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate hate” and I’m done with the whole damn bunch. Darnell Nurse is Edmonton’s best defender, they needed him yesterday and they will need him tomorrow. His return to health is important to Edmonton’s playoff hopes. If you can’t see that, focus on things other than winning hockey games.

Oiler prospects look good

Xavier Bourgault had one goal and three assists in Sunday’s QMJHL. He now has 33 goals and 68 points in 41 games this season. He’s not the only prospect who looked solid.

The 2021 team’s sixth-round pick Matvey Petrov went 1-1-2 today as his regular season as an OHL rookie came to an end. When Bob Stauffer points this out, “He finished the top ten in the OHL 40-50-90/+32 in 63 GP.” There’s Dylan Holloway who could make the leap if needed, and the Oilers might need to look at Markus Niemelaninen or Philip Broberg, when injuries take their toll in the postseason. Having depth will come in handy for Edmonton this season and next.

Oilers have a shot at KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko

Stauffer also spoke to Dan Milstein, the agent representing Kane and KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko. Milstein confirmed during an interview that the Oilers would be one of about six teams Kuzmenko is shortlisting and spoke to this offseason about signing a contract.

Corresponding @boogaard_2The KHL’s acclaimed free agent, veteran forward Andrei Kuzmenko, who has spent the last four seasons at SKA Saint-Petersburg, is strongly inclined to pick the Edmonton Oilers as his NHL destination #LetsGoOilers #nhl #khl @SportsnetSpec

Kuzmenko is widely regarded as the best free agent to emerge from the KHL this season. Milstein noted that the only reason he slipped through the draft is because teams didn’t have a chance to watch him during the lockout and he had a profound role with the national team that didn’t showcase his skills . He scored 20 goals and 53 points in 45 games for St. Petersburg SKA this season.

The only real problem at this point is the problem of getting players out of Russia now.

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