Maybe you’ve never heard of Shay Maria, or maybe you have. She cracked the top 99 most gorgeous women in Askmen.ca, but I don’t know much more about her. Let’s say she is a bit of an unknown, which is exactly how most fans and pundits are looking at the Oilers this season.
Even the most diehard Oiler fan is wondering if this team can make the miraculous 30-point increase they will need to be in the playoff hunt. I’ll say no, but I do see them making at least a 20-point jump in the standings.
Just like last year, the Oilers have plenty of unknown prospects and possibilities.
- Will Taylor Hall score 35 goals? Could he score more?
- How many games will Ryan Whitney play?
- Will Steve Tambellini add the D-man that everyone feels he needs, or will he stand pat?
- Will Tom Gilbert continue to show a bit of a physical side to his game?
- Can Gilbert become a 40-point man again?
- Is this Cam Barker’s final chance, or will he finally find some consistency.
- Is Devan Dubnyk ready to be a starter? Will he get that chance?
Those are just a few unknowns, but here’s what I see happening.
Hall will score at least 35 goals, and he might become the first 40-goal man in Edmonton since Petr Klima. He has the drive and determination necessary to be an elite player in the NHL.
Whitney will play 63 games, but he won’t come close to his offensive pace from last year. He will play well when he is in, but 33 points in 35 games is unrealistic.
Tambellini will finally add a D-man, but it won’t be until December at the earliest. Few teams will be willing to part with a top-four blueliner before then, and Tambellini will need 30 games to see that his backend just isn’t that good.
Gilbert will never be a dominant physical D-man, but Oiler fans will be surprised to see him show a pulse more often this year. I also see him between 34-38 points.
I haven’t liked Barker at all in the preseason. He looked lost at times. I hope I’m wrong, for the fan’s sake, but I don’t see him taking a huge leap towards respectability.
Dubnyk is ready and he’ll will force Renney to give him the majority of the games. He’ll start 48-52 games.
Everyone knows that Daryl Katz is a huge fan of Kevin Lowe and if they ever let Tambellini go, then Katz would want him back in. That is not new, the question would be if Lowe really wants that. Saying it could happen within the next two years is like saying the Oilers might make the playoffs in two years. It is possible.
Lowe has his detractors, but he also has some supporters. We all know he was too loyal to role players after the Cup run, but he was also the guy willing to pull the trigger on some great trades that got them to the Cup final. Rarely do players, managers or GMs return to a position they once held and have the same success.
If you are wondering why the Oilers didn’t claim any D-men on waivers, it’s because they feel Ladislav Smid and Ryan Whitney will be back very soon. They didn’t want to waste a contract on a "filler" type D-man. I understand that strategy, but only if they plan on going out and getting another D-man via trade. If they didn’t waste a contract spot on a "filler", but don’t add anyone in a trade, then I don’t agree at all with not grabbing someone like Matt Lashoff to see what he has to offer.
HOME OPENER AUCTION
You can watch Smyth and the boys take on the Penguins on Sunday and help out the MS Society at the same time. Today on the Jason Gregor Show between 2 and 6 p.m. we will be auctioning off this great package.
If you are from out of town, or just want to get out of the house for a few nights, this is a great package.
You will receive: TWO NIGHTS at the Courtyard Marriott Edmonton West.
Two night’s lodging in a KING SUITE
1 Dinner for 2 at our AQUA Restaurant – Saturday Evening;
1 Bottle of Wine – choice of white or red included with dinner
Breakfast for 2 at our AQUA Restaurant – Sunday Morning – a la carte menu.
TWO GOLD SEATS FOR OILERS/PENS courtesy of Sunny P Tickets. You also get $40 in Oilers bucks to spend on a bevy or two.
We don’t want anyone drinking and driving so Budget Car and Truck Rental will pick you up in a Ford Explorer and take you to Rexall and back to the Marriott after the game.
Big thank you toThe Marriott West, Sunny P Tickets and Budget for donating the prizes and helping out the MS Society.
Bidding starts at2 p.m. You can call 1.780.426.8326 or email your bids to firstname.lastname@example.org If you send an email include your name and phone number.