22.8 The average age of the top six scorers on the Edmonton Oilers last season, the oldest being 25-year-old David Perron. Projected Roster HEAD COACH: DALLAS EAKINS LW C RW 1st Line: Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle 2nd Line: Benoit Pouliot Boyd Gordon David Perron 3rd Line: Nail Yakupov Anton Lander Teddy Purcell 4th Line: Luke Gazdic Matt Hendricks Jesse Joensuu D D #1 Andrew Ference Justin Schultz #2 Martin Marincin Mark Fayne #3 Nikita Nikitin Jeff Petry G Starter Ben Scrivens Backup Viktor Fasth Scoreboard 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 PLAYOFF FINISH DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ REGULAR SEASON 29-44-9 19-22-7 32-40-10 25-45-12 27-47-8 POINT TOTAL 67 45 74 62 62 SHOOTOUT RECORD 4-3 2-3 5-7 2-9 8-6 GOALS SCORED 203 125 212 193 214 GOALS ALLOWED 270 134 239 269 284 POWER PLAY % 17.0 20.1 20.6 14.5 17.3 PENALTY KILL % 82.1 83.4 82.4 77.0 78.0 will no longer have the benefit of playing on a line with Steven Stamkos. Overall, Edmonton still has a lot of potential but also still has a long way to go. The team has an alarming lack of productive veterans and no shortage of unproven up-andcomers. Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, and Perron are nice players, but they’ll need help to give the Oilers a respectable offense. Defense Perhaps no team in the NHL played worse team defense than the Oilers last year. Justin Schultz remains a talented offensive defenseman but a liability on the defensive end. Ladislav Smid was the best of a bad group early but was traded to Calgary in November. Andrew Ference brought the best defensive pedigree of any player on the team, but was overmatched in the role of shut-down defender. The other defensive options feature players who simply did not distinguish themselves as players who could stop opposing offenses or at least turn the puck possession battle in Edmonton’s favor. Players like Jeff Petry, Martin Marincin, Nick Schultz, and Mark Fraser were simply not up to the task of filling what was a huge void on this team. To make matters worse, the forwards largely consisted of young players who have not quite learned the nuances of NHL defense. Unlike players such as Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar, who have mastered the two-way game, players like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle remain mostly offense-only options. Everything culminated in a defense that was simply badly overmatched and often overwhelmed. It doesn’t appear that much help is on the horizon either. The one defenseman Edmonton acquired in free agency was Nikita Nikitin, formerly of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Nikitin enters in a similar situation to Ference – a decent defenseman who will have to fill the role of go-to defensive stopper, a role he’s probably not well-suited for. With the arrival of Nikitin and another year of experience, it’s hard to see Edmonton’s defense being quite as bad as it was last year. At the same time, it’s hard to see Edmonton’s defense being something other than a bottom five unit either.
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