The Edmonton Oilers are a young team and could be "quick out of the gate" if the NHL and NHLPA agree to a new CBA and a shortened season. A young group of kids in their entry level deals are game ready and (a few bumps and bruises aside) miles ahead of the NHL veterans. Could this be a major benefit for the Oilers? Or, will their traditional weaknesses in goal and on the blue be even bigger problems in a short season?

Back in the summer I wrote that Taylor Hall was going to have a big season, and I still think it’s so. If he was pushing the river with a bum shoulder a year ago, lord knows what a healthy Hall can do in the NHL. Also, the young guns will be a year older, Ales Hemsky is healthy and the club did add another teenage sniper in Nail Yakupov over the summer.

If we make up an "expected" list of forwards for the new season, it might look like this:

  1. Gagner-Hall-Hemsky (tough assignments)
  2. Nuge-Hartikainen-Eberle (soft parade)
  3. Horcoff-Smyth-Yakupov (mentor line for the latest phenom)
  4. Belanger-Eager-Jones (experienced 4line)
  5. Petrell-Hordichuk (extras)

One imagines the first callups would be Chris VandeVelde and Magnus Paajarvi, and of course you could make a case that at least Paajarvi would be at Oilers camp (should there be one in the next week or so). This isn’t the 1984 Oilers, but there’s a lot of rattle and him under 22 and I submit Hall, Hemsky, the Nuge, Eberle, Gagner and Nail Yakupov is an amazing future.


With Andy Sutton apparently done for the season, the Oilers won’t have to make a decision about which defenseman to expose to waivers in order to get Justin Schultz on the team. A quick guess:

  1. Smid-Petry
  2. Whitney-J Schultz
  3. N Schultz-Potter
  4. Peckham

We’ve discussed this a lot, but Colten Teubert would be an obvious choice for callup in the event of injury. Taylor Fedun may have worked his way into the conversation, and if they need a depth defender on an emergency basis David Musil is now an Oil King.

Interesting depth chart, the top pairing is underrated and if Whitney can mentor the kid Schultz and the third pairing avoids another saloon doors winter, maybe the Oilers can help their goalie.



Yann Danis might end up being a very important player for the 12-13 short-season Oilers. With Nikolai Khabibulin’s health an ongoing concern, and Devan Dubnyk not an established 60+ starter as of yet, there’s a great opportunity for Danis to revive his NHL career.

Danis began slowly in OKC by his by month save percentage suggests he is returning to his outstanding play of one year ago:

  • October: 4gp, 3.27 .887
  • November: 11gp, 2.37 .926

I think there’s a chance the Oilers go with Dubnyk-Danis to start the season, or possibly use include all three goaltenders on the roster (and go with one less forward) until Khabibulin is healthy enough to be counted on.


Sooner or later, this road block that is the lockout will end, and the Oilers will have the holes on defense and in goal they had in the summer (and before). The difference is that the injuries didn’t wait to find their way to the surface. Assuming the Nuge and Taylor Hall are ready for the opening bell, the club still has to figure out a way to overcome the loss of Andy Sutton and the ongoing Nikolai Khabibulin health/ineffectiveness riddle.

Could Ryan Whitney make the blueline problems go away? I believe he could, if healthy. If not, expect Edmonton to be on the lookout for immediate help.

And I do believe Yann Danis is going to get an enormous opportunity if and when the lockout ends.




  • vetinari

    Put your hands down gentlemen– we’re only paciFISTS here…

    As for the 2012-13 team… defence and goal will either make or break this edition of the team.

  • vetinari

    Hey Lowetide,

    Aren’t we also hearing rumors that the Oilers camp is going to be a “Wow” factor trade?

    If you believe so who would you figure might be on his way out and what would the Oilers address? Obviously the blueline is always an area of wonder. Thoughts?

  • Lowetide

    I think it would be a defenseman, and have guessed in the past it might be Phaneuf or Bouwmeester type. Beyond that, Luongo? Don’t know.

    But I also think that kind of trade is more likely in summer.

    • Truth

      I was thinking the “WOW” factor trade would be a defenceman as well. However, now that we’ve learned that Khabby is recovering from injury, which I believe coincides with about the same time frame as the Stauffer news. I firmly believe that it is for Luongo. It’s a scary thought to have all that money tied up and the Nuge, Schultz and Yak going to need raises in the not too distant future.

  • The Oilers will start the season with DD and like you mentioned will get off to a quick start, the Oilers will score a tone of goals and DD might do enough to get by.

    Then the holes will appear, the bottom six will continually get exposed, Defense is the same defense + one good AHL defensemen with zero NHL experience, goaltending will be an issue once again and before you know it Tambellini and Klowe will have completely ignored the line up, once again leading to another lottery selection.

    Still not close to being convinced they can make an intelligent trade let alone anything worthy of calling of a “Wow” trade.
    Same team as last year.

  • I’m a fan of Dubnyk. But man oh man am I worried about him atm, haven’t played in quite a while (I imagine even less so with his involvement in the NHLPA), seems to be bit of a slow starter. Could get ugly.

    Only thing that possibly could speak in his favour is that most other goalies have had their fair share of time of the ice as well.. but most of them are far more experienced than him.

    Thank god for Danis, but I feel sorry for the Barons.

  • vetinari

    Frankly, if we get off to start like last year with a great first month, and assuming that we only have a 40-50 game regular season, we might sprint our way to a playoff spot.

    As for a blockbuster trade post lockout, it will likely be for a defenceman unless the Khabibulin situation has changed things. However, I could see the team promoting Danis to fill Khabibulin’s spot while they see what DD could do.

    Of course, post lockout, if the cap drops as expected, several teams may be looking to move some upper level players in a hurray and the Oil should be positioning themselves to take advantage of that fact.

  • Jason Gregor

    Man there a lot of bottom-feeders on this team: I’d say half: Horcoff, Symth, Belanger, Eager, Petrell, Hordichuk, Potter, Peckham, plus unknown in Whitney, rookie Harki. Goalies certainly a mess. Plus not all of Yak Shultz, Nuge, Gagner Hall can’t possibly meet expectations…

  • vetinari

    Yakupov on 3rd line, sorry, but that is not going to happen to give Harti a chance in top 6. Yakupov is probably Hall quality, no way they are going to bring him along slowly on a 3rd line with some PP time only getting 14min a night.

  • vetinari

    What does it all mean?

    Probably fewer people care any longer.

    For those that do, it spells trouble, trouble, trouble.

    Starting in goal, who will backup DD? Can’t imagine Khabibulin will meet NHL standards due to age and severe dropoff of skills at a critical position.

    Blue line has its own major question marks: Whitney, Potter and Peckham also sub-standard NHLers (Whitney questionable because of recurring injuries).

    And forwards are problematic: Comprised of some veterans that have really slowed down, e.g., Horcoff, Smyth and Belinger. Don’t expect Eager and Hordichuk to contribute. Leaves the Oilers with two good lines and part of a third, but with questions on Hemsky and Hartikainen and lack of grit.

    Fortunately, the Oil picked up Yakupov and Jason Schultz, but are missing some key ingredients, like tough to play against veterans that can protect and mentor the young stars.

  • Oilers Coffey

    I might be in the minority, but assuming the lockout ends before Christmas, I don’t think Yakupov is coming over. I think he’s staying in Russia to play in the WJC.

    If he does, that then raises the next question of “does he join the Oilers after the WJC?” Unless I’m mistaken, he can play in 11 NHL games before the Oilers have to make a decision on keeping him in the NHL or sending him to Sarnia.

    By then, the season will be almost a third over, so the success of the Oilers may play into that decision.

    More controversial would be if Yakupov decided to stay in the KHL for the duration of the season following the WJC.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      You don’t think he will despite everything thing he has said, and done, affirming that he will join the Oilers?

      Other than superstitious gut feeling give me a real reason based on what he has said or done that would make your claim have any relevancy.

  • Truth

    If they pick up Luongo it will most definitely be a “wow” trade. As in, wow they really are that stupid. Please let him go to Toronto where we can continue to watch the Burke go down with the ship.

    Also, no to Phaneuf. J-Bo is not coming here either. I believe he has a no-trade and unless anything has changed you won’t see him playing in Edmonton. Strictly an off-season home.

    IF a trade happens I’m hoping it’s along the lines of a Ryan Clowe coming to the Oilers. He would bring a much needed element to the Oil.

  • Oilers Coffey

    If the season does start soon-ish, I hope they consider making Danis their starter or splitting with Dubnyk until he shows he is playing well. I think he normally starts slow, plus he hasn’t been playing.

  • Truth

    This is it for DD
    His time to take over for good.
    If not then we r screwed again and we get another good draft pick,ANd another summer to find a goalie that can play.

    I guess you could say, do or die time for the Big EZ

  • Truth

    yakupov coming over later would not necessarily be a bad thing if the definition of a “season” for the purposes of acruing time towards free agency stays the say. Best case would be for him to be on the Oilers roster for 38-39 games.

    Ask Nashville about this potential benefit. They got Shea Weber for an extra year as a result.

  • Truth

    The oilers r three or four years away from making the playoffs unless they make a significant trade but that’s giving up one of there young guys. If u look at the barons, they can put the puck in the net but they can’t keep it out either. The fans have to be patient cuz our management have made a mess of this squad.