Although we don’t know the actual makeup of the roster, it would appear that the Edmonton Oilers will be lacking in leather. Word today in the Edmonton Journal that Patrick Thoresen is likely to be sent out means that the Oilers are going “high event” up front and on the blueline.
I don’t really see that it fits the coaching style of Craig MacTavish. His best teams have usually have the EV advantage and solid PK numbers, while struggling mightily (and hilariously) on the PP. One could argue that the SCF team had plenty of firepower but they could play the game straight up too.
The Oilers currently boast a nice “roto” roster of powerplay options, including Hemsky’s puck wizardy, Souray’s rocket launcher and Dustin Penner’s ability to block out the sun. Some of these guys, like Bob Bailey, are less impressive when the other guy is at the plate.
They have a terrific group of kids with huge futures, including the impressive Andrew Cogliano and the ridiculous Sam Gagner. Robert Nilsson lit it up in pre-season too, and there’s a general giddiness about the team’s future because of these kids. However, much of the giddiness has to do with the wood, not the leather. The Oilers rookie crop boasts some big time home run prospects, but can they pick it?
For the second season in a row, this Edmonton Oiler team doesn’t seem to fit a Craig MacTavish template. On top of that, the old double play combination (Smyth, Smith) is gone this fall.
I’m hoping Craig MacTavish will surprise and amaze. Batter up!