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Monday, September 9, 2013

A Look At What Could Be Opening Night 2013-14

Hello Jambalya readers, as you know the hockey season is coming, and there will be tons of talk like, "how will Eakins help this team?", and "will we be over .500?".

But, I'm not writing this to talk about that, I'm writing this, to talk about who could be the opening day lineup for the 2013-14 season.

Forward line guesses

1st line guess

LW Perron C Hall RW Eberle

LW David Perron, Perron's skill will fit nice with Hall and Eberle who are already highly skilled forwards.

C Taylor Hall, This line has Hall at centre because of the fact Hopkins could be hurt for 10 games or so, (give or take) Hall is also at centre on this line because Eberle is a first line player and he has more chemistry with Hallsy than Gagner. Yes, I do know Hallsy is not very good away from the puck, but he has outstanding speed that will help him with back checking.

RW Jordan Eberle, Eberle is a good little forward that has great skills that would blend well with anyone especially with Hall and Perron in this case.


2nd line guess

LW Hemsky C Gagner  RW Yakupov

LW Ales Hemsky is another highly skilled forward who will hopefully bring leadership to Yakupov and if he can pass more, he might be valuable in the long run on this line.

C Sam Gagner I don't think has the defensive game to play 1st line minutes, so thats why I slot him here. He will finally have the contract stuff off his back and hopefully plays well because of it. 

RW Nail Yakupov, His shot, his skating, and his puck skills will hopefully work well with Hemsky this season. Hopefully they can find some offensive chemistry.

3rd line guess

RW Omark C Gordon LW Smyth

LW Ryan Smyth, Captan Canada, gritty, heart and soul and finally Symtty, these are all words associated with Ryan Symth, and coming in to probably his last season, I have him playing 3rd and 4th line minutes mainly because he is old and just here to finish his contract.

C Boyd Gordon, Maybe a bit of an overpayment, but still a good signing. Gordon is a good player that is two way.

RW Linus Omark, He was signed recently and it could be because the Oil want three scoring lines, or just for depth. Any such way, I have him here to add some scoring on this line.

4th line guess

RW Jones C Lander LW Joensuu

LW Jesse Joensuu, He was a first round pick, Lowetide says he is "very similar player to Temmu Hartikanien" which means he is a big grinder who will chip in a few goals, but is pretty slow.

C Anton Lander, He is a a good PK player which with Horcoff gone, he fills. He will chip in maybe 9 goals. He is a bubble player.

RW Ryan Jones, Jones cheats for offense and will probably be talked to by coach Eakins over the season. But I have him slotted here because he is a NHL player compared to others who might fill this role.


Other players that could be in on opening day.

Andrew Miller, Will Acton, Ryan Hamilton and Mike Brown.

Player to watch on offence: Taylor Hall who had 50 points last season and I Think will have 70 - 80 points this year keep your eye on him.

Defence pairing guesses

1 pair guess

LD Smid RD Petry

LD Ladislav Smid, He is a good heart and soul player who will block shots. Sometimes he will make a dumb play, but he's been improving every year. He is a good shutdown guy who logs PK mins and also can be trusted late in a game.

RD Jeff Petry, He was not as good as some people would have thought last season, but I think he will bounce back and not score on his own net vs the Wings and cost us a game (yes i'm still hurt over a regular season game.)

2 pair guess

LD Ference RD J.Schultz.

LD Andrew Ference, Ference was a good signing. Maybe not because of his contract, but because he is a solid veteran D man and will help J.Schultz when it comes down to those tough times.

RD Justin Schultz, Schultz is our best defence if not now then in the very near future. He had a pretty good season with points (27 points) but, I think he is going to get more. If he really wants to be good this season, he will need to improve without the puck.

3rd pair guess

LD N.Schultz RD Belov

LD Nick Schultz, He is a defensive defence man who should bounce back after a lackluster season. If he doesn't improve, I wouldn't doubt it if the Oilers look to move him. 

RD Anton Belov, Some say he was the best D man in the KHL last year. He has some grit to him and will be good guy to keep your eye on. Not sure how he will adapt to the smaller ice surface though. Should be interesting.

Other D man that could be in on opening night

Phillip Larson, Oscar Klefbom and Denis Grebeshkov

Goalies

Starting goalie:

Deven Dubnyk, He had an up and down season last year. He won us some games and he lost us some games. One thing I do notice is that he usally lets in one bad goal every game. Duby is the postion I am most worried about. He is 27 years old he has never had a better save % better than 2.57. But saying that, he was on the terrible Oilers team. All and all this is the season where we find out if he is an average goalie or above average goalie.

Backup goalie

Jason LaBarbera, Jason is a proven backup who might actually challenge Dubnyk if he faulters. Chances are that doesn't happen, but if they do, LaBarbera would love to step in. 

Remember, this all could change if RNH comes back early or if more injuries happen from now until the regular season starts. but if nothing does change, these are my opening night lines.

This was written by NHL rumors guy AKA Noah Fuchs

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