Bloggers Breakouts 2011 - Edmonton Oilers

Derek Zona of Copper and Blue is our expert guest today.  The Oilers offer a ton of breakout potential so we're especially keen to hear what Derek has to say about all the young players on this squad.  We also made sure to ask Derek one of the biggest fantasy questions owners have this preseason... how many games will RNH play?

In addition to their top notch Oiler coverage, Copper and Blue has been running a few fantasy features lately (one featuring FHS and one featuring Dobber's Jeff Angus) that you might want to check out.

Click here for more Blogger's Breakouts.

If you're interested in FHS' breakout picks and fantasy take on the Oilers check out our draft kit which includes The Breakout Bible, the Fantasy Scouting Report (with SuperStats included) and our Fantasy Prospect Database.


Q1) Edmonton's Breakout of the Year?
Jeff Petry.  Given Ryan Whitney's health issues and the fact that the only other roadblocks to top four time are Cam Barker and Andy Sutton, Petry has a chance to play some significant minutes.  His plus-minus isn't going to look good, but he should post some points and power play points.

Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on the Oilers?
Sam Gagner.  He can't carry a line yet, but he's always been able to play with the best when he's running with decent linemates.  There's a good chance he will spend the season centering Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky or Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.  If it's the latter, it probably means that Tom Renney is playing a power-vs-power matchup with Eric Belanger or Shawn Horcoff between Smyth and Hemsky, leaving Hall-Gagner-Eberle to take on lesser competition.

Of course, that also means the defensively responsible Horcoff or Belanger will center Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark, giving them a chance to shine against 3rd-level competition with a veteran playing rover.  Either of the two could be your darkhorse as well.

Q3) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
From a percentage gain perspective, I'll go with Rostislav Olesz.  He has some issues finishing and might always have them, but he plays a Joel Quenneville style and will make a nasty combination with Dave Bolland.  If we're talking about a rebound player, it's Michael Frolik.  The kid is one of the best forwards in the game and no one knows it.  He's coming off of a season in which he shot 4.4%.  He's should bounce back into the 9%+ range meaning 20+ goals.  He's also increased his shots per game in each of his three years.  If he does it again, he's going to get to 25 goals with some room to spare.  He goes from the worst power play in the league to one of the best.  Couple all of that with the prospect of playing with some combination of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp or Marian Hossa and Frolik is in for a nice year, as are the Hawks.


Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on the Oilers?
Nikolai Khabibulin and Ryan Whitney are already broken, so they don't count.  The easy answer is Ales Hemsky because he struggles with injuries every year.  That's the downside of being completely fearless and willing to do anything to score.  I'm not going to pick Hemsky, though.  I'll take the Oilers other completely fearless, willing to do anything to score wing -- Taylor Hall.  He explodes into the offensive zone like a cannonball, sometimes to his detriment.  It's a high-risk style and he's never going to back down.

Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on the Oilers?
Teemu Hartikainen is probably the best bet.  He has a chance to become the most productive sixth-round pick since the 2001 draft when Ryane Clowe, Jussi Jokinen and Brooks Laich were taken.  However, if you're in a deep keeper league that counts short-handed production and you're picking really late, Curtis Hamilton might be of interest.  He's a defense-first guy with the ability to score and is known for his penalty killing ability and short-handed goals.   

Q6) How do you see the Oilers' Goalie Situation playing out this year?
We can only hope management finally comes to their senses and sends Nikolai Khabibulin to the AHL.  He's just not an NHL goalie anymore.  However, I think they're going to keep sending out the so-called "MVP" in lieu of Devan Dubnyk and barring injury or another arrest, Khabibulin will play more than half of the Oilers' games this year.  They will lose a great many of those.  Dubnyk will start the other half and come in right around league average for save percentage.

Q7) One of the biggest struggles we had in our Fantasy Scouting Report was projecting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  We have him at only nine games… what’s your projection for games and points?
I hope you're right.  The Oilers are going to be lucky to finish higher than 26th.  They've already burned the ELCs from Hall, Paajarvi and Eberle.  No need to expose the young center to the same thing.  I think they should let him go back to Red Deer, become and all-situations player and play at the World Juniors.  Let's say nine games, two assists.

Thanks to Derek.  Do you have a Oilers related question?  Post it in the comments and we (or Derek) will do our best to provide a bit of insight.

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