Season Prognostications…

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Another NHL season is finally upon us. Eight teams will begin the long journey of an 82-game regular season that hopefully ends with a berth in the playoffs in mid-April.

Will the Oilers end their eight-year playoff drought?

We discuss that and more in our annual Oilersnation Prognostications.

As always we welcome your thoughts and predictions in the comments sections, and today we will look at both conferences, Stanley Cup finalists, Maurice Richard trophy winner, the Oilers leading goal scorer and point getter and one bonus question.

Before we begin: The Edmonton Oilers will try to avoid becoming only the second franchise in NHL history to miss the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons. The Florida Panthers hold the dubious honour of missing the postseason ten straight years from 2000/2001 to 2010/2011. It might have been eleven if it wasn’t for the lockout, but the Oilers are only two years away from tying them.

The Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils franchise did miss the playoffs for nine straight seasons, 1979-1982 in Colorado and 1983-1987 in New Jersey, but that was in two different cities with two different fanbases.

The Oilers, and you the fan, do not want to experience another season of losing, but will the suffering end this year?

LOWETIDE:

Lowetide

My eight playoff teams in the West are: Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Anaheim,
Dallas, Colorado, San Jose, Minnesota.

My eight playoff teams in the
East are: Boston, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Tampa Bay, NY Rangers, Columbus, Detroit,
New Jersey.

The Oilers will finish 10th in the conference and 20th in the league.

I
think the Oilers are improved on the wings and should be better in goal, plus
there’s more experience on defense. I’m also very pleased with Craig Ramsay’s
addition and the overall depth. The Oilers have enough question marks (Yakupov, center quality and depth, goaltending) for me to pick them to finish outside the
playoffs in a pretty easy call.

Stanley Cup finalists: St. Louis and
Boston

NHL leading goal scorer: Sidney
Crosby

Oilers Leading point getter:Taylor
Hall

Oilers leading goal scorer:Taylor
Hall

First NHL coach to be fired: Randy
Carlyle

SUTHERBY

SutherbyFortune

Same eight playoff teams as last year in the West: 

The east will have: Tampa Bay, Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington, Columbus, Pittsburgh and
Detroit.

I see the Oilers improving on last season, but finishing 11th in the West.
I think the additions on the blueline and depth of some veterans up front no
doubt makes them better. With solid goaltending I find it hard to believe they
could ever start as bad as they did last season.

The hole at 2C is an issue, but I don’t think if Gagner was there I’d feel
much differently. I don’t think it’s out of the question (if here all season)
Arcobello or Draisaitl couldn’t chip in with 35-40 points in that role, and can
they really be much worse defensively? Down the middle they are thin in size and
that two-way presence with or without Gagner. While it is a glaring hole,
it was a pretty big hole last year as well, so I will move them up a bit because of that and because they got better in other
areas.
I predict they will pick up six or seven more wins, finding themselves with 35-36
wins and 80-84 points. I think Calgary, Winnipeg and Phoenix will be in
their rear view mirror, but they will be short of the 90+ points needed to
get into the dance.

Stanley Cup finalists: Boston vs St
Louis

NHL leading goal scorer:Stamkos, 51 goals.

Oilers Leading point getter: Taylor
Hall, 84 points.

Oilers leading goal scorer: Taylor
Hall, 31 goals.

First NHL coach to be fired: Randy
Carlyle

WANYE

Wanye

West playoff teams: LA, ANA, DAL, STL, MIN, CHI, SJ, VAN (no particular order).
East playoff teams: I don’t care about the east.

The
Oilers will finish 10th in the West. Their D is AHL, their toughness is Atom
Tier 8. A full season with better goaltending will bump them up the standings
from last year.

Stanley
Cup finalists: CHI vs PIT

NHL
leading goal scorer: Stamkos

Oilers
Leading point getter: Hall (P.S I still love you Ebs)

Oilers
leading goal scorer: Hall (Don’t want to put to much pressure on you Jordan, honey.)

First
NHL coach to be fired: Hartley

BROWNLEE

BrownleeFortune

WEST: Chicago, Anaheim, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Jose,
Minnesota, Colorado, Dallas.

EAST: Boston, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Columbus, NY
Rangers, Detroit, Philadelphia.

OILERS: 12th. Barring a trade, I’m not convinced the Oilers are
good enough down the middle to compete and, for me, that takes away from the
improvements they made on the wings, on defence and in goal over the start of
last season. I expect the Vancouver Canucks to bounce back at least a little and
that leaves Winnipeg and Calgary as the only teams I can see the Oilers
overtaking.

Stanley Cup
finalists: Chicago and Pittsburgh

NHL leading goal
scorer: Alex Oveckin

Oilers Leading
point getter: Taylor Hall

Oilers leading
goal scorer: Taylor Hall

First NHL coach
to be fired: Randy Carlyle.

WILLIS

FortuneTellerWillis

West: Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Jose, Dallas, Minnesota,
Anaheim and Vancouver.

East: Boston, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Montreal, New York Rangers, New
York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Detroit Red Wings
Oilers: 12th in the West. I think they’ll pass the Flames for sure,
after which it gets difficult. Winnipeg has terrible goaltending and a weaker
defence; they should be an attainable target. Nashville will hinge on whether
Pekka Rinne bounces back or not. The Coyotes are somehow always competitive.
Edmonton should finish in the 10-13 range; I’m guessing the lower end of that
spectrum. 
Stanley Cup finalists: Chicago and Pittsburgh
NHL leading goal scorer: Steven Stamkos
Oilers Leading point getter: Taylor Hall
Oilers leading goal scorer: Taylor Hall
First NHL coach to be fired: Randy Carlyle 

BAGGEDMILK

Baggedmilk

My 8 west playoff teams (IN ORDER!) are:

1. LA Kings

2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. St. Louis Blues
4. Anaheim Ducks
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Dallas Stars
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Vancouver Canucks

East playoff teams: Boston could get through, Pittsburgh could make it, maybe the New York Rangers… at the end of the day, who cares? All roads will lead through the Western Conference and that will be a problem for any Eastern team.

Oilers will finish in 10th: While the Oilers are going to have a better season than they have in recent
memory, the rest of the Western Conference is still too good. To get into the
playoffs, the Oilers will have to vault six other teams to get there – that’s a
tough order to fill and a lot to expect. Even though the Oilers will be a better,
and much more entertaining, hockey team the Western Conference is just too good
to expect them to make the dance next spring. It pains me to say it, and for the love of Wanye I hope I’m
wrong. 

Cup finalists: Chicago and Pittsburgh with Blackhawks winning.
NHL Leading Scorer: Steven Stamkos
Oilers Leading Point Getter: Taylor Hall
Oilers Leading Goal Scorer: Jordan Eberle
First NHL Coach to be fired: Randy Carlyle

STRUDWICK

FortuneTellerStruds

The Oilers will finish ahead of the Flames and the Coyotes. They have improved
but still as ways to go. I am concerned about the inexperience at centre and on
the back end, especially depending on the D corps Eakins goes with. Injuries at either of
those positions could really derail the season.

The Preds will be stronger with Renne around for a full season and a new
coach. Vancouver will improve because of Willie Desjardins and getting rid of Torts. The
Jets are just a better team, but not a playoff team. 

West conference playoffs teams are exactly the same as last year with Van coming
close. Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Jose, Dallas, Minnesota,
Anaheim and Colorado.
East conference in no particular order: Bruins, Pens, Tampa, Habs,NYR, Islanders,Blue Jackets and Red Wings.

Cup finalists: Tampa – Blues
NHL Leading Scorer: Steven Stamkos
Oilers Leading Point Getter: Taylor Hall
Oilers Leading Goal Scorer: Hall, 35 goals

First NHL Coach to be fired: Paul Maclean

GREGOR:

GregorTeller

West playoff teams: St.Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, San Jose, Minnesota and Colorado.

East playoff teams: Pittsburgh, Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Columbus, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Washington.

The Oilers will finish 12th in the west. They will improve by 10-15 points, but it won’t be enough to catch the top teams. The Oilers lack of centre depth will hurt them, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will have a great season. Petry will be dealt during the season, because testing free agency at 27 years young is too good of an opportunity for him to pass up.

Cup finalists: St.Louis and Pittsburgh
Maurice Trophy winner: Alex Ovechkin
Oilers leading scorer: Taylor Hall
Oilers leading goal scorer: Jordan Eberle
First coach to be fired: Carlyle is the obvious choice, but my wildcard is Craig Berube. 

WRAP UP

Carlyle getting canned first, Hall leading the Oilers in scoring, the Oilers missing the playoffs and the same west teams making the playoffs were almost unanimous. It is rare to have the same eight teams in consecutive years, but we all agree there won’t be much change, save for Willis picking Vancouver over Colorado, which likely means one of Nashville or Winnipeg will surprise all of us and make the playoffs.

Who do you like? Will there be any surprises in the west? Can the Oilers shock the Nation?

Let the games begin.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • mrjgardiner

    Super negative in here. Why bother watching any games or replying in this blog? As a fan I expect 82 Wins, 4 sweeps and a cup.

    I watch the games expecting a win. This is YOUR team guys. Stop ragging on them and let’s just see what they do. Calm down everyone, the oilers season hasn’t even started yet.

    Yeeeeesh.

  • Serious Gord

    I predict
    West
    1.EDM
    2.CGY
    3.NSH
    4.Winnepeg
    5.Arizona
    6.Vancouver
    7.Dallas
    8.LA(Barely sqeezing in)
    Edmonton sweeps LA in the 1st round soo bad they get an automatic ticket to the Finals and face the almight loaded Florida Panthers(Dave Bolland for Hart trophy). Edmonton takes the series in 13 games.Will Acton has a bounce back year and scores 35G and 57A while we have a 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% we still manage to grab MCdavid with the 30th pick and the Jacksonville Jaguars win the Superbowl

  • VIKING-OILER

    I pledged positivism when I re-joined the Nation so here we go:

    Winnipeg; Calgary; Phoenix Vancouver and San Jose are the teams to beat out and Edmonton has to get off to a great start with everyone and especially these teams. IF this happens Oil will prevail and be in a dog fight with both Vancouver and San Jose for the last playoff spot.

    Injuries will occur to key players on other teams to help make that happen.

    Chicago vs Pittsburgh in Final with St Louis and NY Islanders in Semis
    Sydney Crosby for leading scorer (but not most goals (Tavares

    Most points Oilers: RNH
    Most Goals: Hall
    First Coach Fired—Todd McC in San Jose

    • paul wodehouse

      …wrote a whole rant on the ref cam but it magically went off into cyberpuss…IMO the ref cam is the worst piece of technology used in our game since that stupid red streak that went across our TV screens to give americans a chance at following the puck…I said it before …it’s BAD IDEA…especially that disembodied arm pointing at the goal scorer somewhere in the field of vision …take it ALL away. all that new Rogers crap ..bad idea!

      • Basshole39

        I can agree as I do not want to see what the ref sees on TV BUT I do think it could help the NHL improve what the reffs do and learn from it so I am for it in that way.

      • Cowbell_Feva

        Why is the ref cam such a bad idea? It is a bit hokey, sure, but its not like you have to watch the whole game on it.

        I think it will be good on a few instances (goal line scrambles, etc.) I believe it will come in handy a few times throughout the year.

    • Serious Gord

      They aren’t the first to make the comparison. Definitely not as physically big or strong, but plays a very similar game. Looks like he needs a linemate who can finish – a Jordan eberle type.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Other than 492 points, 30 lbs, a decent team around him and one assaulted cab driver he is EXACTLY the same as Patrick Kane.

        The kid can dart – no question – but IMO he will be nothing more than a novelty act in this league.

        How do I know? Because Mark Spector has him pencilled in as a star in the NHL.

        Kiss of death, kid.

        Sorry Frodo, but no one overcomes the Curse of Spector.

  • Kevwan

    I look into the crystal ball and I see Datsyuk, Giroux, Brown, Fleury, and Crawford. I’m really impressed that these writers can make all these predictions based on that.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    We are who they think we are.

    Worst run team in pro sports Oakland Raiders included. 77 points. MacT gets promoted to assistant to 6 rings. Eakins gets fired and history repeats itself.

  • Is there a softer landing for Nurse outside of playing Calgary’s backup goalie on a back to back after a loss? If you’re not going to play him in games like this one.. Send him back to JR.

    My guess is Eakins wants the opposite. Must want to see how Nurse stacks up against LA, ANA, SJS, CHI, STL. But Eakins will also want Nurse back in Jr sooner rather than later if he’s not ready. My guess is that sees LA, VAN, TBL, WSH, BOS,NYR,PHI, and maybe CHI…. The Oil play all of them before the end of Nov. If Nurse cant handle those teams, send him back to Jr. No soft landings for the future stud. But a huge opportunity to prove the media wrong, and the mgt right when he’s up against the best. Be a difference maker against those teams and you’ll stick kid. Still doesn’t make sense why Marincin or Klef aren’t in the line up.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    It’s not that hard to see us fall apart at the beginning of the session again its the same coach with two good goalies again and he’s the one that makes the decisions on who plays.

    The Oilers are just a steeping stone in Dallas Eakins career an it’s just part of his learning process.

  • The Soup Fascist

    My 3 predictions for the upcoming year.

    1. The Oilers finish first in the Pacific.

    2. Hall battles Crosby in the finals.

    3. My wife wakes me up and Eakins looks stunned.

  • ubermiguel

    I see no plausible reason Oilers should not make a quantum leap this year off the team play that was developing in preseason . This is a team that no longer is a developing team after 8 years , but a team poised to put abilities and team play into action . They are much better than the results they have garnered . I forsee a strong commitment to each other , vastly improved work ethic , and a new sense of team work . A slight improvement is not good enough for a team like the Oilers with their skill level . Like Colorado last year , Oilers should be able to duplicate this season .

    Tonight Oilers need to get on track and dominate and beat Flames 4-1 if coaching is as good as they claim . This is just not just another game , it is our turning point !

    • Serious Gord

      There are several possible and plausible reasons:

      Injuries to RNH or Hall

      Draisaitl turns out to not be ready for the nhl

      yak again has a poor season

      the second/third string goalies prove that they are what there former teams thought they were

      the team quits on eakins

      this clearly is a team with several players still in developing mode:

      petry, yak, draisaitl, nurse, klefbom, RNH, shultz, to name a few…

  • The Soup Fascist

    Its hard to make accurate predictions in any sport, both because they are by their nature chaotic and because we can’t help but look at them with our own biases.

    That being said, anybody, predicting any sport, who says “It’ll be just like last year.” might just as well be admitting that they don’t have a clue.

    Some teams will have very different results from last year, guaranteed. The hard part is to look at what’s changed and figure out who that will be.

    Looking at everything through my pro-Oilers filter, I predict that if the Nuge plays 80+ games the Oilers make the playoffs. But if he suffers a major injury in the first half of the season, the Oilers finish dead last.

  • Sports Illustrated has a very bearish view on the Oilers this season and pegged them for 14th in the West.

    The sad thing from my perspective is this – even with all the changes, err…..MacT’s self proclaimed improvments, to the roster we cannot say with 100% certainty that the team will finish ahead of Calgary. I hope the Oilers can finish 11th or 12th, but I would not be surprised to see 13th or 14th yet again……..

    • Serious Gord

      SI seems to always be bearish on the oil. And over the past eight years they have been proven right.

      Tonights game should be interesting – a defeat at the hands of CGY could set a very negative tone for the year. Even though its only the first game getting off to a winning start seems to be more important than ever before – fan’s patience is zero when it comes to effort and execution IMO.

    • Basshole39

      no it does not. Only games he plays count towards the 9. St. Louis did the samething with Pietrangelo if you want a reference.

      He has to go back to junior even if he plays 20 games in the NHL this year. the 9 is to burn the first year of his ELC.

      • Serious Gord

        Thanks for the answer.

        Just so i am clear, 9 plus games makes this year count as part of his ELC. And regardless of how many he plays he can only stay with the oil or go back to junior.

        If that is the case, unless he fully and completely looks like he is NHL ready, the oil would be foolish/reckless to keep him with the team past 8 games.

  • the only think I know is if the Oilers do win 10 more games, that means someone has to lose a few more games. Will they all be at the expense of Calgary, winnipeg, and some bottom feeder out east, or will they take points from Vancouver, Phoenix, Dallas, & Nashville on a regular basis?

  • Basshole39

    Logic is completely with all of you and after 8 Years of my predictions being far to optimistic I feel like a fool stating anything otherwise but hay I am an Oilers fan and it is almost starting to feel normal. Besides it is the only time of the year I seem to have a reasonable chance to make the playoffs. In the West # 1~Saint Louis, 2~Chicago, 3~LA 4~Anaheim 5~Dallas, 6~Minnesota 7. Edmonton 8~Colorado I have Vancouver falling off a truck and Sanjose failing out as well. They both are past their prime and will be a shocking fall.
    Dallas will move up a ton and be the big surprise of the year. A certain Center is going to explode this year and make us almost wish we had him.

    • Basshole39

      I think Seguin exploded last year (if that’s who you’re referring to) but that being said I think Dallas will explode too
      Don’t be surprised if Hemsky kills it this year

  • I kinda see Eakins being fired swiftly early on if he goes down the same path as last year. Then again I sometimes forget about the guys at the top that knows how to win so they’d probably just keep him to the end of the season to be nice.

    Defence wise I see no real improvement. Its hard to imagine a worse defence then the Oilers but hopefully I am very wrong about this.

    Our goalie situation while improved has me concerned. We’ve got too career backups and only time will tell if they can carry the load and extra weight of the lack of defence.

    Ultimately the Oilers are a team that seems to forget the 90s ever existed. The 90s was a defensive countermeasure that took the speed out of the game to counteract teams like the Oilers. And to me it really seems that management doesn’t understand this which is why they’re so lacking on D. If they did they’d build a defensive team first and drop the whole Fastest team nonsense that has got the Oilers nowhere in so so long.