2014-15 NHL Pacific Division preview: Edmonton Oilers riding advanced stats wave and hoping their youth movement finally blossoms.
2013-14 RECORD: 29-44-9, 67 points (seventh in Pacific, missed playoffs)
VITAL SIGNS: 2.43 goals-for per game (T-24th); 3.26 goals-against per game (30th); 17.0 power play percentage (21st); 82.1 power play pct. (15th); shootout record: 4-3 (23rd)
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:
Taylor Hall — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot — Boyd Gordon — David Perron
Matt Hendricks — Anton Lander — Teddy Purcell
Luke Gazdic — Leon Draisaitl — Nail Yakupov
Justin Schultz — Mark Fayne
Nikita Nikitin — Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin — Andrew Ference
Yakupov is the most fascinating case study on the roster, but Nugent-Hopkins is a potential franchise center who could anchor the Oilers’ top line for years. He enters the second season of the seven-year, $42 million deal he signed in September 2013 and has shined on the ice, when healthy, since his rookie season of 2011-2012. He's determined to improve his performance in the face-off circle and take his game to the superstar level that is expected of him. If he succeeds, the beneficiary will be Taylor Hall, an established scorer who would be set up for a career year.
PREDICTION: 78 points (sixth in Pacific)