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2010/11 Edmonton Oilers Predictions – Odds – Season Preview

2010-11 NHL Predictions/Previews: Edmonton Oilers

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EDMONTON OILERS
Stanley Cup odds: +7500

After seeing teams like Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles become powerhouses by building through the draft in the post-lockout era, the Edmonton Oilers have to be pretty frustrated. They’ve piled together one first-round pick after another but have nothing to show for it. In fact, despite having a young, speedy team, they finished with the NHL’s worst record last season.

Are the Oilers in store for more misery this season? Or will the young guns finally click?

Looking up and down the Oilers’ 2009-10 roster, it was easy to see why the roster flopped. The forward corps had speed to spare but, aside from Dustin Penner, seriously lacked size and strength. Ales Hemsky, Gilbert Brule, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner all have skill to their game but aren’t strong on the puck. Hemsky is also injury prone and both Gagner and Cogliano haven’t delivered the promise they showed as high-draft picks.

On the back end, the Oilers should’ve been better than they were. Sheldon Souray, Kurtis Foster, Ryan Whitney and Tom Gilbert are all big and relatively young, but they lost too many one-on-one battles. The Oil could use a blueliner with better foot speed.

Goaltending was a sore spot with the young and inexperienced Jeff Deslauriers filling in for injured Nikolai Khabibulin. But the Russian veteran netminder is healthy now and ready to reassume starting duties this season.

However, as bleak as last season was, there’s plenty of hope for 2010-11. The Oilers have three major new arrivals at forward: Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi. If training camp and the preseason tell us anything, they’ll be special. Hall, the first overall pick in the 2010 entry draft, has the hands and scoring touch of a bigger Patrick Kane; Eberle was an outstanding clutch scorer in junior; Paajarvi is an absolute burner.

Pessimists will look at the new arrivals and say “Hey, people talk up the Oliers’ youngsters every year. Why should this year be different?” But the more positive outlook suggests that Hall, Eberle and Paarjavi have a stronger pedigree than any other rookies to come through the Oilers’ system this decade.

If the Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings taught us anything last year, quick turnarounds are possible in the new NHL. The Oilers won’t become Cup contenders overnight but they haven’t enough talent to become relevant again and even flirt with a playoff berth this season.

I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. Expect the Oilers to mature into a bubble playoff team this season. Even if they fall short, they should be one of the most fun teams to watch.

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Comments

Comments

  1. The Oilers have put together “one first round pick after another”? Would that be the same one first round pick per year that every NHL team gets?

    Kurtis Foster and Ryan Whitney lost too many one-on-one puck battles for the Oilers last year? That’s surprising, considering that Whitney wasn’t with the Oilers for most of the season and Foster wasn’t for any of it.

    Anytime an Oilers playoff prediction is the third most embarrassing thing in an article, you know it’s time to quit.

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