Edmonton Oilers: A Look at the Franchise's Future
After finishing last in the Northwest Division and last in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers may finally have the team to find themselves in a good position for the future. The Oilers are going to be in a very tough Northwest Division this season with Vancouver, Calgary, Minnesota, and Colorado all making moves during the offseason.
The Oilers have a lot of young talent with some very high draft picks, from which they were able to pick up some very high caliber players such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi. All these players, with the exception of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, have already made a huge impact on the Oilers. Two of these players even lead the team in scoring and points.
These new players are the key to the Oilers future as they look to return to the days when Wayne Gretzky took the ice for them.
Selected as the first pick in the first round in this years draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looks to break into the NHL this season.
Nugent-Hopkins is very fast and has a surprisingly quick release. His speed will help him break away from opponents which will give him the time he needs to show off his play making ability and shooting ability.
Nugent-Hopkins played in the WHL for the Red Deer Rebels where he scored 31 goals along with 75 assists totaling 106 points. He was ranked first overall for all North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
Coming into the draft, Nugent-Hopkins only weakness was his size. Coming into the draft, he weighed 161 pounds. In preparation for the season, Nugent-Hopkins put on around 14 pounds to bring him to 175 pounds. This could be huge for Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers if it doesn't come at the price of losing his speed and elusiveness.
Like Nugent-Hopkins, Left Wing Taylor Hall was the first pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. With his rookie season already under his belt, Taylor Hall looks to improve after a successful first year with the Oilers.
Last season Hall played in 65 games, scoring 22 goals and was awarded 20 assists for a total of 42 points. Hall lead the Oilers in scoring even after suffering an ankle injury in a fight with Derek Dorsett of the Columbus Blue Jackets which would cut his season short. Hall is believed to be fully recovered from that injury and is rearing to go for this season.
After finishing last in Northwest Division, Hall has high hopes for the Oilers this season, telling the Edmonton Sun, "I honestly think the playoffs are a realistic goal for us. A lot of things are going to have to happen for that. Hopefully we can stay injury-free for a good portion of the season. I think just the overall improvement of the players from last season to this is going to be vast and we’re looking forward to it.”
Right Wing Jordan Eberle was drafted in the first round as the 22nd pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Eberle debuted in his first NHL game on October 7, 2010 making last season his first season in the NHL.
Eberle played in 69 games, scoring 18 goals and racking up 25 assists for a grand total of 43 points. He lead the Oilers in points and looks to continue to do so in the future. Like Hall, Eberle did not play for a whole season due to injuries. Suffering a high-ankle sprain and undergoing an unrelated appendectomy, Eberle missed 13 games due to the ankle injury and returned to the ice early February of last season.
Eberle is one player who will be the future of the Oilers and he is already showing that he can make an impact on the ice.
Swedish born Left Wing Magnus Paajarvi was drafted in the first round as the 10 pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2009 NHL Entry draft. Paajarvi debuted October 7, 2010 making this season his first NHL season.
Paajarvi played in 80 games scoring 15 goals and also had 19 assists for a total of 34 points. He was the sixth leading scorer for Edmonton and he will need to improve those numbers in his second year if Edmonton wants to improve their standings this year.
With a little improvement Paajarvi will defiantly be a force to be reckoned with in the NHL.