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Preview: Edmonton Oilers

Posted 5:24 PM ET | Comments 0
Primary Staff: Steve Tambellini (GM), Tom Renney (Head Coach)
2009-10 Stats: 82GP 27W 47L 8OTL 62PTS
Place: 5th Northwest, 15th West, 30th NHL
Top Scorer: Dustin Penner – 82GP 32G 31A 63P
Captains: Ales Hemsky (A), Shawn Horcoff (A)



Patrick O’Sullivan (Dealt to Phoenix)
Ethan Moreau (Waivers – Columbus)
Ryan Stone (Signed with Calgary)
Marc Pouliot (Signed with Tampa Bay)
Fernando Pisani (Signed with Chicago)


Taylor Hall (Selected 1st Overall)
Kurtis Foster (Free Agent)
Alexandre Giroux (Free Agent)
Colin Fraser (Acquired from Chicago)
Steve MacIntyre (Free Agent)
Jim Vandermeer (Acquired from Phoenix)
Martin Gerber (Free Agent)

With the recent demotion of Sheldon Souray, the Edmonton Oilers have a significant hole in one section on the club – defence. Last season, they made one of the first moves to right to ship, and that was dealing offensive defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky to the Anaheim Ducks for two-way defender Ryan Whitney.

Last season, the Oilers finished last for a reason and that can be accredited to quite a few things – consistency, lack of scoring ability, injuries, etc., but there is one specific stat that sticks out more than the rest – goals against. Edmonton topped off the year with a league worst 284 goals against, yet Khabibulin (0.909 SV%) and Deslauriers (0.901 SV%) posted respectable numbers for the last placed team in the league. Ultimately, that stat has pointed one direction on this club and that is at their defensive game.

The Edmonton Oilers will be searching for more of a stay at home approach on the back end, while still succeeding with the outlet pass. As long as they can push the puck outside of their own blueline, they can allow their forwards to clog up the neutral zone and hope for a turnover. Only two regulars on defence finished with a collective +6 in the plus/minus category last season, and that was Ladislav Smid (+5) and Ryan Whitney (+1). While the club has proven during the pre-season that they have a higher level of scoring capabilities this season, the real question that must be answered is whether or not this group of players can provide a secure and solid system in their defensive zone.

Prediction: 4th Northwest, 11th West


Dustin Penner – Shawn Horcoff – Ales Hemsky
Taylor Hall – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson – Andrew Cogliano – Gilbert Brule
Ryan Jones – Colin Fraser – Zack Stortini
Jean-Francois Jacques
Ben Ondrus

Ryan Whitney – Tom Gilbert
Sheldon Souray – Ladislav Smid
Kurtis Foster – Taylor Chorney
Jim Vandermeer – Jason Strudwick

Nikolai Khabibulin
Jeff Deslauriers
Martin Gerber
Devan Dubnyk

For more articles by Micheal Aldred, visit http://www.thecheckingline.com
Filed Under:   oilers   preview   horcoff   hemsky   defense   whitney   smid  
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