The Key To The Oilers' Season

This blue and white crop is the key to the Oilers' season.

One body part to rule them all

We know all about the imbalance in the Oilers' lineup. The forwards are young and dynamic, with a sprinkling of tested veterans. The defense is weak and has less depth than a mud puddle. Yakupov and Schultz bring more offense and the maturation of Hall, Eberle and Hopkins should be fun to watch.

But the key to the Oilers' season hinges on a single body part. This body part is prone to injury, and if it should falter, the Oilers would be in a position to draft first overall again. Figure it out yet? Click here (credit: - Paul Bereswill) to find out what thing is so important to the Oilers season.

If you guessed Devan Dubnyk's groin, you win our adoration. While Jeff Petry's knees, Ladislav Smid's everything and Ryan Whitney's Barbaro-like ankle were solid guesses, the fate of the 2013 rests in the groin of Devan Dubnyk. A shortened and more aggressive play schedule will put some additional pressure on the goaltenders, but the Oilers are in a special position: their backup is the worst goaltender in the league. If Dubnyk remains healthy, Nikolai Khabibulin should get no more than 10 starts. Any more than that and the Oilers are throwing too many points away to stay level with their competitors in the conference.

If Dubnyk is hurt, and goaltenders are more prone to groin issues, especially as they age, than any other position in professional sports, and Khabibulin ends the season with 30+ starts, study up on Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon.

So as the season begins, keep in mind how important that single body part is to the Oilers' hopes and keep an eye on Devan Dubnyk's groin.

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