2013-14 Pacific Division: Projected Standings

Jonathan Willis
August 21 2013 09:45AM

Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at the Edmonton Oilers’ new division. Now the pivotal question: will they snag one of the four playoff spots in this group?

The Contenders

1. Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are my choice for the top spot in the division; this team won the Cup in 2012 and went to the Conference Finals in 2013 and the roster hasn’t changed much. They fell down the standings last year thanks to an abnormally poor regular season from Jonathan Quick, and that isn’t likely to be repeated. They should be well clear of Edmonton.

2. Vancouver Canucks. This roster doesn’t look as good on paper as previous editions of the team, but the same stars are there up front and the defence might be the best in the Western Conference despite the lack of a superstar number one. A lot hinges on Roberto Luongo; the Canucks have gambled that after wanting to leave he’ll be able to come back and contribute at a high level. It’s a risk, but they’re probably right.

3. San Jose Sharks. This is a very good team; they’re smartly coached and smartly managed (given my choice of NHL general managers, there aren’t many I’d take ahead of Doug Wilson) and they have great depth and talent down the middle.

The Bubble

4. Anaheim Ducks. The loss of Sheldon Souray to injury and the addition of Mark Fistric on defence have changed the picture a little bit since our comparison, weakening the Ducks’ defence. This is a catchable team for the Oilers but not one I’d care to bet on Edmonton being ahead of.

5. Edmonton Oilers. We’ve analyzed Edmonton’s strengths and weaknesses to death this season. Up front they have solid top end talent but questionable depth, particularly at centre. On defence, they have exceptional depth but a dearth of proven top-two defencemen. Devan Dubnyk provides solid goaltending. Put it all together and this is a team on the bubble, one I have projected to be in the playoff race until the bitter end (though they could snatch a crossover spot in the Central). (Others feel more optimistic about the team's placement).

6. Phoenix Coyotes. A forward corps that leans too much on Mike Ribeiro and Shane Doan is the Coyotes’ primary weakness, and what might make them vulnerable to the Oilers this season. Any of the three teams listed here could snag that final playoff spot in my estimation; there isn’t a night-and-day difference between Anaheim and Edmonton and Phoenix.

The Cellar

7. Calgary Flames. The roster was gutted last season and it seems likely to take a few more vicious kicks in the lead up to the 2013-14 trade deadline. The forward group lacks top end talent, the defence is suspect and nobody knows who the starter is. Welcome to the rebuild.

Recently around the Nation Network

A new picture has been making the rounds in Winnipeg, one showing a much leaner version of defenceman Dustin Byfuglien. At Jets Nation, Travis Hrubeniuk writes about what Jets fans can expect from the oft-criticized defenceman:

I believe that he has the chance to be a truly successful top pairing D-man with the numbers to back it up, should a couple things happen. First, he needs some help in net. It's been the story for this team for years now. People refuse to believe that the Jets have been a solid defensive team with poor goaltending behind them, and choose to inaccurately accuse the blue line of inadequate play. Byfuglien may as well be the poster boy for this myth, as he and Enstrom are truly an effective top pairing duo.

Click the link above to read more, or check out some of my recent stuff:

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Mantastic
August 21 2013, 10:46AM
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@DSF

every position.

Goalies: Luongo, 2x players that have never played in the NHL, one of them never played on north american ice

D: Solid top 4 but if Bieska and Edler played like last year, not so solid. outside of the top 4 they have a combined NHL games played of 80? hardly deep.

C: Sedin, Kesler (health?), Richardson (is a much better winger than C), Schroder (lol?) and a bunch of rookies not named Sean Couturier, not shaking in my boots there.

W: Sedin, Burrows solid top 6. Hansen, solid middle 6. everyone else is a question marks and rookies with the inability to move up and down the line up. Higgins is on the decline, Booth doesn't actually score, Kassian can't produce without the Sedins and the Sedins can make anyone score. Weise? seriously? Setisto?!

their forward depth is complete crap.

any injury to either their top 6 forwards, #1 goalie or top 4 D, they are in serious trouble.

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#52 The Soup Fascist
August 21 2013, 11:34AM
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DSF wrote:

Really?

Last season they had Kesler, Booth, Malhotra, Bieksa and Tanev all miss significant time with injuries and managed to finish with the 6th most points in the entire NHL.

With Kesler in the lineup, taking the hard matchups, the Sedins get a lot more room to score.

I wouldn't count them out.

The Canucks were 18th in goals last year. They lost two offensive players in Raymond and Roy - and added no one. The Sedins are 33 and have hard miles on them. Kesler has yet to show the same pre-injury form from 2 years ago. How Booth never got bought out is a complete mystery to me. Although Ballard was even more abyssmal a signing and had to be dealt with.

I just don't see where the goals are coming from.

While I understand the Sedins are in the last year of their contract and are very motivated, the offensive production of players (not named Teemu Selanne / Martin St. Louis) start to deteriorate pretty rapidly, right about ..... now.

Top 4 is solid on D, with little depth and the (only) goalie is a guy the organization has tried to tie a can to for 18 months. It may not be this year - though I suspect that Torts could expedite things - but I see a steep fall for the Canucks in the near future. I don't see 2nd in the division.

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#53 Mantastic
August 21 2013, 03:04PM
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@DSF

am i wrong? Canucks with Kesler had worse corsi than without him.

and why are you comparing them to the Oilers? a team that was heavily outshot, period? earth shattering news, players on a team that gets outshot has worse corsi than a team that doesn't get outshot!!!!

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#54 The Soup Fascist
August 21 2013, 03:11PM
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DSF wrote:

The Canucks downward trend in scoring was mainly attibutable to 2 things:

1) Kesler missing most of the season allowing the opposition to key on the Sedins.

2) Their PP went from 1st in the league in 2011/12 (19.8%) to 22nd in the league (15.8%) Much of that is also due to Kesler's absence since he plays with the Sedin's on the #1 unit.

In only 17 games upon his return from injury, Kesler scored 2 PPG and 5PPP which pro-rates to 10 goals and 24 points...just on the PP.

In the last full season, Taylor Hall led the Oilers with 13 goals and 21 points on the PP.

If Kesler stays healthy and the Canucks PP returns to top 5, they should once again be among the highest scoring teams in the league.

Right now neither of is wrong - yet. In three months we will have a better idea of where they are.

I think it is going to be an interesting season for the Canucks. A quick start and they could have a decent year. A slow start, - with the distraction of the remnants of the Luongo soap opera, a coach who has never met a microphone he didn't like and a finnicky media / fan base - could be a circus.

I think the Oilers score more than the Canucks do, and by a bit of a margin. Very possible they will end up behind the Canucks in the standings, but I don't think the gap will be large.

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#55 Ummm...
August 21 2013, 07:45PM
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@DSF

At least in Anaheim's case, pretty much everybody not working for CBC expect them to regress this season. They were one of the most fortunate teams in the league last year. I could see all of SJ, VAN, and ANA regressing next year.

VAN because their horses are a year older and they've got little else.

SJ for the same reason, though they do have a true young star in Couture. Pavelski took steps toward invisibility in the second half of last year (to the detriment of my fantasy team) and their D isn't that great.

ANA because they had the 2nd best PDO in the league behind the Leafs. Their performance last year was a lot of smoke and mirrors as far as I'm concerned.

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#56 OilClog
August 21 2013, 09:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Feel free to use any stats you like to support your fantasies.

I've got all night.

Fancy Stats.. Even with going for it Year after Year for the last 7 years.. Vancouver has acquired an astonishing total of 0 Stanley cups.. Let me repeat myself, the same total of the previous 34 years was met in just 7! 0 Stanley cups, Keslar Sucks, Sedins Suck, Gillis Sucks, Minnesota Sucks.

Good Grief

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#57 OilClog
August 21 2013, 09:04PM
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DSF wrote:

Other than the fact that they are on the same level.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA 29 out of 30 coaches in the League would tell you otherwise. Only exception being Lindy Ruff.

Keslar is not anywhere near Taylor Hall offensively, what were Keslar's point totals on the PP at 20yrs of age... wait! NO ONE CARED ABOUT RYAN KESLAR AT 20! He's a hack compared to Taylor Hall. At Keslar's Age, Hall will have a couple scoring titles, All star team awards, and more then likely a Hell of a lot more chance at Lord Stanley. Book it.

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#58 Todd
August 21 2013, 09:38PM
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Ales Hallsky wrote:

Kesler: 350pts 578gp. Hallsy: 145pts 171gp. One has to do it all himself and the other benefits from a team who is a perennial presidents trophy contender. I'll let you figure it out. 0 cups in 40+

In DSFs world...

Peter Mueller > Nail Yakupov

Dale Tallon > every other NHL GM

Kesler => Taylor Hall

Good grief

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#59 Todd
August 22 2013, 08:16AM
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madjam wrote:

I rather enjoy reading DSFs insight in the comments . Sometimes having good debates with opposing opinions is better than a herd of people all nodding in agreement at the same thing .

I don't think anyone has a problem with opposing views and discussion. It's just that when you constantly talk in a patronizing tone it really bothers people and just makes you an ahole regardless of the message. The know it all, I'm right, you all know nothing bit reeks of insecurity and really turns everyone off. DSF does have decent points sometimes but his message is 100% lost due to the never ending nauseating, pompous and patronizing delivery.

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#60 Spydyr
August 22 2013, 08:22AM
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madjam wrote:

I rather enjoy reading DSFs insight in the comments . Sometimes having good debates with opposing opinions is better than a herd of people all nodding in agreement at the same thing .

I like DSF's insights along with the opposing view point.I actually agree with him on some points.Debate is great.What I don't like is more then half the comments either by or directed to DSF.He is not the smartest person here and his delivery could use some work.It is the Oilers Nation not the DSF nation.

Seems I'm part of the problem as this is another post concerning him.

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#61 OilersAreAwesome14
August 21 2013, 10:27AM
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@DSF

AVS improved yes! But their Defense is still as bad last year maybe worse. And to make the playoffs you have to have good depth at every position, Forwards, Defense and Goalie

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#62 Oilers42
August 21 2013, 10:54AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

In spite of the skill difference between Calgary and Edmonton..........I'm thinking Calgary will surprise a few people.

If Sean Monohan makes the team ( all indications are he will) this will give them a definite advantage. I say they will give us a run for our money and may finish ahead of us.

Without Nuge starting the season.......our lines will be all mixed up with players playing out of position. This is a recipe for disaster, followed up by the Nuge returning and re-calibrating the lines once again, and then waiting for the momentum to carry us.

If we have a losing record to start the season........it will be a long season to try and play catch-up. Maybe next year will be the breakout season we have all been waiting for?

1.The flames are terrible 2.RNH will be back to start the season 3.flames are rebuilding this year and probably will try to be as bad as they can this season and next

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#63 oldhippy
August 21 2013, 12:31PM
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Real funny stuff from the Oiler bashers. Every year we hear how Edmonton rushes their rookies right in to the line up. Same d**ch b*gs that are certain that, not only will Monohan and Shinkaruk make their respective teams, but will make them better. I remember distinctly that the two in question, criticized Edmonton management for rushing RNH in to the line-up.

Also, while I would like to see one more experienced seasoned center, signed, we have at least improved the call-up depth at that position. It's not likely that Ryan Smyth will have to be a replacement center this winter. Boyd Gordon should be, in most ways, an improvement on Horcoff.

While not acquiring the number one stud defenceman everyone wanted, Ferrence is a big improvement over the defenceman he replaces. As well we have more depth at this position, to the point where we should not have to rush in a rookie.

In goal, we now have a reliable back-up. May not be a world beater, but more likely to be healthy when called upon, unlike his predecessor.

The Oiler were in the battle for the last play-off spot last season until they lost all their centers, save Gagner.

In addition to this, Eberle, Hall and Yakupov should all be just a little better than last year, as they start to mature. Forwards, especially scoring forwards tend to ramp up until their mid twenties. Peak production years from 25 to 30. Our most talented players are younger than that, so we should see a marked improvement in the top six.

I wouldn't go as far as saying playoffs are a lock, but They should be in the hunt. All it will take is fewer things going wrong this season, as opposed to the last three seasons where everything that could go wrong, did.

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#64 shanetrain
August 21 2013, 02:50PM
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Yes I just propped my own comment. Yes I did!

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#65 2004Z06
August 21 2013, 02:58PM
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DSF wrote:

Really?

Last season they had Kesler, Booth, Malhotra, Bieksa and Tanev all miss significant time with injuries and managed to finish with the 6th most points in the entire NHL.

With Kesler in the lineup, taking the hard matchups, the Sedins get a lot more room to score.

I wouldn't count them out.

I think the unknown here is the Tortorella factor. I can't wait to see the Sedins blocking shotsand back checking. Kesler will be injured at some point.

I suspect the Tortorella act wears thin and this team tunes out by the stretch.

Too many egos on that team and the biggest ego is the coach.

Phoenix and San Jose will finish ahead of Vancouver.

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#66 Mantastic
August 21 2013, 03:08PM
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DSF wrote:

The Canucks downward trend in scoring was mainly attibutable to 2 things:

1) Kesler missing most of the season allowing the opposition to key on the Sedins.

2) Their PP went from 1st in the league in 2011/12 (19.8%) to 22nd in the league (15.8%) Much of that is also due to Kesler's absence since he plays with the Sedin's on the #1 unit.

In only 17 games upon his return from injury, Kesler scored 2 PPG and 5PPP which pro-rates to 10 goals and 24 points...just on the PP.

In the last full season, Taylor Hall led the Oilers with 13 goals and 21 points on the PP.

If Kesler stays healthy and the Canucks PP returns to top 5, they should once again be among the highest scoring teams in the league.

you are awful. you compare a players prorated stats of 17 games last year to a player stats over a year ago.

and you wonder why no one takes you seriously.

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#67 DonDon
August 21 2013, 09:02PM
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Others feel less optimistic about the Oilers' placement due to a number of factors:

1) MacT stands pat at centre (critical); 2) How long before Nugent-Hopkins returns, which could excerbate an already critical situation at the centre position; 3) Lack of complementary players that make the Oilers more difficult to play against (weakness of bottom six forwards); 4) MacT's inability to move Hemsky's $5.5 M contract has left the club in a cap squeeze limiting the addition of any quality players to fill holes now; 5) A rookie head coach (competency?).

Depending the resolutions of the above factors, the Oilers could either make the playoffs after seven consecutive misses or join Calgary at the bottom of the totem pole and again become a lottery team.

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#68 OilClog
August 21 2013, 09:07PM
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DonDon wrote:

Others feel less optimistic about the Oilers' placement due to a number of factors:

1) MacT stands pat at centre (critical); 2) How long before Nugent-Hopkins returns, which could excerbate an already critical situation at the centre position; 3) Lack of complementary players that make the Oilers more difficult to play against (weakness of bottom six forwards); 4) MacT's inability to move Hemsky's $5.5 M contract has left the club in a cap squeeze limiting the addition of any quality players to fill holes now; 5) A rookie head coach (competency?).

Depending the resolutions of the above factors, the Oilers could either make the playoffs after seven consecutive misses or join Calgary at the bottom of the totem pole and again become a lottery team.

MacT has only made 9,001,873,345,348,056.24 moves so far this offseason.. yea.. no belief he will do anything more at all.. none what so ever.. I bet he's having a nap, then will follow that with a Hot Cocoa and another nap.. because he's been sitting on his hands.. awaiting Stevie Y's phone call.. cause well.. that's what he's been doing..

Good Grief, it's an angry no sex senior's morgue around here.

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#69 Spydyr
August 21 2013, 09:10PM
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With the present rooster I don't see the Oilers finishing in the top eight in the west.Just don't see it.

Now with a few moves like a legit, complete 2C and one more top four defenseman they might slip in.

The team still needs a true number one defenseman but that will cost one of the kids and this is not the year to make that deal.Give it another season or two when they should be a playoff contender(given more right moves than wrong moves) then pull the trigger for the defenseman needed to bring the Cup back here.

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#70 Spydyr
August 21 2013, 09:12PM
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OilClog wrote:

MacT has only made 9,001,873,345,348,056.24 moves so far this offseason.. yea.. no belief he will do anything more at all.. none what so ever.. I bet he's having a nap, then will follow that with a Hot Cocoa and another nap.. because he's been sitting on his hands.. awaiting Stevie Y's phone call.. cause well.. that's what he's been doing..

Good Grief, it's an angry no sex senior's morgue around here.

The general managers should be back from their cottages the next week or two.Things will start happening again.The dog days of summer are almost over.

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#71 Ales Hallsky
August 21 2013, 09:28PM
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Kesler: 350pts 578gp. Hallsy: 145pts 171gp. One has to do it all himself and the other benefits from a team who is a perennial presidents trophy contender. I'll let you figure it out. 0 cups in 40+

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#72 DSF
August 22 2013, 10:01AM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Looking at the division, I think it's safe to bet the Oil will finish 4-5, 6 being a complete disaster. I'd say the true wild card of this division is the Canucks.

The Sedins are in a contract year, but I doubt that'll suddenly remove the baby fat. Kesler is perpetually injured but gets 2nd line matches, he could bounce back, I think he won't. Booth, Kassian and Burrows all took a nap at season's end and into the playoffs. They all seem like the kind of 2-way players that Torts could ignite, though I hope that doesn't happen.

The Nucks D is solid though a couple injuries could expose a lack of depth. Torts does make instant impacts though he's never coached in such a fickle city with an ignorant fan base.

I think the Canucks could be anywhere from missing the playoffs (which would be beautiful) to winning the division. Thoughts DSF? Hockey is much more dynamic than pulling previous years statistics from a small sample size. We all know your bias but you have yet to truly embrace the uncertainty of your own team. Nuck fans are like the S&P 500 begging for another round of QE, unfortunately in your books that's only a President's Trophy.

The Canucks will not win the Stanley Cup this year, easy prediction.. Lou can't play in the playoffs, D-depth is an issue and I'm not impressed with Booth, Kassian and Burrows in the top 6.

DSF, the ball is in your court....

I'd say that's a pretty decent analysis but the only way I see them missing the playoffs is if a lot of things go wrong.

One factor you haven't addressed is the team's management insisting that they will be going all out to try and insert some youth into their lineup.

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/hockey/vancouver-canucks/Putting+Johnny+spot/8818161/story.html

With Kassian getting a more prominent role and with Niklas Jensen, Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat, Kellan Lain and others pushing for spots, the team might look quite a bit different than last season.

How well that strategy works out is, of course, an unknown but Tortorella has a pretty strong track record of getting production out of young players.

Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Callaghan all thrived under Tortorella.

I think the major reason behind his hiring was his willingness to work with young players, something Vigneault didn't have the patience for.

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#73 OutDoorRink
August 23 2013, 07:18AM
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Hey hey hey everyone. Give old dsf a break. I really need him to continue posting. I'm using his comments as a source material for my study of Enuresis.

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#74 Hammers
August 21 2013, 10:29AM
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Personally I would like wild cards every year even if there where 16 teams for the west .There has been years when you look at final standings and you feel team X got screwed as team Y made it with fewer points .

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#75 OilersAreAwesome14
August 21 2013, 10:31AM
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@mr common sense

Hanzal and Vermette are good #3 Centers. But just look at their forwards not good enough. Oilers only real problem is their bottom 6 but someone can step up from their system to improve that. They will not "easily" make the playoffs. They could but it's not a smooth ride bro

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#76 wigswag
August 21 2013, 10:50AM
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This seasons schedule is brutal due to the olympics. At least 8 three games in 4 nights, a couple of 6 games in 8 nights. The teams that handle that work load will move on to the next round (playoffs). The best thing for the Oilers might be if Hall and Ebs don't make the Olympic team (as starters). Eakins fitness strategy should help if the team has the work ethic.

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#77 Will
August 21 2013, 10:57AM
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If I learned anything last year it's that predictions are tough. I maybe got one or two right in terms of order. Now with the realigned divisions, it only gets harder. Who knew Anaheim was going to have the season they did last year? Who saw the Kings goal tending letting them down all regular season long? Who new Nashville was going to be so bad without Sutter? Actually I did call that one as they have nothing up front for scoring and Rinne is not as good as everyone thinks he is.

Anyway, my point is that all it takes is a significant injury, or an off season for a goalie to really change the fortunes of a team. I would say for Edmonton to make the playoffs, a lot has to break their way. First and foremost is that Ferrence has to provide some steady and solid defence. Second is one of Belov, Grebbie, Phillips, or perhaps Klefbomb has to come out of nowhere and be our diamond in the rough. If those two things can happen, I think we have a shot.

If on top of that our stars stay healthy and our second line is able to click, then maybe we got a playoff shot.

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#78 Lochenzo
August 21 2013, 11:05AM
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I agree that we need more centre depth and forward depth overall. But part of the solution to that is giving more minutes to the top 6. I think a better and more mobile defense will translate to more offensive zone faceoffs and less defensive zone faceoffs. That should translate to more ice for Hall, RNH, Eberle. It's going to be a fine line between playoffs and no playoffs for the Oil. But a couple more minutes from Hall & co. a night, the better the overall results.

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#79 Will
August 21 2013, 11:14AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

In spite of the skill difference between Calgary and Edmonton..........I'm thinking Calgary will surprise a few people.

If Sean Monohan makes the team ( all indications are he will) this will give them a definite advantage. I say they will give us a run for our money and may finish ahead of us.

Without Nuge starting the season.......our lines will be all mixed up with players playing out of position. This is a recipe for disaster, followed up by the Nuge returning and re-calibrating the lines once again, and then waiting for the momentum to carry us.

If we have a losing record to start the season........it will be a long season to try and play catch-up. Maybe next year will be the breakout season we have all been waiting for?

As Oiler fans, I think we're all familiar with knowing that even star studded rookies cannot change the fortunes of a team in their first year. Even Crosby did not turn the Penguins around hi first year on the job. Nuge was a Calder Nominee, Yak should have won it, and yet these individual players did not make a lousy team into a surprising playoff contender.

I have no doubt that Monahan will one day be a great two way centre, but I just can't see it being nearly enough on such a depleted team at all positions to surprise anyone. Even last year when TJ Brodie did surprise everyone, it still wasn't enough.

Finally, I haven't seen anything but flashes from the all might Sven Bertchi. Nuge, Yak, Hall, and Eberle this kid is not. As for Monahan, if he gets close to becoming an O'Reily, that would be huge. I can't see him progressing much further than that.

Speaking of O'Reily (sort of) in the same vein that Monahan won't change the fortunes of Calgary, I can't see Mckinnon single handily changing the fortunes of Colorado either.

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#80 ed in edmonton
August 21 2013, 01:11PM
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The Willis analysis is quite reasonable.

The key to Oil success this year will be:

1. RNH- Needs to play like a No.1 center. Assuming he plays in 70 games will need 60 points

2. Need another center- maybe the most likely scenario is trading one of their many depth defensemen (say Nick Schultz) for a serviceable center. MacT needs to look for a dance partner that has some depth at C but none at D (Colorado?).

3. One of the Oil D need to make the progression to a true top pairing playing. Most likely candidates are Petry/ J. Schultz.

If say 2 out of 3 pan out Oil will contend for a spot.

Grabo in cowtown would certainly improve the Flames. However likely only to make a 13th place team into an 11th place team. If the Flames do sign him, I suggest that they still aren't committed to the rebuild.

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#81 ed in edmonton
August 21 2013, 02:31PM
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OilersAreAwesome14 wrote:

Flames doesn't need Grabovski. They have Monahan, Stajan, Backlund and Reinhart. I think Grabovski signs with Anaheim

You're joking, right?

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#82 shanetrain
August 21 2013, 02:48PM
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People are missing the point completely.

Having more wins than losses: Yeah that would be nice.

Making the playoffs: Whoa partner!

Kicking the crap out of the dreaded fLAMES and finishing well ahead of them in the standings?: Absolutely necessary!!!!!

So, to reiterate, KILL THE FLAMES

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#83 James and Gary
August 21 2013, 03:52PM
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Oh the Banter!!

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#84 Spydyr
August 21 2013, 09:06PM
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Great another DSF comment section.Takes the joy out of reading the comments.

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#85 Big Cap
August 22 2013, 02:04AM
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RE: Post #80

@ Reg Dunlop

Classy!

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#86 russ99
August 22 2013, 07:49AM
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We still don't have a playoff-quality bottom six, and few (if any) of our bottom six players can shut down the big, tough key players in our division.

So I'm picking the Oilers 5th, behind LA, San Jose, Vancouver and Phoenix. But we may sneak into the playoffs at the expense of the team placing 4th in the Central Division.

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#87 Ari Gold
August 22 2013, 08:44AM
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Looking at the division, I think it's safe to bet the Oil will finish 4-5, 6 being a complete disaster. I'd say the true wild card of this division is the Canucks.

The Sedins are in a contract year, but I doubt that'll suddenly remove the baby fat. Kesler is perpetually injured but gets 2nd line matches, he could bounce back, I think he won't. Booth, Kassian and Burrows all took a nap at season's end and into the playoffs. They all seem like the kind of 2-way players that Torts could ignite, though I hope that doesn't happen.

The Nucks D is solid though a couple injuries could expose a lack of depth. Torts does make instant impacts though he's never coached in such a fickle city with an ignorant fan base.

I think the Canucks could be anywhere from missing the playoffs (which would be beautiful) to winning the division. Thoughts DSF? Hockey is much more dynamic than pulling previous years statistics from a small sample size. We all know your bias but you have yet to truly embrace the uncertainty of your own team. Nuck fans are like the S&P 500 begging for another round of QE, unfortunately in your books that's only a President's Trophy.

The Canucks will not win the Stanley Cup this year, easy prediction.. Lou can't play in the playoffs, D-depth is an issue and I'm not impressed with Booth, Kassian and Burrows in the top 6.

DSF, the ball is in your court....

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#88 Clyde Frog
August 22 2013, 09:02AM
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DSF trundles back to his computer bleary eyed but feeling triumphant!

He had rushed his nightly ritual of washing mother and had seen his weekly allowance cut in half as a result... But it had been worth it! He had freed himself up to crush the hopes and dreams of Oiler fans on the internet!!

Besides after 47 years he had saved up enough of his allowances to float himself through leans weeks like this. That and mother had recently restocked his cabinet of Cheeto's and Dr.P...

Sitting down at his desk, pausing briefly to pray at his Gillis shrine, he sets to work..

Before the satisfied chuckle could escape his lips, the reality of the last several posts sets in. How could these fools still cheer for the team?

He had posted several compelling arguments backed up by minutes of Googling! Yet these fools still dare to dream! This will not stand!!!

Mixing equal parts Cheeto and Dr.P in a bowl he gently stirs the concoction until it becomes the nourishing paste that will sustain him through the morning and into the afternoon. He will need the time and energy to devise new statistics backed up by new googlings to irrevocably prove that the Oilers are the worst team in the league and to crush absolutely the dreams of an entire fanbase.

A mad gleam enters his eyes and he begins to laugh maniacally, "muwhahahaHAHHAHAHAHA!" Well at least until mother yelled downstairs threatening the other half of his allowance unless he respected the silence rule while her stories are on.

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#89 Oiltimer
August 22 2013, 09:12AM
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TOO MANY IFs to be even on the bubble unless they all come out positive.

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#90 Ari Gold
August 22 2013, 11:11AM
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@DSF

The hopes in Torts are valid but still an 'if' albeit a probable one. You're right about Torts and the young'uns but I'd have reservations about considering them a division contender from the past few years results. The big names on this team may simply be those guys that don't know how to get it done when it counts. Call it a lack of heart, call it AV's inability to rally the dressing room. I'd suggest that it's management ignoring the elephants in the room and knowing when to file for divorce.

The Oil are trending upward with the slow but sure maturation process. The Canucks have stagnated at best with a trend downward as recent success would suggest. Will Torts be better than AV? The Rangers didn't think so. I guess we'll find out.

I think this team was modelled for AV's style, not Torts'. Living in Van, I'll be watching attentively, and vindictively. Waiting to call out, once again, Nuck fans' delusional optimism.

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#91 Pucker
August 22 2013, 05:01PM
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I miss hockey season.

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#92 **
August 22 2013, 06:35PM
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reading about the Calgary flames it feels like an out of body experience, to see a rebuild from the other side of the mirror.

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#93 **
August 22 2013, 06:37PM
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Jonathan, would the addition of another quality bottom six center be enough to leap the Oilers over the coyotes and ducks?

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#94 THRNHJE
August 29 2013, 12:31AM
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@OutDoorRink

Not sure how his posts are in any way related to his prowess in controlling urinary function.

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