All That Has Transpired: Edmonton Oilers

We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects leading up to the start of the 2014-15 season. Today, we take a look at the Edmonton Oilers.

By: Andy Hughes



Edmonton Oilers

2013-14 Season: 29-44-9, 67 points (7th Pacific Division, 14th Western Conference)

Free Agents Signed:

The Oilers traded Sam Gagner to Tampa Bay in exchange for Teddy Purcell in late-June. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Oilers traded Sam Gagner to Tampa Bay in exchange for Teddy Purcell in late-June. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

D Mark Fayne (New Jersey)
LW Benoit Pouliot (New York Rangers)
D Keith Aulie (Tampa Bay)
RW Iiro Pakarinen

Free Agents Lost: 
LW Ben Eager (Europe)
D Taylor Fedun (San Jose)
D Denis Grebeshkov (Europe)
D Anton Belov (Europe)

C Sam Gagner to Tampa Bay for RW Teddy Purcell
5th round draft pick to Columbus for D Nikita Nikitin

Promising Prospects:
C Leon Draisaitl
D Darnell Nurse
D Oscar Klefbom
LW Mitchell Moroz
C Gregory Chase

Can Edmonton's "Big 3" of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov lead the team to the playoffs in 2014-15? (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Can Edmonton’s “Big 3” of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov lead the team to the playoffs in 2014-15? (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

The Edmonton Oilers have to be one of the most fascinating teams in the entire NHL. At the beginning of last season, Edmonton had five forwards on their roster who were first round picks. FIVE! Three of them went first overall too (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov) Sounds like a team who will easily make the playoffs, right? Wrong. Some of the Oilers’ young guns did not meet expectations and the team struggled mightily in their own zone. The below average goaltending didn’t help either. Edmonton used six different goaltenders during the season and gave up 270 goals, which was the most in the league. Despite being loaded up front with talent such as Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle, the Oilers still finished 25th in goals scored per game. It was the eighth straight season the Oilers missed the playoffs. Is 2014-15 their season to break the long playoff drought? We’ll see, but Edmonton did make some moves this offseason to help them reach their goal this year. They drafted another forward in the first round at the 2014 NHL Draft in Leon Draisaitl, who could develop into a star someday in the NHL. There is some talk that he could make the team out of training camp, but time will tell on that one. Since they drafted a first round center, another one had to go. Gagner was traded to Tampa Bay for RW Teddy Purcell, who is a solid scoring winger. The team also signed LW Benoit Pouliot to a five-year deal worth $20 million after Pouliot had a great season and postseason with the New York Rangers. Both of the newly acquired forwards could be on the same line. Let’s be honest though. The real problem isn’t the offense. The defense and goaltending issues needed to be addressed this offseason and the Oilers brought in some help. They acquired defenseman Nikita Nikitin from Columbus and then signed defenseman Mark Fayne to a four-year, $14 million contract. Both players have good size and are solid puck-movers. Will they be able to turn the defense around though? That remains to be seen and will likely depend on the developments of two former second-round picks of Edmonton in Martin Marincin and Jeff Petry in addition to Justin Schultz. They will be logging more minutes this season than last and could be one of the keys to their season. Captain Andrew Ference is not getting any younger, either. He is now 35 years old and will need to keep all of the young players in line if they get frustrated. Devan Dubnyk and Ilya Bryzgalov were Edmonton’s two main goaltenders during the first half of the season last year. That experiment did not work out as both have moved on. Dubnyk is now with the Arizona Coyotes while Bryzgalov is still a free agent. The Oilers found a good and cheap option in January 2014 by acquiring Ben Scrivens from the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round draft pick. Scrivens had been doing well with the Kings before the trade and will most likely start this upcoming season for the Oilers. In case Scrivens doesn’t work out, the Oilers also have Viktor Fasth, who they acquired from Anaheim in March. Fasth had some success with Anaheim in 2012-13, but then fell out of favor with the Ducks. While I think this is a good tandem, I’m not sure if it will be enough unless the defense improves significantly. Edmonton is much different than Anaheim and Los Angeles. The Oilers have all of the young talent in the world, but can they put it all together this season? It would be great for the league because this is a very young and exciting bunch of players. The Oilers will need more from Yakupov as well since he has been disappointing since being taken first overall in 2012. His 11 goals in 63 games last season did not sit well with Edmonton’s fans. If the young players continue to develop and the defense can improve, this team could make the playoffs. They have made some good additions, but is it enough? If I had to guess, they still may be a year away from making the playoffs. The eventual arrival of top defensive prospect Darnell Nurse and the maturity of their young stars will really help this team reach their goal. Projected Lineup: Taylor Hall-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle David Perron-Leon Draisaitl-Nail Yakupov Benoit Pouliot-Matt Arcobello-Teddy Purcell Jesse Joensuu-Boyd Gordon-Matt Hendricks Martin Marincin-Jeff Petry Nikita Nikitin-Mark Fayne Andrew Ference-Justin Schultz Ben Scrivens Viktor Fasth