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08-14-2013, 10:38 AM
  #8
CupofOil
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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.


Last edited by CupofOil: 08-14-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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