Impact Sophomore: Last season rookie defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky was slowed by Reiter's syndrome, an inflammation of the joints caused by a virus, but he is now healthy. Tverdovsky will have to create offense from the point if the lame Duck power play is to improve.
Outlook: There are some good players here—including goalie Guy Hebert—but too much expansion driftwood still abounds. Tenth in the conference.
Romper Room: The Oilers, the youngest team in the NHL, are also the most anonymous. Other than goalie Bill Ranford, we dare you to name five of Edmonton's players. Oiler president Glen Sather has said a team needs seven world-class players to win a Stanley Cup. There is some genuine talent here—forwards Jason Arnott, Mats Lingren and Todd Marchant—but Sather isn't going to have seven world-beaters on this team.
Breakthrough Player: Arnott, who moved from center to wing, will be immovable in front of the net.
Strength: Speed. Edmonton should be among the leading beneficiaries of the antiobstruction calls.
Outlook: This will be a fun team to watch grow. But as fast as the Oilers are, they can't accelerate the learning process. Eleventh in the conference.
Los Angeles Kings
The Coach: First-year man Larry Robinson should be an ideal NHL coach. He played for Scott Bowman and played with and then coached under Jacques Lemaire.
Breakthrough Player: Defenseman Rob Blake, coming off a groin injury that limited him to 24 games last season, will benefit more than anyone from the arrival of Robinson and assistant coach Rick Green.