2013-14 Division Rivals: Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks

The Edmonton Oilers have moved to the new Pacific Division, and with the summer free agent splurge all but over it’s a good time to see how they stack up against their rivals. We start with the Anaheim Ducks, who with 66 points last season would have led all teams in the new division.

For forwards, I’ve used points from last season projected over an 82-game schedule, for defencemen time on ice per game in 2013, and for goalies their 2013 save percentage. Players in italics did not play a significant number of games in the NHL in 2012-13; red indicates numbers come from the AHL or Europe while green indicates a previous NHL season.

Forwards

The exact combinations obviously involve a bit of guesswork, and the Ducks combos in particular are a little more difficult because I’m not as familiar with them. I’ve left last year’s successful Cogliano/Koivu/Winnik trio together, and plugged in Dustin Penner on the top line for now – though of course newcomer Jakob Silfverberg may get the job, or Kyle Palmieri or Matt Beleskey (both of the latter saw some time with Perry and Getzlaf last season).

There are two obvious things that jump out about the chart above. First, the Oilers have seven players who were on pace for 40+ points last season; the Ducks have only four (though we’re splitting hairs a little given Cogliano and Bonino). Second, the bottom half of the Ducks roster looks a lot more potent than the same part of the Edmonton depth chart.

Assuming head-to-head matchups with these lines, I like the Getzlaf trio a little better than the Oilers’ kids right now, but not a lot better. For the second line matchup, I think Edmonton’s group is a better bet – Cogliano’s coming off a career-best season, Daniel Winnik has never hit 30 points in the NHL and Saku Koivu turns 39 in November. If all goes well, the Ducks have a solid group there, but a lot could go wrong. Luckily for Anaheim, they have bottom-six depth the Oilers can’t match – while I wouldn’t especially want to bet on Bonino and Beleskey, the other four guys in the group are all young and have significant upside. Anaheim’s been top-heavy for years, but they finally have a young NHL group that can address that problem.

Overall, Edmonton doesn’t match up terribly in the top-six but their depth group doesn’t look particularly good compared to the Ducks.

Defence and Goaltending

On defence, the Oilers match up pretty well in the two through eight slots; I would even be inclined to give them the edge in the depth game. The difference is in the number one slot: Francois Beauchemin is a fantastic defenceman and until they show otherwise the Oilers don’t really have a comparable all-round rearguard on their roster.

In net, I’m not convinced that Devan Dubnyk is worse than any of the goalies on the Ducks’ roster, but backups don’t come much better than Viktor Fasth and Frederik Andersen is an incredible prospect with upside that Richard Bachman simply doesn’t possess.

Again, it’s competitive but the Ducks have a lead overall in my view.

Overall

I’m not convinced that the Ducks will end up winning the Pacific Division; they rode the percentages last season and weren’t able to consistently out-shoot the other team. In the three full seasons leading up to last year, the Ducks fired at an 8.6, 8.4 and 8.2 shooting percentage at even-strength; last season they fired at a 9.4 percent clip. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but over a full season that alone works out to roughly 15 goals. Still, I feel comfortable guessing they’ll likely outperform the Oilers next season.

This is a team that the Oilers could catch with a strong season.

Recently around the Nation Network

At NHL Numbers, new writer Travis Yost breaks down every Western team’s Corsi – that’s shots, missed shots and blocked shots, which gives us an idea of which team controls possession – and the Edmonton Oilers in particular don’t fare so well. Click the link for the shiny graph, though this segment from his conclusion may discourage our readers:

Just stare at it. Don’t look away. Don’t even blink. If you’re an Oilers fan who watched even-half of last year’s circus, you are a masochist for awful hockey. And if you made it through the entire season, you deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor.

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

  • Wax Man Riley

    Three fast emerging super talents in Hopkins , Hall and Yakupov , with a healthy dose of fast improving J.Schultz , Eberle Gagner and Perron spells a dynamic reach for the top . Not even MacT. and/or Eakins greenness should be able to screw that up . No way this club shouldn’t do well/succeed this year considering all the talent we have . Knit pick on what we still might lack , but look at what we have in abundance that should all breakout this year !

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Only position that remains in doubt in the Pacific division, is who finishes last, the 6th and 7th position. Those positions are a lock for both the Oil and the Flames. Have to be drinking plenty of Kev’s koolaid to not realize the Oil will be looking up at the butt hole of the Anaheim Ducks. That 1/4″ woofer, won’t be a pleasant sight I imagine.

  • Supernova

    Interesting article, I was hoping someone would do a trip around the divisions.

    I am not a huge reader of “fancy stats”, (I believe they are valuable to a point, but they take some of the fun out of the game for me)

    My question is though, didn’t the fancy stats seem to indicate that Anaheim and Toronto played above their indicator levels? therefor might be in place for a dip in the standings.

    In the “seen them good way”, it also seems the ducks might be due for a pull back. Aside from Beauchemin it seems their Defense is vulnerable, and could perhaps be one of the worst in the Division. With Bobby Ryan gone their scoring Depth is also in question as teams will be even more able to game plan for Getzlaf and Perry.

  • oilerjed

    @oilclog

    ummm did you just say that Gretzky would play behind Nuge?????? Nuge is good and all but cmon. You even have the benefit of seeing what 99 did throughout his career and before he went pro. What has RNH done that would make you think this? This statement is asinine.

    Edit: ok Now that I reread it I see that I may have added a letter to getz. My bad

  • oilerjed

    @JW
    Why so much hate for Ebs on the NHL site? Overrated? I cant help but think he will put up at least 80pts this year if healthy. Is this a fantasy of mine or is there something that I am missing? Lats year was an aberation IMO.

      • OilClog

        is it because he already has, and every blogger in the universe seems to hate on Ebs. The guy only goes out every single season, and produces. Let’s keep questioning his abilities until he retires, then continue to say he can’t do this can’t do that some more! whoop!

        • 2004Z06

          “Goes out every single season and produces”? Really? Didn’t produce much last season. I think this season will determine if Ebs is the real deal, or just another average player with a Horcoff-esque contract. I am hoping for the former!

          • Citizen David

            Please tell me your not compairing Horc to Eberle?! They are world apart in term of pure skill. Eberle will easily be a 60+ point guy year in and out. Horcoff, not so much

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Ebs never made excuses but the guy was playing with an injured hand (fractured finger I believe). With that said, I don’t know how you could say ‘he didn’t produce much last season’ when he was on pace for 63 pts (projected over 82 games) last season — good for 3rd on the team. If anything, with a healthier season and RNHs receovery; I could expect Eberle’s number go up next season.

  • Also: Vancouver will be up tomorrow. I’ll be wandering through the division in order of last year’s standings, as long as there’s interest.

    Personally, I like looking at other team’s rosters to try and get a feel for how much the Oilers have really improved.

  • DSF

    From the Ducks website:

    Forwards

    Jakob Silfverberg – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

    Emerson Etem – Nick Bonino – Dustin Penner

    Andrew Cogliano – Saku Koivu – Daniel Winnik

    Matt Beleskey – Peter Holland – Kyle Palmieri

    Brad Staubitz – Patrick Maroon

    Defensemen

    Sheldon Souray – Francois Beauchemin

    Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy

    Bryan Allen – Luca Sbisa

    Sami Vatanen

    Goaltenders

    Jonas Hiller

    Viktor Fasth

    NOTES: If Selanne decides to return and signs a new contract, Penner could drop to the third line in place of Winnik. Pairing him with Bonino and especially Etem would make one of the fastest lines in the League.

    If Selanne doesn’t return, the Ducks still might be all right on offense. Silfverberg could have a breakout season, and Penner almost certainly will not shoot such a poor percentage (3.3 percent) in 2013-14. Either of those wings could produce 20-25 goals, as could speedy Etem, who looked a like a future all-star against the Red Wings in the playoffs.

    Anaheim’s third line was also great against Detroit, and young players Noesen and Rickard Rakell could push for a lineup spot during training camp. Beleskey and Palmieri each saw time in the top six during the playoffs, and forward depth could finally be a strength in Anaheim after being a struggle at times in recent seasons.

    Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm, a 2012 first-round pick who played in the American Hockey League during the lockout but missed the NHL season because of a concussion, each could earn a place in the top-six on defense.

    Hiller and Fasth were a solid tandem in net, and the Ducks have one of the top goaltending prospects in the world, John Gibson, who will likely be the starter in the AHL and could make his NHL debut if Hiller or Fasth miss time with an injury.

    • John Chambers

      Unless Cam Fowler turns his game around (which is entirly possible and probable) ANA D is weak.

      Even then Souray started the season on fire, as he did in Dallas, then stopped producing but was still solid on D. He is 37.

      Beauchemin had a career year at 33. Probably wont happen again.

      I would be willing to put money on Edmonton winning the season series against ANA.

      • DSF

        As stated…that projected lineup is straight from the Ducks website.

        I assume they have some insight into what management is thinking.

        I also assume your projections are entirely based on last year’s performance with no consideration given to changing roles or progression by young players.

        For example, you have Silvferberg on the 3rd line and pegged him at 39 points when it’s more likely he plays on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry where he should be able to surpass that number without breaking a sweat.

        You also have Emerson Etem on the 4th line when it’s much more likely he will get 2nd line minutes and blow your 22 point projection out of the water.

        And, of course, there is no provision for the likely return of Selanne which would bump Penner to the 3rd line and he is likely good for 25 goals and 50 points if he returns.

        • OilClog

          All valid points. I think your over estimating Penners impact.

          I really like your enthusiasm about the younger players improving. Unfortunately for the ducks and Colorado, the same is going to hold true for the Oilers.

          The Oilers focused on addition by subtraction. Then they added some actually NHL quality defenseman.

          I think these teams are closer than you care to admit. The Oilers just need one of the wildcard Dmen to meet expectations, that would solidify their defense by committee approach. 6 actuall NHL Dmen that would be 3 and 4s on most teams.

          • DSF

            I didn’t say a word about Penner’s impact.

            Who knows?

            I agree that young players improve and I think the most likely to improve are Yakupov and Schultz if he learns to play defense.

            The Oilers bottom 6 and D remain huge question marks in my mind and, of course, if Hopkins sin;t ready to when the season starts, the Oilers could be buried before they get started.

        • Do me a favour: link to it. In any case, projecting Etem and Bonino as second-liners given their careers to date is blue-skying regardless of the source.

          And as much as I value the contribution of the webcrew of ducks.com, given that Koivu, WInnik and Cogliano finished 3, 4 and 6 in forward ice-time on the team last season, the website can call them third liners all they want – I’m not buying it.

          Finally: those point totals are simply last seasons numbers projected over 82 games. The wording in the article above is confusing, so I’ll make it clearer, but I wasn’t trying to peer into the future.

          • DSF

            Here ya go:

            http://ducks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=679431

            Regarding ice time, remember than Silvferberg wasn’t with the team and Etem was just starting to find his way playing in only 38 games.

            I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to project him playing more games with more minutes going forward especially since he tore it up in the playoffs against Detroit. (3G 2A 5P +4 in 7GP)

            Projecting last year’s numbers straight across isn’t very helpful and I would think the whole purpose of this series is “trying to peer into the future”.

          • Thanks. That article is actually repackaged content from NHL.com, not originally from the Ducks’ website. NHL.com does a pretty good job (here’s their Oilers depth chart) but they’re doing the same thing I’m doing – projecting a lineup they feel is reasonable.

            As for using last year’s numbers, there’s a lot that goes into projecting next year’s numbers and I’d rather let people form their own conclusions anyway.

          • DSF

            Here is your projected lineup for tomorrow piece.

            http://canucks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=679770

            A couple of notes based on what I’m hearing:

            Kassian will likely play on the top line with Burrows moving to Kesler’s wing.

            Brad Richardson is pencilled in at #3C (as per the link above) but Brendan Gaunce and Bo Horvat will be given every chance to try and crack the lineup.

            The #4C position will be a dog fight between Gaunce, Schroeder, Santorelli, Horvat and NCAA free agent signing Kellan Lain.

          • Anything can happen – Patrice Bergeron cracked the Bruin’s roster after being a second round pick, and it was the right call – but history suggests Horvat won’t be ready and if Gaunce wins the job that probably says more about the Canucks options than Gaunce. Similarly, Kellan Lain’s professional debut last season doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

            But that’s tomorrow’s conversation.

          • DSF

            As you say anything can happen.

            And, interesting that you used Patrice Bergeron as an example since that is the player I’ve heard most often used as a comparable for Horvat.

            Don’t really know anything about Lain’s few games in the AHL but I doubt that the Canucks are counting on a 6’6″ 225 pound 4th line C to score a lot of points.

          • John Chambers

            I seem to recall a lot of “blue sky” valuations on both Anaheim’s as well as Minnesota’s prospects prior to last season.

            Let’s see how DSF’s favorites turned out:

            Peter Holland – 5 pts in 21 NHL games, and 39 points (and minus -13) in 45 AHL games. This from a guy drafted 5 spots after Paajarvi. Specifically you said Anaheim wouldn’t be a legitimate trade destination for Gagner because of Holland’s inevitable emergence. Huh.

            Charlie Coyle – 14 points in 37 NHL games, and 25 points in 47 AHL games. A far better pick than Tyler Pitlick indeed, but certainly not a difference maker on the Wild last season. Will almost certainly have a middle-6 role this season however.

            Mike Granlund – just 8 points in 27 games. Bummer. I actually had high hopes for this player after a near PPG performance in the AHL at the beginning of last season. Like Coyle he’ll probably play on the 2nd line this year.

            These aren’t bad players by any stretch, but to think that players with limited NHL experience will play meaningful roles on their clubs next year … well that’s just little boys’ with hockey cards logic now isn’t it?

          • DSF

            Your analysis is pretty meaningless without the context or role, responsibility, TOI and injury.

            1) Peter Holland – The Ducks, with two veteran centres in Getzlaf and Koivu can afford to bring him along slowly. He was 12th among Duck forwards in TOI/G last season so it’s not surprising he didn’t shoot the lights out.

            2) Charlie Coyle – Here’s a tidbit from the Wild website. Please note that Coyle scored at a 20+ goal per game pace in only 37 games which is pretty good for a 20 year old rookie.

            “Coyle made a huge impression with Wild brass last season after being promoted from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League. The 21-year-old was so impressive he found himself playing right wing on Minnesota’s top line alongside center Mikko Koivu and left wing Zach Parise. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of East Weymouth, Mass., had eight goals and six assists in 37 games in his first taste of NHL hockey.

            He’s unlikely to start this season on Minnesota’s top line — veteran Jason Pominville is expected to play right wing with Koivu and Parise — but Coyle could remain a top-six forward. The question of where he’ll play is likely to depend on center Mikael Granlund, another 21-year-old who’s vying for a job. Should Granlund make the team, it is conceivable Coyle could be his right wing, with veteran Dany Heatley on the left side.”

            3) Mikael Granlund – tough season for him after suffering that high ankle sprain.

            My “little boy hockey card” sees a line of Heatley – Granlund – Coyle next season depending on how Granlund performs.

            Otherwise Coyle, a natural centre, can slide in.

          • John Chambers

            Getting back to the point – none of the three had a meaningful impact to their teams in ’13 as you said they would.

            So tell me again about all these upcoming players from other organizations who will provide depth THIS COMING SEASON, or should we just compile a list 10-deep of Florida’s centre depth (and include wingers) and form a bizarre narrative about how they’re all superior to Sam Gagner.

            Bjugstad, Shore, Brad Isbister, Jay-Z, Mimi from the Drew Carey Show, etc

          • DSF

            Suggesting Coyle didn’t have a meaningful impact is just ridiculous.

            Maybe try this C depth on for size Sparky:

            Sasha Barkov

            Drew Shore

            Shawn Matthias

            Marcel Goc

            Scott Gomez

            Nick Bjugstad

            Quinton Howden

            And, yes Huberdeau is a natural centre although he won’t play there.

          • DSF

            I find myself reading this comment again this morning and laughing my ass off. You seem so sure in your statement that FLA has a good if not great depth chart at center?! If your going by those players that you listed off I have to say that you know absolutely nothing about.hockey

          • Wax Man Riley

            Actually that is a pretty brutal list of center depth.

            I would take RNH, Gags, Gordon, and Lander over that every day.

            This list has a lot of maybes, ifs, and potential, but that is it.

            Take that out and you are left with:

            Goc, Gomez,……..

            That is it. Sometimes you have some points, but this is so far over the “troll” line it’s funny.

          • Citizen David

            If you add up the top four centers on Florida’s depth chart that you for some reason think is so good and you compare them to Gagner ( 4 on 1 ) this is what you get:

            Florida’s team GP 784, G 103, A 145, P 248

            Sam Gagner GP 414, G 91, A 167, P 258

            Gagner has more points then all four combined. He has more than 100 games played over the top three, because you have an 18 year old rookie as their number one center and 22 year old with 43 NHL games as their second.

            After Scott Gomez who is universally known as the least likely player to score a goal in the league who you have as number five you round your list off with Bjugstad-21 years old 11games played 1 point and Howden 21 years old, 18 games played 0 points and -11. Hopkins, Gagner, Gordan, Lander kills your list. It’s a joke.

          • DSF

            Oh, good grief.

            Try and look beyond the end of your nose.

            Barkov, Shore, Matthias, Bjugstad and Howden are all very young players.

            Shawn Matthias scored 21 points last season.

            Boyd Gordon scored 14.

            Scott Gomez scored 15 points last season.

            Anton Lander scored ONE.

            The Oilers #5C is likely Arcobello who scored ZERO points in the NHL last season.

            You’ll note that Matthias scored more points than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined.

            Anything Gomez scores, likely more than Gordon, Lander and Arcobello combined, is just a bonus.

          • DSF

            I am shocked at your apparent lack of knowledge when it comes to simple projections. If you think FLA has a better depth chart at center as of this.season then theres just no hope for you whatsoever. At some point peoples bias’ just present themselves with idiotic comments such as yours on this blog over the past few weeks.

            I am going to go out on a limb and say that your a Canucks fan. Am I right?.

          • Citizen David

            Funny that you made a big deal about Arcobello not getting any points in the NHL last year which he played only one game when you’re in the midst of defending Bjugstad and Howden when they combined played 29 games had one goal and zero assists between them and were -19.

            Boyd Gordon got an offensive zone start in the 30%’s.

            Check it out

            http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f3=Shawn+Matthias&f5=FLA&f4=&f7=&bubbleType=corsiOn&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

            http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f3=Boyd+Gordon&f5=PHX&f4=&f7=&bubbleType=corsiOn&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

            Third year Nuge vs, rookie Barkov? Not even a competition. Shore can’t touch Gagner. You’re full of it.

          • John Chambers

            Thanks for the list. I can always rely on you for one.

            So do you agree that it’s still LotteryTown (bottom-5 finish) for FLA next year or Drew Shore going to be a better 2nd line C in 13/14 than Gagner?

          • The Soup Fascist

            Hmmm. Interesting the blogger in the piece you highlighted does in fact have Richardson as 3C. He is listed with the Canucks as a RW and IIRC primarily played RW (when in the lineup) in LA with Curt Fraser as his centre.

            If that is the case I feel much better with Boyd Gordon as the #3 centre in Edmonton. His offensive numbers are unlikely to be stellar, but I like him much better than Richardson.

  • John Chambers

    I know he’s not signed yet, but does anyone really believe Selanee wanted to go out on last year’s season? He’ll be back and that definitely changes things a bit.

    Looking forward to more of these.

  • oilerjed

    I think you’re overestimating the Canucks. Van could be one of the top teams, but there’s a chance things can implode. A lot hinges on how their roster adjusts to Torts. But their depth is nowhere near what they had a few years ago. And, unfortunately for them, there is this perception around the league generated from the SCF vs the Bruins that if you lean on them, they’ll go away. I’m sure Luongo will be professional and be a good goalie for them…at least until the Olympics.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Thanks, I forgot about the coaching change. You are right if things are all sunshine and roses off the start, I am sure Tortorella will be a breath of fresh air, if things get off to a rocky start ….. the circus may be coming to town.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I will be interested to see your take on the Canucks considering what they have (have not) done in the off season that leads you to believe they are a virtual lock for top two in the division.

    The Sedins are 33 years old. Kesler has yet to show he is going to be the same guy he was pre-injury. I am not sure outside of these 3 guys who will score goals. As much as the Oilers have no center depth from what I can see 3C and 4C are Schroeder and Santorelli – unless Horvat makes the team as a rookie and / or they play Brandon Gaunce another rookie at center. They have fouled up their goaltending situation so badly, it is unbelievable. Had Luongo not been a true professional this could REALLY be ugly, but at the same time he is the same guy they were trying to run out of town two years ago – just older.

    The saving grace is they have a solid defense core. I just don’t see a team that is going to score enough goals. I could be wrong – I often am – but I see a team on the precipice.

    • Well, I like Taylor Hall a lot better than Dustin Penner.

      But if Corey Perry were on the Oilers instead of Jordan Eberle right now, would Edmonton’s first line be better this year? I think so. If Ryan Getzlaf were on the Oilers right now instead of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, would Edmonton’s first line be better? Again, I think so.

      Long-term, I’m bullish on Nugent-Hopkins. Maybe he takes the next step this year – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he does. It’s just that right now I’d take Getzlaf over him in a 1-on-1 matchup.

      And while I’m not big on brawn over brains, that projected Ducks top line has an *average* size of 6’4″, 225 pounds – and that just gives it a dimension the Oilers’ top line doesn’t have.

      • OilClog

        Who cares what they’re projected size is Willis. Penner is big, we’ve been there. Getz is big, but he’s no bruiser. Perry the smallest of them is also the toughest.. Maybe our top line doesn’t have this Size dimension you love so much, but Anahiems top line, doesn’t have anywhere near the offensive ceiling that our top line has either. And it’s not even close.

        I don’t think Perry is a better choice over Eberle, maybe a few seasons ago, but as it stands now it’s a wash. Or what Eberle has done in the last 3 years mean absolutely nothing..

        Nuge, is better defensively then Getz, and has a much higher offensive ceiling, which has already been displayed as well. If Getz came to Edmonton, he would be #2 center, behind Nuge, today. nuff said.

        Hall, is a beast, any line he’s on, is the best line in the game. That’s the type of player he is, today, yesterday, and tomorrow. And there is no one in Anahiem that is a comparable on the left flank. NO ONE!

        How about those Corsi #’s stats guy, how does the top line of Anahiem corsi compare to the wonder kids.

        • You may not be familiar with me, but I don’t spend a lot of time on size because I think it’s overemphasized. It does matter, though.

          Over the last three years, Perry has played nine more games than Eberle. He has 38 more points in that span. Perry is comparable to Eberle offensively but he’s also 6’3″, physical, and not a defensive slouch. He’s one of the best RW’s in the NHL; only 10 players in the league have picked up more points than him over the past three seasons.

          Similarly, Getzlaf is an incredible player. He ranks 17th in NHL scoring over these last three seasons, just ahead of Jonathan Toews. There’s no shame in saying I think he’s a better player today than a 20-year old Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

          As for Corsi, all these guys have fantastic underlying numbers, which shouldn’t be a surprise – they’re among the NHL’s brightest stars.

  • John Chambers

    The Ducks are our main enemy for that 4th playoff spot with LA and Van pretty much guaranteed the top 2 spots, and the Sharks being a much better team thantgeir recent record suggests.

    If the season started today I have the Oilers penciled in to actually make the playoffs – they would finish 5th in their own div, but back of only Chi, Stl, and Min in the other. A date with Chelsea Dagger come April.

    • oilerjed

      Im with Soup on this one, I am not exactly expecting too much from the Cansucks this year. Their dressing room seems to be unraveling and Gillis didnt do much in the ways of improvements to their lineup this year. They are trending down the last few years, being in the lowly NW div propped them up IMO. Its the middle of the off season and the Van media is already talking shots at the GM about how the team hasnt changed enough to remain relevent. Now Torts is there to light the fuse. This is the year that they tumble and then their fans and media will eat them alive and hit the self destruct button.

    • I’m sort of thinking that’s where this is going – I’m going to go through the whole division and see what it looks like, but I’m betting Edmonton ends up on the bubble and perhaps in competition for the crossover spot.

      • John Chambers

        Yeah the way I see it there’ll be four teams challenging for two playoff spots: Anaheim, Edmonton, Dallas, and Phoenix.

        LA, San Jose, Vancouver, Chicago, Stl, and Minny are locks, while Colorado, Calgary, Nashville, and Winnipeg are hopeless.

        • Honsetly, I don’t see Van and Minny as locks. More as sure bets.

          And COL is not hopeless. They will be challenging for a playoff spot just as Edmonton should.

          Every year people pick “Locks” and most never pan out. Did anyone really think ANA were going to be as good as they were? Honestly? What about MIN? Weren’t they going to be a dominate team?

          • John Chambers

            The Avs D is just awful. They could add Jason Strudwick to their depth chart to push someone out of the top-6.

            It reminds me of the D the Oilers boasted during the ELPH years (are those over yet?), with a nice forward corps who will score goals only to surrender them at an even highe rate.

            Calgary, Colorado, Winnipeg, Florida, and Buffalo are all steering toward the lottery.

          • From last July on this website:

            Minnesota should be much improved with the addition of these two players. But they’re starting from such a bad place that these moves seem unlikely to turn them into contenders – if I had to guess today, I’d say they’re moving from a date with a lottery pick to the playoff bubble in the West. That’s a big jump, and not good news for the Oilers. But it’s important not to overstate the effect that even two incredibly gifted players can have on the balance of power in the West.

            Also well worth reading: the comment section. Numbers 52 and 86 in particular stand out to me. I suppose it’s a good thing for DSF that nobody took him up on that Conference Champion bet.

        • DSF

          I really wouldn’t be too quick to write off Colorado.

          A new GM, a new coach, adding McKinnon, a full season of Ryan O’Reilly and a healthy Landeskog and Downie will make them a much different team.

          They still have some question marks on the back end but they certainly have the cap space ($10M) to address that if need be.

          And watch out for Tyson Barrie…he’s going to be a beast.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I agree Colorado could be better than expected, especially considering their depth at centre. But goaltending could be scary (scary bad not scary good).

            And Tyson Barrie could be Marc-Andre Bergeron. He may turn out better than MAB, but I am certain I will never call him a “beast”.