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08-14-2013, 07:35 PM
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I am one of the optimists. I see the Oilers comfortably earning a playoff spot this season. Here's why (in order of importance):

1. Eakins. Krueger lost the team early on with his odd systems. The 2012/13 roster was good enough for a 7 - 8th place finish. But Krueger pushed them downward. Eakins is good enough to take this 6 - 7th place roster and get them up to 4 - 6th. New systems will be in place, and Eakins is touted to have better ability to get the most out of players. I think he will. I can't wait to see a passionate coach fired up behind the bench.

2. MacT will make better roster adjustments than Tambo pre-season and mid-season. If you don't agree with me, try to defend the usefulness of Fistric, Brown and Smithson.

3. Defense by committee. We may not have a legit star, but we have the largest number of legit NHL defenseman as we've had since 2006/07. It is good, if not great, depth. And not Cam Barker depth. Real depth. Krueger's weird system of not allowing wingers to help the dmen is ended. There are enough legit guys to have a lot of workable combo's where no one gets stuck with a partner they don't jive with.

4. Our top line is as good as any top line in the league. They score at a great pace, they defend well, and they deliver clutch goals. Its our best top line in a really long time. For years we had great depth and no top line. Finally we have the opposite problem.

5. Perron will be a factor. Switching from the Blues' systems to Eakins' will allow him more scoring chances. Really skilled guy, great defender. David Perron is quite capable of leading the team in scoring. Could you say that about MPS?

The 'Chicago Model' is proven to work, and we are 80% there. We've got a great group of high end forwards and just need a step forward on defense and among our bottom 6 forwards.

This is the year we turn the corner.

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