With just a single series victory in the Connor McDavid era, the Edmonton Oilers arrive as favourites in the Western Conference perhaps a touch ahead of schedule.
Of course, with the most dynamic talent in the game in a league where a team’s strongest link is having more and more influence – and considering the fact that uniformity seems to be spreading throughout the Western Conference – prognosticators have slotted the Oilers precisely right.
That’s why unlike the previous decade, wherein which just making the postseason was a lofty enough goal, what happens in the regular season in Edmonton will not determine whether it’s a successful year.
A legitimate challenge for the Stanley Cup will be the goal for the Oilers throughout the life of the maximum-term $100-million contract extension McDavid signed in the offseason.
And because that extension kicks in next summer, there’s no better time to win than right now.