PLAYOFFS? PLAY-OFFS?

It seems to me the Edmonton Oilers portion of the internet has gotten itself into a spot of bother. We’ve reached a point where some fans would like to smile, to dream, to imagine something better. Those thoughts are rarely expressed for fear of wrath from those who have miles of math, a mountain of history and a gift for pushing back on their side.

David Staples had an article at Cult of Hockey that asked if the Oilers will make the playoffs next season. About 55% of the respondents clicked yes; I have no idea if it was 4000 kids who were 12-15 or if it was guys my age who believe Edmonton has a shot.

My issue is this: it seems to me that we’ve lost the ability to have a conversation that involves any real kind of improvement. And I think that’s bad, very poor. It limits us, leaves us with something resembling shouting across the room and that results in frustration on both ends.

I don’t know if the Edmonton Oilers will make the playoffs this coming season. I’m looking at that now, as a matter of fact. My RE series shows Edmonton will improve (by my estimation) substantially in terms of offense (substantial being 20+ goals) and improve a little in GA too.

  • Oilers 10-11: 193-269 (avg: 229-229)
  • Oilers 11-12: 212-239 (avg: 224-224)

This is hockey-reference so your numbers may not jive, but it gives an indication of what’s happening with the hockey club. The other issue that seems to be out there is that the Oilers have not improved enough; I agree, but that is different than not improving at all.

IMPROVEMENTS

Edmonton’s gifted youth is a year older and of course there’s one more #1 overall selection. The defense has flushed Cam Barker and added Justin Schultz, and the new coach appears to have the charisma of a Baptist minister. The items I felt needed to be addressed entering summer were:

  1. A top pairing defenseman capable of delivering big minutes at evens and at least one of PK and PP. 20+ overall. Edmonton has not acquired this player, and reports of Marc Methot being a target suggests there’s a gap between what Oiler fans might expect and the player management is pursuing at this time.
  2. A better Renney. I have been amazed by the verbal from players in regard to Ralph Krueger. Initially, I felt this hiring was not a positive, but at this point am prepared to believe it could end up being quality.
  3. Justin Schultz or similar. They got the guy I had ranked as the #1 free agent target and that’s a huge positive. I understand growing pains and that he’ll make mistakes, but this is a splendid addition.
  4. A reasonable goaltending option for the Khabibulin free fall.  I believe the Yann Danis signing qualifies, his .924SP in OKC was among the best in the AHL.
  5. An established 2-way winger to mentor the young players who will compete for bottom 6 roles (Lander, Hartikainen, Pitlick, etc). Management didn’t acquire this player and I expect they’ll use a combination of Ryan Jones and Lennart Petrell in the role. I think this is a big item, but haven’t read too much elsewhere.
  6. Ryan Smyth or similar. Smyth signed at a reasonable number. I think it was a major item over the summer, but as with Schultz has been obscured as the weeks of inactivity rolled out.
  7. Get the rfa’s signed. Done. I’m not sure any of the contracts agreed with what we were thinking going in, but Gagner, Petry and Dubnyk are signed and ready to go for 12-13.

So, new coach plus Justin Schultz, Ryan Smyth and the rfa’s are onside with Yann Danis waiting in the wings.

Not yet done? Top 4D, two-way veteran from the Pisani tree.

In conclusion, I believe the Oilers will be better in 12-13. Reasons include a year older for the gifted kids, the emergence of the Smid-Petry tandem, signing Justin Schultz and Ales Hemsky’s health.

Will they make the playoffs? Without looking at it–and I haven’t examined the rest of the west because it feels like there is more work to do–my guess is somewhere between 9th and 12th.

However, I hope you consider this corner of the Al Gore as a place where you are free to express your views, even if it involves Edmonton in the playoffs this coming season. Prepare for dissenting opinion and have some reasoning to back up your claims.

I would encourage those who feel Edmonton will finish 29th or 30th again to express those views too.

And as with all of these things, I ask you do it in the spirit of Kim Gernack, who taught me a great thing about the internet: when clarity of thought and respect for others holds sway, the conversation is alive.

 

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103 Responses to "PLAYOFFS? PLAY-OFFS?"

  1. hunter1909 says:

    Every year for the past 5 I’ve always picked Oilers to end up in 6th place. Unfortunately, they seem to think I meant 6th in the division.

    This year I’ll probably get all excited and do the same, but right now it does appear unlikely they can make the playoffs. Assuming an entire season, they should at least be in the race until March – given the exponential improvement expected(by me lol) from the Fantastic Four + improvements from Smid/Petry/+new boy Schultz.

    As for the “veterans”, one wonders just how much power they’re giving the head coaches around Edmonton, given Renney’s incredible/baffling management of them last season. Having said that, Belanger/Eager/Hordichuck etc should expect to be correctly used by (freddie)Krueger, as well as Smyth/Horcoff who were likewise misused by vanilla Tom.

    Finally, I seriously doubt if anyone dares to imagine how Yakupov will impact the team. From the few seconds available on Youtube, the kid already looks like one of those old timey guys like Kharlamov…plus none of the rival fans i talk to seem to have much to say about the effect of the new additions(too stunned to comment).

    I’m talking myself back into that 6th place prediction.

  2. DBO says:

    One big issue will be the improvement of the teams in our own division. Minnesota, who always gives us trouble, got better. Calgary I would argue got better (although I think we are better in a year or two they are better right now). Colorado got better, picking up some useful actual NHLers (something we still refuse to do). And Vancouver is still ahead of us in all facets, and look to improve somewhat when they deal Luongo (they may not get much, but an NHL forward or dman will be coming back and that makes their depth better).

    So in our own division you can argue we are last. I think a bunch f Western teams will drop, but when you play half your games against the top teams it will hurt. I think we are officially in the MLB American East, and dare I say, we are the Blue Jays. A lot of young talent, a few stars, and lots of question marks in our pitching staff (blueline). We will be competitive with our Div, and maybe inch towards 11th or 12th, with a decision come trade deadline as to whether we buy for today, or wait one more year (same Dilemma the Jays face right now).

    Personally I see us at 12th, like 8 pts from a playoff spot (still outside striking distance) come deadline, and I hope we deal off Belanger. Sutton, Bulin, etc. for picks or prospects and run with more kids to finish the year. if the kids step up (Lander, MPS, Harti) and we make playoffs then our development will be stepped up and that`s great. We learn nothing if a bunch of old guys who are gone in a year or two drag us into the playoffs and our kids are getting their show run. Then next year we have MPS, Harti and possibly Lander in the lineup, and you make a real run at playoffs by adding a piece or two and use our stockpile of prospects to add youngish (25-28) real NHLers that will be here for 4-5 years.

  3. Dipstick says:

    I thought that the team would make substantial improvement (in the standings) last year. The Black Swan will undoubtedly appear at some point so I am going to temper my expectations this year. If they can avoid major injuries to key players, I believe that they can compete for a playoff spot.

  4. godot10 says:

    Right now the season is riding on Ryan Whitney’s ankle.

    One more solid 2nd pairing defensive D would mean they should be able to hang with the pack. Playoffs would then require puck luck.

  5. Justified says:

    My heart says playoffs are a reasonable possibility. I love how ST has stuck to his guns about building internally plus if these gifted kids get on a roll and start to strut their stuff (fingers x’d-no major injuries) . . . suweet.

  6. mumbai max says:

    For the Oil to get 96 points would require a lot of things to happen. Hall, Hemsky and Whitney to have injury free seasons. Dubnyk to evolve. Khabby not to implode. Yak to snipe. Shultz to be the godlike dman that is advertised. Freddie to be Svengali like. And of course one or two surpises. Klefbom anyone? Can all of these happen at the same time. Not likely, but POSSIBLE. And that after all is what keeps us here is it not? Go oil.

  7. Quidge says:

    “A better Renney. I have been amazed by the verbal from players in regard to Ralph Krueger. Initially, I felt this hiring was not a positive, but at this point am prepared to believe it could end up being quality.”

    Krueger is so good that he is inspiring fans without actually speaking to them.

  8. Henry says:

    DBO,

    That is the right analysis regarding the playoffs. We have to ask who is better and worse than the Oilers heading into next year.

    I think the Oilers will have a fierce powerplay that will help win games. Their home record is going to be good because they’ll get better matchups for Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle and Yakupov. We’ll see whether they can make the playoffs by how many points they give up on long road trips in December and January. They’ll be competitive.

    The way the team is structured now, being truly competitive probably depends on Ryan Whitney’s health. If he is close to what he was in 2010 it will help get the right result in close games.

  9. striatic says:

    between Whitney’s ankle and Hall’s shoulder and the margin for error being so slight, i think the playoffs are an impossibility.

    unless there is a shortened season, which would be a godsend.

  10. Quidge says:

    As for where the Oilers will finish, I think an improvement of about 12-15 points again would have to be considered a success. So between 86 and 90 points and being in the hunt until at least March would be a happy season for me. That being said, with the parity in the league, if we were to get a few bounces go our way, we could squeak into 8th. Should be a fun year to watch regardless.

  11. Jordan says:

    Since I started coming out here, there have been a lot of conversations about prospects and development. Many a discussion has been had over the details of how to do this best, who is succeeeding, failing, not trying hard enough needs to do X, y, and/or Z better, and the like.

    The one piece that I clearly remember being a cornerstone of those conversations was LT talking about how development is not linear. It jumps around like a topographical map in the rocky mountains. THere’s hills, and valleys and plateaus all over the place. No one really knows how it is going to go, so all that we as intelligent observers of teh game can do is watch and look for patterns, whether that’s in the makeup of the hockey players, the numbers they generate, or the team that’s developing them.

    What can we say for sure about the Oilers?
    – They have a much better development system now than they did 6 years ago.
    – They are pursuing and retaining coaches, managers, and scouts to try to add to the thinking power of the organization
    – They have a large number of highly talented players (moreso than they have had since the 80s) and prospects who may or may not turn out
    – They have a lot of prospect depth (assuming you consider the young elite forward corp in the NHL as prospects – they haven’t hit their NHL prime yet)
    - They are working very hard to create an Oilers identity, by drafting players and building from within

    I remember a lot of talk as well about bullets. How every player you draft is another bullet that could turn into an impact NHLer.

    The Oilers have drafted a lot of players over the last 3 years, and I expect they will continue to do so for at least a couple more seasons.

    The Oilers faithful have been watching the team for a long time. We haven’t had a lot to really cheer about in the hockey results side of things for 6 yerars, and before that it’s another 5 before they got anything done in the playoffs. The Oilers have been a mediocre to bad team for a long time. So, it’s understandable that a lot of fans would have a lot of trouble imagining things breaking right for the team – historically, it doesn’t happen much, and in recent memory, even if it does, it may not end well (right Lauren?)

    —–

    This team had one of it’s bright lights go nuclear last year. Eberle’s season was spectacular. There’s a lot of doubt that he will replicate it, but it’s enough to say that he has shown he can be an elite playmaker and scorer in the NHL. Now what’s left to define is the consistency. Between him, Hall, Yak, and RNH, the Oilers have some enormous potentials. Add in players like Hemsky and Gagner who could also be due for some production increases (please baby jesus…) some young defenders like Petry and J. Schultz whose NHL upside is still a question mark, and the potential for a bounce-back for Mr. Whitney…

    This is a team that could super-nova any time. I can understand the fear of disappointment if the doesnt happen, but… This is a real possibility. I don’t know if it happens this year, next year, or in 5 years.

    But it’s possible. And with all of the potential this team has right now, if something starts to break right, there could be quite the chain reaction.

  12. Bar_Qu says:

    the charisma of a Baptist minister

    Must be a nod to Jon McLeod!

    DBO,

    That looks like a pretty astute guess, though I wonder at Calgary doing that well. I don’t know that they added all that much.

  13. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    Great read LT.

    With the uncertainty of Whitney and that of Dubnyk, with Hall out to start the season add to that two players whom have never played in the NHL before I can honestly say the Oilers are a lottery team next year.

    They had huge holes to fill and only filled one, we still signed the same players we had on a losing team.

    The Oilers, I believe desperately needed size and a two way winger to take pressure off of Smyth and Horcoff, and to give the kids some room to do there thing.

    Not to mention the Oiler still need a top pairing defensemen. There are gapping holes in the line up still, take into account the Oilers are a soft team to play against and we have similar issue’s to last year.

    14th in the west and 25th overall

  14. nathan says:

    I figure they’ll still be in the hunt in March, mostly because the season will start in early December. Then again a shortened season might help them get into the playoffs. Best thing to improve the odds is whatever shortens the game.

  15. serum114 says:

    It always blows me away when I consider goal differential improved by 49 last year and place in standings by 1. Helps you understand how far back they were starting… I put a lot of stock in GD, and last year the team was #23 overall and #12 in the West. The last playoff team had a +10 to the Oilers -27, so even an improvement of 20-25 goals leaves them short of that marker.

    My knee jerk was that this year will be the ‘close and competitive, but not quite there’ performance. The one that gets the fans and pundits excited about the team, but still finding them just short. So, I’d say 9th-11th is a reasonable expectation, and somewhere around 18th-20th overall…

  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I have a feeling we are entering standings purgatory this year — outside playoffs, outside meaningful 1st round picks.

    11th in the conference, 22nd in the league. big improvement, still outside looking in.

    (sidebar… does anyone expect re-alignment to go through whenever the new CBA takes effect?, ie. could we be seeing the new 4-conference structure this year? that would effect things, no doubt)

    I think it would take freak health or injury (to us or others) to move us too far up or down from that 11th bittersweet spot.

    striatic:
    unless there is a shortened season, which would be a godsend.

    I think that is a great point. A short season removes the smoothing-out factor that big sample sizes make happen… we could benefit from a well timed blip in variance.

  17. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    Wes Mantooth-11,

    I would also like to mention that I still view this as a positive step in the rebuild, one more year stronger and yet another elite talent.

    This will bring the Oilers to the end of the rebuild with another core piece.

  18. jonrmcleod says:

    As a Baptist minister, I thank you for assuming that I have charisma.

  19. jonrmcleod says:

    My head says 10th place; my gut says 8th.

  20. Ribs says:

    striatic: unless there is a shortened season, which would be a godsend.

    This could be a huge item for the Oilers. If they start in January anything could be possible. I could see them riding a wave right into the playoffs, no problem.

    A full season means likely no playoffs, though. Too many things hang in the balance for everything to go the Oilers way. You can see things starting to come into form, but the defence is going to be marginally better than last season and goaltending could still be an issue. Those were the big problems last year and it appears it will be about the same this year with the young guys having a good learning year under their belts and whatever pluses Justin Schultz ends up bringing to the table in his first NHL season.

  21. D says:

    The Oilers can make the playoffs this year if a lot of pieces fall into place. It doesn’t seem to me that the team will slowly improve and then kind of naturally slide their way into the playoffs. More likely, there will be a major, unexpected jump from really bad to really good. It could happen this year, who knows.

    Last year in the early part of the season, this team looked really good on the ice. Afterwards they looked really bad. At some point, the really good will start and just stay that way for most of the season.

  22. dessert1111 says:

    If things break right, I think we can squeak into 7th or 8th. That would mean the rookies impressing and the kids and vets improving. If Whitney is healthy or we acquire a top 2 d-man, and if we made the playoffs, maybe we can pull off some sort of cinderella run to the finals again. I’m not counting on it but there is a lot of talent on the team and some more bubbling under as well. A defenseman near the calibre of Weber would push this team over the edge, I think.

  23. Ribs says:

    Oilers tweet….

    #Oilers have agreed to terms with defenceman Alex Plante and centre Chris Vande Velde on one-year contracts.

  24. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    Western Conference
    1. St. Louis Blues
    2. Los Angeles Kings
    3. Vancouver Canucks
    4. Chicago Blackhawks
    5. San Jose Sharks
    6. Nashville Predators
    7. Detroit Red Wings
    8. Minnesota Wild
    9. Dallas Stars
    10. Colorado Avalanche
    11. Calgary Flames
    12. Phoenix Coyotes
    13. Columbus Blue Jackets
    14. Edmonton Oilers
    15. Anaheim Ducks

    Edmonton Oilers 25th overall and the 5th pick in the draft.

    With the 5th selection in the 2013 NHL entry draft the Edmonton Oilers are so proud to select, from the Ottawa 67’s Sean Monahan!

    Book it!

  25. boopronger says:

    If they are basically injury free, they will sneak into eighth. Probably not gonna happen so ill say 11th.

  26. SinceTheWHADays says:

    No one expected the Setators to make the playoffs last year, and St. Loius was bad before Hitchcock arrived. I honestly believe good coaching can improve a club enough to win 10-12 more games. We’ve got good to great players that just need to reach they’re potential, I think Krueger can help make that happen. So even though we havnt gotten bigger on the wings (yet) or added a proven D (yet) I believe we Now have a coach who turns us into buyers at the deadline and at least one round of playoffs.

  27. rich says:

    LT:

    My sense would be that the Oilers finish 12th in the west. I can see where we start slow but as the kids continue to grow the pieces will fall in place and we’ll be a team no one wants to play by the end of the year.

    But the first half of the season will be about Hall’s slow recovery, Shultz the younger learning how to play at the NHL level and Yakupov creating lot’s of wows out there.

    Not unlike Chicago in 2007-2008.

    I do like the hiring of Krueger but I think there will be one more battle to fight this year, and that’s on Khabibulin. I agree, the Oilers need an option for the crumbling Bulin wall, but I’m not convinced that they’ll ever go to that option unless there is in fact an injury.

    Or said another way, there’s been no accountability with this guy in 3 years, just excuses. What makes anyone think that will change now?

  28. Dee Dee says:

    I’m of the opinion that the Oilers HAVE to make the playoffs.

    Six years of being the worst team in the league, the natives are restless.

    Another horrible year and you have to think that the management gets cleaned out from top to bottom, and they are going to do everything in their power to prevent that. Their young core who have always won prior to becoming Oilers have to see some sort of future with possibilities or they will start demanding trades as their contracts come up.

    This is the most complete team (and the season hasn’t even started yet) we’ve seen since when? 2006 trading deadline? There are a lot fewer holes in the good ship Oilers and their coach appears to be pretty dynamic too.

    The switch has flipped, this is the year.

    This is the year that the coach is told to win every game.

    This is the year that they are Buyers, not Sellers. If they are within reach at the deadline they pull off the trades to make them competitive and reach for that last playoff spot. If a key player falls, they replace him by trading some assets.

    This is the year that they put the right Goalie in net, every night. That alone is worth points.

    This is the year they have depth, plenty of talent in the minors and there are players waiting to bust out.

    This is the year that the young bucks shoulder the load leaving the older vets fresher and able to help out when they are needed the most.

    Confidence is strange thing. When a team doesn’t have it they look much worse than they really are, and when they do have it everything seems easier.

    The fans confidence has been kicked in the teeth too, so it’s easy to just look for small improvement, it’s the safe thing.

    But when the switch flips you aren’t going to recognize these guys.

  29. Mad Professor says:

    serum114:
    It always blows me away when I consider goal differential improved by 49 last year and place in standings by 1. Helps you understand how far back they were starting… I put a lot of stock in GD, and last year the team was #23 overall and #12 in the West. The last playoff team had a +10 to the Oilers -27, so even an improvement of 20-25 goals leaves them short of that marker.

    I’ve given up on predicting where the Oilers will finish, but the matter of last year’s much improved goal differential also sticks in my head. Because of this, I often find myself wondering if the team is nearing a ‘tipping’ point’, where GD improvement actually translates into a significant jump in the standings. Perhaps that’s simply wishful thinking, or maybe there is some math out there that can back up this possibility? There have been teams with drastic year over year improvement in the standings in the recent past. Was there any pattern, such as improved GD in previous years, that might have predicted it? Or are we forever at the mercy of the fickle hockey gods?

  30. Ducey says:

    I think goal differential is the best way to judge a team. All of the teams that had a positive goal differential (and two that didn’t) made the playoffs last year.

    Last year the Oilers were tied with ANA for 24th best GD. They probably finished worse than they deserved.

    If they improve as much as they did last year, they will have a positive GD easily. I think they are bound to have inconsistency so I am predicting that they break even next year in GD. This will likely leave them just out of the playoffs.

    I predict 10th in the West (ahead of CLB, ANA, DAL, MINN and CGY) and 21st overall.

    If the season is delayed, all bets are off, as it will be a crap shoot. A team like DAL could do well in a short season but I think all their senior citizens will break down over a full 82.

    So in our own division you can argue we are last. I think a bunch f Western teams will drop, but when you play half your games against the top teams it will hurt. I think we are officially in the MLB American East, and dare I say, we are the Blue Jays.

    I would agree with the Blue Jays comparison, but the Northwest division is not the AL East. The NW had one team make the playoffs last year. If anything you could argue VAN has been feasting on weak teams and are not as good as they think they are.

  31. commonfan14 says:

    Wes Mantooth-11: Western Conference
    1. St. Louis Blues

    Funny how we evaluate other teams as compared to the Oilers. If the Oil had been in the bottom third of the league in goals per game and managed a 2 seed last year based on two former backup goalies posting career-best save percentages, I doubt many of us would be expecting them to improve next year.

  32. Bar_Qu says:

    Wes Mantooth-11,

    You are a veritable optimistic fountain.

    Detroit will not be as good, neither will Nashville (Suter was as important to Weber as Weber was to Suter) and Minnesota is only equivalent to Edm, with CBJ doing worse ( Steve Mason is still in net, and Aucoin is still playing D).

  33. OilClog says:

    If injuries don’t destroy the line up this season, this team can and will battle for 8th.

    I believe Ralph will be able to get this team protecting its lead instead of giving them away. Just how hot of a start would last season of been if the oilers didn’t give up all those leads. A year of experience is gojng to cause this team to jump in the standings.

    Calgary.. Has not got any better
    Minnesota.. Hope all that money works
    Colorado.. Young, who knows what to expect.
    Van.. That boat has sailed, Kessler is breaking down, Sedins are scared of the playoffs.

    Detroit.. Obviously
    Chicago.. Beatable, still have Toews though, his will power will finish 5th atleast.
    Nashville.. Question marks
    St Louis.. Very good, unless the hitchcock ride comes crashing down
    Columbus.. It’s inevitable, just trade Ryan Murray to us :)

    LA.. Maybe they’ll sleep in again
    San Jose.. Is it over?
    Anahiem.. It’s over
    Dallas.. Weird, I don’t think they’re any better.. And no more Ott!!
    Phoenix.. Damn you Tippet!

    If there is a next season, Oilers if healthy can make some really loud noise we haven’t heard in a long time. Here’s to my usual this is the year hoping!

  34. Bar_Qu says:

    This would be my guess (totally scientific and accurate to within 15 places)

    Western Conference
    1. Los Angeles Kings
    2. Vancouver Canucks
    3. St. Louis Blues
    4. Chicago Blackhawks
    5. San Jose Sharks
    6. Dallas Stars
    7. Phoenix Coyotes
    8. Nashville Predators
    9. Detroit Red Wings
    10. Minnesota Wild
    11. Edmonton Oilers
    12. Colorado Avalanche
    13. Calgary Flames
    14. Columbus Blue Jackets
    15. Anaheim Ducks

  35. flyfish1168 says:

    There are many people that believes the Oilers need to accuire a verteran forward to mentor the kids. I’m not in this camp. I truly beleive we have to many forwards.This is sending a mix message to the kids and dressing room. I would like to see Magnus and Teemu start with the the Oilers and give them ice time. They don’t have much to prove by going down to the AHL. Give them a role and stick to it. Not what Renney did to Magnus. Getting Smyth back hurt Magnus more thatn helped last year. Healthy competition at camp with the forwards we have is a good thing but I would look at moving Jones and Belanger out off the lineup.
    I have always like the idea of Magnus being tried at Center before Hall just because he is more responsible defensively.

  36. delooper says:

    Calgary could tank this season and Edmonton could place ahead of them in the division. IMO there’s some reasonableness in that expectation.

  37. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    Bar_Qu: Wes Mantooth-11, You are a veritable optimistic fountain.Detroit will not be as good, neither will Nashville (Suter was as important to Weber as Weber was to Suter) and Minnesota is only equivalent to Edm, with CBJ doing worse ( Steve Mason is still in net, and Aucoin is still playing D).

    Actually I don’t see me putting Edmonton down as a lottery team a negative rather I see it as another positive step in the re-build process.

    This isn’t six years of rebuilding it’s year 4 or as the Oilers see it year 3 of a 5 year plan.

    Detroit still has extremely good players and added during the off season. I see only a minor dip

    Nashville lost Suter, so who’s the better defenseman? Suter or Weber, my bet is that Weber make’s Ellis look amazing, with only Suter leaving I see only a minor change.

    If you think that adding Parise and Suter is equivalent to the Oilers you need to stop under valuing what Minnesota now has, Parise will make Heatly and Setoguchi better, Suter will make Gilbert better.

    Not to mention Brodziak, Clutterbuck, and a healthy Backstrom Minnesota will be a vastly improved team this year.
    I’m not saying Minnesota is going to win the division but they will make the playoffs.

    The Oilers don’t have a top pairing defensemen, don’t have the same type of checking center as Minnesota, don’t have the same type of grit as Cutterbuck and the goaltending isn’t proven

    As for CBJ, there defense is better then the Oilers! There forwards just got bigger and stronger and as long as the put points up by committee they can over take the Oilers, by the way they have Bobrovsky now as a goalie unproven but no different the Dubnyk

  38. gcw_rocks says:

    When the Oilers talked about a 5-6 year rebuilding plan, my expectation was this should be a year where Edmonton challenges for a playoff spot. I din’t think they would make it, but they should be playing meaningful games in late March.

    Based on what the Oilers have done this summer, or more accurately what they haven’t done, I don’t see that happening.

    Khabby is still with the team and if he plays like he did the last two seasons, even at 30 starts he will drag this team out of contention.

    Second, the team is still banking on Whitney making a full recovery, which is a really really bad bet.

    I would expect the team to improve on last year, but 11th or 12th in the West would seem as good as one could realistically hope for.

  39. Thinker says:

    I voted yes at the edmonton journal, but only because i don’t want to bet against my team. If i had to guess i would say 8-13 is the range. Remembering that the west is extremely closd is key. Power rankings look something like this right now(my opinion).

    Los Angeles
    St louis*
    Vancouver
    Chicago
    San Jose
    Dallas
    Minnesota
    Detroit
    Edmonton
    Pheonix
    Nashville
    Colorado
    Anaheim
    Calgary
    Columbus
    *denotes possible decline based on luck
    My guess is that it’s gonna be close.

  40. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    commonfan14: Funny how we evaluate other teams as compared to the Oilers. If the Oil had been in the bottom third of the league in goals per game and managed a 2 seed last year based on two former backup goalies posting career-best save percentages, I doubt many of us would be expecting them to improve next year.

    Halak is a proven goalie, I could argue that it might not matter what goalie the Blues put out there, that is a very complete team that plays an extremely disciplined defensive game

    With additions of Tarasenko – Schwartz and possible Rattie it’s a good bet the blues look to continue to improve there game

  41. Smarmy says:

    If Dubnyk extrapolates last year’s numbers (once he became a starter) to a full season then I believe they would challenge for a playoff spot. That said, I’m not a convinced enough to be a believer.

  42. BrazilianOil says:

    I think the management is more focused in continuing the rebuild than make the playoff.

    Just adds 2 young players at the rooster and give a chance to a younger goalie.

  43. Downright Fierce says:

    I’m with Jim Mora on this one.

    A friend put me on the spot the other day & I said 11th in the West. 10th was on my tongue, but I downgraded because I’m a pessimist I guess (when it comes to the Oil). Too many ifs, not enough proven experience. It’ll be a joy to watch most certainly. A stellar year from Dubnyk or any ‘tender(s) could see them in the mix come the thaw… But you playoffs guys are anticipating many, many things breaking right for the Oilers. Not only that, but you are anticipating teams with more depth & experience to have an even greater number of things break wrong.

    Playoffs 2013 is a mirage. Lots of asphalt yet, but I see the glimmer & the numbers on the road signs are getting smaller.

    While we’re prognosticating, I’ll wager Yakupov will be the Oilers’ only 1st overall pick to see the post-season during his ELC.

  44. cc says:

    I lightly compare these Oilers to the 07-08 Hawks team, although I think that we are a couple of steps behind the 2007-08 Chicago Blackhawks. specifically on defense. The Hawks with only one major change on the player side (Brian Campbell) & a coaching change jumped 16 points to become a playoff team. The Oilers added two major unexperienced pieces (Yakupov & Schultz) and also added a new head coach, but the Oilers don’t have the vet presence that the Hawks did.

    Therefore I’m predicting roughly 10 – 12 point jump which puts the Oilers at around 86 – 88 points and should finish 11th.

  45. commonfan14 says:

    Wes Mantooth-11: Halak is a proven goalie, I could argue that it might not matter what goalie the Blues put out there, that is a very complete team that plays an extremely disciplined defensive game
    With additions of Tarasenko – Schwartz and possible Rattie it’s a good bet the blues look to continue to improve there game

    It’s fine to expect their offense to improve, but keep in mind that if you take Halak and Elliot’s stats from last year and apply their career average save percentages (still higher in Halak’s case than the .910 he posted with St. Louis last year) instead of their actual sky high ones, the team’s goal differential drops from +45 to +7 and they’d have likely been a bubble team in the West.

    Maybe it’s sustainable and maybe it isn’t. Just pointing out that I think the Oilers would be viewed a lot more critically around here under the same circumstances.

  46. PaperDesigner says:

    This is, and remains, a team that needs its younger players to find the level that they can play at for a decade. Hall, Schultz, Yakupov, Eberle, Gagner, Petry, Paajarvi, Nugent-Hopkins and Dubnyk. We need to see the light go on for the majority of these players before expecting anything.

    I say it comes together in the 2013-2014 season. This year is a playoff bubble team, but they will finish outside.

  47. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    commonfan14,

    That’s a fair comment I think under the circumstances and even with the depth the Blues have it’s a fair comment to question there goaltending, just as I’m sure we would be doing the same if that were the Oilers.

    Having said that the Blues have a solid, solid team that plays a very disciplined game, so I agree that there goalies don’t have to be great just good, I don’t fore see there goal differential dropping off in GF in fact it should increase, with maybe a slight increase in GA, it should even out in the end IMO keeping them right around were I have them.

  48. jfry says:

    so gagner is 220 pts in 366 games (.6pts/gm)
    voracek is 183 in 319 games (.57pt/gm)

    gagner signs for 3.2 for 1
    jakub 17m over 4

    i wonder if that type of cash is what it would have taken to sign samwise over 4 years…seems like a big pump…

    it’s cool watching two guys drafted back to back be so eerily similar on the score sheet

  49. buster says:

    Whether or not we make the playoffs there are going to be some amazing moments watching our young guys dazzle. Exciting times lay ahead and fire wagon hockey will be our brand. As for not being able to win with that style, they said that in the eighties and as a season ticket holder I can tell you the naysayers got awful quiet. Big thanks to the old WHA Winnipeg Jets for showing Glen Sather the way!!

  50. striatic says:

    Western Conference
    1. Los Angeles Kings
    2. Vancouver Canucks
    3. St. Louis Blues
    4. Chicago Blackhawks
    5. Detroit Red Wings
    6. San Jose Sharks
    7. Phoenix Coyotes
    8. Nashville Predators
    9. Minnesota Wild
    10. Dallas Stars
    11. Edmonton Oilers
    12. Colorado Avalanche
    13. Calgary Flames
    14. Columbus Blue Jackets
    15. Anaheim Ducks

    This is me at my most optimistic.. Edmonton at 11th based on Iginla and Kipprusoff falling apart mid season, the Blue Jackets not recovering, an intentional tank by Anaheim and our young core being better than Colorado’s.

    In a shortened season, if the dice roll right I can see the following ..

    Dallas we have a shot at beating. Watched them play a ton last year and they really are a high wire act.

    The Wild have improved too much over the summer and weren’t as bad as they looked at the end of last year. Still not a playoff team though and maybe gettable in a short season.

    That puts Edmonton 9th, with the higher teams too consistent a bunch to overcome even in a short season. If Doan leaves PHX and Smith regresses, there is a shot at 8th.

  51. DSF says:

    jfry:
    so gagner is 220 pts in 366 games (.6pts/gm)
    voracek is 183 in 319 games (.57pt/gm)

    gagner signs for 3.2 for 1
    jakub 17m over 4

    i wonder if that type of cash is what it would have taken to sign samwise over 4 years…seems like a big pump…

    it’s cool watching two guys drafted back to back be so eerily similar on the score sheet

    P/60 5V5

    11/12

    Gagner – 1.96

    Voracek – 2.41

    10/11

    Gagner – 1.91

    Voracek – 1.95

    09/10

    Gagner – 1.56

    Voracek – 2.06

    It appears Gagner is reaping the benefit of playing more minutes.

    You would think Voracek will build on his promotion to Giroux’ line and pull away.

  52. DSF says:

    striatic:
    Western Conference
    1.Los Angeles Kings
    2.Vancouver Canucks
    3.St. Louis Blues
    4.Chicago Blackhawks
    5. Detroit Red Wings
    6.San Jose Sharks
    7.Phoenix Coyotes
    8.Nashville Predators
    9.Minnesota Wild
    10. Dallas Stars
    11.Edmonton Oilers
    12.Colorado Avalanche
    13.Calgary Flames
    14.Columbus Blue Jackets
    15.Anaheim Ducks

    This is me at my most optimistic.. Edmonton at 11th based on Iginla and Kipprusoff falling apart mid season, the Blue Jackets not recovering, an intentional tank by Anaheim and our young core being better than Colorado’s.

    In a shortened season, if the dice roll right I can see the following ..

    Dallas we have a shot at beating. Watched them play a ton last year and they really are a high wire act.

    The Wild have improved too much over the summer and weren’t as bad as they looked at the end of last year. Still not a playoff team though and maybe gettable in a short season.

    That puts Edmonton 9th, with the higher teams too consistent a bunch to overcome even in a short season. If Doan leaves PHX and Smith regresses, there is a shot at 8th.

    You, like many others are seriously under rating the moves made by Minnesota this off season.

    IMO, next season is all about the emergence of Minnesota and STL as elite teams in the WC.

    Minny added a top 5 winger, a top 5 defenseman, one of the best faceoff guys in the league in Konopka and a hard to play against Torrey Mitchell, all without touching their prospect depth which IMO is the best in hockey.

    Their centre depth alone is remarkable.

    Koivu

    Granlund (1st round pick)

    Brodziak

    Cullen

    Coyle (1st round pick)

    Phillips (1st round pick)

    Adding Suter to a developing defense that includes Falk (6’5″ 215), Stoner (6’3″ 225), Scandella (6’3″ 210) Brodin and Dumba, makes them a very tough team to play against.

    With the truculence of Clutterbuck, Brodziak, Falk, Stoner, Konopka and Mitchell, they’ll be a real load.

    Expect they could win the NW with their additions and a healthy Koivu.

  53. russ99 says:

    Interesting points in this thread..

    To me the biggest is – if the plan isn’t working and we’re looking at a non-playoff standing by November and/or a bottom 3 finish around Christmas, will Tambellini sit on his hands, or will the Oilers do something to fix it? Even a waiver claim here or there for once?

    To me, the real weakness of the Oilers and what could keep them out of the playoffs are going to bat again with the same subpar, declining and underperforming players as last year and expecting different results.

    Sure Gagner and Hemsky could bounce back, that’s possible. But the real focus is the 3rd and 4th lines, the second defensive pairing masquerading as a first pairing (and down the line) and Khabi getting any extended playing time other than a spot start here or there.

  54. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Of course there’s not much point in these predictions until Sep, but yah, somehwere between 9th and 12th seems about right at this point LT. There’s just no depth to account for even 1 injury to a key player.

    Where the frustration that you’re talking about comes in is the bar seems to be set so low by management and ownership (and some fans) that just “competing” is considered an accomplisment. The strategy from MPOV is when the kids are 22-24 years old management will pick up useful pieces to complete the team. So they’re going to flush 8 or 9 years of the Oilers existance in between?

    Pure incompetence and indecision. There’s many examples of teams drastically improving over 1-3 year periods. It took some deft moves and a bit of luck, but management doesn’t seem to want to take any risk for fear of failure (and their jobs) – so they’ll just do the minimum and shove the blame to coaches, players, injuries etc when the inevitable happens. Oilers – Built on hope since 2009.

    The standings predictions above seem about right. I could see Minny in 4 or 5 and Detroit 7-9. Phoenix and Nash should drop down a few spots. Realignment please! If the Oilers played in the SE division they’d make the playoffs.

  55. OilClog says:

    I can’t see the Kings having that strong of a regular season. It’s a long summer for those guys, not many cup teams come back the following year and dominate anymore. They have a excellent roster, just going to be a tired bunch in October. One off month and you’re looking in from the outside.

    1. Blues
    2. Sharks.. Someone has to win the division might squeak it out over the kings.
    3. Nucks.. Division play is getting stronger, they’re facing a downslide, this
    Could be their last banner for awhile.
    4. Wings
    5. Hawks
    6. Kings.. If hangover rules apply.
    7. Avs.. These young bubbling teams are going to break out sooner or later
    8. Oil
    9. Wild.. 200million and still out.
    10. Preds
    11. Yotes
    12. Flames
    13. BJ’s
    14. Ducks

  56. Kris11 says:

    Accordinga to behindthenet.ca, Edmonton was 16th best in SH% and 20th best in team SV% in 11-12. To me, that means that had pretty average to poor luck with average to poor bounces bounces and/or some pretty poor goaltending.

    If you bump the percentages up a bit, and the Oilers start to do just a little better outshooting the opposition (as the first overalls round into form), I think you have a playoff team.

    I’d say the odds if making the playoffs are 15%. The odds are bad, but not ugly,

  57. Traktor says:

    Wow Carolina signs Semin for 1 year/7M.

    That’s the best UFA signing of the year IMO.

    93M less than Parise.

  58. DSF says:

    1) MIN

    2) STL

    3) LA

    4) VCR

    5) CHI

    6) DET

    7) SJS

    8) NSH

    9) CGY

    10) COL

    11) DAL

    12) EDM

    13) CLB

    14) PHX

    15) ANA

    This predicated on Phoenix not re-signing Doan

  59. Kris11 says:

    Also,

    I like STL, but I don’t think they can maintain that .936 ES SV% (and the 7th best ES SH%.) They’re a playoff team, no doubt, but not a dominant team next year. IMO. Maybe, I’m wrong, but those a tough percentages to repeat.

    I also think FLA and PHO had some luck in the percentages that will run out.

    NSH could hurt big, obviously, without Suter. That DAL team has some ageless wonders, but they’ll suffer if father time catches up.

    It’s a fun league with this level of parity, which seems to be increasing as more GM’s discover how to work under the cap. That level of parity makes me think big changes in the standings are more likely for any team from year to year as we go forward.

  60. DSF says:

    Traktor:
    Wow Carolina signs Semin for 1 year/7M.

    That’s the best UFA signing of the year IMO.

    93M less than Parise.

    Carolina is swinging for the fences.

    Great signing.

  61. Kris11 says:

    Traktor,

    Agreed. That Semin deal is very, very nice. I’d have gotten him at two or more years at that price, but there’s nothing wrong with a one year for CAR.

  62. DSF says:

    Kris11:
    Also,

    I like STL, but I don’t think they can maintain that .936 ES SV% (and the 7th bestES SH%.) They’re a playoff team, no doubt, but not a dominant team next year. IMO. Maybe, I’m wrong, but those a tough percentages to repeat.

    I also think FLA and PHO had some luck in the percentages that will run out.

    NSH could hurt big, obviously, without Suter. That DAL team has some ageless wonders, but they’ll suffer if father time catches up.

    It’s a fun league with this level of parity, which seems to be increasing as more GM’s discover how to work under the cap.That level of parity makes me think big changes in the standings are more likely for any team from year to year as we go forward.

    I wouldn’t under estimate the Blues.

    They’re adding Tarasenko, Jaden Swartz and Ty Rattie which, along with a healthy Perron, gives their offense a huge boost.

    Andy McDonald and Alex Steen also missed huge amounts of time last season so, if they stay healthy, the Blues should take off.

  63. Traktor says:

    For all the talk about how Semin doesn’t care and just wants to go back to Russia he basically turned down 100M in Russia to play in the NHL.

    I hope he makes all the eastern media character assassins eat a large bag of crow.

  64. LMHF#1 says:

    DSF:
    1) MIN

    Thanks. I needed a good laugh this afternoon.

  65. Bar_Qu says:

    Traktor:
    For all the talk about how Semin doesn’t care and just wants to go back to Russia he basically turned down 100M in Russia to play in the NHL.

    I hope he makes all the eastern media character assassins eat a large bag of crow.

    Amen. I hope a lot of NHL GMs come to rue not signing him either.

    DSF,

    You are arguing Suter + Parise + Konopka + rookies + truculence(?!?) = 30 points in the standings. You need to read Willis’ piece on what the best players in the league (ie Crosby) are worth to their teams in terms of goal differential. Since Minny finished with negative 49 in goal differential, he argues the two additions will bring them up to about negative eleven. Add in Konopka and maybe it goes to negative 5. That is not division domination.
    http://oilersnation.com/2012/7/4/minnesota-wild-sign-zach-parise-and-ryan-suter-how-much-better-will-the-team-be

    I stand by my prediction that Minny will only be slightly better than Edm this season – 10th v 12th and all the MSM stories on the Wild mid-Dec will be asking why Suter and Parise have done so little for their team when they cost so much.

    And, IMO, only one man in the league right now makes that big a difference to his team’s point standings. Dave Tippett. And he’s already signed.

  66. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    DSF: I wouldn’t under estimate the Blues.

    They’re adding Tarasenko, Jaden Swartz and Ty Rattie which, along with a healthy Perron, gives their offense a huge boost.

    Andy McDonald and Alex Steen also missed huge amounts of time last season so, if they stay healthy, the Blues should take off.

    I completely agree with your statement on the Blues I have the same thoughts, however not as much on the Wild, I have them increasing in the standings to the playoffs but that is a massive goal differential to climb!

    Even with the added players of Suter – Parise – Granlund – Konopka there defense is so bad that Dumba has a shot at making the team.

    I’m not sold on any player that’s 5’9 and 175lbs, one hit and the guy could end up a statistic.

    I have serious reservations they can usurp Vancouver. That being said they are going to be much better.

  67. DSF says:

    LMHF#1: Thanks. I needed a good laugh this afternoon.

    With a track record as poor as yours I don’t think you should be laughing at anyone.

    Especially when you haven’t made your own predictions that I can laugh at.

  68. DSF says:

    Bar_Qu: Amen. I hope a lot of NHL GMs come to rue not signing him either.

    DSF,

    You are arguing Suter + Parise + Konopka + rookies + truculence(?!?) = 30 points in the standings. You need to read Willis’ piece on what the best players in the league (ie Crosby) are worth to their teams in terms of goal differential. Since Minny finished with negative 49 in goal differential, he argues the two additions will bring them up to about negative eleven. Add in Konopka and maybe it goes to negative 5. That is not division domination.
    http://oilersnation.com/2012/7/4/minnesota-wild-sign-zach-parise-and-ryan-suter-how-much-better-will-the-team-be

    I stand by my prediction that Minny will only be slightly better than Edm this season – 10th v 12th and all the MSM stories on the Wild mid-Dec will be asking why Suter and Parise have done so little for their team when they cost so much.

    And, IMO, only one man in the league right now makes that big a difference to his team’s point standings. Dave Tippett. And he’s already signed.

    People tend to forget the Wild were leading the NW until Koivu got hurt.

    Playing Brodziak as your defacto #1C is not a recipe for success.

    With centre depth, Paris and Suter making all the D much better, they’re poised to take a huge leap in the standings.

    I expect, with Kelser out likely until near Christmas, VCR to drop down a bit but that depends on who they may get in return for Luongo.

    Since we are making these predictions in July, things could change by the season opener but, as of now, the Wild look really strong.

    Considering that the Oilers finished 7 points behind Minny last season and have only added two rookies while Minnesota has aded one of the best wingers and one of the best defensemen in the game, the top scorer from the SM LIGA and three highly touted rookies, I really can’t see why you think the Oilers can keep pace.

  69. Kris11 says:

    Just to be clear, I think STL has a great future and is an excellent team now. I predict a top 4 finish in the conference, easily, and they will have a chance at the cup this year and for a few years going forward. But they were lucky this last year to have the GD they did. and to finish first. Not many teams can manage to keep their SV% that high season to aeason. Really, Boston is the only team to do it recemtly.

    Halak put up a .926 SV last year, butis .918 for his career.A drop should be expected. Elliot put up a .940 but is .909 for his career. Maybe he is the new Hasek/Thomas, but we’ve seen lots of goalies revert to the mean after a big season. I’d say that’s somewhat likely here, I could be wrong, but would be nervous if I was betting on elliot to repeat 11-12.

    STl is showing that you don’t need to tank 3-7 times in a row to build a good team. I like them and their GM better than Tamb.

  70. leadfarmer says:

    LOL Minnesota at 1. In 2-3 years, yes next year there is no way they are better the LA, Van, St. Louis. I think you forget that they added a rookie and a gem #1 defenceman to a core after the deadline that resembled something Tambellini assembled. They still are missing a #2 defenceman, and will have a rookie play top 4 minutes.

    LA
    St. Louis
    Van
    Chicago
    Det
    Min
    SJ
    Phoenix if Doan comes back
    Nashville
    Dallas
    Colorado
    Edmonton
    Calgary
    Anaheim
    Columbus

  71. treevojo says:

    1. Vancouver
    2. St. Louis
    3. L.A
    4. Minnesota
    5. Detroit
    6. Edmonton
    7. Chicago
    8. San Jose

  72. misfit says:

    With Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Nuge, and Petry a year older and Dubnyk (also a year older and more experienced) getting more of the starts from Khabibulin, it’s reasonable to think that an Oiler team with no changes at all would do better than a year ago.

    Having Schultz in and Barker out on D, even if Schultz lays an egg, we won’t be worse on defense.
    Yakupov is a rookie as well, but he comes in at the expense of which full time Oiler forward from last year? Lander? Petrell? Again, I’d have to think the upgrade is fairly significant there too.

    It’s folly to assume we’ll be a healthy team next year, but Hemsky’s progress was encouraging, and Whitney should be at least slightly closer to 100% (even if not, he was gone or ineffective pretty much all of last year, so it would be tough for it to be worse).

    Playoffs? I wouldn’t put money on it, but I could see it being close.

  73. LMHF#1 says:

    DSF: With a track record as poor as yours I don’t think you should be laughing at anyone.

    Especially when you haven’t made your own predictions that I can laugh at.

    I see the hilarity continues. Excellent.

    I see no value in predicting the western conference standings. At a glance I don’t disagree with many of your projected placings, but the idea that the Wild will finish first in the conference is quite humorous. Based on last year, their history and their current roster, it just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. You’ve laid out your case above, but you are reaching in a big way and dismissing some very strong squads.

  74. Kris11 says:

    My top 8, point producers in the west, based on random houghts about GD, puck luck, and roster changes:

    1. VAN (I hate them, but return for Luuuu should help a bit)
    2. LA (Goalie looks proven.)
    3. DET (Not sure how no Lidstrom efffects lineup. Could fall big.))
    4. STL (Goaltending reverts ro mean)
    5. CHI (Had poorish pook luck last year)
    6. MIN (Suter changes a lot.)
    7. SJs (Greeat on paper, but numbers last year were bad. They were lucky.)
    8. DAL (Old guys are the key here. Could falter badly, IMO)
    9. EDM (Injuries and D cost them just a bit too much. Close though.)
    10. CAL (Will miss Jokinen a lot. Maybe they’ll trade for him again.))
    11. NSH (Maybe I overvalue Suter. But its my list.)
    12. COL (Lucky SH% last year reverts to mean.
    13. PHO (Party is over)
    14. ANA
    15. CB

  75. Bar_Qu says:

    DSF,

    I again point out that Minny was -49 in goal differential last year. Edm was -27. All those additions to Minny’s team will not solve the goal differential overnight. Which is the best predictor of standings which disregards dumb luck. That Edm finished behind Minny was bad luck. I suspect both teams will approach a single digit goal differential in the negatives, but I don’t think Minny will be as lucky this year as they were last year (the leading the NW at Xmas thing was as insubstantial as NK’s .936 SV%). Thus, I feel comfortable predicting a playoff bubble team around 10th. There’s too many rookies/sophmores/retreads on that team to allow them to go much higher. And don’t forget the injury prone goalie.

    I am being realistic about the Oilers, and barring any major changes (top pairing D, solid 2-way winger, average or better goalie) they will not make it much higher than 12th. I don’t think you can say the same about your prediction for the Wild.

  76. rickithebear says:

    Dipstick: I thought that the team would make substantial improvement (in the standings) last year. The Black Swan will undoubtedly appear at some point so I am going to temper my expectations this year. If they can avoid major injuries to key players, I believe that they can compete for a playoff spot.

    We can Accept Dubnyk is our starter

    D depth for us was scary.
    As LT has often shown good d depth is needed for Injury.
    We saw a more mobile but not 100% whitney by mid march.
    So last year we had alot of slow foot speed dmen.
    Sutton,
    Tuebert
    Barker
    Pre mid march Whitney.

    i would consider these d men acceptable footspeed Dmen.
    Smid
    Petry
    (N. Schultz/Gilbert)
    Peckham
    Potter
    post march Whitney

    A large portion of the year we running at leat 3 boat anchors on D.
    D. Dubnyk started 42 games.
    In 24 of those starts he had at least 4 Acceptable footspeed Dmen.
    Dubnyk went
    16W – 6L – 2 OTL 2.10GA .935SV%

    we ran 20 games with the D combo of
    Smid-petry
    whitney-Schultz/Peckham
    Sutton/XXX-potter
    In front of DD.
    this set was our most consistent set of D
    15W-3L-2OTL 2.05GA .936 Sv%

    This year we will be into our 9th Dman before we have two slow footed dmen in the top 6.
    Smid-petry
    Whitney-N. Schultz
    Sutton-j.Schultz
    Peckham-Potter
    Tuebert.

    Playoff who knows!

    but 65 games of DD without three of
    Sutton,
    Tuebert
    Barker
    Pre mid march Whitney
    in front of him.

    Makes me smile.

  77. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    misfit:
    With Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Nuge, and Petry a year older and Dubnyk (also a year older and more experienced) getting more of the starts from Khabibulin, it’s reasonable to think that an Oiler team with no changes at all would do better than a year ago.

    Having Schultz in and Barker out on D, even if Schultz lays an egg, we won’t be worse on defense.
    Yakupov is a rookie as well, but he comes in at the expense of which full time Oiler forward from last year?Lander?Petrell?Again, I’d have to think the upgrade is fairly significant there too.

    It’s folly to assume we’ll be a healthy team next year, but Hemsky’s progress was encouraging, and Whitney should be at least slightly closer to 100% (even if not, he was gone or ineffective pretty much all of last year, so it would be tough for it to be worse).

    Playoffs?I wouldn’t put money on it, but I could see it being close.

    Hall may not be playing until some time in December due to his shoulder surgery; the Oilers will not rush him like they did with Hemsky.

    Paajarvi may not make the Oilers and your hoping exactly what from him at this point?

    Dubnyk has never played as a starting goalie, he’s never played 55 to 60 games and banking on him to carry the team without consistency problems is putting a lot on his shoulders, you might as well forget about Khabibulin.

    If Schultz lays an egg without any other upgrades on defense the Oilers are in for a long, long, long season again.

    Whitney will NEVER be at 100% again, that’s right out of his own mouth! He will always be playing in pain and last year he couldn’t even turn or pivot!

    Bottom six is barley playable and the top needs serious grit and our checking line can’t check.

    Having said that I expect Hall- Eberle-RNH-to go ballistic this year, Yakupov to win the Calder and Hemsky and Gagner to have an above average gains provided Hemsky plays in the top 6 and not used on Horcoffs line.

    All this equals 25th overall and a quality pick next year.

  78. Dipstick says:

    rickithebear,

    Good points. I am crossing my fingers.

  79. Rondo says:

    Oilers could be better than Islanders, Toronto , Anaheim and Columbus, maybe Calgary and even NJ.

  80. Lucinius says:

    While I don’t think the Oilers “need” to make the playoffs this coming season, I believe they need to be in the hunt with 2-5 games left. Not for the fans. Not for the arena, but for the kids, like Hall, who are born winners and hate losing. Making it close (or better yet, making the playoffs) this year will likely reflect their willingness to stay long term and/or take the group discount to stay together.

    Anyways, my list;

    1. LA (no slump)
    2. Vancouver (last time they win the division for awhile, imo)
    3. St. Louis (stutter at times, but by and large do pretty well)
    4. Chicago (better bounces/luck)
    5. Nashville (so long as Weber doesn’t become an issue in the locker room)
    6. Detroit (no Lidstrom = sad times)

    7-9 will be a combo of Minnesota, Phoenix, Edmonton. Placement will depend on if the spending spree works out in Minny (it doesn’t always), if Doan re-signs in Phoenix and Tippet can keep them from falling further, and how healthy Edmonton is.

    10. San Jose (its over, rebuild)
    11. Colorado (I think a key injury will doom their season and meh goaltending)
    12. Dallas (its over; age catches up)
    13. Calgary (the death spiral deepens)
    14. Anaheim (sucks to be them)
    15. Columbus (but not as much as these guys)

    I actually don’t expect Minny to do all that well. I think Parise will be a disappoint, but good player. I think Suter will miss Weber something fierce and be a good – very good player, but not great. I also think they’ll iron it out near the end of the season, but it may be too late or be just enough.

  81. Rondo says:

    Seth Jones

  82. voxwah says:

    Hall is Gumby. He’ll be ready to go for training camp and I bet he starts out fine.

    He played with the bum shoulder for a long time so I don’t think he’ll slow down with the recovering one either.

  83. cmcousine says:

    As a baptist minister, I hope I’m half as inspiring as Krueger appears to be.

  84. Rondo says:

    Columbus D-men are worthy of a playoff team. They desperately need forwards. If they can get good goaltending they may not finish last.

  85. edwards_daddy says:

    Quick survey of the opinion through the thread has about 80% of you predicting that the Oilers miss the play-offs, with the majority around 9-12th in the west. I would say more realistic than the Staples poll and probably about right.

  86. commonfan14 says:

    Somebody, I forget who, put it out there a while back that it would be interesting if Tambo offered Feaster our 1st rounder for theirs this year.

    I’m sure no such trade would ever happen, but I can’t imagine an end of regular season scenario that would delight me more than Tambo, with our boys securely back in the playoffs, grinning ear to ear after winning yet another lottery on Calgary’s ticket.

  87. rickithebear says:

    Dipstick: rickithebear, Good points. I am crossing my fingers.

    Thanks!
    Smid-petry
    Whitney-Schultz
    Peckham-potter
    6W- 0L- 1 OTL 1.66GA .944 SV%

    Smid-Petry
    Whitney-xxx
    Sutton-potter
    5W – 1L – 0 OTL 2.50GA .923SV%

    Smid -Petry
    XXX-peckham
    Sutton-potter
    4W-1L – 1 OTL 1.93GA .940 SV%

    these four were common to Dominate D Sets.
    Smid-Petry
    Peckham-XXX
    XXX-Potter
    10W-1L-2 OTL 1.78GA .942SV%

  88. commonfan14 says:

    Rondo: Seth Jones

    On Jones, was anyone else shocked to find out when they interviewed him at the draft that he is a perfectly normal-looking human being?

    Popeye must have married a supermodel.

    http://funnythingspeoplesayaboutsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/popeye-jones-sloth.jpg

  89. Maverick says:

    As it stands now, I would rank the teams as follows;

    1. Van
    2. LA
    3. St.Louis
    4. Chicago
    5. San Jose
    6. Minny
    7. Dallas
    8. Detroit
    9. Colorado
    10 Calgary
    11. Edmonton
    12. Nashville
    13. Anaheim
    14. Phoenix
    15 Columbus

    As Jim Mora would say….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7fjDS0jKiE

  90. maudite says:

    Given the make up of the roster is eerily similar to last year, I have my doubts this is a playoff bound team. This team should definitely be out of the lottery though and hopefully in the supposed mix for the playoffs into spring at least…

    If management’s plan was to contend for playoffs, they’ve done similar to what they’ve always done and have a lot of money riding on if, if, if.

    Are we better, sure. But it cannot be debated that our division also appears to have gotten better. That likely will mask some actual improvement in standings points for the Oilers.

  91. Kris11 says:

    Cap-parity, puck-luck, the Bettman-point, and injuries make it hard to predict much anymore. I mean, LA almost missed the playoffs, despite winning the cup and looking dominant, That horrible (and , to be fair, injured) Wild team somehow held a good position in the standings for much of the year.

    You can predict the top few teams will make the playoffs, but its hard to predict the order they’ll finish in or if they’ll slide to a lower seed. And you can predict that Oiler-esque teams won’t make it. But thos teams are fewer in number these days,

    Most teams fall in a mushy middle category of “maybe they can do okay IF X, Y, and. Z” (Though puck-luck is rarely memtioned explcitly by fans as something needed IF their team is going to make it.)

  92. Derek says:

    Re: The Minnesota WIld

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/12/29/2664313/are-the-wild-better-compared-to-last-years-team

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/11/30/2600595/how-good-are-the-minnesota-wild

    The Minnesota Wild had all the puck luck in the world last year when they were sitting atop the west. Some of the exchanges between the writers for the coppernblue and hockeywilderness were quite entertaining, much more so than the games between the teams the sites follow.

    I don’t mean to pile on DSF, but by taking the WIld #1 in the west you’re basically predicting a 100 point swing in goal differential (the difference between the Wild and the 1st overall Canucks) in one season on the backs of 2 very good UFA’s and a pile of rookies, This on a team with cellar worthy possession metrics across the board before and after the injury of MIkko Koivu.

    A team that finished dead last in the league last year in Clear Victories and got a lot of mileage out of one goal games.

    I see the Canucks as the class of the NW with the other four teams evenly matched. Whichever team finds the #2 spot has a shot at the playoffs and will likely do so by being healthier and/or luckier than the other three in this group.

  93. sliderule says:

    I think most of us are underestimating how much improvement we could have from our first picks.

    If Hall and Nuge make jumps like some first picks have done we could contend for a playoff.

    If Yak and Schultz can play like our other first picks have played we will get a playoff spot.I am counting Shultz as a first pick because on a redraft he would be top five.

    If La lost quick were would they be.

    Minn have added Parise and Suter but Zach didnt have a great year and how much was Suter riding on Webers coattails and trots system

    We have only added two first pick rookies but our other earlier first picks I believe are ready to break out

  94. slopitch says:

    1. La
    2. St Louis
    3. Vancouver
    4. Minnesota
    5. Edmonton
    6. Chicago
    7. Dallas
    8. Detroit
    9. Colorado
    10 Calgary
    11. San Jose
    12. Nashville
    13. Anaheim
    14. Phoenix
    15 Columbus

    RNH goes Stamkos. Yakapov is a difference maker and Horcoff, Hall and Whitney combine for 240 games.

    It’s the summer. If you glass is half full, fill it :)

    It’s summer

  95. JohnnyRocket says:

    This upcoming season is based primarily on hope, once again. With no new, quality veterans added to the roster, there is only hope things might break perfectly this season. Have we had a perfectly healthy line up, had important veterans play to maximum potential, and had all the rookies have solid/breakout seasons in any one of the last 4 years? Yet management goes into every season relying on some combination of the above to happen. Despite two more star rookies, this year is the same.

    Tambellini is playing a dangerous game. This year the fans and at least some of the mainstream media will hold his feet to the fire. The amount of leeway management has is still ridiculous. (It always amazes me when I read coverage of other NHL teams in their hometown papers. The writers actually hold the team to account when they under perform, as do the fans. Here it like a script is passed out, blogosphere exempted)

    I almost hope that the Oilers implode again so that management can be cleared out and we can have new captains to steer the ship. While MacTavish gives me hope, it seems that there is too much Groupthink going on upstairs. Too many yes-men and not enough ball-breakers. Money is always being put on long-shots or reclamation projects. I think some clarity is needed. The window is smaller than we think. The young guns have to be sold that this is the place to stay. Another year of suck might be one too many.

    Tambellini is betting on many things breaking right once again this season. Will 11-12th place satisfy the young guns? Barring any more moves from Tambo, it will have to.

  96. oil709 says:

    First time poster, long time reader. I am optimistic that the oilers should make a move up the standings this season. But I feel we have a lot of growing pains before we actually make the playoffs. At this point in the rebuild we are leaning on young guys more than anything else and I think that one or two key injuries and we could be in the bottom 5-7 )spots in the league. I hope everything alaigns and we actually pull out a top 8 finish in the west or at the very least be competitive until at least the final week. My prediction for the standings are
    1. St Louis (excellent coached young team)
    2. La (Cup champs,division got weaker )
    3.Van(Division got tougher)
    4.Min(Thinking Parise will return to form)
    5.Chi(Questions in goal)
    6.Det(Lidstrom retirment huge loss)
    7.Nas(Trotz gets it done)
    8.Dal(If they stay healthy and dont burn out)
    9.SJ(Beginning of the end)
    10.Cal(same results)
    11.Oilers(Heart says 8th, head says 11th)
    12.Col(Up and coming team)
    13.Pho(If they lose Doan)
    14.Ana(Rough times ahead)
    15.Clb(Lots of heart, Not much skill, Terrible goaltending)

    I think 7-12 will be tight and any of the teams could be interchangable, and cant count Pheonix out of the playoff mix if they resign Doan.

  97. Rondo says:

    1. St Louis

    12. Edmonton

    15.Anaheim

  98. DSF says:

    Bar_Qu:
    DSF,

    I again point out that Minny was -49 in goal differential last year. Edm was -27. All those additions to Minny’s team will not solve the goal differential overnight. Which is the best predictor of standings which disregards dumb luck. That Edm finished behind Minny was bad luck. I suspect both teams will approach a single digit goal differential in the negatives, but I don’t think Minny will be as lucky this year as they were last year (the leading the NW at Xmas thing was as insubstantial as NK’s .936 SV%). Thus, I feel comfortable predicting a playoff bubble team around 10th. There’s too many rookies/sophmores/retreads on that team to allow them to go much higher. And don’t forget the injury prone goalie.

    I am being realistic about the Oilers, and barring any major changes (top pairing D, solid 2-way winger, average or better goalie) they will not make it much higher than 12th. I don’t think you can say the same about your prediction for the Wild.

    This is just nonsense.

    Last season the Wild were -49 in goal differential.

    The season before they were -27…a swing of 22.

    The Oilers goal differential has gone from -70 in 09/10 to -76 in 10/11 to -27 in 11/12.

    Any sane observer would wonder why the Wild dropped -22 in one season.

    Do you think it might have to do with them missing their best player for half a season?

    If the Oilers can improve their goal differential by 49 while adding Hopkins and a bunch of stiffs, is it unreasonable to conclude the Wild can improve their goal differential by adding one of the best wingers in the league, one of the best defensemen in the league, one of the best faceoff men in the league, three first round picks and the maturation of a young defense?

    Watch.

  99. oilswell says:

    One type of prediction generates a distribution of likelihood rather than a point form prediction of, say, 12th in the west. I have no clue how to estimate the distribution. Last year, you could probably say that with the goal differential they had the Oilers were probably “unlucky” that they did not have a few more standings points (see McCurdy’s blog post on that), for example. So if they do not improve in goal differential whatsoever the pendulum could easily swing the other way and they could end up next season with more points than they ought to have deserved with a same goal differential. A 12 point swing is not even that outrageous without having improved one iota. But then we expect them to improve, too. You’d have to figure out how much they could improve in underlying causes and multiply the expected variance there by the variance in translating goal differential to standings points.

    A fool proof method for predicting standings points? Voodoo, sound like.

    They probably have a good shot at the playoffs with, what, around 0 goal differential? Could they improve by 20 goals? One every four games? Its a lot, but I think they probably could if things fall into place. If Schults Jr plays like some of his comparables have, it could have a measurable difference. But predicting them out of the playoffs by 2-4 spots seems pretty safe.

  100. stevezie says:

    DSF,

    Full credit to you sir for boldly going on record, but winning the conference? I don’t understand why you consider Minny’s incoming rookies, talented as they are, as an army of saviours when Edmonton’s recent (dare I say?) superior crop has failed to pull the team out of lottery contention- even after as yaaer of experience.

    Minny’s rookies will be rookies. Their big names will be good, maybe even drag the team into the playoffs, and no doubt in two years they’ll be something to be reckoned with, but next year? Didn’t you notice the percentages they were riding before the injuries hit? Those injuriesd were the best thing that could have happened to the Wild, it got them Dumba. They were never making the playoffs.

  101. Rebilled says:

    ST added two players to the roster this season. He’s done now I guess? Must be exhausted.

    Yak was a gimme, Schultz was surprising.

    MacT and RK appear to be improvements.

    8th place though? Wow.

    28th is my sad guess. MVP is a 4 year contract for Most Valuabledraft Position.

  102. PerryK says:

    Okay, here goes the glass half full analysis!

    I think that we have many very good pieces in place as of now. Book the playoffs tickets if Whitney returns to form! Playoffs (1 round?) cannot be stopped if nothing other than Whitney at >= 90%.

    But we have managed to pick up some cancerous pieces on this trip that must go! I think that I could do significantly better, but even Tambo should be able to obtain 3rd round pick or better for each of these:

    Ben Eager
    Ryan Jones
    Eric Belanger
    Theo Peckham

    These guys stopped playing for their team mates some time ago. Let someone else deal with their idiosyncrasies.

    If we do nothing to replace these, we will still be a better team with additions like Hartski, MPS, VDV, and a free agent (cheap) like Jurcina or Eminger ($800K, 1.6M respectively) as a back-up D for the dearly departed.

    Just my 2 cents.

  103. Rondo says:

    Oilers will have a lottery pick in 2013 as well as Anaheim’s 2nd rd pick 2013 which could be 31 or 32 and a 30 something pick in the second round .

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