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Examining the Edmonton Oilers

by Bill Meltzer

Complete Oilers Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Oilers banking on bounce-back season

In the span of a few months the Edmonton Oilers went from the NHL’s Cinderella to the Western Conference’s Murphy of Murphy’s Law fame.

With the exception of the Philadelphia Flyers, no team in the League had its pre-season plan go further awry than Edmonton. The Oilers were waylaid last season by an endless series of injuries, key roster acquisitions that didn’t pan out and an inability to put the puck in the net. With just 195 goals – a franchise record low – the Oil ranked last in the NHL.

The team struggled badly on the road, going 13-24-4 and scoring a mere 81 goals. Meanwhile, 11 starters missed time with injuries, and the team played disheartened hockey down the stretch after the Ryan Smyth trade.

In their 2007 summer of discontent, the Oilers tried, but were unable to make a trade on draft day. When the free agency period started, the club thought it had signed unrestricted free agent center Michael Nylander, only to see the player back out and sign with Washington. The team also was unable to land restricted free agent left wing Thomas Vanek after the Buffalo Sabres matched Edmonton’s seven-year, $50 million (US) offer sheet.

But GM Kevin Lowe still managed to make three major moves designed to significantly upgrade the offensive talent level on the club. Early in the summer, the team dealt captain Jason Smith and Joffrey Lupul to Philadelphia in exchange for massively talented, wildly inconsistent defenseman Joni Pitkanen and speedy veteran winger Geoff Sanderson. The club also signed veteran unrestricted free agent offensive defenseman Sheldon Souray to a five-year, $27 million deal. Souray will step in as Edmonton’s power-play quarterback.

Finally, Edmonton signed restricted free agent right wing Dustin Penner away from the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks via a four-year, $21.25-million offer sheet.
2006-07 Record:
32-43-7, 5th Northwest

Who's In:
F Dustin Penner, F Geoff Sanderson, F Anson Carter D Sheldon Souray, D Joni Pitkanen, D Dick Tarnstrom, G Matheiu Garon 

Who's Out:
F Petr Sykora, F Joffrey Lupul, F Petr Nedved, F Toby Petersen, D Jason Smith,  D Daniel Tjarnqvist G Jussi Markkanen

2006-07 Leading Scorers:
Petr Sykora (22-31-53), Ales Hemsky (13-40-53), Shawn Horcoff (16-35-51), Jarret Stoll (13-26-39), Raffi Torres (15-19-34)

2006-07 Goaltending Leaders:
Dwayne Roloson (27-34-6), 2.75 GAA, 68 appearances, .909 save percentage, 4 shutouts; Jussi Markkanen, 5-9-1, 3.15 GAA, 22 appearances, .909 save percentage, 0 shutouts's 2007-08 Oilers Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
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