Who'll be lighting the lamp? Everyone!

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Where will the goals come from?

It's a question being asked by concerned Edmonton Oilers fans at virtually every turn. Off-season help has bolstered the power play and added grit, character and leadership to a team that already had plenty of it, but the high-scoring free-agent sniper Edmonton fans were hoping for didn't materialize.

So where will the offence come from?

Simple, says Shawn Horcoff: Same place it came from last season.

"We don't have a problem scoring," said Horcoff, who doesn't understand all the worry. "Just because we don't have that big guy doesn't mean that as a team we can't score goals."

He's right. While Edmonton's paltry 2.69 goals per game average may sound downright barren, it was actually fourth best in the Western Conference and ninth in the NHL. Nobody was filling the nets in 2003-2004, that's why they shaved down the goalies and changed the rules.

"Everyone always says we don't have that big scorer, but we've proven we can score in the past," continued Horcoff.

"We're not going to have a guy that's going to get you 90-100 points, but you don't necessarily need that to win. If we can get scoring throughout our team and get a couple of guys to step up we're going to be fine."

Edmonton had eight guys with 15 goals or more two years ago. He says that, combined with Pronger and Peca jumpstarting the power play, is all the scoring Edmonton should need because the days of teams relying on a small core of superstars to do all of their scoring are over.

"A lot of teams around the league have lost veteran guys, there's no more powerhouses anymore," said Horcoff.

"I think it's going to be the team with the most depth that's going to be the deciding factor."

Horcoff, who came into the league a checking centre and is now pencilled in as No. 2 on the depth chart, will be counted on offensively. Like Ales Hemsky, he, too, flourished in Europe during the lockout and can't wait to see how it translates into the NHL.

"I think I've made strides," he said.

"I still want to make improvements, but at the same time I'm looking forward to this year, getting more of a chance offensively to contribute."

A HAPPY STOLL: After his most trying season as a professional, a minor league milk run with 13-hour travel days and double-digit losing streaks, no one is happier than Jarret Stoll to be back in the NHL.

One day he might be able to look back on his lockout year with the Edmonton Roadrunners and laugh, but not just yet.

"It was a tough situation," he said of a team that won just five of its last 28 games and missed the playoffs by a mile.

"It was good to keep playing and try to improve your game while a lot of guys had to sit out and do nothing, but it was a tough ending to the year.

"At the start everything was going right for us and we were winning a lot of hockey games and everybody was happy coming to the rink, but by the end of the year the tide turned and we couldn't get off the tracks."


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