The New Pacific Preview: Edmonton Oilers

Christian Petersen

This time last year, everyone in Edmonton was saying, "No more excuses. Playoffs or bust." And what do you know, they missed the playoffs. This team has more than enough talent to punch a ticket come April, and it sure seems like they're tired of that not happening.

2013 Stats

Record:

The Oilers finished with a 19-22-7 record, good for 45 points, third in the Northwest Division, and twelfth in the Western Conference. They lost all three of their games against the Ducks in regulation.

Leading Scorers:

Overall

Player GP G A P +/-
Taylor Hall 45 16 34 50 5
Sam Gagner 48 14 24 38 -6
Jordan Eberle 48 16 21 37 -4
Nail Yakupov 48 17 14 31 -4
Justin Schultz 48 8 19 27 -17 (ha)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 40 4 20 24 3

That's a lot of high end offensive talent right there, or at the very lest a lot of potential. The oldest player on that list is Gagner, and he's only 24. A year ago, most observers considered Eberle to be their best player. Now, most would point to Hall. A year from now, it may be someone else.

Against Ducks

Edmonton only scored two goals against the Ducks last season, and that kind of effort definitely does not deserve a spreadsheet. Nick Schultz and Hall scored those goals — each in different games — and the assists went to Yakupov and Gagner on Schultz's and Eberle and Jeff Petry on Hall's.

Goalies:

Overall

Player GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
Devan Dubnyk 38 14 16 6 2.57 .920 2
Nikolai Khabibulin 12 4 6 1 2.54 .923 1
Yann Danis 3 1 0 0 3.82 .881 0

Khabibulin signed with Chicago in the offseason, and Dubnyk has one year remaining on his contract. The Oilers are hoping Dubnyk can be their number one guy for years to come, and if they ever figure out how to play defense, his numbers will start looking even better than they do now.

Against Ducks

Player GP W L OT GAA SV% SO
Devan Dubnyk 2 0 2 0 2.50 .926 0
Nikolai Khabibulin 1 0 1 0 3.00 .893 0

These numbers better reflect the play of the Edmonton D corps than that of the goalies themselves.

Power Play:

With as much talent as the Oilers have, the success of their power play should come as no surprise. Their extra man unit was the 8th best in the NHL, clicking at 20.1%. That success, however, had nothing to do with their three games against the Ducks, in which they failed on all ten attempts.

Penalty Kill:

More surprisingly, the Oilers' PK was pretty good too, with a success rate of 83.4%, good for 9th overall. They killed 11 of 13 penalties against the Ducks, or 84.6%.

Key Additions:

Andrew Ference — signed this summer for four years at a reasonable $3.25M hit per year — has the Oilers' fanbase excited, and for good reason. He's a classy, dependable defenseman with loads of playoff experience — including three trips to the Stanley Cup Final — and his name isn't Ryan Whitney.

Former Oiler (2007-2010) Denis Grebeshkov will also try to improve the D corps. He spent the last four years in the KHL, and if he doesn't pan out, his one year, $1.5M contract will be an easy pill to swallow.

David Perron, acquired from St. Louis in exchange for Magnus Paajarvi and a second round pick next year, has had to deal with injuries and inconsistency throughout his career, but can definitely provide some depth scoring.

Oilers brass also brought in Richard Bachman and Jason LaBarbera because, you know, they're super confident in Dubnyk.

Boyd Gordon will look to earn a spot as at center on one of their bottom two lines.

Defenseman Philip Larsen and forwards Ryan Hamilton and Jesse Joensuu will also look to make the team.

A couple of big changes took place off the ice, as Craig MacTavish replaced Steve Tambellini as general manager and Dallas Eakins replaced Ralph Krueger as head coach.

Key Losses:

The Dallas Stars now employ former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff, who was traded for Larsen and a 7th rounder in 2016. Horcoff's production had fallen off, and the expected improvement of the young stars will more than make up for his offense.

22-year-old Magnus Paajarvi was also dealt, and while he had more potential upside than the aging Horcoff, his replacement (Perron) should produce similar numbers.

Relatively ineffective defensemen Ryan Whitney, Andy Sutton, and Theo Peckham are unemployed, retired, and signed with Chicago, respectively.

Nikolai Khabibulin and Yann Danis both left via free agency, and that probably isn't a big deal either.

Mark Fistric also walked, as we all know. Hopefully he's good at hockey.

Season Series:

Sun. Dec. 15, vs Edmonton 5:00 pm, Prime Ticket

Fri. Jan. 3, vs Edmonton 7:00 pm, Fox Sports West

Fri. Mar. 28 @ Edmonton 6:30 pm, Prime Ticket

Wed. Apr. 2 vs. Edmonton 7:00 pm, KDOC

Sun. Apr. 6 @ Edmonton 5:00 pm, TSN/Prime Ticket

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