One that I read the morning of the 10th and just remembered today was “I think now we need either one more forward or we need one of our younger guys to develop, whether it’s (Andrew) Cogliano, whether it’s Robert Nilsson, whether it’s Robbie Schremp. It’s too early to put (Sam) Gagner in that list.”
It reminded me of a similar quote from October 2004: “We need, as an organization, an offensive player to step forward and become a star. We’re really hoping we have a number of players who have that capability. It’s still early yet for Ales Hemsky. It could be Raffi Torres. Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron has some pretty dynamic offensive skills. Defenseman Eric Brewer is a guy we need to step forward defensively to be an Adam Foote or Scott Stevens type of player. Those are lofty goals but you have to have that type of presence.”
Fall 2004 Hemsky had 130 NHL games under his belt, Raffi 111, Bergeron 59 but he was 24 that year. All played during the lockout year, with Hemsky especially having a big season in the Czech Republic (he had a huge playoff for Pardubice with Milan Hejduk, Petr Sykora and Jiri Dopita).
MacT mentioned Nilsson, Cogliano and Schremp as options. Schremp has been injured (both spring and summer) plus has 1 game NHL experience. This will be Cogliano’s first camp and he’d have to be considered something of a long shot to make it.
That leaves Nilsson. He has 57 games NHL experience and would have to be considered the odds on favorite to win that job (be it 2line or 4line). Positives include lots of minor league experience and having played a full NHL season. Negatives? He does not have the reputation of being a responsible player after the puck turns over.
A few days ago it seemed obvious to me that Nilsson would make this team no matter what else happened in camp. However, if that were so, why did MacT include the names of Schremp and Cogliano? I think maybe 100% was a little optimistic.