Preview: Edmonton Oilers look to rebound after down year

Preview: Edmonton Oilers look to rebound after down year
August 12, 2013, 10:00 am
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2012-13 Record: 19-22-7, 45 points

Where they finished: 3rd in the Northwest; 12th in the West; 24th in NHL

Coach: Dallas Eakins (1st season)

Key additions: LW David Perron, D Andrew Ference, C Boyd Gordon, D Denis Grebeshkov

Key departures: F Shawn Horcoff, G Nikolai Khabibulin, D Ryan Whitney, F Magnus Paajarvi

Projected lineup

Forwards

Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle

David Perron – Sam Gagner – Nail Yakupov

Ryan Jones – Boyd Gordon – Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth – Anton Lander – Mike Brown

Defensemen

Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry

Andrew Ference – Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz – Corey Potter

Anton Belov

Goalies

Devan Dubnyk

Jason LaBarbera

Our take: The Oilers are still waiting to take that next step into the Stanley Cup playoffs. They haven’t been to the postseason since a memorable run in 2006. But if they do so this season it will be under a new general manager (Craig MacTavish) and a new coach (Dallas Eakins).

One of their first tasks was to add some toughness and a veteran presence to the lineup. Trading for Perron and signing Ference away from the Boston Bruins was a step in that direction.

But ultimately it is up to the young stars Edmonton has acquired – Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner. Yakupov. None of them are older than 24. Yakupov, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, is just 19. Promising defenseman Justin Schultz is also 23. There is room to dream with this roster. If it turns for the Oilers it could happen quick – but not this season.

Offseason Grade: B

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14: No.