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-   -   How Improved Are The Oilers. (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1484595)

notloilersfan 08-14-2013 09:47 AM

How Improved Are The Oilers.
 
When we really break it down, it was a pretty aggressive off-season for Mac-T, and he probably did more in one summer than Tambo did during the entire rebuild. With these additions, how improved are we?

We bumped down N. Schultz and added a legit 2nd pairing veteran d-man. Ference is not another experiment. He will do great filling the void until Klefbom/Nurse are ready.

We have real competition in our bottom pairing. Belov, Grebshkov, N. Schultz, Larsen, Klefbom is way better competition than a broken whitney, potter or barker.

We went out and got a legit top 6 forward who can play with some grit, and help with our possession game.

We got a 3rd line C that this team needed more than Horcoff. Better on faceoffs, tougher to play against, and great at getting the puck out of the defensive zone.

Petro Points 08-14-2013 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by notloilersfan (Post 70191755)
When we really break it down, it was a pretty aggressive off-season for Mac-T, and he probably did more in one summer than Tambo did during the entire rebuild. With these additions, how improved are we?

We bumped down N. Schultz and added a legit 2nd pairing veteran d-man. Ference is not another experiment. He will do great filling the void until Klefbom/Nurse are ready.

We have real competition in our bottom pairing. Belov, Grebshkov, N. Schultz, Larsen, Klefbom is way better competition than a broken whitney, potter or barker.

We went out and got a legit top 6 forward who can play with some grit, and help with our possession game.

We got a 3rd line C that this team needed more than Horcoff. Better on faceoffs, tougher to play against, and great at getting the puck out of the defensive zone.

We didnt bump Nick down. We replaced Whitney with Ference.. Hopefully none of our other 3 Dmen have a Whitney like season next year.

Players like Potter\Barker were unknowns for us when we added them to our roster a couple years ago. Hoping for the best but the unknown Dmen we have added for bottom pairing might not be much better.

Calling Perron gritty is like calling Yakupov gritty. We really did not address the size issue in top 6.


We replaced Paajaarvi with Perron, Whitney with Ference, Khabi with Labarbabra and Horcoff with Gordon.
Peckham + Fistric for Belov + Grebeshkov.

I have us fighting for the playoffs in March but missing it by ~5 pts in the end.

Lacaar 08-14-2013 10:14 AM

Last year I though if Whitney could return to form we had a shot.

He didn't. Our shot went like my golf shot. Straight for a bit then hooks rights and goes into the next fairway.

This year I'll place my hopes on RNH becoming a truly impactful player.

If he comes back and can get near a ppg we should make a run. If he's delayed in his comeback or takes too long to adjust. We're screwed.

Neilio 08-14-2013 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Petro Points (Post 70191989)
We didnt bump Nick down. We replaced Whitney with Ference.. Hopefully none of our other 3 Dmen have a Whitney like season next year.

Players like Potter\Barker were unknowns for us when we added them to our roster a couple years ago. Hoping for the best but the unknown Dmen we have added for bottom pairing might not be much better.

Calling Perron gritty is like calling Yakupov gritty. We really did not address the size issue in top 6.


We replaced Paajaarvi with Perron, Whitney with Ference, Khabi with Labarbabra and Horcoff with Gordon.
Peckham + Fistric for Belov + Grebeshkov.

I have us fighting for the playoffs in March but missing it by ~5 pts in the end.

That's fair. The only caveat I would have is that the coach is different. Our power play is going to be dynamite. Our PK had been pretty respectable. But its the 5v5 system that really sunk us last season. If Eakins can get that to even a league average level, we should be much improved.

OilDrop37 08-14-2013 10:15 AM

Belov and Grebs are this years experiments as Potter and Barker were a couple years ago. In order for this team to fight for a playoff spot, J.Schultz needs to be able to handle top 4 minutes and one of the other scraps needs to become a legit top 6 guy to pair with Nick and/or Klefbom shows he's ready.

Yak City 08-14-2013 10:15 AM

I'd argue that the Belov/Grebeshkov/Larsen collective is Whitney's replacement. Ference wasn't brought in to be a 3rd pairing powerplay specialist (which is what we were using Whitney as last season) - I absolutely believe that he'll be bumping N. Schultz back to the 3rd pairing, where he's actually effective.

I think that Ference and Perron will make a bigger difference than expected.

For the first time in a while, we have a top six entirely full of top six players - no rookies this year, no "well maybe he can play 2nd line...", no "well he's effective when he's not injured".

J. Schultz is the only question mark in our top 4 now - and I don't think that's a bad problem to have. He produced extraordinarily well last year for a rookie defenseman drowning in the amount of minutes he was thrown at the start of the year. I think it's easy to forget that J. Schultz probably played something like 2-3 times more hockey last season than he had before - it's got to be tough going from a NCAA schedule to playing 25+ minutes a night in the AHL to playing top-4 minutes in the NHL.

Oilception 08-14-2013 10:24 AM

top 6- Improved (Perron>Paajarvi)
Defence Improved (Ference> Whitney, and hopefully at least one of Belov, Grebeshkov, Larsen come in and do well)
Coach- I think improved wasnt a fan of Krueger, and have high hopes

Bottom 6 is different and hopefully better, Gordon was an excellent pick up, and the culture change of losing Horcoff I hope helps, Smyth should be on the 4th line which is nice.

Goalies are a wash but Hopefully Dubnyk has more confidence and improves from last year (which i dont believe is unreasonable for some progression)

And we are a young team, none of the core has peaked and hopefully everyone improves and we dont have sophmore slumps

I think we make the play-offs, will be upset if we dont, and anything short of being right in the thick of things at the end of the season will be a disappointment in my mind.

CupofOil 08-14-2013 10:38 AM

I think the defense will be improved and a lot of that has to do with Ference being added and knocking Nick Schultz down to the bottom pairing where he should be a lot more comfortable with less responsibility. The Schultz pairing destroyed this team last season, just awful in the second half of the season due to being overplayed. Pairing Ference with J. Schultz should also give him a better D partner to feed off of.
The depth is also better (at least potentially) with the additions of Belov, Grebeshkov and Larsen. At least we won't see any more of Peckham, Teubert (or whichever AHL tweener) and Potter (hopefully) on the bottom pairing so that in itself should be an improvement.
Perron is an upgrade over Paajarvi. Otherwise, the forward group is pretty much the same one that ended last season. Not tough enough, not deep enough and big on skill in the top 6 but lacking with 2 way play.

I might be in the minority with this but i think that Eakins is the biggest key to team improvement.
I think this roster has been misused and underutilized under Renney and Krueger, it just seems like the players weren't buying what they were selling and thus looked like a mess on ice on most nights basically getting wins on pure talent moreso than anything else the last few seasons.
If Eakins can bring some structure to their game and have them buy into a particular system, i think that this team could take off pretty quickly and jump into a playoff spot. The talent level (even though there are still glaring holes on the roster) is higher than it's been since the Cup run. It's time for the results to start showing and i think having the right coach to harness this talent and convert them from talented potential into legit NHLers would be huge for this group because lets be honest, as good as The Big 5 are, they are still mostly potential with glaring holes in their game with the possible exception of Hall.

As far as the players go, the 3 biggest keys to the team will be RNH, Dubnyk and J. Schultz. As long as the rest of the players play reasonably close to their talent level, the team will make the playoffs as long as those 3 take steps forward.
RNH and Dubnyk in particular are the biggest keys to the Oilers success next season, the team will either sink or swim based on the performance of those two IMO.
You can talk about weak bottom 6, lack of a true top pairing Dman etc. but if the #1C and the goalie don't play up to par, the team won't succeed and if they do, the team will.
The fact that the fate of the team depend on a rookie coach, a hobbled RNH and a relatively unproven Dubnyk doesn't inspire me with a ton of confidence that they will make the playoffs this season but the potential is there obviously.

The Last Dynasty 08-14-2013 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CupofOil (Post 70192827)
I might be in the minority with this but i think that Eakins is the biggest key.
I think this roster has been misused and underutilized under Renney and Krueger, it just seems like the players weren't buying what they were selling and thus looked like a mess on ice on most nights basically getting wins on pure talent moreso than anything else the last few seasons.
If Eakins can bring some structure to their game and have them buy into a particular system, i think that this team could take off pretty quickly and jump into a playoff spot. The talent level (even though there are still glaring holes on the roster) is higher than it's been since the Cup run. It's time for the results to start showing and i think having the right coach to harness this talent and convert them from talented potential into legit NHLers would be huge for this group because lets be honest, as good as The Big 5 are, they are still mostly potential with glaring holes in their game with the possible exception of Hall.

As far as the players go, the 3 biggest keys to the team will be RNH, Dubnyk and J. Schultz. As long as the rest of the players play reasonably close to their talent level, the team will make the playoffs as long as those 3 take steps forward.
RNH and Dubnyk in particular are the biggest keys to the Oilers success next season, the team will either sink or swim based on the performance of those two IMO.
You can talk about weak bottom 6, lack of a true top pairing Dman etc. but if the #1C and the goalie don't play up to par, the team won't succeed and if they do, the team will.
The fact that the fate of the team depend on a rookie coach, a hobbled RNH and a relatively unproven Dubnyk doesn't inspire me with a ton of confidence that they will make the playoffs this season but the potential is there obviously.

this

the fact we don't have Krueger...who was in WAAAAY over his head..and replaced him with a competent head coach (along with another assistant Keith Acton) will do wonders for this squad

Ference is an upgrade
Perron is an upgrade
add in the core being another year older

this is an improved club...probably not enough to make the playoffs but should compete for one

Dorian2 08-14-2013 11:01 AM

I think we will just miss the playoffs this year. We still need some major changes in the lineup.

nexttothemoon 08-14-2013 11:07 AM

Well the Oilers were 12th in the West last season and this year I think they'll be 11th so that's an improvement of 1 spot. Of course there's 1 less team in the West now as well... so technically they may "improve" slightly but I don't see anything more than marginal improvements in their lineup this year over what they had last season.

Of course the game is played on the ice and not on paper so we have to wait and see how Eakins performs as a head coach at the NHL level, and how the chemistry of the team changes (for better or worse) after all these changes have been made to the roster.

As a fan I'm always hopeful that they can make the playoffs but realistically I just can't see this team beating out 6 other teams in the West and getting into the 2nd season with this current roster... still too many weaknesses and mediocrity in too many areas of the roster.

thadd 08-14-2013 11:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yak City (Post 70192331)

For the first time in a while, we have a top six entirely full of top six players - no rookies this year, no "well maybe he can play 2nd line...", no "well he's effective when he's not injured".

Seriously. When was the last time that all of our top six forwards were legit top six forwards? I'll argue that we didn't have 6 top six forwards when we went to the finals last time around.

Our blueline has to be better. Whitney was one of the worst skaters in the NHL last year. When the puck went into the corners he probably had a 25% chance to retrieve it. His turns were so god awful that I can't even think of an analogy to describe it.

Ference will be so much better than Nick Schultz on the second pairing and Belov and Nick Scultz will be way better than the crap we were running with on the third pairing last year. Never liked Corey Potter and Fistric didn't seem effective in enough areas of hockey to be able to last.

The only thing I'm worried about is our depth at center. Not convinced our 4th line center is going to be worth his weight in pucks this year. Other than that, we've got a pretty good looking roster.

Jimmi Jenkins 08-14-2013 11:09 AM

Clearly not, I mean they didn't trade to #27 and draft Fucale, that right there...will set the franchise back decades, obviously.

On a sane note, they are improved enough to battle for the playoffs, though it will remain to be seen whether this is the case or not.

Stoneman89 08-14-2013 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CupofOil (Post 70192827)
I think the defense will be improved and a lot of that has to do with Ference being added and knocking Nick Schultz down to the bottom pairing where he should be a lot more comfortable with less responsibility. The Schultz pairing destroyed this team last season, just awful in the second half of the season due to being overplayed. Pairing Ference with J. Schultz should also give him a better D partner to feed off of.
The depth is also better (at least potentially) with the additions of Belov, Grebeshkov and Larsen. At least we won't see any more of Peckham, Teubert (or whichever AHL tweener) and Potter (hopefully) on the bottom pairing so that in itself should be an improvement.
Perron is an upgrade over Paajarvi. Otherwise, the forward group is pretty much the same one that ended last season. Not tough enough, not deep enough and big on skill in the top 6 but lacking with 2 way play.

I might be in the minority with this but i think that Eakins is the biggest key to team improvement.
I think this roster has been misused and underutilized under Renney and Krueger, it just seems like the players weren't buying what they were selling and thus looked like a mess on ice on most nights basically getting wins on pure talent moreso than anything else the last few seasons.
If Eakins can bring some structure to their game and have them buy into a particular system, i think that this team could take off pretty quickly and jump into a playoff spot. The talent level (even though there are still glaring holes on the roster) is higher than it's been since the Cup run. It's time for the results to start showing and i think having the right coach to harness this talent and convert them from talented potential into legit NHLers would be huge for this group because lets be honest, as good as The Big 5 are, they are still mostly potential with glaring holes in their game with the possible exception of Hall.

As far as the players go, the 3 biggest keys to the team will be RNH, Dubnyk and J. Schultz. As long as the rest of the players play reasonably close to their talent level, the team will make the playoffs as long as those 3 take steps forward.
RNH and Dubnyk in particular are the biggest keys to the Oilers success next season, the team will either sink or swim based on the performance of those two IMO.
You can talk about weak bottom 6, lack of a true top pairing Dman etc. but if the #1C and the goalie don't play up to par, the team won't succeed and if they do, the team will.
The fact that the fate of the team depend on a rookie coach, a hobbled RNH and a relatively unproven Dubnyk doesn't inspire me with a ton of confidence that they will make the playoffs this season but the potential is there obviously.

Agreed. The key is whether they buy into what Eakins is telling them, The certainly didn't look like they bought into anything last year. If they continue to buck and kick and try to do it their way, it will be a long season.

dustrock 08-14-2013 11:36 AM

I agree with CupofOil.

RNH is the biggest factor,followed by Schultz & Dubnyk.

Our D was atrocious last year and systems play was weak, especially 5-on-5.

Eakins will make a big difference and the kids will be another year older.

Only real concern other than the usual top #1 d-man is getting a better bottom 6.

Aerchon 08-14-2013 11:39 AM

With our talent a lot of people have projected the Oilers to "break out" and do better than they have for years now.

I seem to be one full year back with all my projections. Last year I picked them to compete for a playoff spot but not make it. They didn't really accomplish that.

I did have them picked to make the playoffs this year as part of the rebuild. So this year instead of picking them to make the playoffs Ill just say compete for a spot and hopefully they can prove me wrong in a good way this year.

I think the Oilers roster this year is truly a possible playoff team. I do not think if they miss the playoffs by a wide margin that it is a player problem. Their success from here on in will be dictated by coaching more than anything else.

Mr Forever 08-14-2013 11:56 AM

You can only add so many depth players, ultimately, the team is going to go as far as Hall, Yakupov, RNH, Schultz and Eberle take it.

AlowlyOilersfan 08-14-2013 12:26 PM

competing for the wild card?

shogun99 08-14-2013 12:38 PM

I was never a fan of the Kruger hiring, thought he wasn't the right coach for the team. He ended up being a horrible coach. Some of his "decisions" and system play dragged this team out of a playoff spot. I really think that last years team could have been a playoff team with proper decisions by the coaching staff. How many leads did we blow sitting back for 2 periods trying to hold on?

joestevens29 08-14-2013 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Forever (Post 70194899)
You can only add so many depth players, ultimately, the team is going to go as far as Hall, Yakupov, RNH, Schultz and Eberle take it.

Kinda this, kinda the same as the past few years. Depending what steps the kids make over the summer is ultimately where this team ends up.

hallsyoilerforever 08-14-2013 12:41 PM

I see the oilers fighting and making it close for the playoffs. Like many have said, I also believe Eakins is the key for the team's improvement.

Hall2Nuge2Ebs 08-14-2013 12:59 PM

In order for this team to make the playoffs all of the kids have to play out of their minds because we won't be getting any production from our bottom six. Defense has to be better (specifically the bottom pairing which won't be too hard of a task). Also, Dubnyk has to be able to steal a few games for us. If you don't have a goalie who can steal some games for you then you won't make it very far once you do make the playoffs. One more thing...Coaching has to be a lot better. I'm talking playing Yakupov instead of Smyth in overtime. And I still can't believe some of you defended Kreuger for making that decision (Smyth over Yakupov in OT)

notloilersfan 08-14-2013 01:02 PM

I agree with most that Eakins is a huge addition. I also like the point that we have a legit top 6 filled with top 6 guys, none of which are rookies.

Starbuds 08-14-2013 01:58 PM

Last season.

Top 10 PP and PK.

Bottom 10 5v5.

PP (3rd) and PK (14th) the year prior. Eakins' foremost focus needs to be 5v5.

hawks889 08-14-2013 02:00 PM

I dont think the oilers have improved much, the added size and grit, which mctavish wanted wasnt accomplished, There bottom 2 lines are still a huge question mark, The center position with RNH still on the injuried list is still troubling. Goaltending is the same, Laberbara is a non descript backup, once again i see the oilers on the outside of the playoffs race, and another season of golf for the oilers in early april.


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