Riesen to Believe

It may seem early (have the Oilers even published their training camp invite list?) but as the days roll by in August talk of training camp and job openings will become as commonplace as a lineup at the Tim Horton’s Drive-Thru.

It’s not my favorite time of year (draft day, trade deadline day, every day of the playoffs the Oilers are alive) but it’s a blast anyway, and there’s always surprises.


2000-01, Craig MacTavish was a rookie head coach and Michel Riesen led the team in pre-season goal scoring (7gp, 4-2-6) helping his entire line (Brian Swanson, C; Dan Cleary, RW) to make the jump to the NHL as a unit.

2006-07, with all of us Oiler fans arguing over the first rounders again (“Schremp isn’t going to get sent out you idiot”, “Pouliot’s time is NOW”), Patrick Thoresen played at a higher level and earned himself a full season in the show.

Who will be the surprise this fall? Who will disappoint? Here’s the early line.

  1. RW Ryan DePape, 19: WHL kid gets a training camp look from the Oilers, similar to Bisaillon and Colton Yellowhorn before him. Former linemate of Jonathan Toews, big winger who had a solid year for the PA Raiders last season. Chances of making the Oilers: Zero.
  2. RW Colin McDonald, 23: Oilers signed him to a 2-year entry level contract on July 17. He’s a coke machine who might end up putting up better results than he did in college, but he’d have to be considered an extremely long shot for the Oilers this fall. Tom Gilbert was more highly touted than McDonald coming out of college last year but was sent out September 30th (not the final cut but close). Fernando Pisani was an early cut in fall 2000 coming out of college, heading down September 11, 2000. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  3. RW David Rohlfs, 23: Big power winger who spent a significant amount of time in college playing defense. Had a fine offensive season (17-17-34) playing RW alongside TJ Hensick and Kevin Porter at Michigan. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  4. LW Liam Reddox, 21: A full season in the AHL would be a very good sign for this young prospect who got buried a little one year ago. He does have an interesting resume though, hopefully he can find a role in the AHL as a disturber with some skill (and stay healthy). Chances of making the NHL this fall: Zero.
  5. C Fredrik Johansson, 23: A checking center from the SEL, he’s behind a lot of people here even before we discuss the NHL depth chart. A chance he goes home after camp. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  6. LW Stephane Goulet, 21: Big winger scored 15 goals in the ECHL last season. He has good footspeed and was a scorer (51 goals final year) in junior, but he needs to get some clearance from all these other prospects in the AHL this year. Chances of making the Oilers: Zero.
  7. D Theo Peckham, 19: All positive reports on this guy, all he’s lacking is experience and that’s what he’ll get in the minors this season. Oilers have signed plenty of veteran AHL rearguards so he could play in the ECHL. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  8. RW Troy Bodie, 22: Huge winger got into 14 AHL games but spent most of the year in Stockton. Famous junior player whose style used to be called “north and south winger”, which is to say he patrols his wing and isn’t too fancy. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  9. D T.J. Kemp, 26: Oilers signed him July 17. He’s an AHL defender. He’s a depth signing for the new AHL farm club, but he does apparently have a two-way contract that will pay him $100,000 if he makes the big club. He’s an offensive defender (5-33-38 in 65gp), 5-11 and 200 pounds. Kemp finished tied for fifth among league D-men in assists and was named to the AHL all-star game. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  10. G Glenn Fisher, 24: .919SP in college this past season, and he’ll be the only first year pro among the Oilers’ goalie prospects. The NCAA leader had a .935SP and Fisher was tied for 17th in college hockey a year ago. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  11. D Allan Rourke, 26: He’s played over 400 AHL games and 42 in the NHL (11 last year), so Rourke is certainly a candidate for callup to the Oilers this season. Has size but apparently doesn’t use it enough and his numbers indicate he’s an average offensive player (50gp, 5-15-20) for the AHL level (76 AHL defenders had more than 20 points in 06-07). Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  12. LW Tim Sestito, 23: 2-way winger with grit who hasn’t played much in the AHL since turning pro. He once desribed himself as a player thusly: “I think mainly I’m out there to get things going with a hit or a forecheck and specifically to keep the puck out of our net. I think my defensive part of the game is getting better and if I can chip in with some points, that’s always a plus.” Chances of making the Oilers: Zero.
  13. C Sam Gagner, 17: Turns 18 on August 10. The last junior who made the Oilers the same season he was drafted by the team was Jason Arnott. He can make an impression though (Hemsky sure as hell did) and that may bode well for next fall. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  14. G Jeff Deslauriers, 23: He’s buried now at the NHL level. The only chance I could see of him getting into NHL action was as a injury replacement or backup, but with Garon signed and Dubnyk about to play in the AHL for a full season JDD’s time with the Oilers organization is running out. His .908SP last season in the AHL represents his pro high water mark, but 20 goalies had a better number in the American League last season (all playing 25 or more games). Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  15. D Sebastian Bisaillon, 20: Came out of junior and played pretty well last season, but he clearly was the Last Chance Texaco option (the Oilers had no defensemen left to recall). A season in the minors (probably AHL) is straight ahead. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  16. D Danny Syvret, 22: Is now pretty much buried for this upcoming season. Syvret got some NHL time in 06-07, but from what I saw he has strength issues to go along with the size problems. Hasn’t really delivered offense in the AHL (50gp, 4-14-18). Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  17. D Bryan Young, 21: Played in 3 pro leagues (including the NHL) this past season and the Oilers would probably like to see him spend a season in one spot and he certainly needs pro experience. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  18. C Ryan O’Marra, 20: If he makes the Oilers this fall, it’ll be a miracle. O’Marra is a really good NHL prospect, but he had a terrible injury season and any good organization is going to want to see him get his 500 at-bats. A healthy AHL season and a cup of coffee at the end of the year would be a terrific storyline. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  19. C Tyler Spurgeron, 21: I’d actually give him a slight chance to make the Oilers if he were a year or two older (or if the Oilers didn’t already have Brodziak on the roster). One day soon he’ll shock the HF group by getting a callup before one of EDM’s highly rated prospects. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: Zero.
  20. G Devan Dubnyk, 21: .921SP as a rookie pro was 3rd best in the ECHL. Dubnyk had a terrific camp last fall and impressed the coach a lot. The best he can hope for I think is another strong camp and possibly a chance to get his first NHL action during the season. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 2% (injury).
  21. LW Ryan Flinn, 27: Signed a one year deal July 17, here’s a guy who I can see playing a few games in the NHL this season. Very unlikely to break camp with the team, but there’s a small shot for him as an enforcer/cheap 14F type of player and he certainly would have to be considered a callup option when that ridiculous Boogaard is in town. Has played 31 games in the NHL. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 3%.
  22. D Mathieu Roy, 24- One thing he has going for him is that his skillset fits nicely with the Oilers most pressing need on D. The other thing he has going for him is that he’s passed a ton of guys with better pedigree since being drafted and he has shown well whenever he got the opportunity. He’s played at least a game with the Oilers in each of the last two seasons, and I’d bet on him playing a few (or more) this season. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 4% (injury).
  23. C Rob Schremp, 21: The injury came at an awful time for Schremp, it really did. It will definitely have short term impact on his NHL career and depending on how quickly guys like Cogliano and O’Marra develop it may have long term impact. This isn’t Larry Walker stepping in a Mexican gopher hole tragic because Schremp isn’t that good a player, but for those who have been waiting to see the second coming of Comrie it’s a tough blow. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 4% (miracle recovery).
  24. LW Slava Trukhno, 20: I can hardly wait to see this guy play. He got into two pre-season games a year ago, and impressed speeds at the Golden Bears game. Trukhno would have to shoot lights out in camp this year to make it, but his wide range of skills married to team need and his gritty play married to the coach making the decisions gives him at least a slight chance. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 5%.
  25. LW JF Jacques, 22: It kills me because I really like this kid’s future, but it’s extremely unlikely he makes the big club out of camp. Reasons include he won a job at the end of the roster last season and stagnated (Oilers will probably think it will be better to have him dominate in the AHL and then insert him right into the lineup) and a solid depth chart ahead of him in the NHL. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 9%.
  26. C Andrew Cogliano, 20: Of all the first year pro’s, Cogliano has the best shot imo to make the team out of camp. The two things that will hurt his chances are that he wouldn’t play enough in EDM at the start (the Boyd Devereaux syndrome) and that the Oilers are pretty deep at center. Little doubt we’ll read some articles that have MacT singing his praises and I bet he plays some for the big team in 07-08. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 10%.
  27. C Jonas Almtorp, 23: He’s the Euro Thoresen for this camp I’d say. He impressed everyone a year ago and had a solid year in the SEL. Almtorp’s big advantage over a lot of these guys is that he’s a little older and having him sit 40 games as the 14F isn’t going to hurt his development like it would with, say, Cogliano. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 15%.
  28. D Tom Gilbert, 24- His scoring rate in the AHL (49gp, 4-26-30) and his NHL time (12gp, 1-5-6, minus 1) added to his age suggests it’s go time for Gilbert. A “perfect storm” offseason for the Oilers appears to have robbed him of his first real NHL shot, but if he has a strong camp I can see EDM making room early by either going with 8 defenders or dealing someone away. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 50%.
  29. C Kyle Brodziak, 23: I think he has an excellent chance to be an end of the roster player out of camp for the Oilers. If not, he can continue to build a strong resume at the minor league level. More and more, Kyle Brodziak looks like this decade’s Rem Murray. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 60%.
  30. RW Zack Stortini, 22 in Sept: Pretty much all his arrows are pointing in the right direction. Coach likes him, his skill development won’t be hurt by long stretches in the pressbox and he’s already played in 29 NHL games. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 90%.
  31. D Denis Grebeshkov, 23: Physical player who can move the puck, he has a nice range of skills and has to be considered an important acquisition since all of the guys like this Edmonton picks up seem to be players (from Staios to Hejda). Because of the recent pickups on D it’ll be tougher for him to make the grade, but because he’s an actual defenseman (and he has a one-way deal) things look good for him. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 95%.
  32. LW Robert Nilsson, 22: He looks to be the guy who will get first shot at the 2line minutes this fall, but it isn’t going to be easy. Because the Oilers have so many options (including don’t forget veteran Fernando Pisani who played extremely well with Stoll and Torres) the results will need to be immediate and impressive. I like Cogliano’s future with the Oilers way more than Nilsson’s, but the time is now (or never) for Kenta’s kid. Chances of making the Oilers this fall: 100%.

I’ll update this list as we roll along, deleting those who are cut/traded and added the training camp invites. Two favors: I’d love your input, this stuff is fun to debate, and secondly if I missed anyone let me know.

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34 Responses to "Riesen to Believe"

  1. SweatyO says:

    Honestly, I’d put down Gagner as a 5% shot to make the team.

    Let’s say he comes to camp, gets some minutes with a skill guy on his wing in a few preseason games (Hemsky), and tears it up.

    Maybe he gets the shot out of camp to play center for Penner and Hemsky against the soft parade and they take a look at what they have here? Allows them to perhaps move Pouliot (temporarily) over to RW and play with Torres and Stoll on the 2nd toughest minutes line, all while rolling out a fourth line with Nilsson/Sanderson on LW
    with Reasoner-Thoresen.

    Fact: if you make the Canadian Junior Team for the U-20 tournament prior to being drafted by an NHL club, no matter WHAT draft year it is, you are a special player. It’s not easy to do.

    So yeah, Gagner is my darkhorse pick to make the club. 2nd pick would be O’Marra, but I suspect he plays a full year in Springfield and is here as the 4C next year when they let Reasoner go as a UFA next July (sorry Loxy…)

  2. doritogrande says:

    Not that they’re going to do anything this year, but since you mentioned Gagner, maybe Plante, Nash, Kyntar, Omark and the 7th round Swede deserve a couple remakrs also. They’re prospects too.

    Given MacT’s tendancies to juggle lines, I forsee Nilsson platooning with Sanderson as the second line winger for this coming season. Nilsson’ll definitely get his shot in the show this year. Let’s pray one of our prospects finally shows some offensive input for a change because I think Hemsky’s getting kind of lonely on the PP.

  3. Lowetide says:

    sweatyo: I can’t see Gagner making the team. They’re not a great club imo, but they’re better than the bunch who gather in EDM fall 1993 when Arnott arrived.

    dorito: Plante’s really raw, Nash is off to college so he won’t be in camp, and although Kytnar is a player I like he won’t be 20 until May 2009 and I don’t know that much about the 20year old (Omark).

  4. SweatyO says:

    sweatyo: I can’t see Gagner making the team. They’re not a great club imo, but they’re better than the bunch who gather in EDM fall 1993 when Arnott arrived.

    Precisely why I say 5% chance. He’d have to knock their socks off to make it out of camp, and it might only be for a 9-game “audition” a la Wojtek Wolski in 2005-06 for the Avalanche.

    More realistically, I think it’s a camp to set him up to potentially make the team next year as a 19 year old, a la Ales Hemsky.

    I don’t think there will be many surprises at this training camp:

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    Torres Stoll Nilsson
    Moreau Pouliot Pisani
    Sanderson Reasoner Thoresen
    EXT: Jacques, Stortini

    Pitkanen Staios
    Souray Smid
    Tarnstrom Greene
    EXT: Grebeshkov


    That’s how the roster likely shakes down if the season started today. My beef is that they’re thin on RW and heavy on defensemen (Gilbert is NHL ready, IMO, and essentially is getting screwed by Grebeshkov’s one-way deal).

    So perhaps could a young d-man be dealt for an upgrade on RW? Thinkin’ aloud here, but do you think Garth Snow would be stupid enough to overpay for Smid to the tune of the NYI 2008 first-rounder AND Trent Hunter?

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    Nilsson/Sanderson Stoll Hunter
    Torres Pouliot Pisani
    Moreau Reasoner Thoresen/Jacques

    Pitkanen Staios
    Souray Tarnstrom
    Greene Gilbert/Grebeshkov


    Just throwin’ it out there….Smid’s got a LOT of value right now and if Lowe is truly looking for another significant-yet-affordable piece of the puzzle, maybe he’s the blue chip that goes the other way?

    And before anyone says they’d rather trade Greene or Gilbert….they will NOT fetch you what Smid might get in return via trade. Not even close.

  5. Nelson88 says:


    i think your lines to begin the season are pretty much spot on. however; i agree with LT and don’t see JFJ starting the season with the big club. as with almost all power forwards he needs time to develp his skills and confidence and PB time is not going to give him that.

    i would not surprised to see them carry 8 D and only one forward (stortini or brodziak). either that or Roy gets dealt before the season starts. too bad imo as he is a player and they won’t get full value but i think it is very unlikely he passes waivers. montreal just resigned their past castoff. what’s the chance they don’t grab a guy off waivers who was an all star on their farm team and can clearly contribute at some level in the nhl?

    also, just MO but if lowe trades smid for hunter and NYI’s 1st rounder i will be the first to call for his firing!

  6. SweatyO says:

    also, just MO but if lowe trades smid for hunter and NYI’s 1st rounder i will be the first to call for his firing!

    Even when you consider the fact the Islander 1st rounder could be a top-five pick and Hunter fits the bill as a RW who could play some tougher minutes (top-50 in the league by the Desjardins metric in 2006-07, IIRC)?

    I think they’d be pulling an interesting move if they could do that deal. It would be like Smid plus their 1st 2nd and 3rd rounders for Penner, Hunter and a better 1st rounder.

    I doubt it happens, of course, but if I was GM, that’s what I’d be demanding from the Isles if they wanted Smid. They DO need defensemen, that is for certain….

  7. Loxy says:

    I sure hope you were using ctrl-x when typing out “chances of making the Oilers: Zero”. :)

  8. IceDragoon says:


    As the year’s cobwebs clear, I’m spotting simple things I should have grasped earlier.

    Gilbert is a RD who held his own playing both sides for us last year. He isn’t exposed to waivers if sent down, right? Whereas Roy only played RD and wouldn’t get past waivers. Different skillset, of course.

    It’s not hard to tell the strengths of the guys running the show. We are bubbling over with young centres and defensemen. Something has to give.

  9. Steve says:

    Loxy: Crtl-X would be silly; he’d want one use of Ctrl-C combined with a whole lot of Ctrl-V. Get your keyboard shortcuts straight.

    LT: One guy who impressed me from the little I saw of last year’s camp was Mike Duco (although a quick Google search suggests that a lot of Kitchener’s young ladies aren’t crazy about him). Apparently he was undrafted, so I gather he was there last year on a random look-see, but I really thought he looked, to my extremely uneducated eye, like a guy who should have a solid pro, if not NHL, career at some point.

    What’s standard protocol on undrafted training camp invitees with no chance to make the team? What does the team hope to accomplish by extending invites? What are the odds the get invited back the next year?

  10. Lowetide says:

    steve: That’s a good question and I don’t know the answer. iirc Mathieu Roy was invited the fall BEFORE he was drafted by the Oilers, so that certainly worked out. Colton Yellow Horn was invited and then not drafted to that happens too.

    Probably the guys who are 20 or older are invited with an eye to making the AHL team and going from there, but honestly going back over the last half dozen training camp rosters there aren’t many surprises.

  11. Kyle says:

    MacT doesn’t seem to be impressed by name/pedigree alone, so it wouldn’t suprise me if there’s a guy on that list (or off) that we think has zero chance that will make the team.

  12. Aaron Paquette says:

    Is it wrong that I’ve seriously thought of making the drive up?

    “Well, honey, we’ve never BEEN up north, and we always wanted to go…”

    Is it false excitement to think we have at least a chance of forming a quality team this year?

  13. Nelson88 says:


    i can see where your coming from but…

    1. i think smid will be a very good nhl player for a number of years. he is already serviceable as well as cheap and young.

    2. trent hunter is ok but is he really an upgrade on somebody like pisani who could just as easily play that 2nd line slot? or even nillson for that matter (granted he is unproven but probably more offensive upside)? unless it is a BIG upgrade i think the oilers already have too much talent sitting around that needs to prove itself. until they demonstrate they can’t i don’t see much reason to bring in yet another player as a slight upgrade.

    3. i like the bold move on trying to get a first from a team with “high lottery potential” in a draft with a large number of big impact players. this might be the only reason i would consider it but a very large gamble. if it could be swung with someone other than a young player i view as a franchise building block (ie. smid) then i would be all over it.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    With 11F, 7D, 2G signed to one way contracts, unless anything changes at camp, there are 3 Forward spots open and that’s it (assuming the Oilers go with a 14F, 7D, 2G roster)

  15. Lowetide says:

    punjabioil: I think the D situation is in flux right now, don’t you?

    Souray, Pitkanen, Smid, Staios, Greene, Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov, Greene, Roy. Someone is leaving town.

  16. PDO says:


    And I think we can both agree that none of Souray, Tarnstrom, Staios, Grebeshkov or Pitkanen are going anywhere, being they all were either just acquired in the past few months, or in the case of Staios, just signed a huge extension.

    So.. Smid, Greene or Gilbert.

    Smid’s the one that makes sense to me.

  17. SweatyO says:


    Trust me, the MAIN reason I’d do that deal is to get the Isles first rounder this year. I think that’s a top-five pick for sure when you look at what they lost this summer. That organization is as messed up as the Coyotes are.

    Smid’s a damn good player and I like him a lot. I just think he’s an attractive asset to other teams at this point and COULD be moved in the right deal from an Oiler perspective due to the presence of Pitkanen and (to a lesser extent) the 3 G’s (Gilbert, Greene, Grebeshkov).

  18. Lowetide says:

    Smid is signed for two more years at under a million, so I don’t think he’s going anywhere. With Pitkanen and Stoll probably costing the better part of 8M next season and beyond, the Oilers will need his contract (and that’s not factoring in a big emergence by someone like Pouliot or Grebeshkov).

    The contract to move is Matt Greene imo. He’s making 1M or so over the next two seasons and he’s not that far from UFA. It would require Grebeshkov to step in a 5-6D but that’s not a huge stretch for him to cover Greene’s minutes and if he struggles in camp give the job to Roy.

    The problem is Greene doesn’t have a tremendous amount of value, but who the hell cares? He’s going to be 27 before you know it anyway, and the contracts given out to Souray and Penner mean penny pinching through the end of the decade and beyond.

    And I know about being patient with these big stay-at-home defenders, but when you’ve hitched your wagon to Souray and Staios, you want Pitkanen to be your future, you signed a puck mover in Tarnstrom to a one year ufa deal, and you have Smid who looks like a player then the options are limited. Plus you have Grebeshkov on a one way and Gilbert the first callup.

    Send Greene away, it’s the right thing to do. Otherwise it’s Tarnstrom and that doesn’t make much sense.

  19. Devin says:

    sweatyo – but why? Will the Isles 1st really yield a better player than Smid (and if so, wouldn’t it take years to reap the rewards?)

    I don’t see how Hunter is that much of a difference maker on a team that isn’t built to win now. Give Smid the next two seasons to hit his stride – it’s not like the team is going to win anything anyway, and Smid’s ceiling is much higher than Hunter’s.

    If you want a 40pt RW that plays tough minutes, just sign Mike Johnson for 2 years/2M per. Then trade them Greene and ANA 1 for their 1 (would they?).

    Yours is a pretty intriguing idea though, even if I don’t agree 100% with it :)

  20. PunjabiOil says:

    punjabioil: I think the D situation is in flux right now, don’t you?

    Souray, Pitkanen, Smid, Staios, Greene, Tarnstrom, Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Roy. Someone is leaving town.

    Honestly, I don’t think anyone from that list is going. I believe the Oilers will start the year with those 7 defencemen on one-way contracts.

    Gilbert and Roy get sent back to the AHL, called up in case of any injuries.

    I think a trade will only be made if the Oilers think that Gilbert is ready.

    Who goes? That’s an interesting question, and I just don’t have an answer to that.

    I don’t see the need to move either Greene/Smid at this point because of their ~1M contracts. The Oilers have already invested significant time in Greene, who started to perform better in the final 20 games last year. I like Smid to become a Toni Lydman clone down the road.

    Likewise, I’m anxious to see Grebeshkov, and whether he is a projected top 4 defenceman that Lowe and Prendergast have implied.

    Roy could be moved at some point. He’s dominating in the AHL and is a bottom pairing NHL defenceman. Precisely why the Oilers never sent him back down last year after calling him up, afraid to lose his rights.

  21. IceDragoon says:


    I understand your logic, and KLo has been singing Greene’s praises for everyone to hear since before he stepped onto NHL ice. (talk ‘em up nice and shiny)

    That said… replacing Greene with Grebeshkov leaves us with Staios as our only natural RD, and Souray as the only big body who will rock guys into next week.

    I don’t know… maybe they’d keep Roy and rotate Smid, Tarnstrom & Grebeshkov to the PB, or ice 7 D & 11 F.

    Until a move actually happens this is very confusing. Which tends to happen when a coveted player (Pitkanen) suddenly becomes available after filling holes.

    The price we fans pay.
    TC can’t come soon enough.

  22. SweatyO says:

    Yours is a pretty intriguing idea though, even if I don’t agree 100% with it :)

    The big thing for me, despite the fact that I like Smid, is that I think he could fetch us something very significant in return right now. The fact that we also have Pitkanen makes him a possibility to move under a few scenarios.

    Another one I thought of: if Pittsburgh wants a bookend for Ryan Whitney for the next 10 years and feels like they could afford to move one of Malkin/Staal right now to avoid possible heartaches with the budget later, why not call up and offer Horcoff and Smid in a package for Jordan Staal and see if they bite? Just to throw out one of a million possibilities.

    Even though I like both Smid and Horcoff, given the current circumstances (quantity of young defensemen and centers in the system, likely shift to a checking line philosophy, etc.) I think both those guys are vulnerable to being moved at this point IF the right deal came along.

  23. oilerdiehard says:

    Did we even re-sign Roy yet or will we?

    I am very interested to see what Grebs can do. My interest was even further peaked with the run down the guy from Russian prospects guy did with the top RSL players ready for the NHL. He mentioned Grebs this past year has taken a liking to shot blocking. I wonder if we have Igor, his partner over there to thank for that?

    It will be interesting if they do trade a D to see who it will be. As ID mentioned above the Oil brass love Greene and Huddy glows about him when quoted.

  24. Scarlett says:

    I agree, Greene has to be the one to go. Hell, I’ve been saying that for a year. Especially now that he’s really not needed since we’re overloaded on the D. I want Gilbert in the line-up now. He’s ready.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Louise: Roy is a RD isn’t he? That makes Staios, Roy and Gilbert RD as well as Greene.

    Plus Souray or Pitkanen may have played the other side too.

  26. Barry says:

    Couldn’t disagree more Lowetide.

    The Oilers finally have defensive corp depth and now they have to start paring it down?

    Why? Isn’t it likely that someone is going to get hurt or play poorly? Staios style of play means he always seems to get hurt. Smid might need a month in the minors. Youneverknow.

    Getting rid of Greene saves a million bucks. Big deal. It also gets rid of the second leading hitter and shot blocker on the team. You are going to get rid of a guy who is going to be hitting his prime in favour of Dick Tarnstrom and his 1 year deal??

    If everything works out great with everyone else (Grebs fits in, Greene keeps developing, Gilbert kicks in the door, Pitkanen is not in the doghouse, no one is injured) Tarnstrom should be traded by Christmas. He was signed as short term insurance and that is how he should stay.

  27. Kyle Kosior says:

    I am also of the opinion that if a D goes, it will be Greene. I think his skill set would be attractive to a number of teams. I am not sure if we can get a huge return, but it may help relieve the mini-backlog.

  28. Dennis says:

    I think it comes down to Grebs or Greene. I’m not sure how much you can tell from camp but if Greene shows up and his footwork isn’t any better than it was last year, then I say sell before his value totally drops.

    He can’t make a first pass to save his life, in this regard he IS like Gator, so if he’s gonna be valuable, he has to be nearly immaculate when it comes to the other elements of a defenseman’s game. Sure, that takes time but there’s only so much icetime to go around as well.

    Granted, defensive dmen are in short supply on this club but there’s also the thing of dealing off a guy before he’s close to having the right to leave and also in terms of getting something before him before his value totally drops. We won’t be dealing off JP-24-Smid or Souray and I don’t think you’d get enough for Gilbert where it would be worth dealing him. That leaves Greene-Tarnstrom-Grebs and Tarnstrom and you’d have to think that one of them’s going somewhere before October

  29. Devin says:

    Tarnstrom is Greb/Gilbert insurance. One of them will step into his role next season for good.

    5 years of Souray should be Greene/Roy insurance. I’m still not convinced Greene is a better asset than Roy. Roy is younger, is better with the puck, bosses the AHL, and lacks only the NHL ice-time Greene was given in large doses (for some reason).

    Pitkanen and Smid are the long term LD plan for the 1 and 2 pairing I’d think.

    It doesn’t hurt us that much to bury Gilbert in the minors for another year — every other GM seems to manage to re-sign their unestablished RFAs for close to league minimum (Beauchemin, for eg., basically all the Pens forwards). Not sure why Lowe insists on giving the Matt Greenes of the world 1M+ when he could have stood firm on a 600K/3yrs offer.

  30. IceDragoon says:


    You’re the one who said, “The contract to move is Matt Greene imo. … It would require Grebeshkov to step in a 5-6D…

    I simply used your parameters. ;-p

    Actually, I almost said, “only natural RD with more than a few games of NHL experience”.

    And, I did opine about Roy (17 NHL games, not signed as per NHLPA) because he wouldn’t clear waivers. I like Gilbert (12 NHL games, concussed in 1) a lot, but he can be sent to the ‘A’ without worries of losing him to another team.

    I pretty much expect Souray to switch sides, for reasons previously stated. But I wouldn’t want to put Pitkanen on his backhand off the wall. Have you watched him much? This kid has great vision and a wicked outlet pass.

    That said… Huddy has way more up close and personal logic to draw from. He’ll line ‘em up for best results as he sees it.


    Speaking of Pitkanen… I decided to dig a little deeper at behindthenet.ca.

    Pitkanen’s Quality of Teammates:
    (% of TOI makes more sense to me)

    33.3% – Gagne
    29.4% – Zhitnik
    26.5% – Knuble
    25.4& – Kapanen

    Note that the only D in his top 4 linemates is Zhitnik, who only played 31 games in Philly. From the looks of his teammates top 4s, Hatcher was his #2 D-partner, with a veritable dog’s breakfast after.

    And, at a glance, his top 4 are lower percentages than most. Meaning, he appears to have been spread around and it’s tough to develop any consistency like that.

    For some perspective I looked south…

    69.2% – Hamrlik
    32.8% – Langkow
    32.2% – Iginla
    32.2% – Tanguay

    Regehr also spent approximately the same percentage of his TOI with Iginla, Langkow & Tanguay.

    Quality of Opposition:

    103 – Zhitnik – 31 games
    272 – Picard – 62
    291 – Pitkanen – 77
    317 – Hatcher – 82
    392 – Rathje – 18
    404 – Gauthier – 43
    415 – Jonsson – 8
    547 – Jones – 66
    618 – Meyer – 25

    Pitkanen was an interesting #3, given the number of games #1 played and the cluster from #2 – #4, don’t you think?

    Compared to…

    102 – Regehr – 78
    145 – Stuart – 27
    187 – Warrener – 62
    359 – Phaneuf – 79
    373 – Hamrlik – 75
    389 – Ferrence – 5
    544 – Zyuzin – 49
    597 – Giordano – 48


    Sorry for the OT.


  31. Bank Shot says:

    Like Devin I don’t see the need to start trimming the fat on the backend, especially when over half of the Oilers depth consists of maybes and ifs.

    It’s almost a sure bet that Gilbert and Roy will be given a chance to stick with the team when injuries come a knockin’ anyways.

    If the Oilers are hopelessly out of the playoffs by mid-season they can also waiver/trade away Tarnstrom who will probably prove to be a poor signing anyhow.

  32. uni says:

    I really feel for Gilbert, he’s a guy that deserves a shot for sure.

  33. speeds says:

    I don’t know what the percentage chance of Gagner making the team might be, but I have to guess that it is something higher than 0.

    A large portion of this training camp projecting is clearly unknowable to us, not only how the players have improved over the course of the year, but also the training over the summer, etc.

    Certainly the fact that Gagner would have to CLEARLY outplay the likes of Cogliano makes it harder for him. But what if he’s been training like crazy, has added 10 lbs of muscle and improved his strength, fitness and skating?

    Maybe you give him a bit of ice time in 2 preseason games, and he performs so well you think “Well, we’ve got 9 games to look at him, let’s see if he’s ready.”

    You get through the 9 games and he’s got 6 points, not at all looking out of place, contributing. The team is 6-3. Then what?

  34. Master Lok says:

    Pitkanen – Souray
    Smid – Souray
    Greene – Tarnstrom

    I don’t see any need to move a defenseman. I agree with LT, with Smid’s contract – there is no need to trade him whatsoever. I think Tarnstrom may be the one moved closer to the deadline if the Oilers fail to miss the playoffs and then Gilbert simply gets promoted for next season.

    Unless Grebeshkov bombs.

    I hope Lowe has learned that its better to have too many dmen than too few.

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