Sunday, August 14, 2011

Off Season Review: Edmonton Oilers

In Review
Edmonton began the 2010/2011 season in full rebuild, but with a lot of excitement surrounding the young team with stars Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi.

Optimism quickly changed to realism and the Oilers suffered a six game losing streak in October and another in November. They were never able to recover. It went from bad to worse after the team lost it’s number one defenseman Ryan Whitney to ankle surgery in December and first liners Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff  each only managed to stay healthy for 47 games. Then at the trade deadline the Oilers took another step towards rebuilding by trading away Dustin Penner to Los Angeles for defenseman Colten Teubert, a first-round pick in the 2011 draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2012 draft. The end result was a another last place finish and first overall selection at the draft used to pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, another blue chip future star.

Depth Chart
Left Wing                               Center                         Right Wing
Taylor Hall                                            Shawn Horcoff                     Ales Hemsky
Magnus Paajarvi                                  Sam Gagner                           Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth                                          Eric Belanger                         Ryan Jones
Ben Eager                                              Gilbert Brule                          Linus Omark
Darcy Hordichuk                                  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins        Teemu Hartikainen

Left Defense                          Goal                            Right Defense
Ryan Whitney                                      Devan Dubnyk                     Tom Gilbert
Ladislav Smid                                       Nikolai Khabibulin               Theo Peckham
Jeff Petry                                               Olivier Roy                            Cam Barker
Andy Sutton                                                                                         Colten Teubert

Top Breakout Candidates
Sam Gagner-3 seasons of 40-42 points. Is this the year he breaks out with over 60?
Top Rookie
Another first overall selection, but will Nugent-Hopkins play in the NHL, or Junior again?
Other top rookies will get a strong look such as Anton lander, Teubert, and Tyler Pitlick
Hidden Gem
Cam Barker was selected third overall in ’04. Sure he has his defensive warts in his game but he can run a power play and has a devastating point shot.
Don’t draft
Nikolai Khabibulin-He is 38, and no longer the “wall”
Best Fantasy Value
Lots to choose from here, Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, and Ryan Whitney have tremendous upside.

Fantasy Outlook
Oilers fans get your Ryan Smyth jerseys back out, Captain Canuck is back! That is about all Edmonton fans will have to be excited about this year. Another season of growing pains is about to commence. Smyth will bring some valuable leadership and experience to a young team.  Teams that are very young and patient can have a tendency to become comfortable with loosing. The mentality of being young, and rebuilding creates the perception that it is alright to loose. Smyth will help prevent that in the locker room. Unfortunately they will still loose more games than they win until they shore up the blue line and goal tending. 

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