An introspective look at the Oiler's

A new season is coming up. Hockey scribes all over the land are writing of doom and gloom for the upcoming Oilers hockey season. Here is a realistic look at what to expect from this team, and who to watch. The Oilers made news in the offseason by trading future hall of famer Chris Pronger for superstar in waiting Joffery Lupul, blue chip Ladislav Smid, and 2 draft picks. Petr Sykora followed his former linemate to Edmonton a few weeks later bolstering the already impressive offence.

The Oilers are equiped one of the most feared top three lines in the league with forwards Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hempsky, Joffery Lupul, and Petr Sykora as already established NHL scorer’s. Waiting in the wings to join them are Alexie Mikhnov, Marc antoine Pouliet, and Rob Schremp. With only to spots open for these three players, look for Schremp to be sent to the minors this year and next year being his big league debut.

The defence is the question mark of this team, and the reason many have ranked them so low in preseason forecast’s. Why? They have much needed cap room that their own division rivals miss to address any need they have on the backend if the defence falters. They still posses solid defencemen in Jason Smith, Steve Staios, Marc Andrea Bergeron, Daniel Tarnqist, aswell as emerging star in Matt Greene, and Ladislav Smid.

Goaltending is solid this year with a good but not great Dwayne Roloson, and a very good backup in Jussi Markannen. This will not be a issue this season.

Kevin Lowe will have cap room to address the defense if need be, or to bolster any other need this season.

Player’s to watch from training camp are Alexie Mikhnov who is expected to take Sergie Samsonov spot on the second line, aswell as Smid, and Jan Hedja who both come in as new stalwarts on the back end.

Expect this team to light up a few conference rivals, and battle Calgary for top spot in the division.

Their lineup on opening night should look like this.

Smyth Horcoff Hempsky

Lupul Sykora Mikhnov

Torres Stoll Pisani

Moreau Reasoner Jf Jaques

Smith Bergeron

Tarnqist Greene

Smid Staios



41 Responses to An introspective look at the Oiler's

  1. Jrugges says:

    Your kiddding right? Top spot? Listen, they barely made the playoffs last year with these players, they also lost a big part of there success last year in Pronger. Everyone in there division got better and they didnt do too much to improve. Sure they added sykora, but they also lost Samsonov, which was a huge part of there success in the playoffs. You said lupul is a future superstar, and thats just what he is, the FUTURE. I’m not gonna bet on this team even making the playoffs with other teams like Phenoix bolstering up there line up, They also have to play Calgary, Colorado, and Minnisota 8 times a year. All of which look better than the oilers in my eyes.

    My western playoff bracket looks like this.

    1st- Sharks- They where way out of the playoff hunt last year when super joe came into town, and fought there way back to a 5th or 6th place spot. pretty impressive in my eyes.

    2nd-Calgary – Self explainatory

    3rd- Redwings – Still prolly the best team in the Central, wouldnt be surprized to see Nashville here though.

    4th-Ducks – Deffense.




    8th-Wild – Very much more improved team.

  2. lockedge says:

    The Oilers have a chance at the playoffs. The good thing about a bunch of their players is that they don’t give up. They might not be the best team on paper but they’ll be hard to beat with so many blue-chippers on their roster.

    As for standings, I’ll say

    1. Nashville

    2. Anaheim

    3. Calgary

    4. San Jose

    5. Los Angeles

    6. Detroit

    7. Minnesota

    8. Vancouver (if their coaching is good enough to make up for the loss in offense, otherwise I stick PHX or EDM here)

    Then again, predictions before the final rosters are set are usually just hopeful.

  3. Kraut182 says:

    I like the Oilers, I think the Oilers will have a very exciting team next year, but they lost their top defensive pairing and replaced them with very little.

    Smith is solid, and Staios is okay.

    Bergeron still seems to give up the puck a bit much, and is a big step down from Pronger as a PP man.

    Greene was flat out terrible for big portions of the playoffs, taking undisciplined penalties and provides little offensive upside.

    Tjarnqvist I haven’t seen much of, but research shows he’s 30 and about as good as he’s going to get with his best season being 20 points and a -4.

    Smid is interesting and could be a big help, but if he’s not ready for the NHL yet then that’s big trouble.

    I like the Oilers, I think they can score in bundles, but I don’t think a team with suspect D and average to slightly above average goaltending is going to make much noise.

  4. Gretzkin says:

    You are ridiculous.

    First of all, the Oilers fought their way in, yes, as per usual, but they weren’t far out of 3rd place in the West.

    Their Offence is stonger this year heading into training camp.

    Thier Goaltending is way stronger with Roli at the helm.

    Yes, their D is weaker without Pronger, but his regular season wasn’t sh*it hot, he took a long time to get going and K.Lowe will bolster the Blue line along the way.

    Plus, with the likes of Smith, Staios, Bergeron, etc. That’s not a bad core of D-Men, especially when the Oilers, who could score when the going got tough last season, now have a 30% better offence and a 60% Goaltending situation.

    The West is tight, but the Western Conference Champions are in a good position to do well.

    Both of you guys don’t see the Oilers in the playoffs, you are Blind.

    Calgary, Self Explanatory? Our division was so tight that nobody could tell until the very, very end.

    I think they’ll do better than last year, but so will the Oil.

    Scratch Colorado from your guess, and Minny looks good, but will Demitra play the whole season?

    Fu*ck the Ducks.

    Fu*ck Pronger.

  5. muckies says:

    Great article.

    If I remember correctly, Pronger sucked last year until after the Olympics, he was laways injured and didn’t really get his game together until after the trade deadline, same with Peca. So if the Oil can get off to a better start they’ll make the playoffs.

    And they didn’t really have any solid goaltending until Rolly came along, so waht they lost in D with Pronger they’ll make up in goaltending with Rolly

    I wouldn’t want to play this team in the playoffs. All heart, all team work. You can’t like hockey and ot respect the Oilers, everything about them is just awesoem, the fans, the history, the team.

    Oil – Dallas Westenn Conference Final.

    Oil- Sens Stanley Cup final.

  6. Ortep says:

    Nice rationale on which rookie will crack the lineup. I really like Rob Schremp as a dark-horse to make the team, but agree that it is probably better in the long run that he starts the year in the minors.

  7. sean2006 says:

    While there’s a couple of good points in this article, there’s some places I need to take issue with.

    First, Mikhnov on the 2nd line?!?! I cant see it. Mikhnov might be a brilliant player, but then again he might only be a good player. After all, he had 22 points in 40 games last season with the Russian club (Lokomotiv).

    Second, no mention of Brad Winchester. Is he back to the minors? The kid saw some good ice time last season, even a bit in the playoffs. Possible trade bait?

    Third, wouldnt be surprised to see Syvret get some looks on D. Im not saying he’s gonna make the top 6, but he may rotate in and out.

    Fourth, it’s Hemsky, not Hempsky. This seems to keep occurring in blogs.

    Finally, stability at goal will make a difference this year. The Oilers played substantially better in front of Roloson than in front of ANY of the revolving door goalies last year. Perhaps it was team confidence that the guy between the pipes could stop the puck. Whether the D Men can move the puck out of there end is another story.

  8. Pedro says:

    Ya i noticed the hemsky thing after, oh well. Scott Howson in interviews with the local media pretty much flat out said that Mikhnov will be on the team, and that he would take Samsonov’s spot on the second line. Whether he stays there is the question, but 22 points in 40 games is good in the russian league.

    Winchester will make the team and be a scratch most nights, as will Pouliet. I felt puting the scratches in over excessive, and really pointless.

  9. Pedro says:

    Should get your eye’s checked then. The Wild lost their two best defensemen to division rivals, and picked up Demitra (injury prone) to bolster a pathetic offence, making it ordinary. They will finnish around 10th. Colorado? They have a big ? in goal, they defense is garbage, Sakic is in decline Svatos is coming off an injury, they traded tanguay. This team barely made it in and are much worse now, they will finnish in the bottom half.

    “2nd-Calgary – Self explainatory” Why? You never explained and I don’t see them as a clear cut favorite. They still don’t have a second line, and know backup to give Kipper a rest. I would call them preseason favorites, but Edmonton is improved with a balanced offense and good goaltending.

  10. sean2006 says:

    So, Winny ends up playing the Laraque role. Called to answer the bell when needed.

    Howson says Mikhnov is on the squad, then Im inclined to believe him. Wow, that’s a lot of confidence in the guy.

    Im hoping Hemsky has taken a lesson from last years playoffs…”When you go to the net and pull the trigger, you score goals”.

    Sounds like everyone in EDM Sports radio are saying, “To Heck with Defence, let’s score goals in bunches”. If this is the case, the Oil could be a fun bunch to watch this season.


  11. thegoalie1976 says:

    Why does everybody keep saying edmonton has average goaltending??????

    Did you guys watch the playoffs?????

    No goalie was a bigger part of his teams success than Roli. Not even Ward, because he got pulled in every series but the final, and the coach rotated in Gerber a few times.

    Why does Kipper become the next GOD of goaltending for taking a lower seed to the finals, but Roli takes an even lower seed, and his is AVERAGE?????


    Roli is an amazing goalie, as proven in the playoffs, and I would put him up against other starter as equal or better.

  12. quick_stick says:

    I think people are looking at his whole career, not just last playoffs. It happens a lot, that a certain goalie will get hot, and then come down to earth… But for anyone who follows hockey trends, they would hesitate to put their faith in a one timer.

    Certainly Rolson has had a good career, but he’s not close to the top goalies in the game.

    I’d worry more about the Canes goaltending though…this guys hasn’t even had a solid full year, and they’re betting on him. Could pan out, could be a huge bust.

  13. Pedro says:

    They are saying Mikhnovs hands are like Samsonov but he is more inclined to shoot, and he’s like 6ft4, 240pnds.

    He’s my darkhorse pick for rookie of the year.

  14. Pedro says:

    I really like him, but I always look at the age and his career.

  15. Madhouz says:

    Here’s the bottom line:

    The oilers have resources in abundance in the forward ranks and K.Lowe isn’t a fool. He has cap room and money to spend, he won’t panic and hit the trade button until mid-season if it looks like our defense isn’t holding up. Even if it did come to that (which I don’t think it will) there will be options available then which aren’t now.

    I predict the season to go like this …

    A solid start to the season with a steady performance gain as the season progresses, after the holiday break I think this team is really going to start lighting things up and going into March we’ll be absolutely firing on all cylinders. We’ll go into the playoffs like a raging bull and todays media naysayers will be fully on the love-in bandwagon.

  16. woodsco85 says:

    Your kidding right, your leading with your heart, not your head. There no way in hell that edmonton will make it to a cup final with the team they have right now. They’ve lost way too many key players. Pronger, Samsonov, and Peca were all huge in the playoffs, whos gonna step up and fill those roles? And Ottawa wont be in a Cup final either, not with their unproven goaltender and the loss of Chara. They do not have the right mix, not anymore, If they were gonna win a cup it would have been last year, but no they blew it again. Given Hasek was out, but how on earth can you replace Hasek with Gerber and think your gonna go further in the playoffs than last year.

  17. woodsco85 says:

    Dark Horse? I might be a little biased seeing as I’m from London (home of the Knights), but 57 goals, and 88 assists in 57 games, for a total of 145 points? how can you not call this guy up?

  18. Pedro says:

    Funny, thats what people said last year. Samsonov was not huge at all in the playoffs, he was no-where to be seen other then 2 games. Peca was good for a round. They have too good of forwards to miss the playoffs. The guys they replaced them with are better too. Sykora or Samsonov. Hmmm. Peca or Lupul. Hmmm. They also picked reasoner back up. Looks good.

  19. avsrule24 says:

    The Oilers have a better shot to make the playoffs this year than the Wild and the Stars.

    Even as an Avs fan, the chances of the Avalanche making the playoffs are very slim. I’d put them at eighth, unless goaltending is incredible.

    Anaheim is loads better than the Wings and certainly the Sharks.

    Calgary sounds about right.

  20. avsrule24 says:

    Because Kipper was outstanding during the regular season. Roli sucked during the regular season, and then became unbeatable during the playoffs.

    He might end up being great, but he has to prove it during the season.

  21. sean2006 says:

    Oiler website has him 6′ 5″ and 218. Solid.

    Mikhnov is a natural left winger, and the site lists Lupul as playing RW, even though Lupul is also a lefty. I suppose technically, they could form a line.

  22. woodsco85 says:

    And whos replacing Pronger? And yes, I’ll take Samsonov over Sykora! And while Lupul may score more points, his leadership skills on any team are a major assest, he brings a teams moral way up, is Lupol going to for Edmonton what Peca did, I highly doubt he can take an entire team under his wing. All I’m saying is while i believe they are a good team, they are not a great team, and there are way more teams that are looking alot better at this point.

  23. muckies says:

    i never really nderstood why the Wild are ranked so high, i think their playoff run a few years back made people take notice. If anything I say they aren’t as good because they lost Roloson, Demitra is good, but he’s not the kind of player that takes his teams to the playoffs each year.Goaborik is good but every team in the league has a Gaborik type of talent. The way they stack up in that division and the conference, i say the Wild don’t make the playoffs again. They seemed to have a lot of dissent last year, and it may boil over early if they don’t get out of the gate with a sucessful October and Novemeber, with all the high expectations.

    I love Sakic and like the Avs, but i see them and the loses from the off season really hurting their team, and there is no way Theo out goaltends Luongo-Rolly and Kipper every other night to get them into the playoffs. He had one decent season, that’s it, he’s not the MVP type player people think he is.

  24. Ortep says:

    Corey Perry (being from London, you know what he did his last year in junior) started the year last year in Anaheim and really struggled, as did Ryan Getzlaf. They both were sent down for a couple of months in the AHL and were called back up late in the season and it made a huge difference, both finished the season strong.

  25. oilers_rock says:

    Shremp’s not going to do anything unless he is on the 1st and 2nd line, and right now were have no room for him. There are teams in the AHL that will guarantee 1st line time for Shremp just because he is so talented.

  26. Kraut182 says:

    I say Edmonton has average goaltending because there are about 10 goalies in the league I would take over Roloson and another 5 or so that are just as good. That puts him right in the average section of NHL starting goalies.

    He played well in the playoffs, but Kipper has put together 2 amazing Vezina-type seasons to go with the playoff run. Roloson has put together a career of average/slightly above average goaltending. This isn’t all going to change for the better now that he’s turning 37 and coming off knee surgery.

  27. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Just wondering how many games you saw the Oilers play last year?? I would take Sykora for 82 games this season over the 19 Samsonov played last year. Lupal scored 28 goals and 58 points last year. I have to say the futer started last year for Lupal. Edmonton and Calgary are the top two teams for the North West. Minnisota has done nothing much in the offseson to jump them very high in the standings and Colorado is hurting bad.

  28. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    The oilers lst year have said Schemp this year will be on the team. Things change but that is what was said

  29. Aussierules says:

    I think Mikhnov makes the Oilers out of training camp, placing the Oilers in a position of having too many top two-line wingers. The problem I see arising is where to place Sykora in the line up. Stoll definately earned the second line center position last year, and Sykora is a far more effective winger than centerman. Stoll at number 2 effectively bumps Sykora down to the third line status (if Mikhnov lands on the second line). But Moreau, Pisani, and Torres all actually belong on the third line ahead of Sykora, as he doesn’t have the defensive game nor the grit to be effective on the third line. Hence, Sykora becomes a very expensive fourth line winger, which is why, first the Ducks got rid of him, then the NY Rangers let him go.

    If Mikhnov makes the top two lines out of camp, I smell a trade happening involving a winger and possibly a prospect for some team’s fourth or fifth defenceman. Unfortunately, no team’s gonna bite on Sykora, leaving Torres as my de facto choice for trade bait, and Sykora as an over priced fourth liner.

    I see the line up as:

    Smyth Horcoff Hempsky

    Lupul Stoll Mikhnov

    Moreau Reasoner Pisani

    Sykora Pouliot WInchester

    Smith Bergeron

    Tarnqist Greene

    Smid Staios



    If Schremp actually sticks this year, or if Sykora can actually be an effective 2nd line centerman, add Stoll or Pouliot to the trade bait bag along with Torres and Danny Syvret to possibly land a decent first line defenceman like Rafalski (not suggesting all four straight up for Rafalski).

    If all this sounds like sh*t, at least admit Moreau one of the best third line players in the league, and deserves better than fourth line status.

  30. Aussierules says:

    sorry, Hemsky (I copied the other guy’s line up as a template)

  31. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Roli will replace Pronger as mentioned before. Plus all those 20+ year old rookies that Edmonton does not have room for will be used for trade in order to jump up the defence at the trade deadline or before that (see the list of UFA’s at the end of next season that was posted a week ago for who that may be)

    Saying Peca took “an entire team under his wing” makes me realize you were just someone who watched a few playoff games and formed unsubstanciaded thoughts on the team. Peca was NOT a leader for the Oilers. Smith, Smyth, Pronger (yes Pronger), Staios, and Moreau were the leaders for the team. Peca openly talked about how maybe he should of been traded on trade deadline day and how he was not playing well. Most of the time when the team went out with each other he was not there. Not that he did not have heart or has not been a leader on other teams. He just wasn’t for the Oil. Please respond and let me know how he took the team under his wing??????????????????

  32. Smyth2Hemsky says:

    Why do people constantly say Samsonov was a key in the playoffs? He wasn’t a key as he didn’t do much after the opening round in the playoffs. Pronger didn’t do much in the SCF.

  33. oildude says:

    Lupul is a right winger not left. Sykora may be able to fill the third line center role and I think that trading Torres would be a huge mistake. Perhaps one of the prospects may have to go in a trade for a defenceman if thats what is needed. I see the lines like this.

    Smyth Horcoff Hemsky

    Mikhnov Stoll Lupul

    Torres Sykora Pisani

    Moreau Pouliot Stortini

    Bergeron Smith

    Smid Staios

    Tarnquist Greene

    Extra forwards Winchester, Jacques, Reasoner

    Extra D Hedja, Syvret

    I heard that Stortini is a tough guy and maybe able to fill Georges roll.

  34. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Agreed on what you thought of this articial but I too have some different thoughts

    I do not think for half a secound Jf Jaques will beat out Shremp, Winchester and Poilet for a spot on the starting roster.

    I think that the oilers are waitng to see how well Mikhnov preforms to see if they makes trades with thier other other power forwards (Winchester or even Torres)

    Hejda is not comeing over to North America after 10 years in europe to play on some AHL team (exspecialy since the Oil do not even have thier own farm team. I am wondering how good he is since many players talk highly about him but all Edmonton gave up was a 7th rounder (maybe this is on of those “futer conciderations” we always hear about in trades.) Smid or Greene will be the 6th and 7th defencemen. That puts Syvret at 8th spot or maybe 9th depending on Gilbert, sean2006.

    I have been guilty of this too but posting the 2006 lines is impossible since MacT is known for switching his lines around. I think that the forwards posted will be what they start the year with minus Jaques plus BOTH shremp and Poloit then the one that has trouble adapting to the differnet league between Mikhnov, Shremp and Poliot will get moved down. And most likely one of the 3 will have trouble.

    If Markkanen has trouble for a little while this year we may see Deslauriers come up. I think it is a shame that since he is an Oiler prospect he can’t play on and AHL team that gives him more than 1/3 of the starts. IMO the oil owe him at least one start this year.

  35. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Since 2001 he has had an above save percentage above .900 and twice one above .930.. Who else has done that. Belfore no, Giguereno no, Khabibulin no, Cloutier no, Turco, no in fact of the goalis I just went through I did not fid one that had those consistant of stats. I realize stats need to be taken with a grain of salt but they a indictative of a players talent. How many games have you seen Rolison play. Do you realize he was an Allstar. What makes you think that he was playing so far above himself in the playoffs????

  36. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Goerge no longer had much of a roll thats why they let him go. Smith fights, Staios fights, Miranov is a russian but still a big boy, and pretty much everone on the team is wiling to drop the gloves

  37. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Moreau is a great PK and defenive specialist. on a poor team he could switch to an offencive roll too. If he is on the third or fourth line it makes to diffence since he is still one of the best at what he does. If I had to choice between Moreau or Sykora I would pick Moreau but I would still have Sykora on the thrid line ahead of Moreau any time. Not saying Moreau might not end up playing more minutes in the end though.

    There is not a chance in hell Torres is not going to be in the starting 12 forwards.

  38. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    How about either Jaques or Winchester for Brewer on March. I would be very suprised if Brewer does not get traded this year.

    That would be a hell of a few trades on Lowes behalf. In the end the Oilers may of lost Jaques and Comrie and gained Lupal, Smid, Shremp, two 1st round picks and a secound round pick

  39. ObjectiveImpartiaL says:

    Go to and click on K-Lowes interview for some more info. It is a little bit politicialy correct but clears alot of these debates up. It is best clears up the defence questions. Talks a little bit about the forwards in the end too.

  40. thegoalie1976 says:

    I remember when everybody laughed at calgary for picking up a 3rd string goalie to start for the playoffs. They were crazy. Kipper had proved nothing in san jose, but was teriffic in the playoffs. Many fans instantly picked him to win the veznia for the following season.

    now roli……before edmonton he was a all-star, had won in the playoffs before, and had better save % than a lot of more notable #1 goalies. Then came to edmonton and was just as teriffic in the playoffs as kipper the previous season.

    How are these cir*****stances any different??????

    If you take both of their careers until the cup final and compare.

    Kipper – failed to make sj team – excellent playoffs calgary

    Roli – allstar, playoff success, great % – excellent playoffs edmonton

    Why does everyone slag Roli. He has been very good and very consistant before his playoff run (kipper had not). There is no reason to believe he won’t be as good all season.

    I wonder if the people making fun of edmonton are the same fans from Detroit, Ottawa, Toronto, Tampa…..who said that roli would never resign in edmonton. They all had high hopes that with Roli their team would instantly become a cup contender. Likely true in most cases.

    Roli is one of the best in the NHL, and will prove it the next 2 seasons, just like Kipper did.

  41. Kraut182 says:

    Calgary didn’t pick up Kipper just for the start of the playoffs. He was actually picked up November 16th and played 38 exceptional games for Calgary before the playoff run. Many fans picked him for the Vezina the next season, because if he would have played a full season that year he would have won the Vezina.

    Roli had been a good goalie before he came to Edmonton, but had also played behind a defense first, second and third Minneosota Wild where most goalies in the NHL would put up pretty good numbers. He had also lost his starting job in Minneosota, and is about to turn 37 years old. Goalies don’t get better after turning 37, they either hold steady or begin to decline.

    Kipper, when picked up by the Flames, was 27 years old. This is right around the age where NHL goalies start to hit their prime years. He was coming out of a rough situation in San Jose, where they had and still have 2 elite goaltenders, and moved to a situation where the #1 job was there for the taking.

    I’m not trying to “slag Roli” or “making fun of edmonton”, I’m just trying to give an accurate and unbiased view of the Oilers chances next year.

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