© 2013 Michael Parkatti BOTB8-1

10 Random Predictions for the 2013 Season

With the puck dropping on the 2013 Oilers season in about 2 hours from now, I wanted to throw down some random predictions.

  1. Devan Dubnyk will post a 0.920 overall save percentage.  He ended with a 0.914 last year, but had a very weak SV% on the penalty kill at 0.854.  Only 5 goalies playing 40 games or more had a worse PK SV%, and Dubnyk had a history of better results in that situation.  If he can raise that this year, it’ll set him up well to go for the 0.920 overall milestone.
  2. The Oilers will flirt with posting more shots for at even strength than shot against.  Last year they posted 26.9 shots for per 60 minutes of 5 on 5 play (28th in the league), while allowing 30.2 shots against per 60 minutes (23rd in the league).  That’s a gap of 3.3 shots per 60 mins.  I’d think that they’ll allow one less shot per 60 and gain 2 shots for per 60 mins, and narrow the gap considerably.
  3. Ryan Whitney will post a points per game (PPG) mark that is closer to his 2011-12 career low (0.39) than his 2010-11 career high (0.77).  This means that his PPG will be less than 0.58.  Over a 48 game season, he’d have to score less than 28 points to achieve this.  I belive that he is not anywhere close to the defenceman he was when he posted that career high.  He was relied on in all situations that year — the realities of his injury have already demoted him to the 2nd PP, and his TOI will be reduced greatly from that 2010-11 season.
  4. Sam Ganger will finally score at a level that would have provided him a 50 point season over an 82 game schedule.  This will require him to score 30 points this season over the 48 game schedule.  I think the Gagner/Yak/Hemsky line will face some pretty interesting competition considering the kid line will get matched against tough competition, and Krueger will use the Horcoff line against tough competition.  This could leave some cherry minutes for Gagner and the gang.
  5. Justin Schultz will see the 4th highest total average time on ice for Oiler defencemen playing at least 35 games this season.  I’m guessing this kid doesn’t get a sniff on the penalty kill and will see 2nd pairing minutes at even strength.  Smid, Petry, and Nick Schultz will see more, and Ryan Whitney will see a touch less.
  6. The Oilers will add another defenceman during the season, either because of injuries or because of needed depth for a push to make the playoffs.  I think there is an outside chance that the Oilers make a run at someone like PK Subban using a blue chip player, such as Yakupov.  There simply is no depth in the farm right now, and Tuebert/Peckham will not be effective NHL-level players.
  7. The Oilers will lose more shootouts than they win.  As much as I hate shootouts, it’s a reality in the modern NHL.  Eberle and Hemsky are top flight shootout participants, but I think Hall and RNH aren’t quite comfortable with the format yet, while Gagner finally recovered a bit last season after a disasterous run.  Dubnyk had a good season last year with a 0.741 SV%, but I think breakaways are the least effective part of his game, as he’s naturally less athletic than other starting goaltenders in the league.
  8. Darcy Hordichuk will draw in for less than 20 contests this year.  I think Krueger is paying some lip service to management by talking about Hordichuk’s toughness being a necessary component of success.  The way he composed his lineups last year when given the opportunity during Renney’s medical absence suggest that he’s smart enough to field the most competitive lineup, regardless of fist circumference.
  9. The Oilers will finish ahead of the Calgary Flames for the first  time since 2002-03.  I believe that they could be in a fight for 2nd in the division and 8th in the conference.
  10. Two Oilers will finish in the top 20 scorers in the NHL this season, something that hasn’t happened since Messier and Kurri finished 2nd and 19th in 1989-90, respectively.  Weight and Guerin would have qualified in 2000-01 (8th and 13th), but Guerin was traded mid-season.  So it has been 23 years since the Oilers had two of the top 20 scorers in the league.  That’s a long drought of concurrent top-level talent, and one that I believe will end this year.

Alright, I’m ordering some pizza, drinking some beer, and getting ready to take some game notes.  Let’s do this season.

 

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  1. […] January 20th, right before puck-drop on the Oilers’ 2013 season, I wrote a posted that included 10 quick and totally unrelated predictions. I’ll go through these with a mid-ish season update to see how they’re […]

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