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Northwest Scouting Reports by BRIAN CAZENEUVE
October 05, 2009
"It is almost like retraining a dog."
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October 05, 2009

Western Conference: Northwest

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LAST SEASON 38-35-9 (11th in West)

KEY ADDITIONS G Nikolai Khabibulin, Coach Pat Quinn

KEY LOSSES RW Ales Kotalik, G Dwayne Roloson, Coach Craig MacTavish

After missing the playoffs for a third straight year, Edmonton had an even more uncomfortable off-season. Try as they might to acquire disgruntled winger Dany Heatley from Ottawa, the Oilers couldn't get him to waive his no-trade clause. Worse, someone leaked the names of forwards Dustin Penner and Andrew Cogliano and defenseman Ladislav Smid as the players Edmonton would have sent to Ottawa for Heatley.

New coach Pat Quinn could have used Heatley's firepower. Edmonton was the only team in the conference without a 25-goal scorer, and its most formidable offensive weapon is a defenseman—Sheldon Souray (above), whose booming shot helped him tie for the club lead with 23 goals, including a team-high 12 on the power play.

The acquisition of free-agent goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, 36, is small solace; he replaces the solid Dwayne Roloson, who went to the Islanders. For a club that finished below average in offense, defense, power play, penalty killing, shots and shots allowed, there's little reason to believe they will be any better this season.



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