The Fansided NHL Network, that SenShot is proud to be a member of, is embarking on its NHL preview. Each day in September, one of its members will be posting a preview for their club. SenShot will look at their preview, and let you have a look. After that, we will provide our own perspective. Jared will handle the Western Conference teams while Tony will look at the East.
Today, its the Edmonton Oilers:
The Oilers have struggled mightily since their Cinderella run to the finals in the 2006 season. Since then it has been a struggle to attract players to come to Edmonton. The struggles have netted some top quality prospects, including but not limited to the last two first overall picks, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. With the bounty of young talent, the Oilers will return to the playoffs, but the question is when?
Oil on Whyte’s Samson Threwittki gives his perspective on the rebuild:
Yes non-hockey season is finally over. The young stars tournament has started with a glorious 7-2 win, and training camp starts soon. Fortunately summer isn’t quite over yet either, although that could change any day… After the break I’ll continue sharing my thoughts on the Oilers moves this summer.
For the NHL players I thought I would directly compare the newcomers to who they are most likely to replace starting with defence. While Foster was traded for Sutton, Sutton is more of a Strudwick/Vandermeer replacement. I would rather have Vandermeer, but we’ll have to see how the season goes. Foster on the other hand has been replaced with Barker. I know a lot of people hate this signing, but I am one of the few who really like it. My only problem with it is how much they signed him for. I don’t get how a guy that gets bought out (and because he wasn’t very good, not because he was getting way too much money) can get that much. Maybe he was a highly sought after player, but I kind of doubt it. So why do I like the signing? Well, he’s still young, he was a 3rd overall draft pick so he has to have some talent, and if this isn’t his last chance I don’t know what is. If he can figure things out and get himself going than this is a steal of a signing, and if not, well, it can’t be much worse than Foster… If you can count you may wonder how two people can replace three, but after missing most of the season I would consider Ryan Whitney to be
YOU CAN FIND THE REST OF SAMSON’S PREVIEW HERE
SENSHOT’S VIEW OF THE OILERS
I admit, I am usually overly optimistic on young players and expect too much of them too soon. It has cost me many hockey pools. However, in Edmonton’s case it would pay to be cautiously optomistic. They have addressed the needs at forward, with a solid core of Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Paajarvi, Gagner among others. This group will be fun to watch if nothing else. They will grow together, and the challenge will be to find the funds to keep this group together into its prime. But that is a worry for the future, and we are looking at the now. I can’t think of a better mentor for the youth of the Oilers than Ryan Smyth, who at the tail end of his career still has enough to be more than an on-ice coach.
The blue line is solid enough, as long as Ryan Whitney can stay healthy. With him, Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid you have a good core, surrounded by a couple of vets and some youth as well. They will not be overwhelming in talent, but they are adequate.
My worry for the Oilers is in the net. Has Nikolai Khabibulin put his off-ice problems and injuries behind him, or is it time to turn the crease over to a younger netminder that can grow with the rest of the team? And if it is the latter, is Devan Dubnyk that new netminder?
The Oilers will be better this season. I have no doubt about that, with or without Ryan Nugent Hopkins being kept on the squad. I hope they don’t rush him to the show, but he could play his way onto the team. Are they a playoff team? My heart would like to say yes based on my respect for the young core they have assembled, but my head is saying give it another year.
Check back here tomorrow when we preview the Los Angeles Kings and their upcoming season.
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