In this edition of Edmonton Oilers News & Rumors, I’ll take a look at Dylan Holloway’s progress playing for Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championship (WJC). I’ll also look at recent comments by Alex Chiasson about his excitement about playing in an All-Canadian Division.
Finally, BetOnline.ag has released their betting odds for winning NHL awards; and, I’ll share where Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl sit according to those odds.
Item One: Dylan Holloway Has Become Part of a Shutdown Line for Team Canada
As Team Canada prepares for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championships (WJC), it looks as if Oilers’ prospect Dylan Holloway will play with line-mates Alex Newhook and Jakob Pelletier at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship. The threesome has been playing together during intra-squad games and it looks as if they’ll remain line-mates during the tournament.
As Holloway predicts, “I think we’re going to be kind of a shutdown line, potentially going up against the top lines on other teams, and I’ll also be a penalty-killer for Team Canada.”
A shutdown line perhaps; however, this particular line combination also has a ton of offensive upside.
Item Two: Alex Chiasson Is Excited About Playing in an All-Canadian Division
There’s been a bit of news concerning Alex Chiasson recently. One rumor is that the Oilers are involved in trade talks about the 30-year-old forward. Oilers’ fans might not have heard the end of that yet; however, that hasn’t dampened Chiasson’s enthusiasm for playing in what might be an All-Canadian Division.
Over the past few weeks, because there have been travel restrictions about crossing the USA/Canada border, the NHL has been looking at having all Canadian-based teams play in Canada. However, that’s obviously up in the air. Even today there was news that the NHL league office has notified Canadian teams that everyone – including them – might have to play in the United States if provincial governments don’t sign off on the NHL’s plan. There’ll be more news later about that possibility.
The NHL plan for having all seven Canadian teams play is the same division for 2020-21 isn’t ideal, because it requires a lot of traveling. That’s especially true if teams such as the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks play in the same Canadian division. However, given the dangers of a COVID-19 impacted world, concessions need to be made.
But the play between teams is one thing that makes Chiasson excited. He noted that: “Yeah, I’m looking forward to it … just Canadian teams playing each other. Is it ever going to happen again? If not, let’s make the most of it.”
Chiasson also believed the division was going to be a tough division to play in. Only one Canadian team seems to be a year or two away from the playoffs – and that’s the Ottawa Senators. However, they, too, have really improved their roster for this season. In fact, the Senators have made enough upgrades that even the owner Eugene Melnyk is spouting Stanley Cup possibilities for his team.
We at NHLTradeTalk.com have no disagreement with Chiasson that a Canadian division would be a difficult division to play in – especially during the playoffs. (from “Edmonton Oilers forward Alex Chiasson keen on all-Canadian division,” Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal, 16/12, 20).
Item Three: McDavid is Odds-On Favorite to Win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies
In a quick report, BetOnline.ag has released its odds for NHL awards and Connor McDavid is the favorite to win the Art Ross and Hart Trophies at 11/4 odds (Art Ross Trophy) and 4/1 odds (Hart Trophy).
Oilers’ teammate Leon Draisaitl is the second favorite at 5/1 odds (Art Ross) – Draisaitl won both awards last season. He’s third in the Hart Trophy odds at 8/1 – following the Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon, who’s at 5/1.
McDavid has won the Art Ross Trophy during two of the last four seasons and has been the NHL leader in points per game at 1.38 over a four-season span. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov ranked second at 1.31 points per game over the past four seasons. Kucherov ranked fourth to win both the Art Ross and Hart Trophies at 10/1 odds.
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