The Oilers lack a “complete” player like Chris Pronger, but they have 4 quality defensemen who form the heart of the current team. In Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov Edmonton has four guys who can make a difference and a couple of them might even get better.
Rounding out the group are veteran Steve Staios, youngster Ladislav Smid and extra Jason Strudwick. Bubbling under is Theo Peckham who could surprise and make the team if there’s an injury or Strudwick loses another step.
Here are their reasonable expectations for 2009-10:
- Sheldon Souray 66gp, 17-25-42 (.636)
- Lubomir Visnovsky 66gp, 11-29-40 (.606)
- Tom Gilbert 82gp, 9-31-40 (.488)
- Denis Grebeshkov 71gp, 6-26-32 (.451)
- Ladislav Smid 65gp, 2-14-16 (.246)
- Steve Staios 75gp, 2-10-12 (.160)
- Jason Strudwick 30gp, 0-1-1 (.033)
Oilers blueliners scored 47 goals one year ago, I’m projecting the same number. With my forward projection total (208) we have 255 GF. That’s 27 more goals than a year ago, all from the forwards.
Next up: three goaltenders.