Bloggers Breakouts 2011 - Edmonton Oilers

You might recall we've already had one Oilers BB courtesy of Derek Zona at Copper and Blue but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get Jonathan Willis in for his take on the Oilers as well.  Two experts is better than one, right?

Jonathan is one of the contributors at the main blog of thescore.ca (our former home) and you might recognize his name as we link to his stuff quite a bit.   We definitely recommend you add his blog to your daily read list.

We asked Jonathan seven fantasy questions related to the Oilers.  Check out his answers below.

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.

BY JONATHAN WILLIS FROM THESCORE.CA BLOG

Q1) Edmonton's Breakout of the Year?
I'm tempted to say Magnus Paajarvi, but given the competition for minutes at left wing... Sam Gagner. Like most people who follow the Oilers I've been waiting for that breakout offensive season since Gagner's rookie year, and this may be the best chance he has. On any of the top three lines he'll end up with competent offensive help, and his numbers last year fell because Edmonton's top power play unit inexplicably collapsed. With a decent power play showing, he could hit 60 points.

Q2) Darkhorse Breakout on Edmonton?
Linus Omark. Omark's spot is in jeopardy as the Oilers stock up manpower on the wings, but he showed flashes of brilliance on the power play last year and has racked up points in every league that he's played in. He might struggle for playing time or he might contend for the team scoring lead. He's certainly capable of 50 points in the right situation.

Q3) League-Wide Breakout of the Year?
Tyler Seguin. The talented rookie posted just 22 points last season in limited ice-time, but he has great offensive talent and should get more time this season - particularly given how many top power play options the Bruins lost over the summer.

Q4) Player likely to Breakdown on Edmonton?
Ryan Whitney. It's not that Whitney isn't a good offensive defenseman (he is) but he's had some injury troubles and may or may not be 100% at training camp, and his totals last year will lead some to over-value him. Whitney's a known commodity and last year's numbers were uncharacteristically good; he's highly likely to regress to career norms.

Q5) Best Fantasy Prospect on Edmonton?
The obvious answer is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins; he's the first overall pick after all and he led the WHL in scoring last season. The obvious answer is almost certainly right, although Teemu Hartikainen has a track record of performance on the power play in other leagues and blue-liner Jeff Petry also has offensive potential.

Q6) How do you see Edmonton's Goalie Situation playing out this year?
Officially, Nikolai Khabibulin enters the season as starter, and Devan Dubnyk as backup, but things are unlikely to stay that way. Dubnyk's untested - with just a single part-year of NHL success - while Khabibulin is aging, injury-prone and coming off the worst season of his career. My belief is that Dubnyk will get the majority of starts, with somehting like a 60/40 split between him and Khabibulin, while minor-leaguer Yann Danis will probably see some time in relief once Khabibulin's yearly injury flares up.

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?
Nugent-Hopkins is very tough to project, simply because he isn't guaranteed a full-time role. My suspicion is that the Oilers keep him up all season (they don't tend to be overly patient with star young prospects) but that they spot him and keep his minutes somewhat limited. My guess is that he plays between 75-80 games and scores between 35-40 points.

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