Nhl 2011-2012

I’m so excited about the Oilers.

Hall and Eberle entering their sophomore seasons, Magnus Paajarvi doing that as well (though the lustre has faded a bit on him), decent 3rd and 4th-line signings in free agency (especially Belanger), and added veteran presence up front with Ryan Smyth.

Unfortunately, the defence is still weak, and goaltending is unsure at best. Dubnyk still remains unproven as a starter, and Khabibulin, if he manages to avoid jail, is just plain bad if last year is any indication.

As far as prospects go, it’s impossible to ignore three:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Elite skater and playmaker, potentially decent goal scorer, under-rated defensive capabilities. Size is a concern, but I think he can overcome it.

Anton Lander. Has significantly improved his skating and is consistently shown to be a great two-way player. Could be just what the Oilers need up the middle, but perhaps not this year.

Teemu Hartikainen. Gritty, strong, tough, reasonably quick winger with the ability to chip in offensively. Unfortunately with the logjam at LW, he’s likely stuck in the AHL for this coming season despite providing plenty of what Edmonton needs.

As far as other teams go, Boston Bruins fans must be in 7th heaven. No serious cap issues, just won the Cup, and have had two ridiculously high first-round picks in the past two years courtesy of Toronto and the much-disliked Phil Kessel.

Canucks, Rangers, and Flames fans have to be the most anxious at this point. Canucks because the dreams of a Cup are fading (they may find themselves, like San Jose, past their prime and with the window closing), Rangers because they’ve committed oodles of money yet again to another free agent, and Flames because their team can’t seem to decide if it’s rebuilding or contending.

Isn’t there already a thread with this exact title?

Hey, if this had been the 80s then PapaSmurf and his Oilers would have totally been first…

My mistake, I must have glazed over that in my search.

To be fair PapaSmurf’s thread is more aesthetically pleasing than CSL’s ‘NHL 11-12’ thread, which always makes me think of some NHL learning course or something.

It’s been 13 years since a team successfully defended the Stanley Cup (Detroit in 1998). I wonder if the Bruins can pull it off this coming season. It would seem the odds would suggest not. What other teams are looking like good candidates to make a run (on paper, at least)?

(Cut and paste this to the other thread as desired.)