EAGER SMASH RANKING. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

THN Predicts 2012-13 Oilers To Finish 13th In West

It took two days longer than usual to figure out where The Hockey News predicts the Edmonton Oilers will finish in 2012-13.  (If that joke is a little long, THN predicted Edmonton to finish 15th in 2012, and they only release one ranking per conference per day…)

But wait a minute, I thought this team was supposed to be better?  Push for a playoff spot maybe?

Let’s see what concerns THN enough to keep Edmonton away from sniffing distance of the playoffs.

From the article:

“Defense and goaltending is still a big question mark and in a loaded Western Conference those are debilitating shortfalls.”

Yes, water is wet, and fire hot.

“Sure, Justin Schultz was added to the blueline, but he’s far from a difference-maker at this point.

Also agreed.  I mean, I’d love for him to open shop on the Rexall blue and distract incoming forwards with a campfire and delicious frankfurters, but how high are your expectations for this guy in his first season?  In his first month?

“Can Ryan Whitney stay healthy?”

(shakes magic eight ball)

“Can Devan Dubnyk be a legit No. 1?”

One day I had a dream that Dubnyk could finish with 30 wins this year.  I tempered my expectations to 27.  In reality, 25 is probably more like it.  A .918-.920 SV% would be a great marker at the season’s end.  If he can perform like Kari Lehtonen did last year, I’d be wild about it.

While 13th in the conference might be a bit harsh, it only reinforces the things we’ve been talking about since the season ended for Edmonton in April.  A second-tier or better NHL defenceman and a backup goaltender.  Can we get these?

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Tags: Ben Eager Devan Dubnyk Justin Schultz Ryan Whitney

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