Imagine what it must have been like to be an Oilers fan in the last six years or so. In 2005-06 the Oil inked big Chris Pronger and the reliable Michael Peca… then you went to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals but lost to the Carolina Hurricanes… then nothing. Things just started to quickly pile up on the Oil, leaving them high and dry. What kinds of things piled up? Some examples are one big-name player after another leaving the team, the Sheldon Souray debacle, and the tough Western Conference not getting any easier. The result of all this? Bad starts and bad finishes to each of the last few seasons.
All is not lost though, as those bad finishes have landed the Oil with the #1 pick in the NHL draft for 2 years in a row. The Oil have Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to show for those #1 picks, and they both look like they’re gonna be future impact players.
Let’s not forget that Edmonton has brought back Ryan Smyth, the longtime Oiler, former LA King, and the player formerly known as Captain Canada (because he captained the Canadian National Team at the Worlds many times). He will no doubt have a positive impact in the Oilers’ dressing room. Let’s now take a look at how the Sharks dealt with the Oil last year:
4 Games – Sharks won 3, lost 1
The Sharks handled the Oilers pretty well last year with wins by the scores of 2-1, 4-3, and 6-1. The lone loss to the Oilers was by a 5-2 score at the Shark Tank. Even though the Sharks had their way with the Oilers last year I expect Edmonton to be an improved team this year thanks to the addition of Smyth and the continued maturation of Taylor Hall. No team can struggle badly all the time… and I think this year the Oilers will not end up winning that #1 pick in the NHL draft. In other words, they aren’t gonna finish dead last in the NHL.
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