Let’s say they roll off the usual suspects (Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll, Torres) and they agree that with the poor options on both wings currently available Fernando Pisani will play on one of the top 2 lines.
It’s not a crazy thought. He’s being paid like a top 2line F in Edmonton, and he’s got some skills. Could Pisani move to LW and play with Horcoff and Hemsky? It isn’t Ryan Smyth but he’s a player.
Okay. Assuming Moreau is going to babysit Pouliot on the 3line (and let’s say they sign Mike Johnson for RW on that line), which of the young prospects is a likely candidate for the Stoll-Torres line?
Is it Robert Nilsson? Desjardins NHLE for 82gp is 10-27-37 (.451) and he had a .377ppg number in his full NHL season (53gp, 20 points). He seems to be the fan’s choice for the job, but I’m certain there are better options. Geoff Sanderson’s 06-07 (29 points in 58 games) is probably the outer marker for Nilsson this season.
Is it Rob Schremp? His Desjardins NHL for 82gp is 10-21-31 and his 20-year old AHL season saw him finish well below the Vic 1/1 number. His 2nd half was pretty good (29gp, 9-18-27) and it’s possible he went from overrated due to ATOI to underrated for the same reason. Still, I can’t see MacT handing him a job on the Stoll line.
Jean Francois Jacques, Slava Trukhno, Ryan O’Marra, Andrew Cogliano hell even Kyle Brodziak may get a look in training camp. However, history tells us that Pouliot and Thoresen will be better NHLers in 07-08 even if it’s only because they’ve been there before and have had some degree of success for this coach.
I don’t think there’s anyone in the system who stands out as an obvious choice for MacT in the top 6. Here is the list of young forwards who’ve entered the NHL under MacTavish (playing a significant amount) with their GP totals and ATOI:
- Mike Comrie 00-01 41gp, 11:23 (2:03PP)
- Shawn Horcoff 00-01 49gp, 9:13 (0:11PK)
- Dom Pittis 00-01 47gp, 10:46 (1:01PK)
- Ales Hemsky 02-03 59gp, 12:04 (2:36PP)
- Jason Chimera 02-03 66gp, 10:45 (0:37PP)
- Fernando Pisani 02-03 35gp, 10:43 (0:41PP)
- Raffi Torres 03-04 12:38 (1:37PP)
- Jarret Stoll 03-04 68gp, 13:54 (1:51PK)
- Patrick Thoresen 06-07 68gp, 11:25 (0:55PK)
- Marc Pouliot 06-07 46gp, 13:02 (1:10PP)
- Brad Winchester 06-07 59gp, 8:04 (0:21PP)
- JF Jacques 06-07 37gp, 7:54 (0:02PP)
I think that’s it, may have skipped a couple but it looks complete. Some points of interest: TWO kids played more than 2 minutes a game on the PP in their rookie year and they were Hemsky and Comrie. Do the Oilers have anyone of that offensive calibre in the system? Torres and Pouliot each got over a minute on the PP too as rookies. Stoll was used a little on the PK as a rookie, 1:51. With the exception of Dom Pittis (who was an old rookie), so far anyone who has been able to get 10 minutes a night from MacT as a rookie has had a career. Horcoff was over 9 so we’ll count him too.
You know what? That’s just a helluva list. Nilsson and Schremp are the skill guys with some pro experience, I’ll be very interested to see which one MacT warms up to in camp. My guess is they don’t see the light of day anytime soon and MacT rides Pisani and Sanderson on the top 2line if the GM gives him no other options. Can’t blame MacTavish. Geoff Sanderson isn’t Ryan Smyth, but he won’t make as many mistakes in a year as Rob Schremp will before November.