Veteran Leadership

Jonathan Willis
October 16 2010 10:59AM

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Bill Guerin #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on November 3, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Every time I look at the Oilers’ forwards this season, I’m amazed by how young a group it is. Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi are all under the age of 20, and playing in their first season. Gagner, Brule and Cogliano are all 23-or-under, and all are expected to play pivotal roles in the top-nine. Shawn Horcoff’s the lone top-12 forward over 30, Penner’s next at 28, Hemsky’s 27, and the remaining regulars are either 25 or 26.

And every time I think about that, I wonder if the Oilers could use a steady veteran up front.

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Faceoffs

Jonathan Willis
October 13 2010 07:54PM

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 3: Gilbert Brule #67 of the Edmonton Oilers skates on the ice in a game between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers during an NHL game on October 3, 2009 at Rexall Arena in Edmonton, Canada. The Flames defeated the Oilers 4-3. (Photo by Jimmy Jeong/Getty Images)

There are a lot of reasons not to be worried. The season is two games in, and it’s pretty hard to see much meaningful in two games. Not only that, but the Oilers have won both of them, and the off-season’s biggest question mark, Nikolai Khabibulin, has been splendid. Still, faceoffs have been pointed to as an area of concern.

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Finger for Souray: A Deal That Makes Sense For All Sides?

Jonathan Willis
October 12 2010 10:45PM

MONTREAL - JANUARY 25:  Sheldon Souray of the Edmonton Oilers arrives at the Versus 2009 NHL All-Star party at Club Opera on January 25, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

With the Toronto Maple Leafs’ recent decision to waive Jeff Finger and assign him to the AHL’s Marlies, and Sheldon Souray’s continuing presence in the minors, it’s been suggested that the Leafs and the Oilers might be able to help each other out by swapping expensive defencemen.

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Expectations: The Forwards

Jonathan Willis
October 12 2010 07:46AM

Apr 11, 2010 - Anaheim, California, USA - Edmonton Oilers' right wing Dustin Penner, left, defends against Anaheim Ducks' defenseman Steve Eminger during the second period an NHL Hockey game at Honda Center.

Having already looked at the expectations for Ales Hemsky and the big three rookies, it’s time to look at the projections for the other forwards on this season’s roster.

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Expectations: The Big Three Rookies

Jonathan Willis
October 11 2010 12:47PM

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle flies through the crease of Vancouver Canucks' goalie Cory Schneider during the first period of their NHL pre-season hockey game in Edmonton September 26, 2010.  REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

All through training camp, there was no real mystery about what was driving optimism among members of the OilersNation: the big three rookies. On most teams, any one of Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi or Jordan Eberle would be sufficient reason for optimism; breaking in all three at once has done a lot to turn around perception of a team coming off a bad year.

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