Clearance

Rob Schremp had his best game of the pre-season last night in Hades. Craig MacTavish: “Rob Schremp had his best game.”

The problem is that Schremp had his best game in a tilt where Andrew Cogliano recovered from a poor 1st period (two costly minors) to have an impact game. He scored two goals (including the winner in OT) and played a solid all around game.

On the road. In Calgary.

I really felt entering this training camp that there was little clearance from one forward prospect to the other and that would mean things like luck and injury (and bias) would have a huge impact on which players made the roster.

As it turns out, there has been luck (Pisani’s injury coincided with a huge camp for Brodziak), injury (Schremp has certainly been affected his chances, probably O’Marra too) and Brodziak’s emergence could probably be placed under bias (he has a wider range of skills and thinks the game well, two MacT preferences).

However, what this camp has really been about is a select few young men rising above the rest and making a statement of readiness. Let’s take a look at team scoring as of this morning:

  1. Andrew Cogliano 3gp, 3-2-5
  2. Shawn Horcoff 2gp, 2-2-4
  3. Kyle Brodziak 3gp, 2-2-4
  4. Marty Reasoner 1gp, 0-3-3
  5. Raffi Torres 2gp, 0-3-3
  6. Slava Trukhno 2gp, 1-2-3
  7. Ales Hemsky 2gp, 1-1-2
  8. Denis Grebeshkov 3gp, 1-1-2
  9. Robert Nilsson 2gp, 0-2-2
  10. Ethan Moreau 2gp, 1-1-2
  11. Geoff Sanderson 2gp, 0-2-2
  12. Sam Gagner 2gp, 1-0-1

Here are the shots leaders:

  1. Andrew Cogliano 9
  2. Jarrett Stoll 8
  3. Marc Pouliot 7
  4. Raffi Torres 6
  5. Robert Nilsson 5
  6. Joni Pitkanen 4
  7. Kyle Brodziak 4
  8. Zack Stortini 4
  9. Shawn Horcoff 4
  10. Sam Gagner 3
  11. Ales Hemsky 3
  12. Sheldon Souray 3
  13. Geoff Sanderson 3

Where these kids are going to probably have trouble is EV outscoring (better patent that phrase, Dennis). They’re kids, after all. So, if tradition holds, some of these guys might be a bit exposed with the workload at EV:

  1. Denis Grebeshkov 4
  2. Robert Nilsson 2
  3. Shawn Horcoff 2
  4. Dick Tarnstrom 2
  5. Andrew Cogliano 1
  6. Marc Pouliot 1
  7. Raffi Torres 1
  8. Zack Stortini 1
  9. Ales Hemsky 1
  10. Slava Trukhno 1
  11. Dan Syvret 1
  12. JF Jacques 1
  13. Rob Schremp 1
  14. Dustin Penner 1
  15. Fredrik Johansson 1
  16. Troy Bodie 1

Among the rest of the prospects

  • Sam Gagner E
  • Jonas Almtorp E
  • Ryan O’Marra E
  • Patrick Thoresen E
  • Kyle Brodziak -3

At a guess, I’d say Brodziak had the most difficult minutes and he is one of two forwards in the red (Geoff Sanderson, -2).

Reading the tea leaves this morning, Robert Nilsson, Kyle Brodziak and Andrew Cogliano appear to have some clearance. Coach MacT’s comments about not being satisfied with the status quo appear to be affecting several jobs, including Shawn Horcoff’s position at number 1 C, Marc Pouliot’s status as a top 12 forward and Sam Gagner’s return to junior. The pre-season isn’t over yet, but the forwards who have clearance are writing a very interesting story.

It’s one thing to start training camp with the phrase “youth shall be served.” It’s quite another to go to battle with them. It appears that Craig MacTavish really does want to coach Harvey’s Wallbangers.

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30 Responses to "Clearance"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Its been a really interesting camp LT – usually (and this is true in most sports I think) camp is about who is going to win those bottom of the roster spots.

    To see this – a guy winning 2nd line RW (Nilsson), rookies competing for top 9 minutes at centre (maybe playing a lot of those with Hemsky and Penner) and Brodziak also making a strong case for top 9 minutes – is amazing. When they started camp and proclaimed that nobody’s job was safe my attitude was “yeah, whatever” but it appears they are staying true to their word. Good for them, I say. And good for so many kids for taking the challenge and running with it.

    Now, the one question is, with Greene’s struggles, why is he not being passed as well? Or is he?

  2. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: In regard to Greene, I think he’s not getting passed yet, but there will be no FREE pass. The Oilers blueline is exposed so badly they can’t afford to have both Smid and Greene struggling amongst the top 6.

    If we make a “chaos D” depth chart, I think we can agree that Souray, Grebeshkov and a little bit Tarnstrom can be included in that group.

    Added to that we have the short “wide range of skills” group that includes only Pitkanen and Staios.

    Finally, we have Greene and Smid. With all that chaos, they need to be rocks on that blueline. And they aren’t, and they won’t be until they mature.

    I don’t think it’s a matter of Greene’s problems being passed over, it’s a matter of having no real alternative.

    Roy and Gilbert don’t have 300 NHL games either, and that is what this team needs.

  3. Dennis says:

    Lots of things to throw in here.

    - It’s something that’s been thrown about for awhile, albeit without any quotes attached, but when MacT spoke about Brodziak and said he indentifes with players who pay their dues in the NHL, he verbalized what a lot of us knew to be one of his ideals. Pisani’s injury made the opening bigger but Brodz was gonna sneak into the top 12 this season just as long as he showed up and put his work in. The MacT quote isn’t cold hard fodder for all the people who thought Rita was jobbed and except the “same” for Schremp but it was basically MacT laying down a big part of his doctrine.

    - So, when you read stuff like this from Cogs, “It was going pretty rough in the first period. I had a tough time, took two stupid penalties with my stick and one of the goals was completely my fault. But I think I responded well and that’s what they wanted. If I would have buried my head, put myself in a shell, I don’t think it would have been too good. But for the most part I think I showed up pretty strong in the second half of the game and that’s what he wants to see.”, then you know this is a MacT guy and a fellow who’s probably not gonna see a lot of time in the AHL. When a kid comes out and admits that a goal was his fault, but he also does that referencing a game where he pulled himself up from the bootstraps, and he did it against pretty much the Flames “A” team and in Calgary, then here’s a guy that’s just about got his ticket punched. I wrote him off early because he was hurt and I didn’t think he’d get a chance to show his wares but here he is now and I don’t know if MacT’s open to this, but maybe he gets the soft min role at pivot with PenSky.

    - It’s interesting that no one in the Edm papers can grasp the tough min/soft min idea and the proof of that is today they’re talking Horc playing as a third liner. Of course if Horc’s playing with 18-Brodz, they will be taking on all the tough min and you look at the EV TOI at night’s end and then tell me who the “#1″ centre is. Of course we know this and Horcoff also knows this even though he’s throwing a curveball by not admitting right off the bat that he seens MacT’s gameplan. Maybe it’s just Horc wanting a chance to show that he can carry the offensive load or maybe that in always looking ahead to your nextn contract, he knows there’s an extra Brinks truck that shows up when you’ve been playing with PenSky as opposed to MoreauZak;)

    - Speaking of Horc, I listened to the first period last night, then I watched Spinal Tap for the first time, seriously, but I kept the live audio open and listened in during commericals and it was cool to hear that JFJ got the bump to play alongsider Brodz-Horc and it sounded like he did a good job and was actually handling the puck a little.

    Overall, there’s no question this team’s gonna struggle at EV. Hey, I love the Pitkanen trade but gator hauled some serious mail for us last year and I doubt JP’s ready to work that route with such vigor and success. And up front we’re missing two bonafide tough min guys in 34 and 94 and as much as Nilsson is winning me over with the burdegoning chem between him and the 14-16 combo, he’s not a guy I’d trust at evens just yet. All I’m hanging onto at this point is there are lots of new guys to watch and learn their tendancies and I’m sure that will keep me going until the midway point.

  4. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Well, I scored some (free) tickets for the game last night, and was pumped to be able to see all the kids in action. I didn’t take a note pad or anything, but here are a few humble observations:

    - Thank JEBUS we still have Staios. He broke up a lot of Flames’ plays, and that pass to Cogs was absolutely brilliant.

    - Matt Greene. I keep reading about his ‘unique skill set’ of size and speed. I think someone needs to tell him he has speed, because he looked like the slowest player on the ice to me.

    - Robert Nilsson – Lots been said about him…I hope he isn’t just teasing us. Did not seem out of place next to Torres-Stoll. Made a few bad decisions with the puck, but after giving it away, he went and got it back.

    - Schremp – When there’s no one around him, he can dangle like crazy. Unfortunately, as soon as he hears footsteps, he gets rid of it in a hurry, usually a blind pass to no one. Made several bad plays with the buck, and did NOT go get it back…

    - Cogliano – If he added 15 pounds of muscle, he would be rediculous. As it is, he gets bumped off a lot, but seems to create ways to avoid getting bumped off. The first goal showed his speed and non-Marchant hands, the second goal – staying with it sliding on his knees through the crease – was Crosby-like to me. I’m not suggesting he’s in the same league as Crosby skill-wise, but that ability to stay with the puck while falling/sliding/being knocked on your ass is something you can’t teach.

    Finally, I’ve been to the BOA at both buildings, and I’m proud of the Oil fans in CGY, because they’re a lot louder than the CGY fans in EDM. The low point last night – standing in line for nachos behind three Oil fans with (and I shit you not) a Pronger jersey, a Smyth jersey, and a Salo jersey (maybe they were Flames fans… I dunno). The high point – walking down the concourse in the Saddledome after the game, hearing the “Let’s Go Oilers!” chant througout the arena, and seeing 15000 Flames fans with heads hung low. Yes, I know it’s preseason, and yes, I know it count’s for nothing… but facing a long and probably not very successful season… I’ll take what I can get!

  5. BrooklynOiler says:

    These exhibition games are starting to feel like episodes of American Idol – especially in regards to that potential “PenSky” slot (good one Dennis) -one night’s performance is having a tremendous amount of impact on rookie ranking, and who is garnering the most votes – no matter how great a singer you are technically, you’ve got to belt it out with confidence when the spotlight is on you, or you’re in danger of going home…

    Cogliano came through last night, hitting a few sour notes to begin his song, but finishing strong enough to get a standing ovation from the studio audience in the end, and with enough drama to leave Paula Abdul in tears…

    Schremp, in Randy’s words, would be “just aight, Dude”, “maybe your best performance so far”, but not enough to leave a lasting impression…

    You can always qualify the pre-season ( as Rangers’ coach Tom Renney did last night after the ultimate example of non-chemistry between Jagr and Gomez by saying “I don’t think any exhibition game should suggest whether we’ll be Stanley Cup champions…”), but in the case of these Oiler hopefuls, it’s do or die on any given night.

    At this stage of the game, I think it’s obvious the tangible results are where it’s at in regards to who is going to be on the opening night roster. In terms of “clearance”, I believe Schremp is out of the mix as of today, and is slated for Springfield.

    And I do think Dennis that MacT now has to be just as open to Cogs getting the 1C look as Gagner – in fact, I’d be willing to bet Gagner sticks for a 9 game look, but that soft minutes role ultimately goes to Cogs, with the “center switcheroo” plan MacT alluded to in full effect by game 20.

    Bearing in mind the extra game played, Cogs not only has the point totals on his side, but as LT pointed out, the shots total, which I think is a prerequisite strength for anyone paired with Hemmer.

    More and more, it’s the “chaos D” that seems to be begging for that “big trade” solution…. Anybody have a wish list for the rock we could feasibly obtain to solidify the back end? (Problem is right now, I don’t think Schremp’s stock is too high right now if you’re hoping he would be included in a package – wouldn’t it be fun if he turns out to be another Marc Savard, who certainly did his part to make the Rangers look bad for giving up on him so early…)

  6. Vic Ferrari says:

    Brooklyn’s American Idol comment rings true to me, funny stuff.

    Besides that, what Dennis said.

    I’ll add that I think MacTavish is mimicking Colorado in his head here. Except substitute as follows:

    Horcoff – Sakic
    Moreau – Brunette
    Brodziak – Wolski

    Cogliano – Stastny
    Penner – Smyth
    Hemsky – Hejduk

    And the Avs have (I think) Arnason, LaParriere and Svatos rounding out the top nine.

    Oilers with probably Stoll, Torres, Nilsson for that gig if we’re listing them this way.

    Colorado has a huge edge on D. Where the very effective top pairing of Skrastins and Clark gets bumped back onto the second level, the acquisition of Hannan and return of Leopold sending a ripple through the D corps. Liles on the bottom pairing Brian-Campbell-style.

    Oilers have a big edge in goal I think, I’m not sold on Budaj at all, for no particular reason.

    It will be fun to watch the kids get a kick at the cat. But when that wears off some time in December … it will be a pisser that they gave away their first round pick in this upcoming draft. And if the Oilers are within 8 points of the 8th seed at the trade deadline (the eight-eight rule) … I fear the worst. I mean there tomorrow for Kevin if the Oil don’t make the playoffs, even if the other necessary criterion is met (That being: Penner is put in a position to rack up gaudy counting numbers this season).

    Should be fun to follow anyways, not in a “watching the games” kind of way though. More in a “watching the Oilogosphere react” kind of way. :D

  7. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I’m gonna stick with that PenSky monicker as it appears that those wingers are to be joined at the hip in an effort to try and get the money’s worth from both in a “murder the soft min” approach.

    I’m not sure if the Oilers can or should keep both Cogs or Gagner. I know there are a few spots open with Pisani’s career being in question and what not but given that Brodz seemed earmarked for the tough min line and Nilsson seemingly carving a niche on the second line RW, it’s basically the soft min pivot that’s left open and whomever of the kids doesn’t win that job, they’d fall to the 4th line. The only scnario where both could play in the top nine is if Gagner won the big job and Cogs was sent down to the third line with 18-10 on a pure speed/tough min line. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, I suppose, but something tells me the Oilers would like to foster Cog’s offensive side and if that’s the case he’s better off going to SF and getting primo time in all situations. Of course with the way Brodz is playing, Cogs being on the checking line seems unlikely.

    As for the rest of the kids, I feel bad for Schremp, I really do. It seems like his second half of ’07 was much better than his first and from his comments in this year’s camp, he seems to have really grown up. But that injury has put him behind the eight-ball and Cogs and Gagner have impressed right off the bat and now Robbie’s an absolute luck for the AHL and I don’t know if he’s coming back, or at least as an Oiler with any staying power.

    Pouliot seemed to have a much better game last night and the Oilers once again seemed to use him on their primary PK tandem, so it appears they have some kind of plans for him.

    But if we started play today, then MP, Thor and Sanderson would all be battling for the two wings alongside 19 on the th 4th line.

  8. Lowetide says:

    I guess I don’t really believe it’ll wash out this way. Look, we’re talking about a rookie on the soft parade line, Nilsson on the Stoll line AND Brodziak on the heavy lifting line (with Horcoff and Moreau).

    That’s a lot of praying.

  9. Dennis says:

    Well, damn right it is but what are the alternatives? I know you’re a terrible optimist but are you sitting back and waiting for the vet forward to be acquired, just like we were gonna bring in a likewise D for the ’07 season?

    I say fuck it, let’s take the lumps and hopefully the kids are better for it in ’09.

    You know we aren’t making the playoffs anyway so the only risk with giving so many kids so many responsibilites is that maybe it hurts them down the line, ie your Markwart blurb from way back and Tim Connolly of recent years. Of course that’s a non-starter with Brodz given his age and A experience so if you aren’t worrying solely about on-ice results, and you shouldn’t be BTW, then you’re worried how the above approach affects the long term for Gagner and Cogs.

  10. BrooklynOiler says:

    Dennis,
    If they hang on to both Gagner and Cogliano to start the season, I don’t see both in the lineup on any given night, I think it’s more just a case of “extending the audition” (“This is one year when you wish you had an extra exhibition game, but you have the time you have,” said assistant coach Bill Moores.) up until Gagner gets sent to back to junior…
    So, given this scenario, the center switch options would stack up as:

    Combo A.
    1.Gagner/Cogliano
    2.Stoll
    3.Horcoff
    4.Reasoner

    or

    Combo B.
    1.Horcoff
    2.Stoll
    3.Reasoner
    4.Gagner/Cogliano

    I don’t think the coaches will have any problem with Cogs or Gagner in the press box to start the season as part of their learning curve – and then just remove Gagner from this equation as of game 10.

  11. BrooklynOiler says:

    And yes, LT, I think “not sticking with the status quo” IS translating to three rookies in the top 9… So, to quote from the original Mr.Bean movie (1997) – after he hotwires the imax ride – “Brace yourself.”

  12. Mr DeBakey says:

    “a rookie on the soft parade line, Nilsson on the Stoll line AND Brodziak on the heavy lifting line”

    I doubt all three play more minutes than Pouliot, mabe one.

    And Sanderson will play more than at least one of them.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: They can still play to the strengths of the coach. I’m not convinced either of Cogliano or Gagner could put up 60 points against the soft parade.

    Is it more likely that Shawn Horcoff scores 60 points with Pensky against tougher opposition than Cogliano or Gagner puts up that number with Pensky against the soft parade?

    I still think calmer heads prevail and they lineup on opening night like this:

    Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
    Stoll-Torres-Nilsson
    Reasoner-Moreau-Brodziak
    Cogliano-Thoresen-Pouliot

    Or something like that.

    If you are Kevin Lowe and looking at the final months of your GM career, do you really care if Dustin Penner’s signing looks good? Or do you want to win enough hockey games to save your ass?

    There’s still 2 new players in the top 9 in my group, plus Cogliano grabs the 4line.

    And yes, I think they made a trade.

  14. HBomb says:

    I guess we could be coming down to a question of Gagner vs. Cogliano for one roster spot.

    So what’s better from an overall perspective, long term?

    a) Gagner back in London and Cogliano playing here.

    OR

    b) Cogliano in Springfield and Gagner here.

    Option “b” is the way to go if it’s too close to call between 13 and 89 come final cutdown day, because Gagner isn’t going to learn much waltzing through another season in the OHL. Who cares if he’s a potential 25 year old UFA? Bottom line, he might end up being a better player in the long-term by playing a role in the NHL at age 18.

    Both are making a damn good case so far.

  15. Santa Merda says:

    Please please pleeeeeeeeease, let Gagner be ready.

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

  16. Black Dog says:

    I think its sink or swim with the kids really and if you’re going to rebuild, so it goes. Hopefully enough of them do well enough and the vets rebound to put together a season that keeps them out of bottom ten range.

    Chances of that – I guess we’ll see.

    As for what we will see to begin the season – well, you can bet that it may not even last a week. How long did Torres last with Hemsky and Sykora last year? With Thoresen and Pouliot and Sanderson all in the mix we know that if Brodziak fails or Nilsson or Cogliano or whomever then there is someone to step in.

    As for making a trade, well, there are a couple of problems. They are close to the cap. Who can they get who is a vet (likely costly) while moving out a high salary. Moving Horcoff to clear space is robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’d have to think that Lowe is not that foolish.

    They are a mess up front but there seems to be some hope. I still think they are a bigger mess on the back end and Greene’s struggles and Smid’s youth make me think that it may be a while before that mess is cleaned up.

    Down the road if Cogliano and Gagner look like they will pan out I think they will have to decide between Horcoff and Stoll and move one of them (likely Stoll) for the help they need on the back end.

  17. Black Dog says:

    I think unless Gagner blows everyone’s doors off the rest of the preseason they send him back to junior.

    I would say Dennis is correct in saying that Cogliano is earmarked for an offensive role, at least for now and if Gagner does get the nine game trial they might send him down to get big minutes Having him sitting in the PB or playing eight minutes a game makes no sense.

  18. Lowetide says:

    I’ll say this: if Cogliano or Gagner can run through the first 9 games on the Oilers schedule and emerge on the other side 4-4-8 with something other than a big minus then it’s all good.

    Oilers schedule to start the season is a bitch. Like a brick wall at the end of the runway.

  19. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    Unless their name is Crosby, kids will burn out in the intense grind of NHL play. It’s a good thing so many prospects are showing fairly well now, because it won’t be long till we’ll need some of the TC cuts to come up and replace the slumpers. gak! We really need some to be traded for experience.

    Guess I’ll plop this here. Not much I can comment on. Like most, I didn’t see them play.

    I think I got it right. If not… meh. The boxscore isn’t perfect. Also, I do not like that 4×4 time is included in EV time.

    … from last night’s game…

    Defense

    Staios – ev assist – 2 shots
    even
    TOI – 24:37
    EV – 13:02
    PP – 0:54
    PK – 10:41
    on ice for – evgf, evga, pkga

    Souray – 1 shot
    +2
    24:32
    16:01
    1:50
    6:41
    pkgf, 4x4gf, pkga
    Yikes… essentially the same as Pitkanen at evens. Roughing penalty late in the first created a 5×3 – Flames scored.

    Pitkanen – 4×4 assist/gwg – 1 shot
    even
    23:35
    16:02
    1:10
    6:35
    4x4gf, evga, pkga
    Interference penalty mid third.

    Greene
    +1
    19:32
    12:52
    0:41
    5:59
    pkgf, pkga
    Roughing penalty in OT.

    Tarnstrom – 1 shot
    +2
    18:25
    11:36
    0:12
    6:37
    2 evgf, pkga

    Grebeshkov – ev assist
    +3
    14:01
    11:54
    0:10
    1:57
    3 evgf, pkga

    Forwards

    Horcoff – pk goal – 2 shots
    even
    22:44
    14:15
    1:30
    6:59
    pkgf, evga, pkga
    Interference penalty early third.

    Stoll – ev goal – 4 shots
    +1
    19:48
    11:16
    1:25
    7:07
    evgf, pkga

    Brodziak – 1 shot
    -2
    18:46
    13:01
    0:07
    5:38
    2 evga
    Despite the -2, MacT said, “… he was outstanding again…”

    Nilsson – 2 assists/ev+pk – 3 shots
    +2
    17:11
    12:45
    1:31
    2:55
    evgf, pkgf

    Cogliano – 2 goals/ev+4×4/qwg – 4 shots
    +1
    16:21
    13:25 – second to Horc at evens
    0:43
    2:13
    evgf, 4x4gf, evga
    2 hooking penalties in the first. Flames scored on the first one (5×3) and 21 seconds after the second one. MacT’s comments after the game… (He was asked about the hooking penalties and Cog’s composure to not get down on himself.) “It’s a different standard than he’s used to… He’s a smart kid. He’s grasping a lot of the system stuff that we’re asking him to do, QUICKLY. (MacT’s EMPHASIS) And he’ll get up to speed quickly on this too… He’s got plenty of game to be confident in his own ability.” Go Cogs!!! Hmmm… He just might get another twirl with Hemsky.

    Schremp – 1 shot
    +1
    16:11
    11:49
    1:35
    2:47
    evgf

    Torres – 2 assists/ev+4×4/gwg – 4 shots
    +1
    14:28
    12:22
    1:33
    0:33
    evgf, 4x4gf, evga
    Goalie interference penalty early in the second. Served a ‘too many men’ penalty late in the second. Stepped back on the ice 3 seconds before the Flames scored.

    Pouliot – ev goal – 4 shots
    +1
    13:06
    8:52
    1:28
    2:46
    evgf
    Hooking penalty early in the first – Flames scored.

    Jacques
    +1
    12:37
    10:06
    0:02
    2:29
    evgf

    Bodie
    +1
    8:27
    8:25
    0:02
    0:00
    evgf
    Fighting major with Phaneuf mid second.

    Johansson
    +1
    7:14
    6:01
    0:57
    0:16
    evgf
    Tripping penalty mid first period.

    So…
    Horcoff gets the PenSky (thanx, Dennis) gig in Phoenix. I hope Gagner gets to play with some lesser lights.

    L8r
    Louise

  20. IceDragoon says:

    Thanx, claytonmagnet.

    Vic, sometimes I could just kiss you. :-D

    Dennis,

    I’m thinkin’ Schremp will suck-it-up just fine in the ‘A’. Your sympathy may be better served elsewhere. ;-D

    That’s a lot of praying.
    Yes, yes it is.

    No matter how we look at our team… we’ll need a lot of praying. So… maybe we should just get started? ;-D

    I mean it this time.
    :-)
    L8r
    Louise

  21. Asiaoil says:

    Well Cogs has clearly thrown an interesting curve into the situation – not unwelcome though. I had wanted to keep Gagner – but now with the other older kids doing well it may be prudent to ship him out for one more year. He’s still only barely 18 so dominating in the CHL and at the WJC could still be a challenge – depends if he chooses to work on getting better or just racking up candy points like Schremp.

    I’d be inclined to keep the older more reliable kids: Nilssen, Brodziak, MAP – and send Gagner back to junior and Schremp down to the AHL:

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    Torres Stoll Nilssen
    Moreau Reasoner Brodziak
    Sanderson MAP Cogliano

    You know if Pisani was not sick then the RW would actually be OK – bumping Brodziak down to the 4th line.

    One guy that needs to get his act together is Thoresen – he is so low event – good in a defensive sense but he seems to have zero offense to his game – plus he’s small and we can’t afford to have a small defensive guy around with so many small offensive players in the pipeline. I have a feeling he just may not ever create any real offense at his age (almost 24)

    Best option would be a trade(s) that brings in a solid vet for the 3rd line RW (dont like so much responsibility for Brodziak so early) and a stable right dman instead of Greene. But we all know the odds of anything happening before the trade deadline when the Oilers can try buy assets for 30 cents on the dollar :)

  22. Big T says:

    LT;

    I’m not sold that running a checking line, a soft line and a Stoll line is working against the coach’s strengths. MacT is a very proficient line matcher. In fact, matching lines was pretty much the case since he took over coaching back in 2000.

    This is very much the style of game that worked so well for the Ducks the last couple years and we all saw how important that checking line was for their cup run.

    If anything, Horcoff’s importance to this team is increased in this role, not decreased.

    T

  23. Big T says:

    To continue that thought,

    Horcoff, Moreau, Brodziak = Pahlson line.

    Stoll, Torres, Nillson = Getzlaf line.

    Pensky and the kid du jour = Selanne line.

    Now about the defense….

    T

  24. Vic Ferrari says:

    Yeah, MacTavish has run with a low scoring checking line for the majority of his tenure as a head coach. Even in recent years there are some teams (CGY and VAN) where he has run this route.

    For that matter, the majority of sub .500 teams run with checking lines, they don’t have the horses to do otherwise. The success of Anaheim and New Jersey last year gives the fans of lower echelon teams hope, or it does to the handful who notice.

    In the case of the Oilers, it’s a shuffling of the deckchairs, it won’t make much difference either way to team results, just to player results.

  25. namflashback says:

    On Saturday night versus Calgary, he was occasionally letting kids out against Iginla-Langkow. OT he started Nillson-Cogliano as the first forward pair.

    The Oilers were EV GD +3 (counting the 4×4 OT goal). Calgary with Special Teams GD +2. Their EV goal was just after a PP as a matter of fact.

    Not at all what one would predict for the BoA given the lineups.

  26. Dennis says:

    LT, your lineup doesn’t include Sanderson, which is cool with me, but I don’t see the Oilers not playing him. I wish they’d just buy him our or McGillis him, ie send him to the minors.

    The thing about not having money to change some thigns up, aren’t we gonna be saving some money with 34 being on the IR?

    How exactly does this work? And, yes, I’m thinking about Mike Johnson again. Then again, I never stopped;)

    Finally, I’ve got no problems playing the kids as long as it doesn’t affect them longterm. It’s probably a better idea to keep Cogs around then say Gagner because of age but if the Oilers figure that the kid won’t be hampered by playing in a league that he CAN’T tear up, then fuck it, let’s play the guy. It’s a rebuild year anyway so today’s missteps might well be tomorrow’s sprints.

    Nice to hear that Grebs finally had a “wow” game, as well

  27. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Yeah, I forgot Sanderson. Watching him at the JMC and in early tc (I was at the FRI scrimmages leading into Joey Moss weekend) he’s still got the speed but the hands appear gone.

    I’m going to go WED night to the Flames game and am hoping they dress a bunch of the kids that night.

    I think we could have a terrific “bet thread” where we all post our opening night rosters. I’m just trying to think of a prize.

    Suggestions? Anyone?

  28. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Season Tickets?

  29. Lord Bob says:

    LT, your lineup doesn’t include Sanderson, which is cool with me, but I don’t see the Oilers not playing him. I wish they’d just buy him our or McGillis him, ie send him to the minors.

    Yes, our desperate surplus of veteran forwards is reaching epic levels. Thank God Pisani got hurt, or we’d have really had too much depth.

    To put it another way, Sanderson is important to this team in at least a veteran 13th-forward role. To send him to the minors would be useful only insomuch as it frees up cap space, and that’s not exactly a desperate need of ours right now.

  30. Dennis says:

    Good points, Bob. I’d just make sure that we couldn’t use that capspace somewhere else before I paid him that much to eat popcorn. Sanderson isn’t gonna get any better and he won’t really help us win so I don’t want him taking playing time away from a Thor or Pouliot.

    That’s my worry

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