Hypnotic Trance

“We do like we always do and we get in a hypnotic trance and look at the lineup board and hope the answers just jump off. They very seldom do.” -Craig MacTavish

Two very important things to remember right now, as the Oilers get ready for their final cuts this weekend.

1. Going by MacT’s history, the guys who stay may not be the ones who end up playing the most minutes for his team. In his first season as coach, both Mike Comrie and Shawn Horcoff were passed over for the likes of Brian Swanson and Michel Riesen, but by mid-season they were in the lineup.

2. Based on “earned” roster spots, you’d have to think that Tom Gilbert and Sam Gagner will be on the big club, and that Mathieu Roy and Marc Pouliot will be sent out. I suspect one of those will happen, but not the other.

Finally, trades. The Oilers could easily do a three-for-one right now and pick up either an established stay-at-home D (from the Don Awrey collection) or perhaps even more important now a quality, veteran right winger to soak up some Pisani minutes.

Interesting weekend ahead. My guess for opening night roster:

G-Roloson, Garon
D-Pitkanen, Staios, Souray, Greene, Grebeshkov, Smid, Tarnstrom, Roy
C-Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner, Cogliano
L-Penner, Torres, Moreau, Sanderson, Thoresen
R-Hemsky, Nilsson, Brodziak, Stortini

Rookies in bold.

Here is a list of minutes played under Craig MacTavish by rookie forwards since 2000:

  1. Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
  2. Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
  3. Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
  4. Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
  5. Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12
  6. Dom Pittis (00-01) 506:13
  7. Brad Winchester (06-07) 476:18
  8. Mike Comrie (00-01) 466:54
  9. Shawn Horcoff (00-01) 452:12
  10. Fernando Pisani (02-03) 375:18
  11. Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 292:44
  12. Zach Stortini (06-07) 207:27
  13. Brian Swanson (00-01) 174:38
  14. Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18
  15. Tony Salmlelainen (03-04) 125:27
  16. Michel Riesen (00-01) 118:53
  17. Jani Rita (02-03) 114:26
  18. Kyle Brodziak (05-06) 110:20

Based on Cogliano’s tc showing, I think he might just shoot to number one by year’s end. It’ll be interesting to see just how long Brodziak can hold that position on RW. MacT’s recent comments on the Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky line doing some heavy lifting (as covered by Vic at IOF) may ease the difficulty of Brodziak’s position.

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15 Responses to "Hypnotic Trance"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Good post LT – interesting how much stock we put in this opening day roster when history tells us that guys who make the team (Jacques and Mikhnov) may end up barely playing despite their TC success.

    I would guess that we may see a similar situation this season with Tom Gilbert. If they go with eight D the only reason is to not try and pass Roy through waivers, imo, unless they want to reward Gilbert with a week or two with the big club and then send him down. I think seven D is a better choice myself but MacT has said they will go with eight. If they do then there are a lot of forwards getting sent out – Jacques, Pouliot and Gagner among them.

    Gagner stays if they go with seven D. If it were not for Cogliano I would say he were going to make it but I think they send him down.

    Jacques may beat out Stortini and Thoresen or Sanderson can play RW.

    I think I see the roster the same as you though LT. If they go with 7D then Gagner instead of Roy but no other differences here.

    As for a trade, well we have been waiting for Lowe to make a 3 for 1 since June and I don’t think its going to happen now. Too close to the cap to get anyone with a decent size ticket and even a lower priced guy means moving a couple of guys off the roster. Maybe Greene with Sanderson thrown in as a salary dump?

  2. Pat says:

    excellent post, LT. Opening night roster looks pretty realistic to me, though I’d personally like to see Gagner make it Like you said in point 2, while Roy and Pouliot have not really earned spots over Gilbert and Gagner, it’s unlikely that both Gilbert AND Gagner will win spots over the other two. We can hope though – maybe it will help if we pray in some kind of hypnotic trance.

  3. NBOilerFan says:

    I think you nailed the opening night roster and I really like the looks of it, all except that Gilbert is not there, but I understand the situation around Roy.

    I can’t imagine him being worth much, low pick maybe, but then I could also see a few teams (maybe Howson) taking a chance on him off waivers. So what do you do?

    But Lowe has to make his mind up soon and find some kind of package that includes a d-man or waive Roy, because I trully believe that Gilbert could be a contibuter on this team. I’m a huge supporter of him since watching his play last season and I would hate to see Lowe deal him (though is value would be significantly moreso then Roy).

    I’m another that would love to see Gagner see at least a handful of games, but just don’t see it happening. I think MacT and company have enough “projects” to deal with as it is. And I think this forward lineup looks very decent.

    There is always the possiblility that as coaching staff look at that board in a trance, that Gagners name jumps out so much that Lowe pulls off a trade before next Thursday making room for Gagner. But I think that is just my mind working in a hypnotic trance.

  4. Geordan says:

    Whatever happens with Roy and Gilbert I hope to God they’re treated well. With Tarnstrom and Grebs on one-year stop-gap deals, the former pair are very important to us in 08/09 and beyond…

  5. Dennis says:

    Kevin “Lucy” Lowe is once again holding the ball while L “Charlie Brown” T is running towards it and he’s thinking, “Dammit, this time it’s really going to happen. Lowe’s really gonna make a three-for-one trade.”

    And of course we all know how that turns out.

    After years of talking about all the depth accrued and how it would lead to a quanity-for-quality deal in reverse, Lowe pulled it off ONCE, albeit it was a dandy re: Pronger, and that seems to have sated the masses, even a smart fan like LT.

    To paraphrase Pitino, Marian Hossa isn’t coming through that door, though I guess it’s a “possibility” if the Thrash can’t sign him and the Oilers know that Pisani’s gone for the whole season and thus a little bit more cash is available to them and Atl takes back Sanderson right off the bat. Wade Redden isn’t coming through that door either, though I guess once again it’s a “possibility” if the Heatley talks are successful and the Sens realize there’s not enough money for everyone. Even in that situation, though, if I’m Murray, I’m taking one last run at it and if that means Redden walks next summer, than at least he might leave you with some Cup memories.

    Note: is anyone else getting a huge kick out of the new Mr. Optimism, Brian Burke? He’s got Bertuzzi replacing Selanne and Penner and his Neidermayer replacement is hurt already and Jggy’s on the limp. But to hear Burke tell it, the guy’s just happy to be alive!! Of course we all know that over/under for Burke’s excuse-making is about two days after the Ducks lose in the first round of the playoffs.

    In any case, I can’t wait until the season begins and it looks like we’ve got some kids that can play but we’re still a couple of years away from real joy.

    Credit Kevin Lowe for that one and never forget that he’s got a shaky hand when it comes to holding the pigskin.

  6. Black Dog says:

    No cap room for a Hossa or a Redden anyway. Not unless you’ve got Sanderson, Tarnstrom and someone else (Greene? Moreau?) going the other way. And then you have to add the salary for those replacements.

    I think we’re going into the season just like this and that is fine with me – seeing as we’re rebuilding do it right. Fernando Pisani or Jason Smith aren’t going to make this a playoff team, why give up two or three kids for a replacement for either guy.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I wouldn’t frame the issue quite that way, but am feeling a little like there’s some hope for this roster. Can’t see them in a playoff spot, in fact they’d need good luck to finish 4th in the division but some of the things I’ve seen in camp (Smid, Cogliano, Gagner) were completely unexpected.

    Plus, Hemsky is on another level.

  8. Bank Shot says:

    So Gagner goes back to junior after the end of preseason, yes?

    I mean he’s played well, but he’s got one goal in 4 games and it was a real stinker off of a broken play.

    He’s a real smart player and could probably play anywhere, but I think he’s much better suited for top two line duty and he just hasn’t seemed to force anyone out of a spot there.

    Gilbert should be on the team, but odds are that Lowe won’t be able to sleep at night if he loses an asset for nothing so Roy will probably be on the roster. Send him down already. He probably won’t be claimed and it likely won’t hurt the Oilers in the long run if he is.

  9. Jonathan says:

    The suggestion was made in the comments a few days ago that MacT might be talking up guys in an effort to boost their trade value. As I recall, LT suggested that the most likely candidate for that treatment was Brodziak, but, since than, we’ve had a big PR push on Matt Greene. Everybody in the organization talks like Matt Greene is ready to turn into a physical, top-4 defender this season, which simply doesn’t seem to be the case. With any luck, they’re talking him up to move him, although I suppose I could be dreaming in technicolour.

  10. Rube Foster says:

    Anyone who’s holding their breath about Lowe making some kind of deal to address the veteran winger and stay at home d-man issues this team would seemingly need to address, will likely be in state of asphyxiation before long.

    A quick history lesson.

    The year before the lock out the Oil went into camp and started the season with a desperate need for a big first line center. If you recall we went till the trade deadline muddling through the season with this obvious hole in our line-up when miraculously Petr Nedved showed up and filled that role shockingly well. Alas, we lost to Vancouver on the last day of the season and fell short of the playoffs. I’m convinced that had we one more month of Nedved playing like it was 1998 we would’ve made the playoffs that year.

    Jump ahead over the lock-out and to the miracle cup run year and you’ll recall we struggled in camp through to the trade deadline with out a true number one net minder. That is until the trade deadline – Que the Rolli renaissance.

    Last year, it was obvious that the team’s model for success was built around one stud d-man who could play 25 minutes a night and be an anchor. We all know how that situation turned out. We brought home the wrong local kid, it was Boumeister the 2006 -2007 Oilers were built for, obviously not Lupol. Remember that talk about 300 goals in last years preseason?

    History lesson conclusion – Lowe has consistently NOT been very proactive or effective about addressing the holes his team has coming out of training camp until the trade deadline if at all.

    If you’re waiting for a blockbuster to happen out of the gate you’re kidding yourselves.
    With that said I will continue to kid myself that Cogliano IS the second coming of Butch Goring (nice one LT) until he proves otherwise.

    I do agree that the line-up out of camp will bare little resemblance to the squad at year end – don’t write Puliot and Schremp off just yet. I’m also starting to consider that Garon could be for real and as such might make Rolli trade deadline bait for the continued rebuild.

    Hey, here’s one. . If they’re talking about keeping 8 d-men they obviously have concerns about Roy clearing the waiver wire. I kind agree with them, why risk loosing Roy through waivers for nothing? Do your think St. Louis would take Roy and a prospect for Woywitka?

  11. HBomb says:

    You look at the Pitkanen and Souray adds, the fact that Mathieu Roy could be a good number 7 defenseman, and that Gilbert appears to be ready for 3rd pairing duty at the NHL level (Gilbert/Greene behind Pitkanen/Staios and Souray/Smid would be decent), and you have to ask yourself this:

    Why the hell sign Tarnstrom and Grebeshkov in the first place? The 3 million towards those two could have been nicely used on, oh, Petr Sykora for the 2RW spot.

    Then again, I’m the guy who would have retained Smyth and taken a hard run at Hannan and not Souray…..damn I like the looks of the Avs this year. We might be on the verge of seeing Colorado/Detroit battling in the west final again over the next couple seasons…..assuming the goaltending holds up.

  12. godot10 says:

    //Why the hell sign Tarnstrom and Grebeshkov in the first place? The 3 million towards those two could have been nicely used on, oh, Petr Sykora for the 2RW spot.//

    Because they didn’t have Pitkanen, nor Souray at that point. You sign who can when you can.

  13. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Dennis – A few weeks ago, Peter Maher (HOF broadcaster for the Flames) said, live on the radio, that he knew for a fact that the Senators had a deal done in the offseason that had Redden going to EDM, but Redden wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause. Maher’s a respected guy in the hockey world, and have no idea why he’d make that up, so take it for what you want. I haven’t heard anything about that anywhere else, but if it’s true, doubt we’ll ever see Redden.

  14. Dennis says:

    I doubt it too, CM, but it was just my way of chiding LT and telling him that, in all liklihood, the cavalry isn’t coming.

    HB, regarding the glut of D, it happened because someone was sick of Bergeron, ie Bergy out and Grebs in, and because the Oilers had money left to spend and decided to say fuck it and chuck it;), at Souray.

    But if the Oilers got rid of Bergy because they felt they’d given him enough time to learn and the result wasn’t as polished and effective as they’d hoped, and let’s consider they did this at a time when tehy had WAY too many defenders and not enough Bergian puck movers, then why are they so loathe to move Greene?

    Man oh man, I wish we’d have cut the cord on him and brought back say Hejda instead

  15. Andy Grabia says:

    Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18

    I just threw up in my mouth.

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