Is this the year?
It was a tagline from a recent NHL marketing promotion, but it's also been the foremost question on the minds of Edmonton Oilers fans for several offseasons. Is this the year Edmonton, led by its young core, finally returns to prominence?
The rebuilding process has taken longer in Oil Country than it did in Pittsburgh or Chicago or Washington, but the talent is in place. The Oilers buttressed the roster with a couple of interesting free-agent signings, namely forward Benoit Pouliot and defenseman Mark Fayne.
If a couple of young defensemen improve and the goaltending is better, the Oilers could shoot up from the bottom of the Western Conference into Stanley Cup Playoff contention. Reaching the top eight and returning to the postseason would take significant improvements.
Here's a look at the projected 2014-15 lineup for the Oilers: