By John D’Agostino
The Edmonton Oilers have not had a very exciting season since the surprising run through the playoffs in 2006. The departure of Chris Pronger along with a few other key elements doomed the Oilers into a few rough years. This year however, there is a good amount of hope for a good season. WIth a record of 25-45-12 last year, they will need their young talent to step forward. The Edmonton Oilers have had two first round picks in a row, selecting two budding stars in Taylor Hall, last years first pick overall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this years first overall pick. Taylor Hall had a fantastic rookie season before getting injured. Hall recorded 42 points in 65 games, which is a very impressive total for a rookie. Nugent-Hopkins, this years first overall pick who shows tons of promise, has a very good chance at cracking the line-up. Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner are also some of the young guns looking to help lead Edmonton into their first playoff birth since 2006. Nikolai Khabibulin will also need to have a better season, after going 10-32-3 last year with a 3.39 GAA. In order for Edmonton to be able to succeed, Khabibulin will have to return to the form that helped lead Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup VIctory in 2004. With the young offensive talent they have, the Oilers defense could be the biggest problem. With no big name defenders, there a good amount of unproven defenders that will need to prove themselves this season in order to provide support for the offense. I think it is safe to say that the young forward group will be able to help Edmonton make a run at one of the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference. It will heavily rely on Khabibulin though, because if he has a down year like last year, it won’t matter how many goals they score, it won’t help them win games.