1. Why is this team worth watching?
They are young, they are fast and they have skills. However, you may want to wait to tune in, as they headed to shootouts 19 times last year—and won 15 of them. That's insane, but so were some of the moves that were made. And just look at/listen to the crowd, purely amazing.
2. Are they better or worse than last year?
Better. They picked up a great puck-mover in Lubomir Visnovsky, who will join a healthy Sheldon Souray on what should be a top flight power play. Erik Cole replaces the grit lost in the Raffi Torres-for-Gilbert Brule deal, and adds skill and experience.
Brule was a top draft pick, but has yet to show that talent in the NHL, so I wouldn't expect much there. As this is a Ranger blog, I am of course going to mention Jason Strudwick. Struds may not play regularly, but he is a classy, intelligent veteran who will add poise and character to a pretty young roster.
3. Who should YOU draft in fantasy?
Ales Hemsky has the skill and now the support to pick up 80 or 90 points, and he will be probably still be available in the late second or third round. Shawn Horcoff will be with him every step of the way, as long as he can maintain his health.
Souray, who got hurt early last season, should be back—with his incredible slapshot in tow. Visnovsky will also get a good number of points from the point, as will Tom Gilbert, who is only getting better.
As for the kids—Gagner, Cogliano, Penner and Nilsson—they may all get 50 or 60 points, but they are still learning—so those numbers will come at the cost of plus/minus.
Garon will probably be the clear-cut starter this year, instead of platooning with Roloson, but who knows how he will handle the workload? He is stellar in the pressures of the shootout, but when given the chance to start back in Los Angeles—well, he was not so good.
4 . Are the Oilers the hippest team in the league?
Very debatable, but they do go a long way with their awesome Oilers Guitar Hero Summer Tour. Rock out and get a chance to hang out with a player? How cool!
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