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Offseason report: Edmonton Oilers

Aug 11, 2012, 11:01 AM EDT

Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins AP

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

32-40-10, 74 points. 14th in Western Conference, fifth in Northwest Division.

Additions

Justin Schultz, Nail Yakupov

Departures

Cam Barker, Ryan Keller, Taylor Chorney

2012 Draft

First overall — Nail Yakupov (F – Sarnia – OHL)

Looking back

It was yet another miserable season for the Oilers. While there were glimmers of hope for the future thrown in with how well Jordan Eberle played (34 goals, 76 points), they saw Taylor Hall again run into injury problems missing 21 games and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins too missed 20 games. Those two fellow youngsters played great hockey, but it doesn’t do them any good being hurt.

While the slew of youngsters played great, the same issues that plagued Edmonton for the last few years remained. Defensively they were brutal ranking 23rd in goals allowed. Devan Dubnyk showed hope that he could be their goalie of the future but still split time with Nikolai Khabibulin. The defense had no real leaders nor anyone all that great.

Being unhealthy and unable to keep opponents off the scoreboard help you land in a position to get the first overall pick in the draft for the third year in a row.

Looking forward

The Oilers managed to get younger in the offseason. While they haven’t splurged in free agency, signing former Ducks pick Justin Schultz as a free agent and then picking Yakupov first overall helped the Oilers add a lot of very young talent quickly. Schultz will give them a young potential stud on the blue line while Yakupov figures to be another possible superstar forward. Edmonton is really gunning hard to recreate the dynasty years.

They’ll have to hope Schultz can live up to the hype right away and steady a defensive corps that’s been nothing short of awful in recent seasons. If they can have that happen and see Dubnyk continue to improve his game maybe things get better in Edmonton and maybe they can push for eighth in the West.

That said, the team is still terribly thin at forward with lots of other young guys (Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi) unsure of where they stand with the team and others (Sam Gagner, Ryan Jones) still figuring what exactly their game is. Factor in a handful of veterans like Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth and… You still don’t know what you have.

There’s hope here, there’s too much young talent around not to, but there are a lot of questions surrounding this team.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Oilers’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. jacketsfan7 - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    15th in western conference

    • Joe Yerdon - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      Worse than Columbus? Calgary?

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Calgary will be 9th in the Western Conference (assuming they don’t trade Bow) that’s our natural spot. We’ll still be ahead of Minnesota too!

  2. rushledger - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    They can spice up their rivalry with Calgary young up and comers vs older veterans that is until the season ends and both teams miss the playoffs.

  3. shanesander - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    they’ll make the jump Chicago did after they got Kane and finish between 10-12 in the west and then make the playoffs the next yr. Whitney, Smid, Jones & Khabibulin will be UFA’s at the end of the year, so possible trade candidates, could finally land a top pair guy or at the very least open spots for Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat or Musil to make a jump next season. Smid will be back tho, the others are wild cards

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