This is Patrick Thoresen, who is a very valuable young player. His pricetag is very reasonable, he can play multiple positions and he has already played an NHL season (with good results).
I have him listed at both wings, but will guess he plays a lot on LW for the 07-08 Edmonton Oilers.
Here’s a list of the left wingers looking for playing time with the big club this season.
- Dustin Penner- 06-07 numbers were ES points-per-60 mins: 1.92, PP points-per-60-mins: 4.01. His numbers are well back of Hemsky, similar but inferior to Stoll and he scores about as often as Raffi Torres at EV. His numbers are solid, not spectacular. Penner will likely play with Horcoff and Hemsky and get mammoth PP time.
- Raffi Torres- 06-07 numbers were ES points-per-60mins: 1.94, PP points-per-60mins: 0.40. If I were defending Kevin Lowe’s moves this summer (which is exactly as difficult as jumping Snake River Canyon), I’d probably start with Torres’ oddly impressive stats. The numbers say he’s a good hockey player at EVs, according to Desjardins he played the second toughest minutes among Oilers forwards last season (Pisani the toughest). His EV scoring results trailed only Stoll and Hemsky among returning Oiler forwards.
- Patrick Thoresen- 06-07 numbers were ES Points-per-60mins: 1.15, PP Points-per-60mins: 3.26. I have a feeling that Thoresen is going to blossom and end up playing top 6 minutes at EVs this season. With all the excitement over the kids, there seems to be a tendency to overlook a guy who played multiple roles last season, passed every test and ripped up the lesser league when demoted briefly. One night in October when Nilsson is the suck and Sanderson’s hands make him look 50, the coach is going to look down that bench and spot Patrick Thoresen.
- Ethan Moreau- 06-07 numbers were EV points-per-60mins: 1.10, PP points-per-60mins: 3.85 in limited action. Moreau is a key player on this team, even moreso with the Pisani injury. He is not Pisani’s equal without the puck, and he still takes some dumb penalties, but he’ll be relied on heavily by MacT in all sorts of roles, including his usual mentor role for young 2-way forwards.
- Geoff Sanderson- 06-07 numbers were EV points-per-60mins: 2.06, PP points-per-60mins: 2.45. I think they’ll use him at RW on a 2-4 (which I’ll be buying daily) rotation with Robert Nilsson until he either settles in or they go for another option.
- Robert Nilsson- 05-06 numbers were EV points-per-60mins: 1.56, PP points-per-60mins: 3.37. It may seem like I’m down on the guy, but it isn’t really about him at all. Listen, Robert Nilsson is skilled. However, there’s just not enough clearance between him and a bunch of other kids on this roster for him to have any leeway at all. Maybe the Gods smile on him and he pops 5 goals in October, or maybe he gets a hat-trick opening night and then rolls. However, he’s not really a top drawer prospect (as some seem to be hyping him this fall) like Gagner, Cogliano and (I believe) Slava Trukhno. He’s a guy who can have a career if everything breaks right.
- Jean Francois Jacques- Going into camp the tea leaves look like he’ll be heading to Pennsylvania. Jacques made the team last season but didn’t do enough to get into the lineup (just like Mikhnov) and unlike Thoresen never really did prove he belonged in the NHL. He has an advantage in that (unlike Nilsson) he does have some unique qualities that make his inclusion on the big roster attractive, but he’s likely headed to the AHL with the hope that he sets it on fire.
- Slava Trukhno- Has a wide range of skills, including size, skill and grit. We don’t know if he’ll get a good shot or even if he’ll take advantage should it come his way, but the resume is pretty impressive. The most overlooked prospect by the fanbase, you’ll often see HFboards descriptions of him as “one dimensional” or that he “scored points in an inferior league.” Knowing the limitations of junior scoring numbers, imo Trukhno is a legit high end prospect.
- Ryan Flinn- Derek Boogaard he isn’t, but Flinn is likely to play some games at the NHL level this winter. Oilers did suffer during several NW matchups because they had no answer for the opposition ruffian. If only Brad Winchester could have filled the role.
- Liam Reddox- Spent much of the season in the ECHL last year, would have to be considered out of the running before the parade to the post.
- Tim Sestito- Looks like an AHL role player to me, but he’s 23 and could surprise.
- Geoff Paukovich- I put him here because center is so crowded. I imagine he’ll (like McDonald and Rohlfs) impress because of size but end up being sent down to the AHL to learn his trade.
I’m going to predict Edmonton breaks camp with only 13 forwards, so there are 4 left wingers.
- Dustin Penner
- Raffi Torres
- Ethan Moreau
- Patrick Thoresen*
*Thoresen is listed 4th here, but I think he’ll get a lot of minutes at the other wing too. Craig MacTavish gave Thoresen more playing minutes than every rookie save one since he arrived in Edmonton (Stoll).