G1 11-12 Penguins at Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers enter their 32nd NHL season having just experienced the nadir of their existence. Pro sports teams often have ebbs and flows, owing to the aging of their stars or the financial consistency of their ownership, but the last two seasons have been something else again. Call it an experiment in losing, call it nightmare happenstance, call it a dream that paves the future, call it barely watchable. Fact: the Edmonton Oilers fanbase–since 2006 summer–have been caught in a bizarre hockey Groundhog Day, the last two 30th place seasons the icing on top or the bottom of the barrel.
Today the long climb to contention begins. It’s a long, long way.

There are youngsters everywhere on the roster, but this young man–a little older, now–will be front and center in a “restore the pride” campaign that will involve every shift of the season. The numbers to follow aren’t yet in the overall standings or even the conference totals, they are GF/GA, PP goals and PK goals. As a reminder, here are the totals from last season:

  • GF: 193 (league average 229)
  • GA: 269 (league average 229)
  • Difference: -76
  • PP goals: 44 (league average 52)
  • PP goals against: 74 (league average 52)

This is without a doubt Taylor Hall’s team now, but young Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will make his debut tonight and may one day rival Hall as the team’s franchise player. RNH will not deliver offensively as Hall did, and his overall game is more cerebral. I think Edmonton fans may be disappointed with his rookie season, after enjoying so many quality rookies one year ago (Hall,, MP, Eberle, Omark, Dubnyk). Here are the projected scoring totals for the 11-12 Oilers:

  1. Taylor Hall 70, 32-28-60
  2. Ales Hemsky 57, 17-37-54
  3. Jordan Eberle 82, 22-30-52
  4. Sam Gagner 70, 15-35-50
  5. Magnus Paajarvi 82, 20-20-40
  6. Linus Omark 70, 13-27-40
  7. Ryan Smyth 70, 18-19-37
  8. Eric Belanger 68, 13-23-36
  9. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 63, 11-23-34
  10. Shawn Horcoff 62, 13-18-31
  11. Ben Eager 69, 8-8-16
  12. Teemu Hartikainen 45, 7-8-15
  13. Darcy Hordichuk 44, 0-3-3
  14. Ryan Jones 64, 5-11-16
  15. Anton Lander 16, 1-3-4
  16. Gilbert Brule 10, 2-1-3
  17. Curtis Hamilton 10, 1-2-3
  18. Chris VandeVelde 14, 1-1-2
  19. Lennart Petrell 10, 1-1-2

Tommy Gilbert has about the same street cred as Tom Poti, but once again he’ll be counted on to lead the Oilers blue. A fine young player, I truly hope he’s appreciated at his next hockey stop. Here are the projected totals for Oilers defensemen this season:

  1. Ryan Whitney 50, 4-24-28
  2. Tom Gilbert 82, 5-23-28
  3. Cam Barker 66, 7-16-23
  4. Theo Peckham 70, 3-12-15
  5. Jeff Petry 50, 2-10-12
  6. Ladislav Smid 70, 1-7-8
  7. Taylor Chorney 38, 1-5-6
  8. Corey Potter 25, 0-5-5
  9. Andy Sutton 44, 0-3-3
  10. Taylor Fedun 3, 0-1-1
  11. Colten Teubert 4, 0-0-0

Clearly Taylor Fedun won’t deliver on those totals, but the RE series didn’t know he’d suffer that horrible injury.

Devan Dubnyk may start the season as the backup, but the starting goaltender (Khabibulin) has so many down arrows he might as well be a chuckwagon in a John Wayne movie (chuckwagons rarely survived in John Wayne movies). Here are the projected totals for Oilers G:

  1. Devan Dubnyk 40, 2.90 .917
  2. Yann Danis 30, 3.00 .905
  3. Nikolai Khabibulin 10, 3.40 .895
  4. David LeNeveu 2, 3.50 .880

I have the Oilers scoring 223 goals and allowing 247. That’s a goal differential of -24 goals; that represents a massive improvement. Last season’s -76 means there was a lot of improving to do, but Dubnyk’s move to starter and the addition of a solid backup when Khabibulin fades (it might not be Danis, the club could make a deal with someone like Washington) added to the experienced hands up front should be enough for the Oilers to improve markedly.

We don’t need to wait any longer. The results start coming in tonight. Godpseed Oilers, bless you boys.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

© Copyright - Lowetide.ca