The Edmonton Oilers are only two games into the 2013-14 season, and though things have appeared as if they haven’t changed as far as the inability to close down opposing scoring chances, the Oilers have still demonstrated a very potent offense.
It may be too early to write Devan Dubnyk off, but after two disappointing performances, patience may already be wearing thin in Oil Country.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is now back in the lineup, but only time will tell if his shoulder is truly 100 percent and able to handle the rigors of a full NHL season.
The Oilers have enough difference makers up front that the team can still regroup and push forward.
The Oilers' MVP for 2013-14 will be the player who not only contributes on the ice but galvanizes the team and helps to change the losing culture in the locker room.
Here are the odds percentages for the Edmonton Oilers’ 2013-14 MVP.
If Ryan Nugent-Hopkins can stay healthy, he should prove how valuable he is to the team and to the offense.
The Edmonton Oilers need Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to have a strong year in 2013-14, not only to help restore some confidence to the former No. 1 overall pick, but to help silence some of the critics questioning Nugent-Hopkins’ new contract extension.
The Oilers are dangerously thin down the center of the ice, and should Nugent-Hopkins remain healthy and continue to mature physically, he can help rally this team and provide some roster stability.
Why Nugent-Hopkins loses points is simply due to the fact that he hasn’t proven that he can handle a tough NHL schedule and doesn’t seem large enough to manage and maintain the wear and tear that accumulates over the course of 82 games.
Nugent-Hopkins may turn out to be the catalyst of the Oilers roster by allowing his teammates to play in their natural positions, as well as being the center through which all of the Oilers offense flows.
However, it is all dependent on whether or not he can remain on the ice and off of the injured reserve list.
Edmonton needs Jordan Eberle to recapture his form from the 2011-12 season.
Jordan Eberle has a low chance of being the MVP for the Oilers this season because, unfortunately, it appears that Eberle isn't the player he was during his breakout rookie season.
Either due to the wrist injury or his severe drop off in shooting percentage, Eberle hasn't been able to capture that near point-per-game pace that saw him register over 70 points two seasons ago.
Eberle’s chances also diminish due to the fact that the talented winger could find himself as a victim of Craig MacTavish making a significant transaction, either to bring in a goaltender or an established defender.
Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov are emerging as the leaders going forward, and Eberle may find himself as the odd man out.
Nail Yakupov will continue to grow this season and could have a breakout season.
Nail Yakupov could explode this season, have a phenomenal offensive season and lead the Oilers in scoring, if he continues to build upon his successful rookie campaign.
However, the young Russian is most likely not going to be the most valuable player on the Edmonton Oilers simply due to the fact that he hasn't played a full season and will still be acclimating himself to a regular NHL schedule.
Yakupov is still learning what it means to be an NHL professional and lacks some of the intangibles necessary to be the most valuable player on a team because of that.
The Oilers will need Andrew Ference to be one of the most valuable players this season if they hope to make the playoffs.
Andrew Ference was brought to the Edmonton Oilers to help solidify the defensive core and provide some veteran leadership.
Yet only a handful of games into the season, Ference has been a non-factor and has been virtually invisible on the ice.
Ference said all of the right things during the offseason and was rewarded with the captaincy in Edmonton yet hasn’t had the impact on the ice Craig MacTavish would have hoped for thus far.
Ference will never be a point producer, and the Oilers do not need that from their captain.
However, they need Ference to lead the team on the ice, help settle the young stars down and show them what attitude is necessary to build a winning culture.
Taylor Hall is primed for another large season for the Oilers this year.
Taylor Hall could have very well been named the captain of the Edmonton Oilers, and the fact that he wasn’t is no slight to the importance that he plays on the team.
Though he has struggled out of the gate due to the fact he was playing out of position and has made some costly turnovers in the first two games, Hall has all of the makings to be the best player on the ice at any given time.
After leading the team in scoring last season, Hall could very well be the top point man this season again and will continue to grow into a leadership role with the squad throughout the year.
Once everyone is healthy, Hall will get his numbers and will continue to help change the losing attitude on the ice and in the locker room.