Excitement is in the air! The Oilers have a new coach (one that has a passion for winning this time), a new general manager, a new division, new rivals and a new playoff format.
Will any of that matter?
We asked our writing staff: Where Will The Oilers Finish in 2013-14?
Ben Massey: I haven't actually figured out what division we're in yet.
Alan Hull: I see the Oilers finishing 5th in the Pacific behind LA, SJS, VAN and PHX. I think they can edge out ANA unless the Ducks can fix their blueline sooner than later. I think there is a real chance that the 5th place team in the Pacific, whoever that is could contend for a crossover playoff spot because the Central division looks to be the worst in hockey this year.
Derek Zona: Before the Gagner injury and the madness that is Brown, Eager, MacIntyre, Acton, Hamilton, Arcobello, Joensuu on an NHL roster together, I said "I'll go with 5th in the Pacific, but in the playoffs as the second crossover team because the Central is bad. They'll be dispatched easily in the first round, but they'll get there." Now? I have no idea. Hopkins will be rushed back, Gagner will be rushed back and if any of the top six is injured before those two are back, I'd rather not discuss it.
Ryan Batty: I'm going to be optimistic and say that the Nugent-Hopkins injury won't kill them and they'll be in a battle with Anaheim and Phoenix for the last playoff spot in the Pacific by the time we get to April. I think they'll finish fifth though when all is said and done. Hopefully with just enough points to crossover to the Central Division.
Jake Pringle: I think the optimistic view is for the Oilers to be a playoff team in a wild card slot, as there is plenty of cannon fodder in the Central Division. The top three slots in the Pacific are pretty much spoken for by the Kings, Sharks and Canucks. However, the gap between the latter two teams and the Oilers is likely to be less enormous. If the Oilers stay in the race with Phoenix and Anaheim for the fourth spot in the Pacific, they should have a chance at crossing over to the Central.
Scott Reynolds: I don't think these rookie games give a very good sense of how players can be expected to think the game or how they'll perform when the team is operating with a more established structure.
Jeff Chapman: I'm with Ryan in this boat. Account for injuries to key players, a little puck luck (some good, some bad), and a solid season from Devan Dubnyk. Hopefully the Oilers will be within shouting distance of the final playoff marker.
dawgbone: I think the Oilers will finish 5th in the Pacific but end up with the 2nd wild card spot and therefore will qualify for the playoffs. They'll play against St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs.
This is the closest to unanimous we've ever been on anything. Are we off-base? Let us know in the comments, or if you've got a particularly wordy (and worthwhile) response, write a FanPost.