With many experts picking the Oilers to finish out of the playoffs and on the lower end of the conference standings there is no where to go but up. They will surprise some people with a playoff appearance and improved offence.
Everybody knows that preseason success doesn’t always result regular season wins. With a 5-1 preseason start the Oilers might not change many opinions or be called Cup contenders but it is a promising start for a team that has had its share of disappointments.
Roloson might not be the best back stop in the league and is increasing in age. If he stays healthy he can steal wins and give confidence to an Oilers team in front of him. They added depth this summer by acquiring Garon giving them a solid number two goalie that can give Roloson a rest when needed.
Edmonton will not be the best defensive team in the league this year, they might even be the worst. That being said, a great powerplay unit will win games and the ability to move the puck will help your offence score goals. They upgraded their offence from the blueline this summer with the additions of Souray, Pitkanen, Tarnstorm and Grebeshkov.
With Souray leading the powerplay and Pitkanen and Tarnstorm leading the rush the Oilers offence has got a much needed boost. It also gives the team an additional D-man to deal for an additional forward if (when) needed.
This is a Position that many think the Oil needed and failed to improve in this summer. The loss of Captan Canada was a hard one to take for Oilers fans and without an apparent replacement could struggle to find the net. The lowest scoring team in the NHL last season lost what they needed most….a goal scorer!
Penner will score as an Oiler and here is why. Hemsky! We all know that Hemsky doesn’t shoot enough but the one thing everybody agrees with is his ability to create opportunity. Penner will have more chances to score with Hemsky then he did playing on a line with Getzlef. Goals by committee needs to be the Oilers plan if they want to succeed in winning games. Horcoff and Stoll finding their stride and both becoming 20 goal scorers won't hurt either. Youth, and lots of it…Brodziak, Cogliano, Nilsson, O’Marra, Stortini, Schremp and Gagner will all have a chance to play with the club at some point this season. They will also have the opportunity to all play in an Oilers farm system together, something they didn’t have last year.
Having the ability to breakout of their defensive zone this year should give the Oilers forwards more chances to control the play. The Oilers may not have a 50 goal scorer but will not be the lowest scoring team in the league for a second year in a row.
Oilers finish 3rd in the Northwest and 7th in the Western Conference.