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2010-11 NHL Previews: Edmonton Oilers

RETURN TO 2010-11 NHL PREVIEW INDEX

2009-10 RECORD:
27-47-8/62 pts
5th in Northwest Division
15th in Western Conf.
—————-
GM: Kevin Lowe
COACH: Tom Renney
—————-
2010-11 PAYROLL:
$52,895,000 ($9.7M below cap)

The Edmonton Oilers are coming off of the worst season in the NHL last year, when they finished last in wins (27), points (62) and had the most goals allowed (278) and most giveaways (1,055). Not only was that the worst season in the NHL last year — that was the worst season in the Oilers’ 31-year history! A team that was a dynasty back in the 1980s hasn’t had much success as of late, missing the playoffs in four straight years after their Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Hurricanes in a seven-game series in 2006.

Not all was bad for Edmonton in finishing last, though. The Oilers won the lottery for the number-one pick in the June draft, where they were able to nab winger Taylor Hall. Hall had a great season for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL last season, amassing 106 points. The one thing that Edmonton lacks, the one thing that is going to hurt them this season, once again is the ability to score. Not having enough scorers is going to be a problem because without scoring goals, you need to rely on your goalie and defense to keep the opponents from scoring the puck.

Goaltending is going to be a big problem this year though as well. They have Nikolai Khabibulin, a 37-year-old who is dealing with the repercussions of a drunken driving arrest in August in which he was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He is currently appealing the sentence, but the possibility of suspension from Bettman and 30 days in jail (along with playing in only 18 games because of a herniated disk in 2009-2010) leaves Edmonton with just Jeff Deslauriers — who had a 3.26 GAA and a .901 save percentage while leading the NHL in losses with 28. They’ll be in trouble this year, again.

# Pos Name Height Weight Age
67 F Gilbert Brule 5′ 11″ 186 23
13 F Andrew Cogliano 5′ 10″ 188 23
14 F Jordan Eberle 6′ 0″ 185 20
16 F Colin Fraser 6′ 1″ 193 25
89 F Sam Gagner 5′ 11″ 191 21
4 F Taylor Hall 6′ 1″ 194 18
83 F Ales Hemsky 6′ 0″ 184 27
10 F Shawn Horcoff 6′ 1″ 208 32
22 F Jean-Francois Jacques 6′ 3″ 231 25
28 F Ryan Jones 6′ 0″ 205 26
33 F Steve MacIntyre 6′ 5″ 250 30
91 F Magnus Paajarvi 6′ 3″ 200 19
27 F Dustin Penner 6′ 4″ 245 28
46 F Zack Stortini 6′ 4″ 215 25
26 D Kurtis Foster 6′ 5″ 226 28
77 D Tom Gilbert 6′ 3″ 206 27
49 D Theo Peckham 6′ 2″ 234 22
5 D Ladislav Smid 6′ 3″ 226 24
43 D Jason Strudwick 6′ 4″ 226 35
2 D James Vandermeer 6′ 1″ 214 30
6 D Ryan Whitney 6′ 3″ 210 27
38 G Jeff Deslauriers 6′ 4″ 201 26
40 G Devan Dubnyk 6′ 6″ 202 24
35 G Nikolai Khabibulin 6′ 1″ 206 37

MOST IMPORTANT COG IN 2010: Dustin Penner (Left Wing) — Dustin Penner had a career-high 32 goals scored last season, a year in which he added 31 assists for 63 total points. While he led the team in goals scored last season, he is going to need another big season from him to help move that offense in the right direction — especially with the young players being added into the mix this year, including Taylor Hall, who should go along nicely with Penner. Penner needs to use his 6’4”, 245 pound frame to his advantage and be powerful this year while leading the team with his stick as well as his physical play.

KEY ACQUISITION (& KEY YOUNGSTER): Taylor Hall (LW – #1 overall pick in 2010 draft from OHL’s Windsor Spitfires) — Yes, I know that he is a rookie. But the Oilers have not brought in anyone yet who actually has as much potential to help the Oilers. He has an explosive skating ability with excellent puck skills, while he also has a natural scoring ability which the Oilers have been lacking. He does lack the defensive-zone coverage and plays with too much recklessness, which could hurt him soon. The potential this young star has, at only 18, is so great, he is the key acquisition for the Oilers this offseason. He has the most upside on this team by far, and is the best young player that Edmonton has to offer.

KEY DEPARTURE: Patrick O’Sullivan (F – Carolina Hurricanes through FA) — Patrick O’Sullivan has a lot of versatility in terms of positions he can play, comfortable at all three positions up front. He has very good hands with a solid shot, but he needs the puck in order to be able to do something effective. He wasn’t very good on defense, but is an explosive scorer and is creative in the forward position. Edmonton will miss the 20-goal potential they thought they were getting when they traded for O’Sullivan from Los Angeles two years ago.

OUTLOOK: This year is going to be another year like last season for the Edmonton Oilers. They are going to lack scoring again as well as fail to get the goaltending that they need in order to be efficient. They will be in last again, but will be able to hit 30 wins this season. I do not see them being able to pull out of the cellar in the Northwest Division and are going to miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. Plus, to add to their troubles, they have a coach who is in his first year in Alberta. This isn’t going to end up being very good for the coach nor will it be a very good experience for the fans. They’ll have to wait until 2011-2012 season for Edmonton to hopefully get out of the dungeon.

FINAL PREDICTION:

  • 33 wins
  • 74 points
  • 5th in Northwest/15th in Western Conference


Dan is a big fan of all sports, basically. He roots mainly for Wisconsin sports, but is also a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks as he's just getting into hockey. Dan loves to cover trades and retirements. Follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/Dyhard

Dan Vachalek has written 56 posts for SportsNickel.com

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