Edmonton Oilers Roundtable: Who Must Step Up?


The Edmonton Oilers are obviously going under major construction to rebuild the team and build them up to higher potentials, to the point where they can possibly bounce back and make the playoffs for the first time in nine years.


Although the roster is fit for the team to reach success, they must get outstanding, superb performances from each player.  If players step up and buy in, the team will win more games, making it easier for the team to climb in the standings and return to their quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Today, the Oil On Whyte writer’s have gotten together for a roundtable discussing which players we think must step up in order to help this team return to its former glory.

Sammi SilberEditor

Nail Yakupov: When selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov was supposed to be the next big player.  However, due to the lockout, he only got a shot at 48 games, where he impressed with 17 goals and 14 assists in the short season.  However, as the seasons got longer, the numbers did not improve.  The following season, he only scored 11 goals in 63 games, and last season he put 14 goals and 13 assists in the net in 81 games.  Yak’s +/- is something to cringe at, as it is overall a -72 right now, after a career high -35 last season.

In order for the Oilers to win, Yakupov cannot hold a negative +/- next season, and he must take more shots and find more scoring opportunities.  He also needs to help on the backend and back-check, or else his +/- will get worse, the team will have more goals against and it will be harder to win.  With his talent, I know he is just waiting to get out of this hole and back to the superstar level he is known for.

Kurt LeavinsStaff Writer

Justin Schultz: This player had a serious case of the Yips, last year, leading a lot of people to write him off.  Not me.  Schultz possesses skills that you can not teach:  Terrific 0-60 acceleration from the blue line in, innate playmaking abilities once he arrives in the offensive zone, and a crisp yet soft pass.  If Schultz can just tidy up in his own zone, and crank up his intensity through the neutral zone, he could be extremely dangerous with this set of forwards that he will be working with.  Remember: Schultz wasn’t just good in the AHL, he dominated like few D-men in that league ever have.  That doesn’t happen by accident.  He is my “Comeback Player of the Year” project, this season.  Really:  If he turns into Keith Yandle, who would complain?  Honourable Mentions:  Cam Talbot (you don’t win in the NHL without goaltending), Taylor Hall (has ALL the tools, just needs to stay healthy) and Darnell Nurse (if Peter Chiarelli does not acquire a 1D, Nurse is the heir apparent)

Zane TomichStaff Writer

Taylor Hall: Hall is without a doubt one of the top left wingers in the game. Playing on a horrible Edmonton Oilers team for the last five seasons, Hall has shined like a star with impressive point totals and dynamic play. He is an elite talent that can rack up the points and greatly help his team win games, when of course he is healthy. The former 2010 first-overall draft pick has definitely had his struggles. Last season in particular raised many questions about him. His season was derailed by injuries, and he only managed to tally 38 points in 53 games.  The main issue is that Hall has been unable to stay healthy for 82 games. When in the lineup, he clearly makes the Oilers better and provides the offensive punch they need. I believe Hall is still one of the main pieces to the puzzle, but he must stop playing so recklessly. At times, he plays a run-and-gun, crash-and-bang game that contributes to his injuries. Maybe he needs to train even harder and get stronger so he can stay healthy as well. Either way, he must prove to management that he can stay healthy and be a regular contributor for the Edmonton Oilers for a full season. With the arrival of Connor McDavid, Hall will have the opportunity to up his production and reach his ceiling of potential.

There you have it, Oil Country.  Who do you think needs to improve?

Next: Oil and News: Chiarelli's Got the Moves

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