Rooting for the worst team in the league is taxing. Watching beating after beating, loss after loss and failed moves after failed move takes a toll over the course of eight months. While the 2011-2012 Oilers aren't playoff material, there's a chance they might not be the worst in the league, and for fans who have dealt with last-place finishes two years in a row, it's a ray of sunshine.
Our lineup this time includes Pat, from Black Dog Hates Skunks, the blogosphere's version of David Mamet, Jeff Chapman, the big brain behind Oil On Whyte, Shepso and BCB, the philosopher kings from Bringing Back The Glory, Jerconjake, the insightful man behind Oil Acumen, Smokin' Ray, the only man covering the Oilers, Barons and Thunder and he does it all at Oilers Jambalaya, dawgbone98, 'sphere regular and resident lacrosse and hockey tactics expert, and sumoil, Copper & Blue's resident CHL tracker, the only man breaking down the top CHL prospects through detailed statistical tracking.
Today's Roundtable Question: Which Western Conference team is most likely to be worse than the Oilers?
SumOil: SAN JOSE: I have been predicting them to fall for 2 years now and this might just be the year. Losing Setogucci and Heatley for scrubs like Burns and Havlat! What was Doug Wilson thinking? Ok ok…I kid ..i kid…This is one question I struggle a lot with. I don’t know any team who on paper is worse than the Oilers. However my guess would have to be Colorado. A lot of factors have to go right for the Avs for them to be successful. Our fans don’t think much of their defense. They have a lot riding on an oft injured young goalie. They were the only team against who we had a winning record, and I would be hard-pressed to find people who think the team has actually improved from last season. Other candidates include Minessoeta and Pheonix, but it would take some significant bad luck for them to be worse than us.
BDHS Pat: Well ... hard to say. I know some folks say there’s nobody but I think the Avs and the Wild are two possibilities for sure. Maybe the Blue Jackets too. Nobody figured the Devils to be in the lottery last year so you never know who’s going to fall apart or who may make a run up the standings.
Jeff Chapman: If the Oilers attempt a three-peat at the basement, the Colorado Avalanche could play spoiler to Edmonton's chances to finish last. The Avalanche have more than their fair share of question marks when it comes to their defence. Hedja is an obvious plus to their corps, but then what? If you look down the roster, you've lost some key guys like John-Michael Liles (Leafs) and Adam Foote (retirement). Couple this with the fact that I'm not at all sold on a tandem of goaltenders in Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere (who was backing up James Reimer in Toronto) on a team with a precarious defence, and there could be some cause for concern in Denver.
Jerconjake: Phoenix. Belanger, Upshall and Stempniak are out; The Human Question Mark Daymond Langkow is in. Doan and Whitney are another year older, Jovanovski is gone and the team has no goaltending whatsoever. They might have a better chance with a cardboard cutout of Ilya Bryzgalov in goal than with Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera.
Smokin' Ray: I'd love to say the Flames, but not sure they are at that point of being terrible enough yet to be worse than the Oilers. But they are close. Damn close.
Colorado, Dallas, Columbus and St. Louis all could end up being below the Oilers this season when the last game has been played. I doubt it, but you never know what can happen season to season.
BCB: I am thinking that the Rockies or the North Stars might be worse than the Oilers in the 2011-12 season.
Shepso: You mean the Avs or the Wild, right? Right?
BCB: I stand by my claim.
Dawgbone: Colorado and/or Minnesota. I think both teams will struggle this year. Varlamov should be an upgrade on the type of goaltending they got last year, but that's about the only advantage I see. Giguere is basically done and I don't even know if he can give anything close to league average goaltending as an insurance policy. Their blueline group tested worse than the Oilers in a fan poll (add a quarter to one of those and you might be able to make a phone call) and I have a feeling Sastny will be one of the first players traded this season. Minnesota added what seems like a disinterested Heatley at the expense of a pretty good defender in Brent Burns. They got worse in a big way, but their ability to puppy cradle syndrome the Oilers to death might keep them ahead in the standings.