Sixes and Sevens and Nines

Always in a hurry
I never stop to worry
Dont you see the time flashin by
Honey, got no money
I’m all sixes and sevens and nines
Say now, baby, Im the rank outsider
You can be my partner in crime
But baby, I cant stay
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice.

-Jagger/Richards

In a response to a post below, Vic Ferrari said “they have so many B-list prospects that failure should be a safe bet even with the 10ish quality NHLers they have on the roster.”

It’s a pretty tough sentence to wiggle away from. The Oilers have maybe three guys (I’ll say Gagner, Trukhno and Cogliano, you may have your own list) who are beyond the B-list, plus probably two (I’ll pick Pouliot and Gilbert) who might establish themselves this season as NHL players (with the usual growing pains).

The Oilers have too many 6′s and 7′s and 9′s, and precious few Kings and Jacks. Having dealt Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth and replacing them with talents that are not close to equal, the Oilers now represent kind of a bizarre New Democratic Party experiment in which everyone gets not only an equal opportunity but an equal dollop of talent.

The Oilers depth chart needs NHL players and NHL prospects who have a chance to deliver and establish themselves at the deep end of the pool once there.

How many legit prospects ARE there? How many of these kids can bat in the heart of the order? How many will ever be able to?

The Oilers Top 20 tomorrow.

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17 Responses to "Sixes and Sevens and Nines"

  1. jerk clown says:

    I think Ryan O’Marra is going to play…and soon.(IMO)…I think there are also a few guys who, with solid years, could rise above the B-Level (Chorney, Petry, Dubnyk). I think this year in Springfield will see a lot of the the wheat seperated from the chaff – Nilsson? Schremp? JDD?

  2. jon says:

    I eagerly anticipate the top 20, great stuff as always LT. I must admit though, it’s somewhat depressing to compare the sombre tone of the blog now to that during the 2005-2006 season. :)

    For the upcoming year I think O’Marra will really thrive in the pro game once he’s rehabbed from his various ailments. Oddly enough, I think that Schremp will have a much improve year as well after his return from injury. Though it’s an unpopular notion, I still think in the long-term he’ll emerge as a useful PP specialist like Ray Whitney.

  3. vb says:

    The one thing that I haven’t seen anybody analyze is player growth. By that I mean, the ability to measure or predict the improvement of a player from one season to the next. I plan on spending some time on that in the next month.

    We do know that most players seem to peak in their late 20′s (usually after 3 or 4 seasons) and sag in their mid 30′s. What I am suggesting, is that our next generation of Jacks and Kings are not necessarily on the surface as yet. It took Ryan Smyth 5 or 6 seasons to become a Jack or Queen – maybe we are saying the same thing about Schremp or Nilsson in a similar period of time.

  4. oilerdiehard says:

    You do not even count Smid in the B prospect list? Bah…

    That Greene kid looks like he might have a career as well.

    I will tell you one thing a couple A prospects and a bunch of B prospects beats what we have had in the cupboard for years and that is maybe 1 B and a bunch of C’s and D’s.

    Lowe on Oilers live out of nowhere threw in a vote of confidence that “Schremp-y” as he called him is going to end up being a pretty good player who can tribute down the line at some point. Having watched my share of WBS games, the Schremp that played the last 30 games was far and away a better player than the he was the whole rest of the season. I guess we will see, still has a good shot at boom or bust.

    No doubt in my mind Cogs as you suggest is in the A list.

    I think O’Marra is definitely going to be a solid player.

    Nilsson is a crap shoot, he has a shot at being a Nagy type (maybe slightly better, he has plenty of talent and he seems to have more fire and is not near as soft as Nagy) or a bust.

  5. Bendelson says:

    What will be nice is a Springfield team, full of young Oiler talent, learning the game together.

    Hopefully, such a situation will allow Edmonton to develop (and utilize) more organizational depth, inserting forwards (Schremp, Brodziak, Cogliano, Stortini, O’Marra, Nilsson, JFJ?) where and when required (like Buffalo this past season).

    Over a couple of seasons, this could become our great strength.
    Especially when Gagner is ready.

    and Tavaras.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Smid, Pouliot and Nilsson aren’t eligible for the top 20, just so everyone knows that going in.

    Also, I agree O’Marra should be a good NHLer (like him a lot) but his injuries nicked his number.

  7. doritogrande says:

    The replies on O’Marra are comforting to hear. I haven’t seen him play much aside from the World Juniors, but he looks like a kid ready to play Alberta hockey. Is it a little off-base to compare him to Peca in a few years time?

    I think the Oilers prospect cupboard is stocked pretty nicely this year in ways that it hasn’t been for a while. Theres great balance in terms of forward prospects. We’ve got our point-producers in Cogliano, Schremp, Nilsson, Gagner, and our defensively-minded forwards like O’Marra and Pouliot (in some cases). Theres also a healthy jolt of size coming through with JFJ and defencemen Plante, Young and Peckham. Shifty puck-moving defensemen were a rare commodity last year, and with Petry, Gilbert and Chorney in our system, our future looks bright there. I think Springfield’s going to have a good season this year given the prospects they’re getting, but the farm team is also going to need a jolt of veteran leadership to help them through the grind of a long schedule.

  8. oilerdiehard says:

    doritogrande – O’Marra himself said he patterned his game after guys like Peca, Primeau and Brind’Amour. So your comparison seems fair.

  9. Dennis says:

    I would compare ROM with peca for another reason: he has the gift of gab and that particular gift is often-times great friends with insincereity. I’m not saying this will be the case with O’Marra but he seems more shine than substance. Let’s hope he works out as a shutdown/PK guy.

    I think it’s pretty clear that the Oilers don’t have the depth they’re talking about or else a deal would be done. Aren’t talented kids with little to no service time used supposed to be the ultimate trading chip? If the Oilers kids were as talented as Lowe said they were, he’d have a deal done by now.

    Over the years there’s been a few quotes or newspaper musings that we’ve jumped on. My faves are things like Lowe claiming he wants to move up every year and by golly that doesn’t happen unless Riley Nash is involved;) Another good one was when I bet my Habs buddy that Matty would say the Oilers wanted Higgins when I knew that they had THE chance to grab him before trading down with the Habs and in the process securing an additional 57th round pick, OK I think it was a 7th rounder but you get the drift. Here lately we’ve had Nichols advocating divorce for the Prongers and of course Lowe’s mind-blowing “Five Assets” revelation.

    But there was one that I feel sorta slipped through the cracks and maybe it was because it was Easter weekend and the piece ran during the span when the Journal was doing their expose but I found it really interesting at the time and I think this would be the thread to re-post it.

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/story.html?id=4e8fce5b-04b3-4851-b566-5885cb06aec0&p=1

    ___Lowe believes that university-based players like Canadian national junior team star Andrew Cogliano (Michigan) and U.S. national junior team stalwart Taylor Chorney (North Dakota), along with 19-year-old USHL defenceman Jeff Petry may well be the cream of the Oilers’ current crop of prospects. The hope is that at least two of them — Cogliano and Chorney — can be “parked” at the Oilers’ newly established, dedicated AHL farm club in Springfield, Mass., as early as next season___

    So, there it is, Lowe’s admission that his best pieces are a long ways away from playing with the bigs and even from playing in the A. That means that guys like MP and RS, they just aren’t opening a lot of eyes and that’s why a deal hasn’t been done by now.

    Lowe has a lot less attractive pieces thatn he’s lead us, or some of us, to believe.

  10. Barry says:

    I have been wondering how much we can take from some players “poor” year last year. I decided to look at some other establishd stars.

    Chris Freakin’ Pronger: First 3 seasons:
    93/94 5G 25A -3
    94/95 5G 9A -12 (1/2 season)
    96/96 7G 18A -18

    Ryan Smyth first season:
    95/96 11pts in 48 GMS -10

    Ziggy Chara 1st 3 seasons:
    28pts -62

    Its a tad early to write off Greene, Smid, Shrempt, Nilson et al.

  11. Big T says:

    Dennis;

    You’re way past the point of having an objective viewpoint on this. And reaching on the Cogliano – Chorney point to the nth degree.

    In fact your posts are way past the point of ridiculously repetitive. WE GET IT.

    T

  12. oilerdiehard says:

    Oh now O’Marra is insincere Dennis? Do you have anything to back that up? Seems like a large stretch or are you just getting the dislike machine fired up early because the kid came over in another trade you are not crazy about?

    When I think of well spoken guys in the game names like Doug Weight, Pat Lafontaine, Joe Sakic etc… pop into my mind.

    I do not see how you come to that conclusion on Cogliano and Chorney either? Are you saying good players never play in the AHL?

    I seem to remember this kid named Ryan Smyth whose defensive game was awful suspect spent some time down there. Horcoff too, Pisani as well and on and on. One could list them all day from Brett Hull to Ladislav Nagy to Getzlaf to Markus Naslund to Thomas Vanek to Briere to Bouwmeester to Marc Savard to Spezza to Roberto Luongo… They must be a bunch of over-hyped prospect bums that will never amount to much.

    Players do have a choice when to come out, I am assuming you know this? Why would Lowe guarantee it if they are not under contract yet? Chorney chose to stay and Cogs decided to come out. Jack Johnson stayed pretty long, I guess we need to assume he is not good enough to make any impact at any point in the NHL then?

    It is funny if he guaranteed Cogliano was going to make the team off the hop. Then he either did not or he ended up in the press box you would be ripping Lowe for it every day. “There goes Lowe over valuing his prospects and making promises” how fast they are going to be players. You just search for things to pick at and if there is not much there you will spin something out of nothing.

  13. Aaron Paquette says:

    On the other hand, it’s good to have that balance.

    I appreciate dennis’ posts.

  14. Oil Stain says:

    Here’s an idea that doesn’t involve the notion that all Oilers prospects and players are completely useless.

    The cap went up.

    There really aren’t any teams that are completely handcuffed by the cap like in the two previous seasons. Sure we all hope that Tampa Bay would dump one of their stars, but they didn’t last year or the year before. Why would they do so now that they are starting to get an inch of breathing room?

    This year is a bad year to be in the market of aquiring a star player for less then a premium rate.

    At any rate while the Oilers don’t have any known face cards in the deck they do have a few guys that project into good players in the near future.

    Although if there are any facecards to emerge they will most likely be on the backend. None of the forwards have shown game breaking offensive talent, and that is typically something that doesn’t develop later on in forwards. Star defencemen and goalies are more likely to “come out of nowhere”.

  15. jon says:

    Barry: Good points about Pronger. I was thinking of that whenever people were relentlessly picking apart Smid’s game last season. I think it’s incredible that he played a full season as a 20 year old rookie on a second pairing in the toughest division in the world’s best league. He’s got a lot of potential and if you can put aside the obvious fact that Lowe decided to put the team into rebuild mode when Pronger wanted out it’s not hard to be happy that we got a player in Smid at least.

  16. jon says:

    By the by, Tarnstrom is apparently set to sign with us which is a pretty telling sign that we are not going to be acquiring Pitkanen now or any time soon in the future.

  17. Dennis says:

    I never said that those guys further down were junk, I just said that if those are the guys Lowe’s trumpeting, what does it say about the kids who are in the A right now? If Lowe values the two C’s plus Petry that much, why would anyone want anything other than those guys?

    As for O’Marra, he just seems a little too wordy, for lack of a better phrase. I think he’s great at self-promoting and I think he’s a guy that some guys will overrate just because he says the right stuff and respects the Oilers tradition of 17 years ago.

    As for repetitive, guess what, the Oilers suck right now and a lot of their approach sucks so what am I supposed to say? I mean if we’re telling each other what to post, I’d like to tell people that believe in Lowe that they’re a bunch of dummies and I’ve got some recent history that can back that up. But, I DON”T tell people what to say.

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