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The Revisiting Series: The Edmonton Oilers Lose for Nuge

Welcome to The Revisiting Series where we, well, revisit things. Today, we’re continuing our look at the Oilers four first overall picks in franchise history. 

The 2010-11 season saw more despair from the Oilers. More changes were abound ahead of the season as Pat Quinn was moved to a senior advisor role with Tom Renney taking over the bench.

Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle made their NHL debuts, but there wasn’t a ton of hope for the club. There were questions up front beyond the Oilers top six and the Oilers backend was…. not good. They had a rotating cast all season having 12 different defenceman dressing at various points in the season.

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It was Hall and Eberle’s rookie years, as was it for a young Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson — the latter being the only one who stayed healthy all year.

In net, Devan Dubnyk stole the show playing better than he really should’ve posting a .916 save percentage with little to no run support. The other goaltender, who the coaching staff gave a dozen more starts to, was a 38-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin that was far from the goalie he once was in his prime.

Edmonton didn’t have many highs that season as they ended up with the same point total as the season before placing them at the very bottom of the league.

Edmonton’s low point in the year, once again, was in January when the club faltered with a 3-9-1 record. It was clear at that point the OIlers were destined for the basement. The club struggled to stay healthy all season with only seven players playing over 70 games — Andrew Cogliano, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Tom Gilbert, Ryan Jones, Kurtis Foster, Theo Peckham, and Ladislav Smid.

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For the Oilers come draft time, the answer for them was a bit more clear than it was the year before. Atop the draft class was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau. With top-flight young wingers already on the roster like Eberle and Hall, Edmonton needed to find someone to man the middle of the ice for the future.

Queue, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The 18-year-old stepped into Edmonton scoring a solid 52 points in 62 games, and much like Hall and Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins missed time his rookie year. A #NugeForCalder campaign was launched by Oilers fans, but he eventually came in second place to Gabriel Landeskog who, while scoring not a single point more than Nugent-Hopkins, played a full 82 games.

Blasphemy.

Nonetheless, it’s been a great near-decade with Nugent-Hopkins on the roster and by all accounts should be an Oiler for life.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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