Actually Donald, if you look at most teams (with the exceptions of a few like Pittsburg and Boston) Most NHL teams have a 2nd line center in the 50point range. Had Gags not been injured, he projected to be right there, so your assessment is wrong.
If things progress as they could/should and we remain "relatively" injury free, this team can fight for 8th spot. Dubnyk needs to be better and more consistant this year, and if not then we need to replace him.
Our D needs to step up and keep improving. If they do, you might be surprised that it isn't as bad as everyone thinks.
This may be a "perfect storm" of events, but lets face it.....sooner or later we are due for one
Actually, there is a major hole at centre. Nugent-Hopkins is fine and at this time would probably be a second line centre with most NHL squads. The problem is there is no first line centre so Nugent-Hopkins needs to fill this gap. The next problem is there is no second line center either. By NHL standards Gagner doesn't fill this position; perhaps he would place as a third line centre. But the Oilers have an expensive third line centre: Horcoff. And Belanger as a fourth line centre is terrible (and with two more seasons' salary). Good centres are difficult to acquire. I believe the defence is heading in the right direction. It is probable Tambellini will add another D-man before training camp opens.