10 Predictions for the Edmonton Oilers in 2011/2012

Michael Stuart@HB_MikeStuartCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2011

10 Predictions for the Edmonton Oilers in 2011/2012

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    The Edmonton Oilers are going to be a force in the coming years. 

    With young stars like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and so many more, they are a team that could do some real damage in the Western Conference this season.

    This is part three of our series of predictions and we hope you enjoy!

    Follow me on Twitter: @michaelstuart93

Taylor Hall Will Score 30 Goals

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    Taylor Hall, last year's first overall pick, will score 30 goals this season.

    He is coming of an injury but he will be back and ready to play.  His skill-set is so strong and he just has the drive and determination to make this prediction come true.

    In my mind, there is no doubt, barring injury, that this doesn't happen.

Cam Barker Will Have a Great Season

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    People seem to think that the Edmonton Oilers are taking a huge risk with Cam Barker.  In reality, they made a great signing.

    He was a great defenseman in Chicago but things just didn't work out in Minnesota.  A former third overall draft pick, Barker has the talent and size to be a great number two or three D-man on a thin Edmonton blue line.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Will Make the Opening Night Line-Up

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    All this talk about how he is going to have to be ready to play really doesn't seem right to me.  This kid is ready to play.  He is working on bulking up this summer and really isn't much smaller than Taylor Hall was last season.

    He has great vision, skill and enough speed to make it work at this level.  He won't be spectacular at the NHL level but he won't hurt the team either.

Ales Hemsky Will Be Traded

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    Ales Hemsky is a great player; there is no doubt about that.  He has speed, skill and a great heart.  The only problems with Hemsky are that he isn't as young as the Oilers' core and he isn't overly durable. 

    I believe that Steve Tambellini brought in Ryan Smyth to take on the mentorship role that Hemsky was scheduled to take on. 

    With Smyth back in Edmonton, there aren't many reasons to keep Hemsky around.  He will fetch a lot in a trade and he will really help out a team that acquires him.

Ben Eager Will Be Suspended

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    Ben Eager isn't the league's cleanest player.  He is known to play the game on the edge and take liberties on unsuspecting players.

    Charged with the responsibility of defending the Oilers' young core, you can bet that Ben Eager will step over the line.  Would it surprise you if any incident involving Eager happened against the Canucks?

Darcy Hordichuk Will Accept a Leadership Role

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    I'm going off the board with this one.  If anyone remembers Darcy Hordichuk from his time in Vancouver, he is one of the more likable tough guys in the league. 

    He is so well-spoken and I really believe that he will accept a leadership role for the young kids.

    He will defend them until he is blue in the face and he will play the game with integrity.  Darcy isn't one to take cheap shots, unlike Ben Eager.

The Oilers Will Be the Toughest Team in the Northwest

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    Unlike last year, the Edmonton Oilers won't be the push-overs of the Northwest Division this season.  Free Agency helped Steve Tambellini add a lot of toughness to his roster.

    The Oilers boast guys like Darcy Hordichuk, Ben Eager and Andy Sutton.  They are some of the toughest guys in the league.

    These three guys will hit you hard and play you harder.  This attitude will rub off on the entire Oiler roster making them the toughest team in the Northwest.

Sam Gagner Will Be Traded

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    With the emergence of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the untradeable contract of Shawn Horcoff and the signing of Eric Belanger, the Edmonton Oilers boast a very deep core at the center ice position. 

    That depth could spell the end for Sam Gagner.  I believe that he will be traded this season as a result of other players' performances. 

Ryan Jones Will Score 40 Points

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    After scoring 18 goals and 25 points in his first full NHL campaign, Ryan Jones quickly became a fan favorite in Edmonton. 

    Next season, Ryan Jones will be given a bigger role and more of a supporting cast.  For those reasons, I believe that he will score at least 40 points.

At Least Two Players Will Score More Than 50 Points

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    With Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and so many more ready to go to battle for the Oilers, there is no way that the team goes without a 50-point scorer again.

    I believe that both Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will score at least 50 points this season.  They have the talent, supporting cast and drive necessary to accomplish the feat.