Oilers Training Camp C Depth Chart

This is Jonas Almtorp. He impressed last fall at training camp and would have to be considered the likely choice as “this season’s Patrick Thoresen” but making this team at center is going to be a killer.

The Edmonton Oilers are not at this time a playoff team imo, but their depth at center is truly impressive. So impressive that if they do pull the trigger on a deal for a right winger, a pivot is extremely likely to be part of the package sent away (along with a defender).

Here’s a look at the centermen entering camp. As mentioned in the RW post, there is some duplication but it seemed rational to list all players fighting for a spot at each position.

  1. Shawn Horcoff- 06-07 numbers were ES points-per-60mins: 1.52, PP points-per-60mins: 4.87. Horcoff is a very valuable player, moreso since the trade deadline deal that sent away Ryan Smyth and the summer spent thinning out the forward positions. He’s going to play a ton.
  2. Jarret Stoll- 06-07 numbers were ES points-per-60mins: 2.2, PP points-per-60mins: 4.20. Stoll’s concussion problems are apparently gone for now, but Oiler fans will be holding their breath the first time he takes a big hit. Extremely important player for this team moving forward, he may be more important at ES than he has been in the past.
  3. Marc Pouliot- 06-07 numbers were ES points-per-60mins: 1.17, PP points-per-60mins: 1.11. I’ve already slotted him in at RW, but he’s also an attractive option at his natural position. In a perfect world he’d spend this season with Moreau and Pisani.
  4. Marty Reasoner- 06-07 numbers were ES points-per-60mins: 1.45, PP points-per-60mins: 0. He’s had some injury trouble, but with the Pisani injury Reasoner becomes a very important veteran on this club. He’ll need to play the 3rd line checking role and take the tough minutes Horcoff can’t cover.
  5. Kyle Brodziak- Like Pouliot, a player I’ve slotted at RW despite being a natural center. This guy is in a very strong position for this camp, and looks exactly like Rem Murray about 1996.
  6. Jonas Almtorp- He’s got decent size, is a good skater and is described as being aware of his defensive duties. He’s also 23. A dark horse candidate.
  7. Rob Schremp- His 20 year old AHL season was superior to other Oiler centers of recent vintage (Schremp was .768 ppg, Stoll was .711, Pouliot was .692, Brodziak was .571) but each of the other men offered a wider range of skills. Schremp is a quality prospect in a very narrow view (soft minutes skill C) and it just so happens that matches the Oilers need. He is healthy, and he does have a chance to make this team.
  8. Ryan O’Marra- He’s an interesting player. The Oilers have sent away some agitators over the last couple of seasons, and with JFJ’s struggles he is not close to a lock to make the big club. He’s healthy, and my bet is that he’s one of the final cuts.
  9. Andrew Cogliano- I think he’ll be MacT’s favorite by the end of camp among the new kids on the block, and also believe that Cogliano is the one young center who can break camp with the big club and play more than one role. My bet is that MacT finds him useful in the energy 4line role, as a PK man, and that he can from time to time rotate up as needed and not make a fool of himself. His college experience probably makes him a little more ready than a kid like Schremp was just based on reading and reacting without the puck.
  10. Tyler Spurgeon- Similar career progression to Brodziak, under the radar but delivering what is asked for in spades. My guess is they send him to the AHL and hope he can add some offense to his fine play in other areas.
  11. Fredrik Johansson- I doubt he makes the team, but Johansson is a guy whose reputation as a 2-way player will probably help him. Because of a mixup last fall, he was not around in camp at all a year ago. That may mean he gets a little longer look from the coach.
  12. Sam Gagner- The same buzz we saw with Hemsky was growing with Gagner before the Canada-Russia series. They sent Hemsky down despite his fine showing as an 18-year old in his first NHL camp (they sent him out September 26, 2001, AFTER Marc Andre Bergeron and Fernando Pisani were sent out), and may do the same with Gagner.

My pre-camp guess at the C depth chart opening night:

  1. Shawn Horcoff
  2. Jarret Stoll
  3. Marty Reasoner
  4. Andrew Cogliano (*Sam Gagner)

*Gagner is a significant enough wildcard at this point that you’d have to consider him a possibility to make the club, at least for that several-game tryout at the beginning of the year. Is it 9 games?

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15 Responses to "Oilers Training Camp C Depth Chart"

  1. MikeP says:

    9 games, yep. I guess it depends how he does pre-season – if he basically starts bombing as the season progressed like Schremp did his first TC, then there’s no point in holding on to him. Send him back and see if he can get it done without Kane.

    But if he has a Cleary-like pre-season, by all means, let the Knights see if they can get it done without both of Kane and Gagner.

  2. baron says:

    Love the site, Lowetide. The wife of a friend is a friend of Gagner’s parents, and Lowe has told them that Sam is going back to junior this year and will not be on the big club. Suppose that could change…..

  3. Lowetide says:

    baron: Interesting stuff. I think you may see some “show business” re:Gagner this fall. By that I mean this club needs fans and excitement right now, and Gagner is suddenly famous.

    Right now I’d say he has a legit shot to break with the team.

  4. RiversQ says:

    I’m not a big fan of moving Pouliot to the wing, but this team doesn’t have many options.

    Reasoner being the 3rd option at centre is a scary proposition given how poorly he played last year.

    I am hopeful that Cogliano can earn that spot. He’s certainly a prospect that I think highly of.

  5. IceDragoon says:

    RiversQ said:

    I’m not a big fan of moving Pouliot to the wing, but this team doesn’t have many options.

    Reasoner being the 3rd option at centre is a scary proposition given how poorly he played last year.

    I agree.

    Reasoner can play both wings, too. He was bad last year. That said, it is hard for a centre to look good when he can’t rely on his wingers. I know I’m on an island here, (not the first time, and won’t be the last) but imho, as a group, wingers were our weakest link for most of last year.

    Pouliot is certainly capable of playing wing, but he sees the game so well as a centre. Moving him would be a waste, imho.

    I am hopeful that Cogliano can earn that spot. He’s certainly a prospect that I think highly of.

    As I mentioned OT in the ‘Mark Howe’ topic…

    Global news reported that Cogliano “spent the summer” in SoCal with Chad and co.

    I think he’ll need a little seasoning in the ‘A’ to ramp up the speed at which he thinks the game, tho.


  6. Lowetide says:

    I’d prefer Pouliot at center too, but if they aren’t going to deal for help (and it sounds like Lowe is going to do exactly what he did with D last fall, wait and see) the alternatives are not strong. Louise, you mention Reasoner as an option, how much wing has he played?

  7. RiversQ says:

    I know I’m on an island here, (not the first time, and won’t be the last) but imho, as a group, wingers were our weakest link for most of last year.

    Oh I don’t think that’s really an island. OK, maybe a big island with lots of people. The wingers definitely stunk last year. You had Smyth, Torres, and then Hemsky and Pisani who both got injured and played injured for a spell. There was a big gap after that group until you got to the remaining options which ranged from barely adequate to terrible.

    The wings were definitely bad and we should note that Lowe did fuckall to improve the team there. In fact, they’re undoubtedly worse.

    Global news reported that Cogliano “spent the summer” in SoCal with Chad and co.

    Yeah, I don’t put much stock in that anymore. It’s pretty obvious that the Oilers’ propaganda machine has made this a talking point. It has little value going forward IMO.

    If Chad Moreau was such a genius, his brother’s shoulder would stay together longer than a wet noodle and Stoll wouldn’t have taken 20 games to get something done.

  8. Bank Shot says:

    I dunno. Put me down for the centers being as stinky or even reekier then the wings last season.

    Poor season by Horcoff.
    Half season by Stoll.
    Sykora effective for the first few games and then he fell off a cliff.
    Reasoner the blackhole.
    Pouliot lost his job in camp.

    The best thing we can say about that group is that Sykora had a nice start and Stoll played a solid twenty games. Other then that it was pretty much an uninterrupted disappointment from all corners.

    At least the wings had a couple of bright spots. Smyth’s good season and Thoresen.

    Anyway, the thing the Oilers really need this season is for their potential center depth to blow the doors off. As good as the prospect depth looks, the Oilers are probably around 8-10th down the middle in the WEST when it comes to NHL players.

    Stoll and Horcoff are obviously never going to be a tandem like Thornton-Marleau, or Zetterberg-Datsyuk so the Oilers really need 4 centers that can play hockey to make up the difference, and maybe one or two more moonlighting on the wings.

  9. Lowetide says:

    I’ll never really understand why the Shawn Horcoff I see apparently doesn’t show up on lots of other people’s television sets.

    Stoll was injured but played well otherwise, and yes Pouliot lost his job but got back to the show and played well.

    Center is a strong position for the Oilers, both vets and youth imo.

  10. Dennis says:

    What does everyone make of MacT’s Saturday comments where he said that one of Cogs, Schremp or Gagne HAS to make the team? Lowe’s more of the lying type so when MacT is talking stuff, I’m ore apt to listen.

    I guess Cogs could make the team as the last part of a 18-19 checking line or Schremp could get the gig with 14-16 or hell, maybe Gagner could take that spot too if the Oilers want to use Horc’s line plus Moreau’s line to take on the top six min. For that to happen though, we’d need a return to form for Reasoner or else we’d need 18-78 to work together well and for Thor or Reasoner to round out that troika.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Penner-Horc-Hemsky will start out as a tough min line and that 14-16 will be asked to muder the soft parade and that their RW spot is one to be determined.

    This of course leaves Moreau as the primary piece on the second tough min line and the candidates to fill that out would be Thor-MP-Reasoner and perhaps Cogs and Sanderson.

    This isn’t gonna be pretty but it IS gonna be interesting.

  11. Lowetide says:

    I think it’s Gagner or Cogliano. Schremp had a quad injury MacT mentioned just before camp and that’ll factor in imo and unless Schremp can get clearance from the other two he’ll be sent down.

    I don’t think he can get clearance, because the other two are better hockey players. The easy bet is to keep Gagner up 9 games and send the other two down and make the decision into the season.

  12. Bank Shot says:

    Mactavish said they “need” a prospect to step up did he not? I think that tells us the situation is pretty grave if they are desperate for prospects to fill holes.

    Horcoff should likely have a bit of a bounce back this season. He’s a better player then he showed last season. He and Stoll give two quality centers. Pouliot is still something of a wildcard. Reasoner is basically filler at this point.

    Compared to other teams in the West:

    Four are well clear:




    San Jose

    Then it could be argued that any number of these teams have equal or better centers:




    Possibly Bouchard or Rolston


    Oilers look like another team in the pack unless someone like Cogs comes onto the scene in a big way.

  13. PunjabiOil says:

    Reasoner is likely on his last hurrah in Edmonton, unless he he reverts back to his 2003-2004 form.

    That or he makes a living playing wing.

    Got to start making room for the younger guys sooner rather than later.

  14. IceDragoon says:


    One of the first things I read about Reasoner after the Weight trade was that he was a versatile centre, capable of playing all forward positions.

    Something I’ve noticed over the years is that, adaptable centres tend to make life a little easier on their linemates AND give their coaches more in-game options. I tend to appreciate them. :-)

    Since Marty committed himself to playing a defensive game, I believe MacT kept him at c… until Smyth was hurt in game 2, ’05-’06. MacT then moved him all over the line-up for a couple of games till Horcoff went down. iirc – He took some wing shifts with Horcoff and Dvorak, Stoll and Dvorak, Stoll and Moreau, Stoll and Pisani. I know that PP lines don’t have the same responsibilities as 5on5 lines, but I do remember that he scored a PP goal in game 3 playing Smytty’s role.

    Once Horcoff returned, MacT sometimes had Reasoner switch to wing on the fly. He seemed quite comfortable throwing/leaving him out on partial line changes, especially on the road. I recall an interview (around Xmas ’05?) where MacT called Marty his “secret weapon”.



    Perhaps you missed…
    weakest link“… in my comment.


    Perhaps I have not seen the conversations hanging goat horns on the wingers. I’ve had a year from h-e-double-hockey-sticks, and very little time for probing the depths of the blogosphere.

    Either way… it’s all good. I’m comfortable sharing my island. ;-) Heck, I’ll even fire up the Bar-b… Lain’s got the beer (good stuff, too)…

    Most of what I’ve read, or opposing views in the discussions I’ve had, pointed to an inept defense and Lowe’s inability to add a puck mover.

    I don’t presume to know all the players who were available to him, or their cost, so I don’t waste my time arguing with those who blame him for not trading for “X” or signing free agent “Y”.

    I do know that in November I saw a team game starting to come together. More often than not wingers were providing simple support in the D-zone, and helping to advance the play. Then injuries & attitude hit. Team play, for the most part, went to **** in a hand basket. I hold many accountable for their share of ’05-’06, and I give due slack to those who did the best they could with what they had.

    As to changes in personnel going forward… I don’t presume… see above … But I do know that MacTavish has been involved in ALL decisions.

    Re: Cogliano

    I love the taste of propaganda koolaid.
    I thought you might recognize that Cogliano, being a very smart young man, made a choice to spend his summer training with Chad… the same guy that Horcoff and Stoll have been training with for at least two years. Perhaps knowing that Andrew was studying kinesiology for the past two years might give credence to his decision process.
    I’m just naïve in thinking that smart people tend to make smart choices.


    Have a good one, Riv.


  15. IceDragoon says:

    make that…

    … their share of ’06-’07.

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