Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Long gone are the glory days of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and company. In fact, the Doug Weight glory days sound a lot more appealing than what the Oilers have had to go through the past few seasons. But the team is starting to see some of its rebuilding pieces come together. Here are three stars to watch in tonight’s Blackhawks-Oilers contest:
1. Mark Arcobello: The first year Center has flashed some ability to far this season. In his first 17 career games, Arcobello has tallied 12 points. He got off to a scintillating start, and had a fantastic October but has slowed in recent games. Arcobello has a tough task matching up against the Blackhawk centers and whoever he draws will have to force Arcobello to become a scorer and not a playmaker, as his 10 assists make up most of his points this season.
2. Jordan Eberle: Another 1st round pick, Eberle has been one of the Oilers most consistent performers over the past two seasons. Eberle can score, create, and hit, and has been a real leader for this Oilers team. His all-around game translates well for a team looking to create and identity, and I believe that if more Oilers players take on Eberle’s on-ice mentality that the team will see more success. He is also coming off two straight games with at least one point.
1. Taylor Hall: The number one overall pick in the 2010 draft has the makings of a future star in the NHL. Hall had somewhat of a breakout season in last year’s lockout shortened campaign, and though he has missed some games due to injury, appears to be back on course to reaching his full potential. He is the best goal scorer on this Edmonton roster and with four goals in his last four games, he is starting to find his rhythm. The ‘Hawks need to make sure someone else beats them tonight, not Taylor Hall.
Honorable Mention – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: This first overall pick (2011) is a bit behind the first overall pick before him (Hall). Nugent-Hopkins is learning to become a better goal scorer and he has already matched last season’s goal output of four in 15 games this season.
The Oilers come in struggling losing seven of their last eight. Their 4-12-2 record is among the worst in the league and it appears as though the Oilers may be looking at another first overall pick, depending if the Buffalo Sabres can manage to win two games in a row at any point this year.
The Edmonton Oilers take on the Chicago Blackhawks this Sunday at 7:30.