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EDMONTON OILERS 2012-13 SEASON PREVIEW:
The Edmonton Oilers entered the 2011-12 campaign with high hopes that they would end their postseason drought, but after another tough season, it appeared that the Oiler faithful would have to wait a bit longer before making it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Oilers finished the season with a 32-40-10 record, good for 14th place in the Western Conference, and managed to miss the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. However, with all of those high draft picks at their disposal, the Oilers have put together one of the youngest teams in the NHL, and this may be the year that it all comes together for the squad.
The Oilers' blue line accounted for the majority of their point totals from the 2011-12 campaign, as center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as well as wingers Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle form one of the most talented and young scoring lines in the league. Sam Gagner and Ryan Smyth proved to be nice surprises last season, and the team drafted the talented Nail Yakupov first overall. The Oilers' offense has all the potential in the world, but their scoring attack suffered from consistent injuries throughout the year. If the team can stay healthy and maintain its depth, they have nowhere to go but up.
Defensively, the Oilers dealt with inconsistency all year long and ranked 23rd in the league in goals allowed. While Ryan Whitney and Ladislav Smid form a solid duo around the net, the Oilers' defensive attack will need to prove to be more effective on power play and penalty kill scenarios to compete in the Western Conference. The defensive depth was bolstered with the addition of free agent Justin Schultz, but the team will need its youngsters to step up in big spots. At goaltender, Devan Dubnyk and his .914 save percentage showed that he could be the goalie of the future for the team, and Nikolai Khabibulin also proved to be a competent backup.
Looking ahead to the 2012-13 campaign, the Oilers will open up the year on the road against their Canadian rivals, the Vancouver Canucks, on October 13. They will host their home opener against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings on October 16. With one of the youngest and most talented rosters in the NHL, the Oilers have all the potential in the world to make a significant jump into postseason contention, but may just need a few lucky bounces of the puck to take that next step.
EDMONTON OILERS EXPERIENCE:
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Stadium: Rexall Place
Conference: Western Conference
Division: Northwest Division
Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup Titles: 5: 1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1989-90
Edmonton Oilers Conference Championships: 7
Notable Players: Wayne "The Great One" Gretsky, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey
The Edmonton Oilers play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team was founded in 1972 as part of the WHA but joined the NHL in 1979. The Edmonton Oilers would cement its future in 1978 when it signed Wayne Gretzky. Since joining the NHL, the Oilers are the only former WHA team not have been relocated, a testament to the team's support in Edmonton. The Edmonton Oilers totally dominated the 1980's with 5 Stanley Cups, 6 Conference Championships, and 6 Division Championships. The ‘90s were a decade of rebuilding and modest success that lasted into the 21st century. The 2006 playoffs were a complete surprise to many hockey fans as the Oilers nearly won the Stanley Cup losing to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Edmonton Oilers is still in a rebuilding situation, but it should be exciting to watch as the Oilers find their way again.
The Edmonton Oilers play their home games at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The venue holds almost 17,000 spectators for Oiler games. Walking past Wayne Gretsky's statue and hearing the legendary crowd noise inside the arena lets you know that the Oilers will always be a team to beat in the NHL. The ice quality is considered the best in the league. Buy Edmonton Oilers tickets and watch this storied franchise build itself back to championship form!
Edmonton Oilers Season Preview History