“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:
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:
- Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
- Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
- Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
- Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
- Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12
- Dom Pittis (00-01) 506:13
- Brad Winchester (06-07) 476:18
- Mike Comrie (00-01) 466:54
- Shawn Horcoff (00-01) 452:12
- Fernando Pisani (02-03) 375:18
- Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 292:44
- Zach Stortini (06-07) 207:27
- Brian Swanson (00-01) 174:38
- Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18
- Tony Salmlelainen (03-04) 125:27
- Michel Riesen (00-01) 118:53
- Jani Rita (02-03) 114:26
- 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.