Edmonton Oilers season preview

Updated: October 3, 2005, 12:12 PM ET
ESPN.com

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Oilers made a big splash in the offseason, but was it enough?

Offense: Edmonton is still challenged up front. The O picked up Michael Peca, a checking center from Long Island via Buffalo, but he now projects as their No. 1 playmaker, and that's asking too much. There is no sniper on either wing, and the rest of the offense isn't overly large, overly fast or overly experienced.

Defense: Certainly better with the addition of All-Star Chris Pronger from St. Louis. He joins Jason Smith and Steve Staios, both of whom play their own zone well and are just starting to come into their own.

Goaltending: Ty Conklin is quick and getting better, but has yet to establish himself as the rock every night out. He needs to do that this season.



WHERE THEY'LL FINISH
11th YES … Pronger hits, creates offense and makes a power play sing. That can give a lot of confidence to a young team.
BUT … Depth is still a question mark, and so is goaltending and offensive might. Those are holes that are not easily filled.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Brad Winchester is a big, tough forward that's going to scare a lot of people, and that takes a load off Georges Laraque, who doesn't fight as much as he used to.

HEY, COACH!
Craig MacTavish is a proven veteran with good teaching credentials, but rarely has had enough horses to make an impact. He'll have to muster something if the Oilers want to make the playoffs.



FACEOFFS
BEST OFFSEASON MOVE --> LEADERSHIP
Everyone says Chris Pronger, but Michael Peca (left) brings leadership and experience, and the Oilers will benefit from it.

WORST OFFSEASON MOVE --> LITTLE O
After Pronger and Peca, the Oilers didn't have much cap room to further bolster their offensive lineup.

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Comings & Goings
Key Acquisitions:
D Chris Pronger; C Michael Peca; C Yan Stastny.

Key Departures:
LW Mike York; LW Brad Isbister; D Eric Brewer; C Joe Cullen; D Doug Lynch; D Jeff Woywitka; D Scott Ferguson.

When we last saw them …
Ryan Smyth, C
The Team Canada hero's aggressive style led to 23 goals and 36 assists, which led the team overall.
Ty Conklin, G
Conklin made just five more starts than Jussi Markkanen and finished with a 17-14-4 record and 2.42 goals-against average.
Quoteables
He had incredible skating skills, and could break out in the blink of an eye.
Kevin Lowe on Paul Coffey, whose jersey will be retired on Oct. 18.