RNH, Hall, Ebs, Schultz will all be at different speeds than the rest of the division going into the schedule. Hemmer has played well in Europe with 32 points in 27 games in the Czech league and should be poised to have a good year. Ganer has 20 points in 21 games in Austria. Even Yaks has had a good season in the KHL (18points in 22 games).
Our top 6 should be flying. The question I see ahead is whether Dubnyk and the defence can step their game up this year enough.
I see it being close with them making the playoffs (ahead of Calgary).
Calgary is a notorious slow starter with Iginla and Kipper usually struggling at the beginning of the season. With their age and being off the ice for so long, I think they're bound for another slow start this year. And with a shortened season, I'm not sure they will have enough time nor talent/depth to make the playoffs. I have a feeling this is the year the Oil pass the Flames and they never look back.
The Oilers obviously have more youthful high end talent.
But Kipprusoff is much more proven than Dubnyk at this point. If Dubnyk has a bad year, it will be tough for the Oilers. With Kipper, you know more or less what you're going to get.
Also depends a lot on Ryan Whitney, if he goes down to injury, then the Oilers back end is almost crippled.
Kipper is proven and very reliable...Dubnyk is unproven and unreliable. Gives up too many soft goals and tends not to play well when the games matter. Good goaltenders steal games and can carry a team in a short season.
Whitney and and especially Dubnyk are the 2 biggest question marks on the roster IMO...both are pivotal to the success of the team.
If the Oilers get the Ryan Whitney that played so well in his first season then this defence is average or better.
If Dubnyk can play well when the games matter and give the team average or better goaltending then this team should finish ahead of the Flames IMO and might make the playoffs.
I would also like to see Tambo acquire a player with size that can play in the top 6.
what about that Cervanka guy they signed last year? thought he was their #1 center
either way, the addition of Wideman (garbage defensively), Hudler (skilled, but small and soft) and Cervanka (who knows...could end being a Jiri Dopita clone) doesn't impress me...they're still old
that being said, its a coin flip on who finishes ahead
neither are making the playoffs, so I'll take the Oilers
I have the Flames as a bottom feeder regardless of where the Oilers end up.
With the departure of Jokinen and the addition of Cervenka, the Flames have the undisputed worst centre depth in the NHL IMO. Putting guys like Cammaleri and Tanguay at centre are desperation moves that are very unlikely to pay off a la the Oilers with Smyth and Pisani in the same position years ago.
The Flames usual trump card of size and strong grinding physical play is gone this year. Look at their departures compared to who they added. Jokinen, Moss, Hannan Kostopolous out, Cervenka, Hudler, Baertschi, Wideman in. They are going to be softer, smaller, and will make an attempt to play a skill game, but their centers suck, which makes that style of play difficult.
Look at their team and look at what the Oilers roster looked like prior to the collapse. A rediculous amount of similarities.
What a ridiculous poll. 51-6 in favor of the Oilers? I understand that this is the Oilers board and all but man, the homerism is at an all time high. We have been hearing the last 2 offseasons about how the Oilers are poised to pass the Flames and they haven't even come close yet. While the Flames have pretty much stagnated, they still have a veteran team that has learned how to just miss the playoffs and be no better or worse so i expect them to be on the bubble again.
I'll reiterate again that the Oilers have so many question marks moreso than most teams in the league. The D has potential to be a real disaster, Smid and Petry have had only had one real good season (Petry only half a season really), who knows what we're going to get from Whitney, Schultz has never played an NHL game, Nick Schultz is ok but hardly a game changer and there is nothing at #6. This isn't even taking into account the inevitable injuries that hit then we're stuck with Teubert and Peckham playing minutes and that's only if 1 injury hits and if multiple injuries hit, one of them will be in the top 4.
Dubnyk is still a question mark now that he's the main man for the first time and there is an alarming lack of grit on the team offensively and defensively and a lack of 2 way play amongst the forwards.
I do see the team improving and they will be a ton of fun to watch win or lose but i just don't see this as a playoff team or even better than Calgary at this point. They have certainly done nothing to achieve all the hype that they seem to be receiving not only here but also on the main board surprisingly and amongst TV analysts.
Sure it's possible that they break out this season but i'm in "I'll believe it when i see it" mode.
I said this numerous times last year - the main problem with the team was not defence or goaltending. It was secondary scoring.
I'm not going to deny the fact that our D needs to be better. It definitely does.
I'm not going to deny the fact that our G needs to be better. It definitely does.
But if you look at how many losses were by 1 goal last year, one can surmise that our problem was our inability to get that tie-breaking go-ahead goal.
It was almost always the other team who found that goal. Sure, you can say that we wouldn't have that problem with a more solid D and G but it's much easier to defend a lead than it is to play from behind.
I believe the addition of Schultz and Yak will add to our goal totals and more W's.
The Flames are likely to regress this year some more but the questiopn is how much?
They lost something like 17 one-goal games last year. On paper they defintiely have a better team than last year and like I said above it really depends on how much they regress. There will also be the addition of Baertschi as well which definitely shouldn't hurt them.