|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (AP)|
The Oilers have a nice blend of young and old thanks to their strong selections every time they find themselves near the top of the picking pecking order, particularly of late.
This is the Kids & Hall line they are running out in the real world right now and one season in it looked pretty good. These guys are all budding superstars so we won't mess with a thing and let them grow into a monster line. They should be really fun to watch for a long time.
Despite not playing a game yet, Yakupov has to make this team based on the potential. He will certainly make the Oilers right away should they actually play this season. He gets the grizzled vet in Smyth on one wing and then a bit of an underrated center in Brodziak who had himself a 22-goal, 22-assist season last year for the Wild.
With Gagner and Hemsky we have perhaps two high potential but slightly underwhelming careers whereas Chimera has worked himself into maybe an overachiever. This could be a very nice third line, perhaps not what a typical third line would look like but a little more scoring potential.
Offensive Scratch: Shawn Horcoff
So many ways to go here. Seriously, the Oilers have a ton of depth. Horcoff gets the nod because of a combination of being a center, being relatively young and his production. He beats out names like Jarret Stoll, Jason Arnott, Andrew Cogliano and Brad Winchester among others.
Petry will probably prove to be the workhorse among the defensemen on the team as he has averaged 21:09 of ice time per game early in his career. He also showed an uptick in offense last season with 23 assists, something that's missing from this blue line corps. Greene is coming off being part of that championship defense in L.A. and is solid enough to get some more minutes.
Peckham finishes out the "proven talent" part of the defensive corps, playing over parts of five seasons in Edmonton. Then we have to dig into the AHL for Chorney, who has seen a few gigs in the NHL but not a lot. The depth the offense has is missing on D.
Defensive Scratch: Alex Plante
Tom Poti was a consideration here but his injury status and age make it too big of a risk. Plante was a first-round pick in 2007 but to this point has just 10 NHL games under his belt.
Dubnyk gets the starting role, something he stepped into last season for the Oilers and did alright with. He isn't an all-star, but he'll get the job done as evidenced by the .910 career save percentage. Deslauriers did have the job in Edmonton for one season and it didn't go too well in 2009-10, but the options are limited.