Sunday Minor League Report

I have a really good memory. I remember things from childhood through today that matter, like the moon landing, how to win at Monopoly and the theme song to the Monkees TV show.

Just the important stuff, though.

I remember reading about Patrick Thoresen in the winter of 2001-02 on the prospects and Oiler board at HF. I think speeds wrote some stuff on him, may have had him in his mock draft (which usually works better than the Oilers list btw) and from that day forward he was interesting to me.

Redline Report wrote about him in their ask ‘Kyle Woodlief a question about the draft’ segment on USA Today. Here’s the question, and the answer, spring 2002:

Downingtown, PA: Where do you expect to see two non-CSB rated players, Patrick Thoresen and Jimmy Cuddihy, go in the draft? Kyle Woodlief: At Red Line we have both ranked as second-rounders. I expect Thoresen to go lae in the second round. Cuddihy may slide to the third or fourth round, but would be a steal at that level.

Patrick Thoresen passed through the draft in 2002. He was never drafted. He went to the Boston Bruins training camp fall 2003 and didn’t impress (it should be mentioned here that the Bruins organization at that time seemed to be playing the children’s game “keepaway” with their good young players and roster spots) and then he played (well) in the Swedish Elite League and a little in the Austrian League before the Oilers signed him.

The Oildrop got his name on a contract at the end of May, 2006. Remember how exciting it was to be an Oilers fan at that time? Well, Thoresen apparently had plenty of offers but took the Oilers deal, perhaps a side effect of a long and fruitful playoff run.

That fall at training camp, Thoresen inspired a comment from coach MacT that fall that I’ll never forget: “We haven’t had a player from Europe come in and be as polished and complete and as effective as he’s been. I haven’t seen any weakness in any facet of his game so far.” If you’re an Oilers European scout, that probably stung a little.

Through his season in the NHL (06-07), we got to know things about him. Like:

  • His father Petter represented Norway in five straight Olympic hockey tournaments, starting in 1980.
  • He loved the game as much as we do: “I was born to play hockey. It was just natural for me.”
  • He was just the 5th Norwegian in NHL history (Espen Knutsen, Bjorn Skaare, Anders Myrvold, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and Thoresen).

There were also stories of film crews from Oslo at Rexall filming him and any interview I saw of him revealed a personable young man. I became a fan.

This fall at training camp, I got to see him a few times (first two days of TC, Joey Moss, an exhibition game) and he looked fine to me. However, with offense at a premium and “team toughness” the mantra, Thoresen was put on waivers and sent to the AHL.

Where he kicked out the jams for 23 games (12-8-20, +5). He was named AHL Player of the Week during his time in Springfield. He was not called up despite playing well and having established that his ability makes him an NHL option.

It became the subject of some debate on the blogosphere and elsewhere whether he could indeed be called up to the parent club without having to go through re-entry waivers. Finally, after many posts on all kinds of sites it was established (Vic Ferrari informed this site, probably others) that Thoresen didn’t have to go through re-entry waivers to get to the show.

However……

On November 28, 2007 in an HF thread titled “Thoresen re-entry waivers Clarification”, Guy Flaming of Hockey’s Future and the Pipeline Show wrote:

Thoresen Re-Entry Waivers Clarification

First and foremost… I’m the opposite of a capologist and bow to the knowledge of the various posters who seem to know the CBA inside and out. I’m not going to engage in debates on fine print, I’m just reporting what I was told.

Which was this…Had a casual conversation on saturday with Kevin Lowe and just asked for clarification on whether or not Edmonton could recall Thoresen without him needing to clear re-entry waivers.

Paraphrased response: “Yes but he’d still be subject to the 30-day rule like Rourke is right now”.

So there you go. He can come up but if he’s here for 30-days (and/or 10 NHL games is it?) then he’d need to clear waivers again to go back down.

I did NOT get the impression that he was or was not about to be recalled though, this was not a conversation about that. In my own opinion though, if that matters, the problem with the big team is a lack of scoring and Thoresen is not a scorer at the NHL level, he’s an energy guy.

- Guy

So, there you go. The NHL is dumber than a sack of hammers. What other professional league would put a Denver boot on its member teams in terms of putting the best possible product on the ice? Also, this is the kind of insane ruling that will send young men packing back to European leagues in a quick hurry. It is shortsighted in the extreme and typical of a league so far out of step with reality it is to laugh. Only a bunch of nitwits would think this was a good idea, and money is the reason. What a circus.

How much money is the NHL going to save on Patrick Thoresen wasting away in the minor leagues? Do NHL owners and general managers really need to be treated like children entrusted with a 5 spot and a list of three items on the way to the corner store?

From my viewpoint, the NHL as an organization is making their own product suffer for a few dollars more, instead of understanding that rosters are liquid during a season due to performance dropoff and injury.

Is there any real question about the knowledge level of the people who run this league?

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20 Responses to "Sunday Minor League Report"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Good post LT – finally some clarification (?!) on Thoresen’s status and some nice points about the garage league.

    Thoresen was, what, 2-9-11 last season? I understand the need for scoring on this squad but considering he was a rookie, he played limited minutes and he brings so much more to the table I was really disappointed when he was sent out this fall. Maybe I’m dreaming but I think ten goals is a possibility for our man and considering what he can do – take care of his own end, play the PK, provide a consistent level of try – I’m not sure why he’s not in the lineup.

    Plus he wears 28, just like me.

    Hope he pops three tonight! :)

  2. Vic Ferrari says:

    I fail to understand why you don’t like this element of the CBA. To me it seems fair to the player.

    From the player’s POV, having to clear waivers when being assigned to the minor leagues is a good thing, it gives them an opportunity to remain in the NHL.

    And the 10 game window allows waiver-eligible players to get the same opportunity for injury replacement call-ups.

  3. Nelson88 says:

    Any indication yet on where he will be playing? Taking Sanderson’s spot? Would seem to be a good fit.

    Kudo’s to Pisani for getting back so quickly! Would love to see him reunited with Stoll and Torres. They had great chemistry last year and even if the O game is rusty they can play a good shut down role and provide a 2nd solid D unit at the very least.

    Unfortunately with Hemmer out I’m not sure where that leaves a spot for Huggy Bear. First line RW I guess….

  4. Lowetide says:

    Vic: I don’t like it because NHL teams are going to leave these guys on the farm instead of elevating them.

    How many healthy forwards were the Oilers down to before recalling Thoresen?

    My guess is that the number of “days in the NHL” for guys like Thoresen will be reduced substantially because of this rule.

  5. Lowetide says:

    nelson: RW is a freak show now lol. Brodziak, Nilsson, Stortini, Thoresen and of course Fernando who they’ll need to monitor in terms of minutes.

    Can Penner play RW?

  6. Pat H says:

    “Is there any real question about the knowledge level of the people who run this league?”

    Certainly seems like a good question, though I’m more concerned with asking this of the people who run our own team at the moment.

    Good points about the CBA rule, good counter point by Vic, and good counter-counter point by you LT.

    Given the frequency at which guys get sent up and down on this team, can we not bring him up for something like a 5 game stint – something that won’t activate the waiver-down clause? I suppose that it would ultimately be little unproductive though. Poor Thor would have a sense of impending doom – no matte how good he played up here, he’d be sent down again very soon, lest he have to clear waivers further down the road.

    An interesting scenario though, I wonder how MacT and Lowe are thinking about it. I mean, they certainly don’t seem averse to messing with the heads of young kids (Schremp up, blink, Schremp back down).

  7. Lowetide says:

    Pat: Excellent point on the 5 games up and then being sent out. I think Vancouver did that to some winger (was it Josh Green? am I making this up?) but really the spirit of the thing is the point I’m making.

    Vic’s scenario imo is a strong one, it allows the player to stay in the NHL if any of the 30 teams see a fit.

    However, I really wonder about the number of players not on NHL roster because of this very rule.

  8. uni says:

    Hate to take the thread off topic, but I’m going to cry if I can’t see the game tonight. For those of you that haven’t seen it yet:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=224176&hubname=nhl

    I just hope they aren’t rushing him back.

  9. HBomb says:

    The Pisani stuff is inspirational. No other word for it. Think they could saw off the Masterton in June and give him half and the other half to Jason Blake?

    Wednesday night, assuming Pisani is still good, Sanderson is out still, and Hemsky is good to go by then, the Oilers are going to ice their best forward lineup of the season in terms of winning hockey games. Who draws out to allow Hemsky back in though? I’d vote for Stortini, but it could be one of Nilsson or Gagner.

  10. pboy says:

    I won’t be Stortini. MacT clearly likes his game right now, so it will most likely be Nilsson. I am happy that Thoresen is getting a chance but with Schremp lighting it up as a LW in Springfield, I would have liked to have seen him get some the chances Nilsson had on the top line with Horcoff and Hemmer and see what the kid can or can’t do.

  11. RiversQ says:

    HBomb said…
    The Pisani stuff is inspirational. No other word for it. Think they could saw off the Masterton in June and give him half and the other half to Jason Blake?

    Uh, no. It’ll go to Toronto regardless of merit.

    Who draws out to allow Hemsky back in though? I’d vote for Stortini, but it could be one of Nilsson or Gagner.

    It should be one of Nilsson or Gagner. Stortini isn’t an effective hockey player but at least he is pretty much a net zero out there. Gagner and Nilsson can’t claim that IMO.

    I agree that the forward lineup looks much better with Pisani there though. Assuming he can still play.

  12. namflashback says:

    My guess is that Thor gets the Horcoff line. Carlyle is going to want Pahlsson to check whatever line Horc is on, so MacT better go with the RW who has a clue — or could help pull one of Samwise or Row-bert along.

    Do not, I repeat, do not have Sam and Row-bert on the same line while on the road. It would be a GA faster than you can say Getzlaf-to-Perry-Scores!

    Put Pisani on Gagner’s flank — an easier start for Pisani — and a safer spot for Sam.

  13. Bank Shot says:

    Vic: I don’t like it because NHL teams are going to leave these guys on the farm instead of elevating them.

    But it forces the team to make a decision on the player sooner rather then later which is good for the player. If there weren’t waiver rules then teams could keep guys like Thoresen in the minors for years, just bringing him up as an occasional injury replacement.

    If Thoresen continues to excel in the AHL then the Oilers will be forced into a situation where they will have to give him a roster spot, trade him, or lose him to waivers next training camp.

    Thoresen is probably a little adversely affected in the short term because he just barely made the waiver cutoff this season, but the cutoff needs to be somewhere, and it’ll affect a few guys wherever it is.

  14. Lowetide says:

    bank shot: That’s not what they’re doing. In fact, a few NHL teams are running with 12 forwards instead of 14. The Oilers have had a roster opening for quite some time this season, and in previous years a guy like Thoresen would have been the 13F.

    Teams are just dropping a spot, THAT’S the decision it has forced.

  15. Josh says:

    Hbomb: I’d have to think Gagner to be a good choice. He has been playing poorly of late, and some games off could do him and good and likely won’t hurt our team. We could also debate about keeping him to 40 games in order to keep an extra year of RFA

  16. Bank Shot says:

    Lowetide:Ahh, now I see what you’re talking about. Can’t say I feel too bad for the popcorn guys though. ;p

    Really it’s the NHLPA that dropped the ball there. They should have pushed for a rule that forced NHL teams to fill out their rosters.

  17. Dennis says:

    Early on, it seemed like Lowe was dead set on sending 89 to the world junior camp but with 34 back and 18 about four weeks away, it’s now a much easier decision to send Sam to the world juniors.

    Plus, his plus/minus has been going downhill for awhile so he’s sorta of making his own bed.

    LT, yeah, it was Greene that the Dys had on the yo-yo last season. Remember that the Flyers put Van’s cap to the wall with the Kesler offersheet.

    I can see what Vic’s saying here about how this rule might give other teams the chance to pick a guy up on the re-entry but overall there are teams that have just decided not to carry extra forwards and this means that guys who could help, like Thor, are spending time in the AHL.

    I just finished listening to MacT’s podcast and if you believe him, the Oilers sent Thor out after camp because they wanted to give him a place to play where he’d have room to round out his offensive game. Now, that’s all well and good in theory but something tells me that MacT values guys who can play in the bottom six and keep things even. And given that Thor went 21/24 last year in terms of GD’s numbers, 28′s a guy who could fit that bill.

    The Oilers have been going on the roster cheap for awhile now but it’s about to change with Souray being close, Tarnstrom not looking like his malady’s longerm, plus Moreau being four weeks away.

    Not sure what the Oilers are gonna do when they get a bit healtier but I’m intersted to see how it works out.

    There’s really not gonna be a place for Thor unless the Oilers are willing to cut the bait on some of Nilsson, Stortini or Gagner.

    It won’t be long until we have eight healthy D so that means the most forwards we can carry will be 13.

  18. Bruce says:

    Think they could saw off the Masterton in June and give him half and the other half to Jason Blake?

    The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is given by the PHWA to the “NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities, of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

    For Pisani that’s yes, yes, and yes. Blake’s comeback (well, he never actually stopped playing) from cancer is inspirational, but “sportsmanship” does not exactly describe this guy’s game and attitude. Two out of three ain’t good enough, not when up against a candidate of Pisani’s character.

    Of course, the writers fuck up this award most years, so nothing will surprise me.

  19. Vic Ferrari says:

    I think that Thoresen needed time in the minors. After a good start offensively last year he just fell into the abyss. He’s a feel-good story for sure, but when you’re playing soft minutes, can’t score, and have a Corsi in Lupul-country … relying on a stellar save% behind you is a dangerous, and unsustainable, game.

    Granted the Oilers have a bunch of other crap forwards as well. But Thoresen gets more love from the sphere than makes sense to me.

  20. Dennis says:

    Vic, it’s funny but I never saw him in that light at all. Maybe I missed something.

    I came to love the guy and if you read his comments in today’s Sun, how could you not.

    Like I said, maybe I missed something, but I saw a guy that was working his ass off playing for a terrible team. Maybe he contributed more to that suction than I thought;)

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