The Edmonton Oilers missed the playoffs for the 7th straight season, but they did show improvement. At one point, they were in the playoff race, but fell out of contention with a couple weeks remaining. The offseason was pretty successful.
The Oilers have an offense that is full of potential with Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, and Hemsky, so they decided to make some defensive improvements. In the trade that sent Horcoff to Dallas, they acquired defenseman Philip Larsen. His 2013 season was not so great, but he is a plus player for his career. In 2012, he was a +11. The offense that was lost by giving up Horcoff was replaced with Perron from St. Louis, so there was no downside to the trade.
From free agency, they signed Andrew Ference, another skilled defenseman, also a plus player for his career. They also acquired defenseman Lee Moffie, who is supposed to be a solid top 4 or 6 defenseman in the future. I think he may be someone to keep an eye on. He has excellent poise, can jump into the rush well, and can find openings in traffic. This good puck-moving defenseman also possesses a great shot.
In the draft, they chose future star defenseman Darnell Nurse. He will be an elite shutdown defenseman, probably as a top 2 blue-liner. He is an aggressive player, but will have to put on some more weight.
If the alignment of the teams were the same, I’d say they’d have a chance at the post-season this season, but I don’t see it with the change. The good news is for Oilers fans that they are improving.