FINDING THE SECOND SEASON

Lowetide
August 25 2013 11:53AM

I picked the Oilers to make the post-season in yesterday's Crystal Ball item, and have had a few emails and dm's asking about my reasoning. I have three main reasons--after the break.

DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH

Just like this baby turtle, the young Oilers--including three #1 overalls--are getting bigger and stronger all the time. Taylor Hall was pushing the river right out of the wrapping, and the other two are coming along as well. Here's what an impact player looks like, by age:

  • Taylor Hall 5x5/60 at age 19: 1.78
  • Taylor Hall 5x5/60 at age 20: 2.07
  • Taylor Hall 5x5/60 at age 21: 3.15 (6th in entire NHL)

Also, Hall's shot differential was in the black, one of three forwards (Ebs, Nuge) who could boast a positive CorsiOn from one year ago. I'm betting Hall

  • plays more this season, more 5x5 and 5x4
  • posts a strong offensive season (70, 37-45)

I think that's reasonable.

BETTER BLUE TO SHOULDER THE LOAD

I try not to confuse the issue with too many advanced stats, in my opinion most of the stuff we talk about can be seen with the human eye. Like Larry King--who didn't research to prep for interviews--you don't have to dig deep into advanced stats in order to know that one of these things doesn't belong:

Ryan Whitney--still out of work--was facing soft parade opps with reasonable help and getting crushed. Of the 210 NHL defensemen who played 20 or more games last season, Whitney ranked #208 overall (ahead of Buffalo's Mike Weber and Toronto's Korbinian Holzer) in Corsi On.

Craig MacTavish replaced Whitney (and Fistric) with Andrew Ference, Phil Larsen, Anton Belov, Denis Grebeshkov and possibly Oscar Klefbom.

Seems like an obvious upgrade. Right? No disrespect to Whitney--healthy, he'd be well clear of pretty much everyone on the list. However, there were issues, and those issues impacted the defensive sorties of the Edmonton Oilers in 2012-13.

Reasonable to suggest that the team will improve in this area in 2013-14.

SYSTEMS

This is really good stuff, but you have to be better than Larry King to get it (I'm trying!). Tyler Dellow's Big Oilers Data series is an ongoing look at what the hell happened last season, a year in which the Oilers shot differential went south in a big way compared to their own past.

Tyler focused on the 2line, specifically Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, and their very bad time of it. The 12th article is here, I highly recommend reading all of them. The line below relates specifically to what happened with 89-83 after an OFFENSIVE ZONE FACEOFF WIN!

  • The weird thing is that Hemsky and Gagner completely went in the toilet this year following OZ wins. Gagner went from a 65.7% Corsi% to a 55.2% Corsi%. Hemsky fell from 66.7% to 54.5%.

I've spoken to Tyler several times on this point, and he's been narrowing it down to a 'systems' glitch that seems to surround a coaching decision about what to do after an offensive zone faceoff win. Krueger's system(s) seemed to result in possession, but with all three forwards in a very confined area--with very few options.

Fascinating stuff. And if Tyler's right--this was a Krueger creation--then returning to a more traditional NHL scheme (which seems likely) should provide an offensive uptick for that 2line (which should have an added offensive element in David Perron).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Part of the improvement will be the kids growing up, part of it will be improved quality and depth on the blueline, and part of it will be strategy improved.

Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?

Yes. I believe so.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 yawto
August 25 2013, 12:01PM
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Like a kid on Christmas Eve I to believe my gift I wanted will be under the tree and we shall see our fist post season game featuring all the kids this spring. Hooray.

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#2 yawto
August 25 2013, 12:01PM
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>Oops I accidentally double fisted.. Edit

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#3 Spydyr
August 25 2013, 12:01PM
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Heart says yes ,mind says no.

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#4 Brad 21
August 25 2013, 12:05PM
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Fist playoff in 7 years FIST!

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#5 Brad 21
August 25 2013, 12:07PM
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On a lighter note think of our top 6 today as compared to our top 6 5 years ago. Exciting times ahead.

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#6 K_Mart
August 25 2013, 12:17PM
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Off the wall prediction:

Hall-Nuge-Yak Perron-Ebs-Hemsky Jones_Gags-Joensuu Eager-Gordon-Smytty

Ebs finds a home at the center position-not Hall-deapite his small stature and suddenly the biggest problem for the oilers forward corps is depth at the AHL level, and not at center for the big club.

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#7 justDOit
August 25 2013, 01:09PM
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I would be happy with the Oilers just playing a FULL first season, instead of taking 15 - 23 games off sometime after the Christmas break. But I guess that would then probably lead to the second season...

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#8 DSF
August 25 2013, 01:22PM
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@LT

Basing a prediction of the Oilers making the playoffs on only internal improvement flies in the face of reality.

The Oilers need not only to improve but they have to improve MORE than the teams they will be battling for a playoff spot.

With that said, let me ask you a series of questions:

1) Do you think the Oilers will finish ahead of Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver or Anaheim in the Pacific Division?

2) If the answer is no, they will be playing for a wild card spot and will most likely have to finish ahead of Phoenix and also be battling several teams in the Central Division for a playoff spot (I've ceded the top two spots to Chicago and STL in the Central Division),

3) So, I would think the Oilers have to finish ahead of Phoenix, Minnesota, Dallas, Nashville AND Colorado. Is that reasonable?

4) Have any of those other teams also improved in the off season and by how much?

I would suggest the Dallas Stars, who finished last season ahead of the Oilers are the most improved team in the WC, They've added 3 quality NHL centres in Seguin, Peverley and Horcoff, Valerie Nichushkin on RW and are moving Jamie Benn back to his natural RW position.

Not to be overlooked is the addition of Sergei Gonchar on D. While he's older than dirt, he is still a fabulous puck moving defenseman and one of the best PP quarterbacks in the league. (27 points in 45 games last season, the same # of Points as J. Schultz)

They also have a raft of youngsters who should improve in Radek Faksa, Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie, Brendan Dillon and Jordie Benn.

Do you think the Oilers have improved more than the Stars?

5) The Colorado Avalanche haven't been sitting on their hands either hiring Joe Sakic (the real one) and Patrick Roy to run the show.

They, of course added Nathan MacKinnon to their ridiculous centre depth and will have full seasons from Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly while adding Alex Tanguay for secondary scoring.

Their D is questionable but they did add Corey Sarich and Tyson Barrie is turning into a beast. If Erik Johnson ever delivers on his promise, they could be much better.

Have the Oilers improved more than Colorado?

6) The Jets are hard to get a read on since they played all their games in the east last season but they did have a winning record against every other division.

They also made a couple of decent acquisitions in Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi so should have more firepower especially if Mark Schiefle can make an impact.

Your take?

7) Phoenix didn't do much but the addition of Mike Ribiero, a top 20 scorer last season should certainly give them a boost and, of course those young stud D they have should continue to improve.

Considering the Coyotes finished 6 points ahead of the Oilers last season and actually scored an identical number of goals despite their D first system, is it reasonable to expect the Oilers to finish ahead of them?

8) And, finally, one of the most active teams in the past two off seasons has been the Minnesota Wild. While shedding a few vets, they've added Jason Pominville, Matt Cooke, Nino Niedereiter, Keith Ballard and Jonathan Blum.

With last years rookies Brodin, Granlund, Coyle, Zucker likely to take a step forward and the possible addition of Matt Dumba and Jonathan Blum on D, they should be better.

Given that the Wild finished 10 points ahead of the Oilers last season, is it reasonable to expect them to beat them this season?

9) So, who they gonna beat?

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#9 Spydyr
August 25 2013, 01:30PM
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DSF is bang on IMO

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#11 Czar
August 25 2013, 01:36PM
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@DSF

Ducks lost Bobby Ryan and Sourays out for up to 6 months, Oilers finish ahead of the not so mighty ducks. Dumba, a kid I really like, is a couple years away. Did you see him play last year?

Sorry LT, your reply wasn't up when I posted mine.

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#12 yawto
August 25 2013, 01:46PM
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@DSF

You list all the additions but do not list subtractions. They are important as well. Sure they added seguin at the cost of Ericsson. Minnesota lost setaguchi.

You also bank on big improvements from up an coming prospects for these other teams yet seem to think these players improving will have such an effect on the other teams but give no credit for the improvement of three recent first overalls. I know that Hall is no granlund but expect to see him improve on his prior year. Probably Nuge, Yak city, Schultz and Ebs as well.

At some point you must admit that this team is like a fine wine that is only going to improve with age. And as each year passes expect the wine to improve significantly.

So I agree with LT. Yes the oilers are a better team than all the above listed and probably can find a way to get into the mix with Anaheim for the fourth spot in our division.

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#13 OilClog
August 25 2013, 01:57PM
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@DSF

1. Yes, the Kings will need to figure out how to score, or they'll be left battling for 8th. The Ducks are not that good, their quick 1st round exit showed several flaws, they rode a hot start to the season that wouldn't of held up over 82games. Canucks have so much drama, questions, and doubt that they could just implode. The writing is on the wall for that team. San Jose, again needs to hope their hot start carries them. Another fizzle down the drain for them. ALL OF THESE TEAMS ARE FLAWED! All are beatable. Oilers very well could clear half of them.

2. Phoenix replaced their 3rd line center with.. They don't have the forwards to compete. Tippet is a master, but it's going to be a rough go for them. Doan is not a 1st line anything.

3. Yes, Oilers have better high end talent then all said teams. Thus, with the right system in place, will crush lower end talents.

4. Dallas? Seguin.. Would be our #3 center.. actually 4th as Gordon would be the checker role. Horcoff.. really bud? ummm.. Peverly.. Ok. World beaters.

5. Eakins will tear Roy apart, Colorado has tons of Potential, but if we're talking potential.. Edmonton's top 6 include.. Three #1 overalls, Eberle, Perron, Gagner, oh and one Ales Hemsky. If the Oilers D corps also live up to their potential.. Well.. This could be the rivalry for the next 10years and no reason both these teams can't make room for themselves.

6. The Jets can get use to the western conference for a season. They're not going to be a strong force.

7. Ribiero.. AKA. DSF's new Wellwood.

8. Minnesota's rookies are nothing compared to the young class in Edmonton, any attempt to suggest that the emergence of a different teams young talent will trump Edmonton's is well, Ridiculous. Cooke.. Eager? Pominville.. Meh.. Ballard.. Blum.. World beaters.

9. 1. Chicago 2. St.Louis 3. Edmonton ;) 4. San Jose 5. Nashville 6. Colorado 7. LA 8. Minnesota 9. Vancouver 10. Anahiem 11. Phoenix 12. Dallas 13. Winnipeg 14. Calgary

Good Grief

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#14 DSF
August 25 2013, 02:07PM
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@Lowetide

Okay.

So you have the Oilers battling for one of two wild card spots.

Here are the likely teams they'll be up against based on last year's standings:

Anaheim (66)

Minnesota (55)

Phoenix (51)

Winnipeg (51)

Dallas (48)

Edmonton (45)

Calgary (42)

Nashville (41)

Colorado (39)

Now, one of those Central teams will slot into the 3rd position in the Division (I'd pick Minnesota), so there are 8 teams vying for 2 spots.

Despite losing Ryan and Souray, it should be noted that the Ducks also added Jakob Silfverberg who scored 10G 19P last season and will also likely have Emerson Etem in the lineup full time.

I think the wild card on D is 22 year old Sami Vatanen, who put up 45P in 62GP in the AHL last season as well as scoring 2 goals in 8 NHL games.

They also have just a ton of young players on the cusp in addition to Silfverberg, Etem and Vatanen.... Peter Holland, (22), Kyle Palmieri (22), Devante Smyth-Pelley (21) Hampus Lindholm (19 year old stud D) and Stefan Noessen (20). I think it's reasonable to assume some progression there.

I can see the Ducks falling back a bit because they rode the percentages last season but the Oilers would need to make up a HUGE gap in the standings to finish ahead of them. Based on last year's results pro-rated, the Ducks would have finished with 112 points while the Oilers would have finished with 76 points.

That's a massive gap to make up in one offseason.

I don't think the Oilers can do it.

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#15 DSF
August 25 2013, 02:11PM
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yawto wrote:

You list all the additions but do not list subtractions. They are important as well. Sure they added seguin at the cost of Ericsson. Minnesota lost setaguchi.

You also bank on big improvements from up an coming prospects for these other teams yet seem to think these players improving will have such an effect on the other teams but give no credit for the improvement of three recent first overalls. I know that Hall is no granlund but expect to see him improve on his prior year. Probably Nuge, Yak city, Schultz and Ebs as well.

At some point you must admit that this team is like a fine wine that is only going to improve with age. And as each year passes expect the wine to improve significantly.

So I agree with LT. Yes the oilers are a better team than all the above listed and probably can find a way to get into the mix with Anaheim for the fourth spot in our division.

You're missing my point.

While I agree with LT that the Oilers will improve based on improvement by young players, the question is, have they improved MORE than other teams will?

You know, those teams that finished ahead of the Oilers in the standings last season.

4th spot and 5 bucks will get you a coffee at Starbucks.

The question is who will they finish ahead of to try and grab one of only two wild card spots?

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#16 Czar
August 25 2013, 02:13PM
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@DSF

Have you spoken with Selanne lately? Any inside info you'd like to share?

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#17 DSF
August 25 2013, 02:14PM
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OilClog wrote:

1. Yes, the Kings will need to figure out how to score, or they'll be left battling for 8th. The Ducks are not that good, their quick 1st round exit showed several flaws, they rode a hot start to the season that wouldn't of held up over 82games. Canucks have so much drama, questions, and doubt that they could just implode. The writing is on the wall for that team. San Jose, again needs to hope their hot start carries them. Another fizzle down the drain for them. ALL OF THESE TEAMS ARE FLAWED! All are beatable. Oilers very well could clear half of them.

2. Phoenix replaced their 3rd line center with.. They don't have the forwards to compete. Tippet is a master, but it's going to be a rough go for them. Doan is not a 1st line anything.

3. Yes, Oilers have better high end talent then all said teams. Thus, with the right system in place, will crush lower end talents.

4. Dallas? Seguin.. Would be our #3 center.. actually 4th as Gordon would be the checker role. Horcoff.. really bud? ummm.. Peverly.. Ok. World beaters.

5. Eakins will tear Roy apart, Colorado has tons of Potential, but if we're talking potential.. Edmonton's top 6 include.. Three #1 overalls, Eberle, Perron, Gagner, oh and one Ales Hemsky. If the Oilers D corps also live up to their potential.. Well.. This could be the rivalry for the next 10years and no reason both these teams can't make room for themselves.

6. The Jets can get use to the western conference for a season. They're not going to be a strong force.

7. Ribiero.. AKA. DSF's new Wellwood.

8. Minnesota's rookies are nothing compared to the young class in Edmonton, any attempt to suggest that the emergence of a different teams young talent will trump Edmonton's is well, Ridiculous. Cooke.. Eager? Pominville.. Meh.. Ballard.. Blum.. World beaters.

9. 1. Chicago 2. St.Louis 3. Edmonton ;) 4. San Jose 5. Nashville 6. Colorado 7. LA 8. Minnesota 9. Vancouver 10. Anahiem 11. Phoenix 12. Dallas 13. Winnipeg 14. Calgary

Good Grief

"1. Chicago 2. St.Louis 3. Edmonton ;) 4. San Jose 5. Nashville 6. Colorado 7. LA 8. Minnesota 9. Vancouver 10. Anahiem 11. Phoenix 12. Dallas 13. Winnipeg 14. Calgary

Your post is as confused as you seem to be.

Who is finishing 15th?

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#18 DSF
August 25 2013, 02:17PM
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DSF wrote:

"1. Chicago 2. St.Louis 3. Edmonton ;) 4. San Jose 5. Nashville 6. Colorado 7. LA 8. Minnesota 9. Vancouver 10. Anahiem 11. Phoenix 12. Dallas 13. Winnipeg 14. Calgary

Your post is as confused as you seem to be.

Who is finishing 15th?

No, we haven't spoken in a while :)

But he is skating in Anaheim and I'm sure he's not doing it for his health.

Apparently he wants to be guaranteed a top 6 role and, if it were me, I would give it to him.

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#19 Czar
August 25 2013, 02:25PM
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Now that I can agree with DSF.

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#20 Oilbaron
August 25 2013, 02:39PM
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@DSF

"While I agree with LT that the Oilers will improve based on improvement by young players, the question is, have they improved MORE than other teams will?"

I will bet yes... especially in the case of Vancouver, Phoenix and Anaheim, hoping possibly the kings as well, san jose probably not.

The Oilers will also probably be more improved than everyone in the Central division except for Chicago, St. Louis and Winnipeg. Colorado and Dallas are wild cards and Minnesota is a (bad) joke

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#21 DSF
August 25 2013, 02:43PM
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Oilbaron wrote:

"While I agree with LT that the Oilers will improve based on improvement by young players, the question is, have they improved MORE than other teams will?"

I will bet yes... especially in the case of Vancouver, Phoenix and Anaheim, hoping possibly the kings as well, san jose probably not.

The Oilers will also probably be more improved than everyone in the Central division except for Chicago, St. Louis and Winnipeg. Colorado and Dallas are wild cards and Minnesota is a (bad) joke

Why exactly, do you think Minnesota is a joke?

Be specific.

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#22 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 02:50PM
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The Oilers got rid of their worst players.

Whitney. Petrell. Hordichuk. Belanger

None are NHLers. (They should not have been playing last year.) The Oilers defense has gotten better.

Belov> Whitney Ference>Fistric Also pushing everyone else down the depth chart.

Gordan=Horcoff. Lander=Belanger Perron> MPS (for now.)

Brown> Hordichuk.

Laberra> khabby

These are tangible upgrades and break evens. Overall Oilers improved just on these moves.

Now, the D may be greatly improved if Belov works out. He is still magic beans at this point.( But he was the best defensemen in the 2nd best league in the world.)

Now as a group the Fab 5 are going to improve. Some may regress, but overall they are going to improve.

This tells me the Oilers have improved.I think they may be the most improved team in the league. For the 1st time in 4 years I think they are making the post season.

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#23 DSF
August 25 2013, 02:54PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

The Oilers got rid of their worst players.

Whitney. Petrell. Hordichuk. Belanger

None are NHLers. (They should not have been playing last year.) The Oilers defense has gotten better.

Belov> Whitney Ference>Fistric Also pushing everyone else down the depth chart.

Gordan=Horcoff. Lander=Belanger Perron> MPS (for now.)

Brown> Hordichuk.

Laberra> khabby

These are tangible upgrades and break evens. Overall Oilers improved just on these moves.

Now, the D may be greatly improved if Belov works out. He is still magic beans at this point.( But he was the best defensemen in the 2nd best league in the world.)

Now as a group the Fab 5 are going to improve. Some may regress, but overall they are going to improve.

This tells me the Oilers have improved.I think they may be the most improved team in the league. For the 1st time in 4 years I think they are making the post season.

Do you think they can finish top 3 in the Pacific Division?

If not, who do you think they will finish ahead of for a wild card spot?

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#24 madjam
August 25 2013, 03:09PM
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Based on Vegas odds Oilers are knocking on door this season for tops in division and Stanley Cup . Will they open that door up ? Good chance they will as youth has massive breakout , and better defence make all things possible this season alone . Just as our team changes . so will all the negative stats of last few seasons . Book it ! Those old stats won't be worth a pinch of salt trying to figure out this season . Put them in the waste basket where they belong . Enjoy the hockey people , don't depress yourself with old stats of a terminal basement dwellers of klast few seasons .

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#25 Jay Gray
August 25 2013, 03:11PM
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I hope they do make it, my liver on the other hand is dreading it. I'm gonna get ddddd-runk

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#26 Woodguy
August 25 2013, 03:25PM
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DSF wrote:

"1. Chicago 2. St.Louis 3. Edmonton ;) 4. San Jose 5. Nashville 6. Colorado 7. LA 8. Minnesota 9. Vancouver 10. Anahiem 11. Phoenix 12. Dallas 13. Winnipeg 14. Calgary

Your post is as confused as you seem to be.

Who is finishing 15th?

14 teams in the West.

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#27 DSF
August 25 2013, 03:31PM
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Woodguy wrote:

14 teams in the West.

Yeah, I know.

His post was edited afterward.

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#28 Woodguy
August 25 2013, 03:41PM
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1) Do you think the Oilers will finish ahead of Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver or Anaheim in the Pacific Division?

They can finish ahead of Anaheim. Like you mentioned they rode the percentages hard and are worse on paper this year.

You mention rookies, but rookies rarely impact on the positive side, regardless of how good they are.

See you predictions last year for Grandlund for more info.

2) If the answer is no, they will be playing for a wild card spot and will most likely have to finish ahead of Phoenix and also be battling several teams in the Central Division for a playoff spot (I've ceded the top two spots to Chicago and STL in the Central Division),

For sake of argument let's have LAK, SJS, VAN in PAC and CHI, STL, MIN in CEN

3) So, I would think the Oilers have to finish ahead of Phoenix, Minnesota, Dallas, Nashville AND Colorado. Is that reasonable?

Remove MIN. There are two wild cards, so they have to be top two among:

EDM, DAL, PHO, NAS, COL, WIN, ANA, CAL.

4) Have any of those other teams also improved in the off season and by how much? I would suggest the Dallas Stars, who finished last season ahead of the Oilers are the most improved team in the WC, They've added 3 quality NHL centres in Seguin, Peverley and Horcoff, Valerie Nichushkin on RW and are moving Jamie Benn back to his natural RW position. Not to be overlooked is the addition of Sergei Gonchar on D. While he's older than dirt, he is still a fabulous puck moving defenseman and one of the best PP quarterbacks in the league. (27 points in 45 games last season, the same # of Points as J. Schultz) They also have a raft of youngsters who should improve in Radek Faksa, Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie, Brendan Dillon and Jordie Benn. Do you think the Oilers have improved more than the Stars?

I like what Nill has done and have DAL as a wildcard team.

5) The Colorado Avalanche haven't been sitting on their hands either hiring Joe Sakic (the real one) and Patrick Roy to run the show. They, of course added Nathan MacKinnon to their ridiculous centre depth and will have full seasons from Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly while adding Alex Tanguay for secondary scoring. Their D is questionable but they did add Corey Sarich and Tyson Barrie is turning into a beast. If Erik Johnson ever delivers on his promise, they could be much better. Have the Oilers improved more than Colorado?

We have watched gifted youngsters get drown due to having meh D behind them in EDM. Same will happen in COL. They don't make it.

They will be very good in a few years, but only if they improve the D and certainly won't be this year.

6) The Jets are hard to get a read on since they played all their games in the east last season but they did have a winning record against every other division. They also made a couple of decent acquisitions in Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi so should have more firepower especially if Mark Schiefle can make an impact. Your take?

Decent team, poor goaltending will sink them as well as lack of depth on D.

7) Phoenix didn't do much but the addition of Mike Ribiero, a top 20 scorer last season should certainly give them a boost and, of course those young stud D they have should continue to improve. Considering the Coyotes finished 6 points ahead of the Oilers last season and actually scored an identical number of goals despite their D first system, is it reasonable to expect the Oilers to finish ahead of them?

Tippett always seems to make chicken soup out of chicken shiatzo.

The Oilers pass PHO in goals for this year.

Smith only posted a .910 last year with Labarbara posting a .923.

You know where Labarbara is now.

Less goals for, more against. They get close, but no cigar.

Its a 3 way race in the wild card with EDM/DAL/PHO with ANA just behind imo.

8) And, finally, one of the most active teams in the past two off seasons has been the Minnesota Wild. While shedding a few vets, they've added Jason Pominville, Matt Cooke, Nino Niedereiter, Keith Ballard and Jonathan Blum. With last years rookies Brodin, Granlund, Coyle, Zucker likely to take a step forward and the possible addition of Matt Dumba and Jonathan Blum on D, they should be better. Given that the Wild finished 10 points ahead of the Oilers last season, is it reasonable to expect them to beat them this season?

As stated earlier, let's slot them in the #3 spot in the Central

9) So, who they gonna beat?

PHO, ANA, WIN, CAL, COL, NAS

The joy of playing in the Western Conference is only having to beat 6 teams to make the playoffs.

THANKS GARY!!!!

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#29 Czar
August 25 2013, 03:42PM
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DSF wrote:

Yeah, I know.

His post was edited afterward.

Calgary is going to be soooo bad they finish 15th. This was intended for Woodguy.I wish I could prop #28 more than once, excellent job sir!!

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#30 yawto
August 25 2013, 03:51PM
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Dsf. The point is this. You bank on every prospect or player coming up on the oilers to fail and every player in other systems to succeed. Maybe for once if you could take the rose colored glasses you view every other team in the league on and look at the oilers through them you would see what LT and the rest of us see.

For the last umpteen years you have pounded on the Oilers and Horcoff and his ability and his cap hit for his position. Now he goes to Dallas with Seguin and peverly and they have such great depth. It is a contradiction. If Edmonton was going into the season with Horcoff and peverly behind the Nuge you would be tearing them apart. But Dallas did it and shows great depth. I for one would take Nuge over seguin. I for two would take gagner over Horcoff. Gordon and peverly are a wash.

It's an example like that which shows you complete bias against Edmonton.

Finally, nobody knows a horrible team like an oilers fan does. This isn't a horrible team. This is a challenging team. This is a team with promise. Selling your idea that a signing like Grabovski is the difference between taking a step forward or cellar dwelling for a team is laughable. Which you have actually insinuated in the past few weeks for Calgary.

Selling that a team that boasts young talent like Nuge, Hall, Ebs, Yak City, Gags, Schultzy, Petry and Perron is on the precipe of something big is not. In fact, if I was a betting, this would be the year I return my bets to my team.

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#31 John Chambers
August 25 2013, 04:02PM
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Reason #4 - Detroit and the emerging Columbus Blue Jackets move East, while the soon to be exposed Jets come West. Fewer teams to climb over to get to the dance.

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#32 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 04:14PM
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1)kings 2)Sharks 3)Oilers 4)Canucks 5)Coyotes 6)Ducks 7)Flames

This is how I picture the Division playing out. Biggest losers Ducks. Biggest Winners Oilers. Canucks get a wildcard slot. (The Canucks have some ??? On the year. I see Them as Calgary 4 years ago. Aging team. One or two injuries away from not making the post season.)

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#33 DSF
August 25 2013, 04:20PM
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@Woodguy

I think you've got it surrounded pretty well.

I agree about the top 3 in each division but I think you're being much too hard in marking Anaheim.

One of the major factors in their resurgence last season was the recovery of Getzlaf from the previous season.

He scored 49 points in only 44 games while notching only 57 in 82 games the previous season.

While I think they will miss Bobby Ryan's production somewhat, Silvferberg and Emerson Etem can likely make up the lost production and both Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri are getting close.

The key will be replacing Souray's minutes and production so whether or not Sami Vatenen or Hampus Lindholm are ready to step up will likely be a determinant. They're both very highly rated.

Having said that, I handicap it this way:

PACIFIC TOP 3:

LAK

VCR

SJS

CENTRAL TOP 3:

CHI

STL

MIN

WILD CARD:

ANA (tons of depth)

PHX (because Tippet and Ribiero)

DAL (most improved by a wide margin)

EDM (relying on incremental improvement..severe lack of forward depth)

COL (weak D and questionable goaltending)

WIN (overall lack of top talent)

NSH (need forwards desperately)

CAL (lots of holes.)

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#34 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 04:23PM
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Central

1)Blackhawks 2)Blues 3)Wild 4)Stars 5)Preds 6)Jets 7)Colorado

Biggest losers Jets Biggest winners Stars The Jets may be the darkhorse in the central.

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#35 Walter Sobchak
August 25 2013, 04:28PM
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I have to agree with DSF on this, to many variables have to work in the Oilers favor too.

RNH being out with 10 of the first 14 games on the road has to be accounted for.

As does not having another NHL center to help the team.

Very weak third line and a poor forth line.

The defense that LT talks about is also of interest.

Larsen, Belov, Grebeshkov are a risk at this point,if they can't play the Oilers are in trouble.

Larsen couldn’t make the Stars full time last year, Belov is a KHL standout but has never played in the NHL, Grebeshkov was horrible in the KHL.....

That's asking to much even for the wonder kids.

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#36 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 04:37PM
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@DSF

The Oilers and Canucks seem to be were we disagree. I see the Oilers improving in alot of key areas, and the Canucks have not improved their team.Their stars have there best years behind them.

The Oilers do need to restock the forward depth. Something that can be done at the trade deadline.

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#37 DSF
August 25 2013, 04:40PM
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yawto wrote:

Dsf. The point is this. You bank on every prospect or player coming up on the oilers to fail and every player in other systems to succeed. Maybe for once if you could take the rose colored glasses you view every other team in the league on and look at the oilers through them you would see what LT and the rest of us see.

For the last umpteen years you have pounded on the Oilers and Horcoff and his ability and his cap hit for his position. Now he goes to Dallas with Seguin and peverly and they have such great depth. It is a contradiction. If Edmonton was going into the season with Horcoff and peverly behind the Nuge you would be tearing them apart. But Dallas did it and shows great depth. I for one would take Nuge over seguin. I for two would take gagner over Horcoff. Gordon and peverly are a wash.

It's an example like that which shows you complete bias against Edmonton.

Finally, nobody knows a horrible team like an oilers fan does. This isn't a horrible team. This is a challenging team. This is a team with promise. Selling your idea that a signing like Grabovski is the difference between taking a step forward or cellar dwelling for a team is laughable. Which you have actually insinuated in the past few weeks for Calgary.

Selling that a team that boasts young talent like Nuge, Hall, Ebs, Yak City, Gags, Schultzy, Petry and Perron is on the precipe of something big is not. In fact, if I was a betting, this would be the year I return my bets to my team.

1) That's nonsense. I've always thought Hall, Eberle and Yak were fine young players (and they should be given their draft position.

I've never been a Gagner fan, thinking he is too weak to play #2C and my lack of faith in Paajarvi was confirmed this off season when he was shipped out of town.

2) I think you are severely under rating Tyler Seguin. He is among the elite Corsi players in the league (4th among regular forwards last season) and he has been among the best plus/minus players since he came into the league. He was also 10th in SOG last season so it;s not like someone else is driving his bus.

He likely a little behind Hall at this point but not by much and his return to his natural C position may work wonders. If hen centres Jamie Benn and Valeri Nicshuschkin as expected, watch out.

You might prefer Hopkins, but there is no evidence that he's abtter plater than Seguin. You can't compare their rookie seasons because Seguin was given spot duty due to the strength of the Bruins while Hopkins got thrown into the deep end.

In any event, I've also thought Horcoff was a very good 3rd line C and Peverley is a very good checking centre with some offense.

Also, AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, Dallas now has tremendous depth at centre with Vernon Fiddler, Cody Eakin and Radek Faksa in the bull pen.

The OIlers have ZERO C depth in fact they don't even have 4 bonafide NHL centres while the Stars have at least 6.

3) No one said getting Grabovski would have made the Flames a contender but he would have made that team much better and they may have been good enough to challenge for a wild card spot. Doesn't matter...they didn't sign him.

4) Basing your rosy predictions on the Oilers having fine young players (and they do) is great but the Oilers aren't the only team with fine young players.

You need to look around more.

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#38 DSF
August 25 2013, 04:57PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

The Oilers and Canucks seem to be were we disagree. I see the Oilers improving in alot of key areas, and the Canucks have not improved their team.Their stars have there best years behind them.

The Oilers do need to restock the forward depth. Something that can be done at the trade deadline.

Do you think the Oilers can finish ahead of the Canucks?

A lot of folks forget that Kesler is the straw that stirs that drink.

Now that he is fully healthy and will have the benefit of a training camp, watch for the Canucks to make a major upswing.

He only played 18 games last season and because he wasn't facing the toughs, the Sedins production faltered. That will change.

Kesler is also a huge component of Vancouver's PP and it's no coincidence that it dropped from 1st to 22nd in his absence.

Vancouver will also be looking at a better season from Kassian as well as hoping that Brendan Gaunce or Bo Horvat can play #3C.

They also added Brad Richardson as C insurance so they can avoid a situation like last year when they had to use Andrew Ebbett in that position.

Vancouver has solid goaltending, a great defensive core and should get back to being one of the highest scoring teams in the league if their PP recovers.

With noting that even with all their injuries last season: Kesler, Booth, Bieksa. they still managed to finish 14 points ahead of the Oilers.

That's a pretty big gap to make up.

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#39 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 05:01PM
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@DSF

"The OIlers have ZERO C depth in fact they don't even have 4 bonafide NHL centres while the Stars have at least 6."

Your being ridiculous. Marc Acrobello was top ten in AHL scoring last year. And has proven chemistry with hall and Eberle.

GP 74 g22 a46 pts68 pim48.

Lets not forget the addition of Ryan Hamilton at LW.

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#40 DSF
August 25 2013, 05:11PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

"The OIlers have ZERO C depth in fact they don't even have 4 bonafide NHL centres while the Stars have at least 6."

Your being ridiculous. Marc Acrobello was top ten in AHL scoring last year. And has proven chemistry with hall and Eberle.

GP 74 g22 a46 pts68 pim48.

Lets not forget the addition of Ryan Hamilton at LW.

Oh good grief.

Marc Arcobello is 25 years old and his best season in the AHL is 17G and 43PTS.

He's 5'9" 165.

Andrew Ebbett who played 28 games for the Canucks last season is 5"9" 175.

When he was 23 years old, and in his AHL rookie season, Ebbett scored 18G and 72PTS.

If you think Andrew Ebett is more than cannon fodder,fill yer boots.

Ryan Hamilton...seriously?

He's 28 years old and has played a total of TEN NHL games in his career.

There's a reason for that.

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#41 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 05:15PM
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@DSF

"Vancouver will also be looking at a better season from Kassian as well as hoping that Brendan Gaunce or Bo Horvat can play #3C.They also added Brad Richardson as C insurance so they can avoid a situation like last year when they had to use Andrew Ebbett in that position."

"Vancouver has solid goaltending, a great defensive core and should get back to being one of the highest scoring teams in the league if their PP recovers."

Vancouvers goaltending is not as solid as it was last year.

I don't think it's reasonable to think the Sedins are going to continue putting up great numbers into there mid 30's

There defense is one of the best in the league.

So Vancouver doesn't have a bonafide NHL 3rd line centre.

I see a lot of magic beans in your predictions

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#42 DonDon
August 25 2013, 05:20PM
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It certainly promises to be another interesting year for the Oil. There is a big difference of opinion by posters on the Oilers' outcome as to playoffs.

Some of us hope that MacT wakes up from his deep sleep and fixes holes on forward before the season begins, starting at centre. But where are the bodies to fill the holes? Coming from Oklahoma? UFAs?

Please, let the games begin.

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#43 MessyEH!
August 25 2013, 05:25PM
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YR GP G A PTs 12-13 74 22 46 68 11-12 73 17 26 43 10-11 26 11 11 22

Its not as if Acrobello has been in the AHL since he was 19. If he was a Canuck or Wild you would be thrilled.

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#44 Harry
August 25 2013, 05:25PM
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DSF wrote:

@LT

Basing a prediction of the Oilers making the playoffs on only internal improvement flies in the face of reality.

The Oilers need not only to improve but they have to improve MORE than the teams they will be battling for a playoff spot.

With that said, let me ask you a series of questions:

1) Do you think the Oilers will finish ahead of Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver or Anaheim in the Pacific Division?

2) If the answer is no, they will be playing for a wild card spot and will most likely have to finish ahead of Phoenix and also be battling several teams in the Central Division for a playoff spot (I've ceded the top two spots to Chicago and STL in the Central Division),

3) So, I would think the Oilers have to finish ahead of Phoenix, Minnesota, Dallas, Nashville AND Colorado. Is that reasonable?

4) Have any of those other teams also improved in the off season and by how much?

I would suggest the Dallas Stars, who finished last season ahead of the Oilers are the most improved team in the WC, They've added 3 quality NHL centres in Seguin, Peverley and Horcoff, Valerie Nichushkin on RW and are moving Jamie Benn back to his natural RW position.

Not to be overlooked is the addition of Sergei Gonchar on D. While he's older than dirt, he is still a fabulous puck moving defenseman and one of the best PP quarterbacks in the league. (27 points in 45 games last season, the same # of Points as J. Schultz)

They also have a raft of youngsters who should improve in Radek Faksa, Alex Chiasson, Brett Ritchie, Brendan Dillon and Jordie Benn.

Do you think the Oilers have improved more than the Stars?

5) The Colorado Avalanche haven't been sitting on their hands either hiring Joe Sakic (the real one) and Patrick Roy to run the show.

They, of course added Nathan MacKinnon to their ridiculous centre depth and will have full seasons from Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly while adding Alex Tanguay for secondary scoring.

Their D is questionable but they did add Corey Sarich and Tyson Barrie is turning into a beast. If Erik Johnson ever delivers on his promise, they could be much better.

Have the Oilers improved more than Colorado?

6) The Jets are hard to get a read on since they played all their games in the east last season but they did have a winning record against every other division.

They also made a couple of decent acquisitions in Michael Frolik and Devin Setoguchi so should have more firepower especially if Mark Schiefle can make an impact.

Your take?

7) Phoenix didn't do much but the addition of Mike Ribiero, a top 20 scorer last season should certainly give them a boost and, of course those young stud D they have should continue to improve.

Considering the Coyotes finished 6 points ahead of the Oilers last season and actually scored an identical number of goals despite their D first system, is it reasonable to expect the Oilers to finish ahead of them?

8) And, finally, one of the most active teams in the past two off seasons has been the Minnesota Wild. While shedding a few vets, they've added Jason Pominville, Matt Cooke, Nino Niedereiter, Keith Ballard and Jonathan Blum.

With last years rookies Brodin, Granlund, Coyle, Zucker likely to take a step forward and the possible addition of Matt Dumba and Jonathan Blum on D, they should be better.

Given that the Wild finished 10 points ahead of the Oilers last season, is it reasonable to expect them to beat them this season?

9) So, who they gonna beat?

I love it how for some reason you think everyone of Minnesotas rookies will take a steo forward. Not only that but your saying Dumba be money in the bank aswell. Get a grip

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#45 DSF
August 25 2013, 05:32PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

"Vancouver will also be looking at a better season from Kassian as well as hoping that Brendan Gaunce or Bo Horvat can play #3C.They also added Brad Richardson as C insurance so they can avoid a situation like last year when they had to use Andrew Ebbett in that position."

"Vancouver has solid goaltending, a great defensive core and should get back to being one of the highest scoring teams in the league if their PP recovers."

Vancouvers goaltending is not as solid as it was last year.

I don't think it's reasonable to think the Sedins are going to continue putting up great numbers into there mid 30's

There defense is one of the best in the league.

So Vancouver doesn't have a bonafide NHL 3rd line centre.

I see a lot of magic beans in your predictions

1) Luongo is one of the best goaltenders in the world and he will be uber motivated to make the Olympic team.

Vancouver also has Eddie Lack who is coming off hip surgery but in two previous season in the AHL posted .925 and .929 S%.

The Canucks also signed Joacim Eriksson, the best goaltender in the SEL who posted .931 and .935 in his last two seasons with Skelleftea.

While there is no guarantee they'll be as good as Schneider, they aren't chopped liver either.

2) The Sedins don't rely on speed at all, never have, so the "they've lost a step" doesn't apply. I expect they'll still be around PPG players which will put them top 20 in the league. TWO OF THEM.

3) Vancouver has Brad Richardson pencilled is as a 3rd line C. He has 391 NHL games on his resume.

I'd say they have a 3rd line centre and if Brendan Gaunce and/or Bo Horvat can make the jump, they will have 2-3 3rd line centres.

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#46 TeddyTurnbuckle
August 25 2013, 05:33PM
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No chance Bo Horvat plays next year. The Canucks will be in a dog fight to make the playoffs. I'm not all that excited about the oilers either. Like Mac t's moves but center and toughness is week. Probably going to have to move Hall to center for the better of the team. Hopefully Eakins can dramatically change things and then and only then we have a chance for the playoffs. Mac T wil have to be busy all season improving the oilers.

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#47 Harry
August 25 2013, 05:35PM
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yawto wrote:

Dsf. The point is this. You bank on every prospect or player coming up on the oilers to fail and every player in other systems to succeed. Maybe for once if you could take the rose colored glasses you view every other team in the league on and look at the oilers through them you would see what LT and the rest of us see.

For the last umpteen years you have pounded on the Oilers and Horcoff and his ability and his cap hit for his position. Now he goes to Dallas with Seguin and peverly and they have such great depth. It is a contradiction. If Edmonton was going into the season with Horcoff and peverly behind the Nuge you would be tearing them apart. But Dallas did it and shows great depth. I for one would take Nuge over seguin. I for two would take gagner over Horcoff. Gordon and peverly are a wash.

It's an example like that which shows you complete bias against Edmonton.

Finally, nobody knows a horrible team like an oilers fan does. This isn't a horrible team. This is a challenging team. This is a team with promise. Selling your idea that a signing like Grabovski is the difference between taking a step forward or cellar dwelling for a team is laughable. Which you have actually insinuated in the past few weeks for Calgary.

Selling that a team that boasts young talent like Nuge, Hall, Ebs, Yak City, Gags, Schultzy, Petry and Perron is on the precipe of something big is not. In fact, if I was a betting, this would be the year I return my bets to my team.

You hit the nail on the head 110%. This guy is so biased its laughable. Proof you say? Well lets just say he thinks FLA has a better depth chart at C then EDM Some people just cant admit that Edm is going to be scary good and sooner than we think. Hall is on his way to some future hardware too.

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#48 DSF
August 25 2013, 05:38PM
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Harry wrote:

I love it how for some reason you think everyone of Minnesotas rookies will take a steo forward. Not only that but your saying Dumba be money in the bank aswell. Get a grip

Which "rookies" are you referring to?

Brodin is already a bonafide top pairing D man, Granlund was injured last season, Charlie Coyle had a nice rookie season and I can'rt imagine he will get worse at the age of 21.

No one suggested Dumba was "money in the bank" as your straw man argument suggests, just that he and Jonathan Blum shore up their D depth quite nicely.

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#49 TeddyTurnbuckle
August 25 2013, 05:39PM
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Biggest improvement of the summer is getting rid of Ryan Whitney. Anyone remember when he fell down in the corner by himself in the first period of the first home game against San Jose. I remember thinking "wow, Whitney looks he can't skate". Turns out he couldn't skate all year. I can't remember seeing a player fall down so much trying to pivot. In the end it was all about him and blaming other people for his crappy play.

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#50 DSF
August 25 2013, 05:43PM
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Harry wrote:

You hit the nail on the head 110%. This guy is so biased its laughable. Proof you say? Well lets just say he thinks FLA has a better depth chart at C then EDM Some people just cant admit that Edm is going to be scary good and sooner than we think. Hall is on his way to some future hardware too.

Yeah.

You got me there.

Sasha Barkov

Drew Shore

Shawn Matthias

Marcel Goc

Scott Gomez

Nick Bjugstad

Quinton Howden

Vincent Trochek (scored 50 goals and 109 points in the WHL last season.

I'd take Anton Lander, Marc Arcobello and some guy named Andrew Miller over any of those guys.

Phhhttt.

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