Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/22/13 at 01:35 PM ET
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Boasting a lineup with some of the most talented youngsters in the league -- Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz -- the Oilers seem like a team that should be on the precipice. After all, how many clubs these days have three straight years with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft? Isn't it finally time for that talent to translate into results?
And yet, nine games into the season, Edmonton is toiling at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 2-6-1 record.
"Amazes me that, with that many No. 1 picks, they still can't get it right," one NHL scout said. "They don't have any hardness to their game. [They] only want to play from the red line in."
Granted, the team recently has been hit hard with injuries -- Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Smyth are questionable for Tuesday's tilt in Montreal. More importantly, the goaltending has been suspect at best. Even after turning away 72 of 76 shots in his past two starts, netminder Devan Dubnyk is among the league's worst in even-strength save percentage (.876).
Still, the dramatic turnaround has yet to take shape, and the development of the team's future hangs in the balance.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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