Optimism quickly changed to realism and the Oilers suffered a six game losing streak in October and another in November. They were never able to recover.
It went from bad to worse after the team lost it’s number one defenseman Ryan Whitney to ankle surgery in December and first liners Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff each only managed to stay healthy for 47 games.
At the trade deadline the Oilers took another step towards rebuilding by trading away Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Colten Teubert, a first round pick in the 2011 draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2012 draft. The end result was a another last place finish and first overall selection at the draft used to pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, another blue chip future star.
|Taylor Hall||Shawn Horcoff||Ales Hemsky|
|Magnus Paajarvi||Sam Gagner||Jordan Eberle|
|Ryan Smyth||Eric Belanger||Ryan Jones|
|Ben Eager||Gilbert Brule||Linus Omark|
|Darcy Hordichuk||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Teemu Hartikainen|
|Ryan Whitney||Tom Gilbert||Devan Dubnyk|
|Ladislav Smid||Theo Peckham||Nikolai Khabibulin|
|Jeff Petry||Cam Barker||Olivier Roy|
|Andy Sutton||Colten Teubert|
Top Breakout Candidates:
Sam Gagner - 3 seasons of 40-42 points. Is this the year he breaks out with over 60?
Another first overall selection, but will Nugent-Hopkins play in the NHL, or Junior again? Other top rookies will get a strong look such as Anton lander, Teubert, and Tyler Pitlick.
Cam Barker was selected third overall in ’04. Sure he has his defensive warts in his game but he can run a power play and has a devastating point shot.
Nikolai Khabibulin - He is 38, and no longer the “wall”
Best Fantasy Value:
Lots to choose from here, Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, and Ryan Whitney have tremendous upside.
Oilers fans get your Ryan Smyth jerseys back out, Captain Canuck is back! That is about all Edmonton fans will have to be excited about this year. Another season of growing pains is about to commence. Smyth will bring some valuable leadership and experience to a young team. Teams that are very young and patient can have a tendency to become comfortable with loosing. The mentality of being young, and rebuilding creates the perception that it is alright to loose. Smyth will help prevent that in the locker room. Unfortunately they will still loose more games than they win until they shore up the blue line and goaltending.
Pete Harling is and always has been passionate about hockey. He loves to watch it, play it but what he loves the most is fantasy hockey. Email Coach Harling at [email protected].