|Teddy Purcell – RW||Sam Gagner – C|
|Benoit Pouliot – LW||Taylor Fedun – D|
|Mark Fayne – D|
|Nikita Nikitin – D|
|Keith Aulie – D|
For the Edmonton Oilers, the struggle continued in 2013-14. They finished with the NHL’s third worst record (29-44-9) and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season.
This offseason they had a top-10 pick in the NHL Entry Draft for the seventh time in the last eight years. They used their third overall pick to get 6-foot-1, 204 lbs. centre Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders. Draisaitl posted 105 points (38G / 67A) in 64 games last season and could challenge for a roster spot in September. Edmonton was one of the busiest teams in the league this offseason. They feel like they have bolstered their blueline by adding Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Keith Aulie. None of those names jump off of the page at you, but the most notable is Fayne. He is a strong, stay-at-home defenseman who along with Andrew Ference should help steady a young back-end.
After spending the first seven years of his career in Edmonton, the Oilers decided to part ways with Sam Gagner, trading him to the Lightning for Teddy Purcell (TB then traded Gagner to ARI). The 28-year-old right winger, had has best season in 2011-12, posting 24 goals and 41 assists (65 points) in 81 games. He followed that up with an equally successful season in the lockout shortened year, but then struggled to the tune of 42 points last year. He has missed just three games in the last four years, so he should make for a safe late-round selection. Edmonton also signed Benoit Pouliot to a five-year, $20 million deal on July 1. He had a career year in New York, but at a $4 million dollar cap-hit the Oilers will be expecting more than 36 points out of him this season.
They join a group of young and ultra-talented young forwards. Taylor Hall registered 80 points in 75 games last season, which tied him with Phil Kessel for sixth in the league. The 22-year-old continues to make strides and should be a point-per-game player yet again and could record his first 30-goal season. He will be a second-round pick with tremendous upside. Jordan Eberle has ranked in the top-3 on the team in goals for the last four years and is the best bet to lead them in that department this season. He was joined by David Perron with 28 goals last year, another player with great speed and goal-scoring ability. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, yet another first overall pick, had 56 points last season, very similar to his rookie year. He is a skilled playmaker and will certainly rack up the assists. He is a 20-goal, 40 assist candidate this year. Then there is Nail Yakupov. What do you make of his season last year? After a strong rookie season, last year was a debacle. He was a brutal minus-33, which was fourth worst in the NHL. He will go back to his OHL number 10 this year, hoping that will help him turn things around. He has to be a top candidate for bounce-back player of the year.
All that talent up-front only translated into 2.43 goals per game, which was t-24th in the NHL, but their league worst 3.26 team goals against average is the reason for the limited success. Their defence was ugly last season, but with the offseason additions, they should be a little more difficult to play against. That said, Justin Schultz is the only legit fantasy option at this point. He’s just 24-years-old and has already posted 60 points in 122 career games. Heading into 2014-15, his 33 points from last year should be the expectation out of him this year.
In net, there should be a solid goaltending battle. Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth did not start last season in Edmonton, but had decent success in a short period of time with the Oilers. Scrivens’ highlight of the season was a 57-save shutout against the San Jose Sharks, but finished 9-11-1 with a 3.01 GAA and .916 SV%. Fasth on the other hand, only started seven games, posting a 3-3-1 record with a 2.73 GAA and .914 SV%. Scrivens will likely enter the season as the Oilers’ number-1, but Fasth will certainly push for starts.
Look to the Draft (Ranking Oilers’ Fantasy Players)
- Taylor Hall – LW
- Jordan Eberle – RW
- David Perron – LW
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – C
- Nail Yakupov – RW
- Justin Schultz – D
- Ben Scrivens – G
- Teddy Purcell – RW
- Viktor Fasth – G
- Benoit Pouliot – LW
Click HERE for the Oilers’ potential line combinations heading into the 2014-15 season.
Season prediction: Edmonton finishes sixth in the Pacific Division and miss the playoffs for the ninth straight year.
Other Season Previews: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames,Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings