The Edmonton Oilers may not make the playoffs this year, but there is plenty of evidence to support the notion that the future is bright.
The Oilers have been the early surprise of the NHL season, sitting just one point behind the Minnesota Wild for first in the Northwest division. At one point, they were the top team in the league, and look to have, at least for now, found a good blend of youth and veteran experience.
Edmonton’s rebuild has mimicked that of the Penguins from a few years back. Like Pittsburgh, the Oilers have had a plethora of first round draft picks over the last 5 years that are currently making an impact on the roster. Similar to Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Jordan Stall growing together, the Oilers have a trio of Jordan Eberle, a first round pick from 2008, Taylor Hall, the first overall pick from 2010 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the most recent first overall pick, making an immediate impact for the team. The trio sit 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the teams scoring, all the trailing 16 year veteran Ryan Smyth.
It took Pittsburgh 5 years after drafting the first of their trio, Evgeni Malkin, to win a cup. This year marks the 3rd for Eberle. Are the Oilers just a couple of years away from making their run into the NHL elite?
While time will only tell, their certainly on the right path.