THN’s standings predictions for 2010/11 season are out

By , August 18, 2010 9:15 am

The Hockey News releases their predictions for the 2010-11 year

The Hockey News releases their predictions for the 2010-11 year


Credit to Lowetide for his article that mentioned this (must give credit where due): the new Hockey News issue is out, complete with predictions for the standings. They predict another bleak year for Edmonton, finishing last.

Agree, or disagree?

I honestly have a tough time seeing a bunch of kids coming in making an impact in year one. But I think the season’s success (or lack of) really relies on some factors:

Goaltending: I really think that Nikolai Khabibulin getting most of the starts is the biggest factor here. Our goaltending without him is very inconsistent. With him in net, I think we stand a much better chance. He’s made some bonehead plays on and off the ice, but I think this could be one of those years where he tries to prove himself to people. I think that if he doesn’t see much action though, we’re pretty much guaranteed a non-playoff finish. I’m sorry, I just don’t have faith that Jeff Deslauriers or Devan Dubnyk can carry this team.

Team health: Hemsky is definitely the straw that stirs the drink on offense. If he’s out for most of the season, prepare to break out the paper bags. The same goes if we lose too many key players. It will afford more ice time to the young kids, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea to rush them into action. Expectations for them around the Oilogosphere generally border on ludicrous. If any one of these guys come in and change the makeup of our team, I’ll eat my hat (speaking of which, I lost my favorite hat on vacation… *sobs*).

Defense, defense, defense: are we ready to play defense yet? This team has huge holes in our own zone that I wish would have been addressed. But we did bring in a few new guys, and with some luck in the health-department, things could get better. I’m not just talking about the back-end either. The team as a whole needs to play better defense. We need more than just Shawn Horcoff on forward to help out. I have high hopes/expectations for Colin Fraser in this regard.

Those are pretty much the main factors, in my mind. If all 3 work out (Khabi plays most of the games, Hemsky is healthy, our team shows up ready to defend), this team could surprise. However if any one of those DON’T work out… I think it will be another tough season to watch, until draft day.

20 Responses to “THN’s standings predictions for 2010/11 season are out”

  1. Racki says:

    I can’t reasonably predict where the Oilers will finish without knowing the answers to the above. However, I will say that if we are hit hard by injuries again, we’re doomed for failure. I think that played a huge part of it last year and doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Yes, the team was poor.. but it didn’t help that we were playing with a lot of our farm team for much of the season.

  2. Steve-O says:

    You forgot about Gerber…if Khabibulin goes down I’d bet that Gerber is on the next flight to Edmonton. And you could argue that he’s been just as good as Khabibulin the last 5 years.

    Other than that you are right, but all teams deal with the injury thing so I’m not sure you can bring that up in a pre-season standings prediction.

  3. Scarlett says:

    I have a hard time believing this team will have the injury luck from last year. I still don’t think they finish last in the West even with all the new players and rookies. They will make an impact, but you’re right, team will be decided on defense and goaltending. Hard to predict.

  4. Racki says:

    Steve-O: You forgot about Gerber…if Khabibulin goes down I’d bet that Gerber is on the next flight to Edmonton.And you could argue that he’s been just as good as Khabibulin the last 5 years.Other than that you are right, but all teams deal with the injury thing so I’m not sure you can bring that up in a pre-season standings prediction.

    Yah Gerber is a possibility.. I’m trying not to think of him as an NHL goaltender just because we need someone in OKC BAD. Although JDD and/or Dubnyk can definitely handle that load. But Gerber didn’t get a two-way contract for nothing. But yes, he’s a suitable option in net. I’d guess I could have better phrased it as needing to see someone other than JDD or Dubnyk get most of the starts this year.

    One thing I want to see this year is less reliance on our farm club. That starts obviously with less injury (which isn’t something we can predict or prevent). I want to see OKC have a big season in their inaugural year.

    Scarlett: I have a hard time believing this team will have the injury luck from last year.I still don’t think they finish last in the West even with all the new players and rookies.They will make an impact, but you’re right, team will be decided on defense and goaltending.Hard to predict.

    Welcome, Scarlett…

    And I sure hope you’re right on the injuries. It’s been 3 years in a row now, hasn’t it? I sure hope whatever hockey gods we pissed off to have those horrible injury issues are satisfied now.

  5. Trogdor says:

    Didn’t we clean house on the training staff after all the injury riddled seasons? Hopefully the new crew will have better luck with the boys and keep them on the ice, instead of having to place ice on various joints.

    I still don’t see a huge turn around this season, but I expect to see more energy and enthusiasm out there. Less quit and more grit, so it should be a more bearable season if not an overly successful one.

  6. mrgod2u says:

    I agree that we weren’t as bad as we ended up last year. A healthy team will go a long way. I really think we would have placed around 9-10 in the west without injury. At least we would have been in the mix. There have been a lot of changes, and the Oilers are potentially a huge wild card. Remember that Colorado was tapped to go last in the west last year, and think of the difference rookie performance made for them. There were a lot of “experts” eating their hats on that one too.

    It’s an easy call to put the Oilers in last. The experts would rather write about how the Oilers are a surprisingly successful team than look stupid saying they will win the division.

    I think we will be in the mix for that last playoff spot. But not any better.

  7. gr8one says:

    It really is impossible to predict anything about this team, there are just too many unanswered questions. There are definitely some wildcards in the sense of we really don’t know how things will play out.

    Will Gagner take a leap and be a bona fide 1C? Might Penner stick as a 1C? will Horcoff have a bounce back year? Will the kids make an impact? is our D corps decent enough? and even if our D surprises and plays well, will the goaltending hold up?

    I think to be considered a legitimate playoff team we need one more top 4D(or Souray back and healthy) and a 3rd line PK’er that can win some faceoffs(broken record).

    On the other hand though, If Gagner does take a leap, and Horcoff can give us a 50-60 point season that should really help the rookies. Add a healthy Hemsky in to the mix and if MP/Hall/Ebs can attain 15-20g and be good for 40-50 points each I don’t think it’s necessarily unattainable.

    As far as our D goes, at the very least they should be harder to play against, especially if Smid steps up his game this year and the Whitney/Gilbert pairing picks up where they left off last year. I think Foster could end up being the real wildcard here, if he is sound defensively and helps the PP with that shot he has then we might be ok. and between Vandermeer/Struds/Peckham/Plante/Chorney/Belle and Petry we should be able to duct tape a reasonable 3rd pairing together.

    Throw in some other players that very well could come in to camp and really make some noise like Giroux,Omark, sprinkle ina little Brule and Cogs and we really could end up being a surprise team.

    BUT, that’s a lot of damn “if’s”.

    At the very least though, it’s gonna be interesting as hell to watch!

    /edit

    oh yeah, if things start going south fast, I really think the kids end up playing in the AHL a lot and management makes a decision to make a go for another lottery pick.

  8. mrgod2u says:

    Ugh… they predict the Canucks to win the cup…

    Please God, do not let this happen.

  9. Racki says:

    Trogdor: Didn’t we clean house on the training staff after all the injury riddled seasons?Hopefully the new crew will have better luck with the boys and keep them on the ice, instead of having to place ice on various joints.I still don’t see a huge turn around this season, but I expect to see more energy and enthusiasm out there.Less quit and more grit, so it should be a more bearable season if not an overly successful one.

    I wonder how much that stuff makes a difference. I’m sure it does in some cases, but then there will be others (how can a trainer prevent Hemsky from injuring his shoulder when he gets drilled head/shoulder first into the boards ). I wonder if a lot of it is just real bad luck. Or perhaps it’s a lack of guys that are built for the dirty work.

    mrgod2u: very well said, and I agree too.

  10. chucker says:

    I really cannot see us improving more than, say, two or three spots IF everything goes very well.

    Lots of rookies, shaky goaltending (unless Khabbi plays like it’s a contract year but who knows?) and our D has a few question marks to me.

    We did get rid of a lot of the crap veterans who just sucked, but we’re replacing them mostly with rookies, so it’ll be exciting at times and painfull at others.

    What I’m looking for this year is this:

    1) Improved PP with Hall, Eberle and MPS on it. Hemsky now has somebody to pass to.

    2) Improved PK. Hopefully Fraser and others can get this team to rededicate themselves to defense and pride in that area. Also Renney will change that.

    3) More consistent game plans that give us a better chance of winning. Renney is a line matcher and that, reportedly, got tossed out the window by Quinn last year. This alone should give us a better opportunity.

    4) Injuries. This is the big question mark but hopefully the new training staff and a younger team will mitigate this factor that we’ve had for so long. It wasn’t just last year that we’ve had a ridiculous amount of injuries.

    5) Improved goaltending. With the four goalies we have, there is definitely more experience by adding Gerber to the mix. If Khabbi or one of the other guys faulters, Gerber will be there to pick up the slack. Hopefully this translates to less goals against.

  11. Steve-O says:

    chucker: I really cannot see us improving more than, say, two or three spots IF everything goes very well.

    Lots of rookies, shaky goaltending (unless Khabbi plays like it’s a contract year but who knows?) and our D has a few question marks to me.

    We did get rid of a lot of the crap veterans who just sucked, but we’re replacing them mostly with rookies, so it’ll be exciting at times and painfull at others.

    What I’m looking for this year is this:

    1) Improved PP with Hall, Eberle and MPS on it. Hemsky now has somebody to pass to.

    2) Improved PK. Hopefully Fraser and others can get this team to rededicate themselves to defense and pride in that area. Also Renney will change that.

    3) More consistent game plans that give us a better chance of winning. Renney is a line matcher and that, reportedly, got tossed out the window by Quinn last year. This alone should give us a better opportunity.

    4) Injuries. This is the big question mark but hopefully the new training staff and a younger team will mitigate this factor that we’ve had for so long. It wasn’t just last year that we’ve had a ridiculous amount of injuries.

    5) Improved goaltending. With the four goalies we have, there is definitely more experience by adding Gerber to the mix. If Khabbi or one of the other guys faulters, Gerber will be there to pick up the slack. Hopefully this translates to less goals against.

    I pretty much agree with everything Chucker said.

  12. Bostonoiler says:

    Just gonna hope for the best from these boys.

  13. Bostonoiler says:

    I think the young kids could all have a huge impact. I also think the young kids could come in and really have rough rookie seasons. All three of Hall, Eberle, and Svensson could hit anywhere from 30 points to upwards of 50 (Like Tavares last year) Honestly, we don’t know and can’t tell where the Oilers will land this coming season. I believe the rookies will be the core of this offense in the coming seasons, but this year the offense needs to be around Hemsky, Penner, Gagner and Hall.

    Hall-Penner-Hemsky
    Svensson-Gagner-Eberle
    Brule-Horcoff-Cogliano/Comrie
    Jones-Fraser-Stortini

    Whitney-Gilbert
    Souray-Smid
    Foster-Vandermeer

    Khabi
    DD

    I believe that the roster above will fight to make the playoffs, but in the end will miss it. They could be the Av’s 2.0 and finish 7th, or 8th, or be the Blackhawks 2.0 and finish 9th, 10th, 11th or worst case 12th. People saying this team will be in last don’t know what they are saying. I think The wild will be last, and the Jackets will be 14th. Anywhere else is fair game for the Oilers.

  14. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Racki: I wonder how much that stuff makes a difference. I’m sure it does in some cases, but then there will be others (how can a trainer prevent Hemsky from injuring his shoulder when he gets drilled head/shoulder first into the boards ). I wonder if a lot of it is just real bad luck. Or perhaps it’s a lack of guys that are built for the dirty work. mrgod2u: very well said, and I agree too.

    Hemsky finally had the surgery on his shoulder after the hit, but it was a nagging injury that had bothered him for a while. That was my understanding atleast. Maybe he had his ‘commitment’ or ‘manliness’ questioned the same way Souray felt his was in question. We get guys playing injured and it just leads to more injuries down the road sometimes.

    I agree with gr8one that there are too many question marks. To me that doesn’t make things too promising, mainly because it appears that management will not address our shortcomings. I think they will be content to let the season play out and fill in the blanks again next season.

    Racki, I have an idea for a blog post. You could call it ‘Questions & Answers’ and basically you list off all the question marks the Oilers have heading into the season like “Will Sam Gagner become a bonafide #1 center?” Then you can revisit it during the season or at the end of the season and we can find out what the answers were to all the questions.

  15. Racki says:

    Sounds like a good idea, Mr. M, and I will do that.

    We do have a couple of ideas in the books right now, but we’re holding off until we can more surely say that the off-season moves are done. I want to do a prediction post and some other stuff, but I don’t want to do it until we know our final roster a bit more.

  16. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Actually, you could just make a seperate post for each question because I’m sure all the Foil’ers would have their own opinions on what the answers are…and then at the end of the season there would be a ‘state of the Oil’ period where we can look back on how we were way off on all our predictions haha.

  17. Trogdor says:

    Kind of like last year’s predictions? Except for me that is. I’m bulletproof!

  18. mrgod2u says:

    Ok so those predictions are freaking terrible, if they come true then next season will be a picnic compared to this one. Here are my highlights (and criticisms):

    CALGARY FLAMES

    THN Prediction: 8th in Western Conference

    Somehow the team that went back in time makes the playoffs? Calgary is a trainwreck this year. Their reason they are better (the ex-leafs start to perform… seriously?)

    CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

    THN Prediction: 4th in Western Conference

    The reason for this is that the Red Wings are amazing this coming season and place ahead of them, because Datsuk is a great player (that is their only listed reason…)

    COLORADO AVALANCHE

    THN Prediction: 9th in Western Conference

    Softmore slump I guess, but this would be a pretty big step backwards for them

    ST. LOUIS BLUES

    THN Prediction: 6th in Western Conference

    This is all due to them signing Halak evidently

    VANCOUVER CANUCKS

    THN Prediction: 1st in Western Conference (Stanley Cup champions) – Just kill me if this happens

  19. TY says:

    Too many “ifs” to consider. I just want to see the rookies come out and play hard show us potential for our future. I think we are all going to pleasantly surprised but hold no illusions this will be a break out season. Goaltending needs to be addressed long term!!

  20. Racki says:

    Well said TY, agree 100%. And welcome to the Foil, btw!

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