The lockout is over, and the 2013 NHL season is about to begin. Will this be the year that the Oilers finally get back to the playoffs? Will Justin Schultz or Nail Yakopov win the Calder Trophy? Who will win the Stanley Cup? With these and other questions in mind, I scoured the internet in search of some predictions for the soon-to-begin season, and here’s what I found.
All four SI writers predict that Pittsburgh will reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Three of four foresee Justin Schultz winning the Calder Trophy. Allan Muir picks Ralph Kreuger to win the Jack Adams Award. Muir writes, “Edmonton is poised for a breakthrough this season, not just as a playoff team, but as the most entertaining club in the Western Conference. Look for the Oilers to get off to a smoking hot start thanks to the game readiness of key stars like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and ride a hot power play and wave of confidence to their first playoff berth since 2006.”
One of twelve ESPN experts, John Buccigross, picks the Oilers to win the Northwest Division. Buccigross also thinks Kreuger will win the Jack Adams Award. Two experts say Nail Yakupov will win the Calder Trophy, while another one believes it will go to Schultz.
None of the twelve NHL Network personalities pick the Oilers to win the Northwest Division. Surprisingly, Dave Lozo predicts that Tyler Seguin will win the Hart Trophy.
Pro Hockey Talk (NBC Sports)
James O’Brien foresees the Oilers being the most disappointing team: “Lots of hype, but can’t keep the puck out of their net.” However, he does predict that Schultz will win the Calder Trophy, while Ryan Dadoun says it will go to Yakupov.
Eye on Hockey (CBS Sports)
Adam Gretz thinks that Taylor Hall will be a top-five scorer and will compete for the Art Ross Trophy. “The Edmonton Oilers have been stockpiling No. 1 overall draft picks for three years now and are slowly but surely building an entertaining and exciting team. They’re probably not ready to make the playoffs just yet, but they should play some exciting games with the offensive talent they’ve assembled. The best of the bunch is third-year forward Taylor Hall, and he’s ready to have his breakthrough season. Injuries have been the only thing that’s really slowed him down over the first two years of his career, and if he stays healthy he will not only finish in the top five in the NHL in scoring, he will at least compete for the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer.”
Adam Proteau predicts that the Oilers will finish eleventh in the West. He writes, “Oilers fans, players and management are desperate to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2006–and with so many young stars now part of the fold, they’re on the verge of turning the corner and getting back to respectability. But with all due respect to rookies Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz, they’ll still need the veterans on the team (i.e. Shawn Horcoff, Devan Dubnyk, Ryan Whitney and Ales Hemsky) to do some of the heavy lifting to get them there. The West is so competitive, Edmonton might be back in the draft lottery once again, but I think this is the year they slowly start creeping up their division standings. Small consolation? Sure. But at least it’s a consolation.”