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Summerside, PEI • Canada •
Hello folks, and welcome to my first blog on HockeyBuzz! Just to start, my name is Adam Gallant, and I live for the Edmonton Oilers. As many other Oilers fans feel, I see this season as a letdown; not a major letdown, but one nonetheless. Many thought this would be the year that the Oil creep into the playoffs; we did not expect a Northwest division title, a 7th or 8th seed would have sufficed. The last time we got into the playoffs as an 8 seed, we remember reaching game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be taken out by the Carolina Hurricanes during Cam Ward's magical run. Since that time, we've had to put up with lacklustre seasons, and no playoff hockey; but the blessing of three 1st overall draft picks.rnrnThis year, we had a taste of the playoffs late into spring, only to finish the season 3-7-0 in the last 10 games (which included two meaningless blowout wins). What positives can we take from this season? The glaring one is the fact that Taylor Hall emerged as a legitimate star in the NHL. He finished 9th in league scoring with 50 points in 45 games, which equals a pace of 92 points had we have seen an 82 game season. Not only did he score points, his game went from a one dimensional offence to an adequate two way game. Yes, we know that Hall will likely continue to be a better offensive player than on the defensive side, but hey, the kid can play defensively when we need him. rnrnAnother bright spot was Devan Dubnyk. Dubie was a workhorse this year, playing 38 of 48 games; facing the 6th most shots in the league. His GAA and save percentage may have been in the lower half of the league, but look who he had playing in front of him. Justin Schultz is fair at best on the defensive side, Ryan Whitney is the same way. Smid is a shot blocker, but even he cannot help lower the amount of pucks getting through to Dubnyk. I truly believe though, that Dubnyk is our guy, he just needed to get his feet under him, and play the majority of a season. Watch for him next year to improve. rnrnRNH showed us once again that he struggles to stay healthy, hopefully this shoulder surgery will set him straight, and stop those issues. Eberle was not the player he was in 2011-2012, but showed flashes; I believe he will return to form next season. Paajarvi was a pleasant surprise, and Nail Yakupov showed that he is a legitimate scoring threat to add some balance to the top 6. This team is not far off. rnrnIn the Draft Lottery, we did not move up, or down. 7th overall is where we are picking this year; it seems odd not to be at the top. Of course, we will see Jones, MacKinnon, and Drouin gone by the time our pick rolls around. What we need is some size up the middle, or a defenceman that is solid all around. Perhaps Sean Monahan would do at the 7th pick? Or what about a guy like Mirco Mueller, Shea Theodore, or Ryan Pulock? They help on the defensive end, but I think I'd prefer something else. How about trade down to later in the first round, and receive a depth player in return. Deal the 7th pick to whoever has the 20th for a guy that can add some leadership and grit, and draft a kid close to the organization, Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings. I saw Lazar play in Halifax at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this past January; the kid had the guts to step up and have a decent scrap with the 4th ranked North American skater, Darnell Nurse. He is not scared to get his hands dirty, and would be a great fit with the Oilers. rnrnChanging directions, I'm going to provide my insight on this years playoffs: rnPenguins in 5 rnCanadiens in 7 rnRangers in 7rnBruins in 5rnBlackhawks in 4rnDucks in 6rnSharks in 6rnKings in 7rnrnI don't see the Pens, Hawks, or Bruins having any trouble in their first rounds. The rest of the series could go either way, they will definitely be exciting to watch. I have my eye particularly on the Rangers/Capitals series, and also the Canadiens/Senators. I expect to see the Senators come out quick and take the first game from the Habs, further worrying Montreal fans on their recent goaltending issues. rnPenguins over Rangers in 6rnBruins over Canadiens in 7rnBlackhawks over Sharks in 7rnDucks over Kings in 5 rnrn3 out of 4 projected second round matchups are divisional, providing for some serious excitement in my books. I see the Ducks as being a very sneaky team this spring, taking out last year's champs in 5 games. rnPenguins over Bruins in 5rnDucks over Blackhawks in 7 rnrnI believe with a healthy squad, the Penguins have the chance to run through teams, setting themselves up very nicely for a Stanley Cup victory. rnPenguins over Ducks in 6 rnrnI see Sidney Crosby having a huge playoffs, ending up with somewhere between 27-32 points over the run, also winning the Conn Smythe. rnrnThank you for reading, and I will return with some more playoff chatter, and of course more talk about my Edmonton Oilers.
Filed Under:   Edmonton Oilers  
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