Handicapping the 08-09 Forward Field

Kevin Lowe could probably spend the summer addressing the blueline (and possibly goaltending) and ride the wave next season in regard to the current forward group.

He’ll have to cull the herd a little since there are simply not enough slots in the batting order to go around but there looks to be enough skill, grit and experience among the three forward positions to safely assume this club is playoff worthy for 08-09.

Here’s a quick glance at what the current depth chart might look like and some of the issues facing the organization.

  1. RW Ales Hemsky: Salary is reasonable ($4.25M) for the next four seasons. Although he is no longer the only straw that stirs the drink, Hemsky is bona fide. A wonderful player who makes his linemates better, he’s about to pass 50 assists for the second time in his young career. EV/60: 2.34; PP/60: 5.82.
  2. C Shawn Horcoff: Salary is ending, one more year at $3.6M and then he’s free to sign with the Red Wings. With respect to all of the other IR All-Stars, it is the injury to Edmonton’s best all around player that had the biggest impact on the season. Despite a pretty nice record since the All-Star break, Horcoff’s wide range of skills have been badly missed over the period. He may have lost his PP job to Gagner for next season (despite getting similar results) but he helps out in so many ways his position as the club’s top pivot is obvious. Also obvious is the need to sign the man. Horcoff is in a bit of danger as an Oiler if Kevin Lowe makes little or no effort to resign him this summer, as he’ll be in the Ryan Smyth seat come deadline day 2009 if they can’t get a contract done. I would think this would be Job 1 for the organization but haven’t seen much about it from media or team. EV/60: 2.59; PP/60: 4.00.
  3. LW Sam Gagner: Cap number for next season I believe is $1.625M. He has played so well at age 18 in the NHL one would think some scouting staffs are already kicking themselves for letting him fall to the Oilers last summer. A ridiculous offensive talent, smart player and has certainly gotten better as the season progresses. Looks like a future “end of the season award” type player, giving the Oilers two (Hemsky) from the draft pool in the Prendergast era. EV/60: 2.05; PP/60: 4.02.
  4. C Andrew Cogliano: $1.133M as a cap hit for the next two years. A revelation this season, Cogliano is another smart forward with skill and this guy has breathtaking speed. Watching him live is pretty damn exciting and more than a few defensemen are going to look idiotic playing him off the rush as time goes on. Effective player whose numbers are exceptional across the board, even in the categories rookies usually perform poorly in (he’s +1). He’s going to be an Oiler for a long time and his role in important situations will only increase. EV/60: 2.39; PP/60: 2.62.
  5. RW Robert Nilsson: Unsigned for next season, his cap hit was $1.013M this year. Ranks as probably the third best passer on this club (Hemsky, Gagner) but that’s an elite group. I think his AHL seasons and one NHL year on the Island must have included a bunch of time in roles (and with linemates) that couldn’t pick up what he was putting down. I understand he turned a corner this season and is certainly playing better than he did at the start of the year but how a kid with this skill set spent over 100 games in the AHL is a mystery. Sign the man, three years at reasonable dollars. EV/60: 2.50; PP/60: 2.78.
  6. LW Curtis Glencross: His salary for this year was $522,000 and he’ll get a big raise. I think signing this guy is a key item on the agenda in the off-season. Although we haven’t seen him for 500 at-bats it’s clear Glencross brings a lot of energy and skill to the club in a complementary role. He may be capable of taking on a larger role, in fact based on skill set Glencross might be a better match for the top line (10-83) than the slow-footed Penner. When we’re talking about the Edmonton Oilers priorities this summer, Curtis Glencross is going to be a big part of the conversation. EV/60: 1.90; PP/60: 2.10
  7. C Kyle Brodziak: His salary for next season ($500,000) makes Brodziak the biggest bargain on the team. The two things that have impressed me most about him this season are his offense (he’s scored 14 goals, 5th on the team) and his consistency. The few times in the season where his bat died he still did a great job with the leather. He certainly has a roster spot for 08-09. EV/60: 2.01. PP/60: 0.
  8. RW Fernando Pisani: He’ll make $2.5M for the next two seasons. It’s a little tough to judge his season because frankly the fact he is playing at all is a miracle. Pisani was in some trouble last summer and it went beyond just his future as a hockey player. For him to be playing at his current level is exceptional, which should surprise no one. He’ll have a roster spot inside the top 9 for next year. EV/60: 1.55; PP/60: 3.15
  9. LW Dustin Penner: His salary is $4.25M for several seasons rolling out. I think we’ve seen enough of him to suggest that a 30 goal season isn’t out of the realm of possibility and he does some nice things in the offensive zone. He is not a complete player but is getting paid like one and would be extremely difficult to offload at this time. Based on his first season as an Oiler I think you could make the claim that Penner could be an effective winger on a strong contender if he had enough superior players surrounding him up front. And he does. EV/60: 1.33; PP/60: 3.98.
  10. LW Raffi Torres: He’ll make $2.4M next season. I think the Oilers trade him, but if they don’t Raffi brings a lot of important things to the table. He’s an effective EV player and even though he’ll stick out like a sore thumb amongst the butter passers on the team now, each of those lines could use a Raffi to storm the beaches once in awhile. Plus his results over a long period of time indicate a pretty fair offensive player and EV results favor his team often enough to take luck out of the conversation. EV/60: 1.22; PP/60: 1.43.
  11. RW Zack Stortini: He made $475,000 this season which was a bargain. He’ll cost more next year but has earned the contract and the roster spot. I don’t know how much his role on the team can be expanded based on skill set but have tired of betting against him and being wrong. If he scored 12 next season on the PP as a tip-in artist I wouldn’t be any more surprised than I was with his impressive 07-08 season. EV/60: 132; PP/60: 0.
  12. C Marty Reasoner: Made $950,ooo this season, he is a free agent in the summer. Marty’s role on the team is likely to decrease next season as more young players force their way onto the roster. I think we can predict with some confidence MacT will push to have him signed to another cap-friendly deal which gives him a nice, inexpensive option with a lot of experience plus forces the youngsters to step up and earn the job. EV/60: 1.46/ PP/60: 2.61.
  13. C Jarret Stoll: He made $2.2M this season and is an RFA. He’s in trouble as an NHL player. I know Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish have been saying nice things about him but there’s something wrong and it isn’t getting any better. He’s over one year removed from the concussions and there have been many nights where Stoll has been the least effective player on the ice. Hi -24 is a team worst and although he can still pick it in the FO circle and is an effective penalty killer he’s a guy who is in danger of washing out of the league in a couple of seasons if he can’t get it together. The Oilers may sign him in the summer to a one-year deal for 4th line C and if he doesn’t improve Jarret Stoll is going to have to find himself again before getting another NHL shot. Probably in the minors or in Europe. EV/60: 0.71; PP/60: 3.64.
  14. C Marc Pouliot: He made $942,000 when he was in the NHL this season, and a key to his sticking around next year might be a more attractive to the Oilers contract. Say two years at $750k. I can see the Oilers offering him a one-way deal somewhere in there. Either way I think he’s “in the mix” at center with two veterans (Reasoner and Stoll) and how the organization goes this summer with regard to 08-09 will tell us a lot about what the expectations are for the spring of 2009. Pouliot has not proven himself at the NHL level but has shown flashes the past two springs. I would estimate it at less than 40% that he has a top 12 job in the fall but his EV numbers are superior to both Stoll and Reasoner despite that awful start. I’m pulling for him, even if his future is in another town. EV/60: 1.78; PP/60: 0.
  15. LW Ethan Moreau: He’ll make 1.75M next season (2M caphit) and if they don’t trade Raffi then Ethan rifles is on the outside looking in. Moreau has missed a lot of hockey over the last two seasons and although he isn’t yet in the Eric Daze phase of his career he is also a guy you can’t count on anymore. By the end of this season, he will have missed 132 of the last 164 regular season games played by this hockey club (80%). Ethan Moreau will be 33 in the fall. EV/60: 1.21; PP/60: 5.15 in very little playing time.
  16. LW Liam Reddox: How this guy moved up the charts this season is one of the truly interesting stories surrounding the Edmonton Oilers. He’s passed a few first round picks this year and although it’ll be tough sledding from here on in he’s performing well in the AHL and should see more playing time in the show 08-09.
  17. LW JF Jacques: Everytime we get around to JF Jacques I think of Fred Shero. That guy got more mileage out of players with Jacques’ skill set than anyone in human history. Bob Kelly, Don Saleski, Dave Schultz there were a ton of them. Increasingly though I’m thinking Jacques might be Rick Foley (a pretty good skill D for the Flyers who was massive and should have had a career but ran afowl of Shero) which is a shame. He’s had injury trouble this year so that’s an issue but our man Jacques has a pretty tough depth chart to climb on LW.
  18. C Rob Schremp: In a recent article on his blog, Guy Flaming quotes Schremp’s agent as saying “It’s obvious that Rob’s not happy or satisfied with the situation. We’d obviously like to be in a different spot [as opposed to Springfield] whether it be Edmonton or on another NHL team I don’t know but, we think he’s proven himself at the level that he’s at and hope he gets the opportunity but that’s where everything stands at this point.” I think Schremp’s problem is that the Oilers drafted better players at his position after they drafted him in 2004. Cogliano (2005) and Gagner (2007) are ahead of him now and will be for the forseeable future and that is some pretty bad fortune. The recent SEL rumor that hit the internet may indeed have been garbage or maybe it was the agent’s way of getting his client’s name out there for possible trade this summer. Either way, Rob Schremp is between a rock and a hard place with the Edmonton Oilers and it has more to do with Gagner and Cogliano than Craig MacTavish.
  19. LW Slava Trukhno: Has played well enough in the last several games to deserve a mention. Trukhno went 8-8-16 in a 12-game span and saw his scoring streak end at 12 last night. Kevin Lowe’s recent comments about him should be tempered with the knowledge that the team has plenty of skill already in the top 6 but is heartening all the same.

The key elements for the Oilers at forward this summer are signing Horcoff and Glencross, deciding how to handle the logjam at center behind Horcoff, Cogliano and Brodziak, and choosing between Ethan and Raffi.

It’s tempting to say that they’ll have a good team up front no matter which direction they go, because this is a very nice group of forwards.

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25 Responses to "Handicapping the 08-09 Forward Field"

  1. HBomb says:

    Three things I hope to see here, beyond the obvious (new deals for Glencross and Horcoff):

    1) Choice of Raffi over Ethan: I know he’s the captain and all, but damn, he’s as reliable as a 72 Gremlin. Torres/Pisani as the bookends of the 3rd line is solid no matter how you slice it.

    2) Stoll shipped out: move the guy before he’s completely worthless. With Horcoff/Gagner/Cogliano/Brodziak/Pouliot all around, his time as an Oiler is coming to an end.

    3) Pouliot over Reasoner: MAP is younger, will probably come cheaper, and can probably give you close to what Reasoner gives you at this point. So why not go with the guy who’s going to be able to help in 2010-2012 when this team is TRULY ready to contend?

    Oh, and Rob Schremp should be moved. That’s obvious. Between him, Moreau, and Stoll, you might be able land a useful asset from someone. Especially if Lowe is willing to deal one of his young d-men (i.e. not Pitkanen or Gilbert) as part of a package for, say, some skilled size for the top six?

  2. Mr DeBakey says:

    Good List

    2 thoughts on Horcoff
    - with Gagner’s success, the “True First Line” Center crowd will be out in force.
    - KLowe’s tendency to be a Star Fucker – but not the way the Stones meant – Screw ‘em over more like.
    Hopefully he’s learned.

    One good way to gauge what Lowe might do is to read my suggestions; its a safe bet Lowe will do the opposite.

  3. Ducey says:

    I would like to see:
    1) Trade Raffi (sorry hbomb).

    Raffi is the most over rated player on the Oilers. Big, strong, can skate and can score in bursts. He has yet to really play consistently. Good games followed by 3 – 5 games where he is wearing an invisibility cloak or dunce cap. He does not carry the puck. Most of his offence is on tip ins (a rarity on the Oilers though) and does not hit nearly enough. Despite his experience, shows no signs of being a leader. Glencross can play his role. His salary can be spent elsewhere.

    Ethan on the other hand really does set the tone of this team in the offseason and on the ice. His role is essential with a young team.

    2) Trade Schremp. No future here. Would be nice if he would turn himself into a complete player in land of Homer Simpson but it seems he doesn’t feel he needs to. See ya.

    3) As you say, sign Marty. Cheap, reliable and an under rated leader.

    4) Don’t count on Pisani. I would keep Stoll around for this reason. As well, who knows maybe Rachel Hunter is to Stoll as Kim Bassinger was to Roy Hobbs. Maybe Stoll will meet the lady in the white hat and start hitting homers again next year. He seems to be a decent checker and would be good depth. Effort always seems to be there.

    5) Keep Roli until the trade deadline. Garon needs to prove himself again next year.

    Hopefully, Schremp + Torres and maybe one of the D will bring back some decent picks.

    Should be an interesting offseason with Lowe dealing from a relative position of strength for the first time in a while.

  4. oilerdago says:

    Long time reader and first time poster. What no one has talked about is who plays the PK and I think this gives us another clue as to what they’ll do this summer.

    Horc, Pisani, Brodziak are givens. Reasoner for all his faults is solid here and in the faceoff circle.

    But this is where Moreau brings more value than Raffi. Grit & PK and better defensive zone responsibility. He’s also a bridge until Cogs or someone else comes up to speed on the PK where Raffi has less utility/less value. And if I’m not mistaken, MAP was ok on PK in 06/07 too.

    And I agree, Stoll’s value has dropped big-time. Anyone think Howson in Columbus would taken
    him for a 2nd or 3rd rounder?
    Torres probably has more value on the trade marketif Stoll/Moreau/Marty go

  5. Colby Cosh says:

    There are no end-of-season awards for 20g/50a guys as far as I know. Isn’t Hemsky’s ceiling as an A-minus star pretty well established at this point? (This is not a complaint.)

  6. Black Dog says:

    oilerdago – thing with the PK is this – it appears that they can throw anyone out there and they get the job done – call it the system, coaching, whatever

    since 06 they have lost Pronger, Spacek and Smith on the back end, Smyth, Dvorak, Peca up front and had Pisani, Moreau and Horcoff all out this season for lengthy periods of time and they still rank up there on the PK – I think you could see Glencross and Pouliot slide in there next year, plus you have Cogliano

    Nice list LT – quite a bit of skill for sure. Wow, do you really think Glencross has the chops to move up the charts like that? If he does then that trade goes down as an alltime steal. Of course its a nice trade already.

  7. Lowetide says:

    CC: I think Hemsky is what he is in terms of development but he’ll have some peak seasons that will generate end-of-season award talk if only in a “Rick Middleton just won the Lady Byng” kind of way.

    Plus if he makes another Stanley final the traction from ’06 might give him an edge over someone else in the Smythe voting.

    I’d bet money he wins an award of note in his career.

  8. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: I don’t want to overstate it, but imo he’s a guy you might try there. Glencross might be going through a hot streak now and spend two years being a lesser player but he would bring speed, some skill and plenty of abandon to the Horc-Hemsky line.

  9. Black Dog says:

    Interesting stuff LT. I know a lot of people worry about Raffi getting traded and then the 3rd line LW eggs being in Ethan’s basket but this kid looks like he might be able to take that role at least.

    He can skate. He has pretty good hands. And I would say he seems to think the game pretty well.

    I would say that any thoughts of Lowe going out and getting a top 6 forward have to be dead now, no? Young and deep up front – its something to see.

  10. Dennis says:

    Pat: I would hope that Lowe doesn’t move on a top six forward because this team can score goals and it would be scoring even a few more had Stoll gone down for the season instead of Horc. Plus, I’d rather spend some money to augment a young forward corps with a more veteran D; it would be nice to have some guys with experience who know what to do to relieve the pressure when our creative kids turn the puck over at the other blueline.

    When it comes to Moreau vs Raffi, you have 18 being able to penalty kill, he’s the captain, he’s nearly 33 and he can’t stay healthy anymore. On the other side you’ve got Raffi who’s making a little more money, can play tough min and isn’t in his 30′s. The only reason why you’d ever choose to keep 18 is if 14 brought a lot more back in a deal or you were just stubborn about dealing away your captain.

    I also worry about 10′s status, too, BTW. Will Lowe be so buoyed by the late season run that he’ll decide that we no longer need Horc? Maybe and I’ll say he would’ve done it for sure if Stoll hadn’t totally shit the bed once he got the promotion to play with Hemsky.

    So many decisions to make next year and as long as the Oilers keep 14-34 as tough line wingers, I think this team should be an absolute fucking beast at Rexall where MacT can give the kids the soft min and the first shift after the opp’s PP expires.

  11. HBomb says:

    For anyone arguing for Raffi to be traded, your arguments for Moreau would be all well and good if not for the fact that we’ll be looking at Glencross as the 3LW and Jacques as the 4LW by the end of October when Moreau breaks or dislocates something.

    He’s played 32 games the last two seasons. He cannot be relied on. Torres is inconsistent, yes, but he’s younger, only has one injury against his record, can play the tough minutes and can score 20 goals a season. Flat-out, he’s a better player than Moreau. Intangibles only make that up in Moreau’s favor if you know he’s going to be healthy all season.

    Guess what? That’s a terrible horse to bet the rent money on. Because if Ethan was a horse, they would have taken him out behind the barn with the double-barrel and done the dirty deed by now.

  12. toqueboy says:

    is it just me or does it seem like everyone wants to put a package together for “a top six goal scorer”…i think we’re going to have to accept that unless lowe can pull a coup, penner was aquired last year to be this player…like it or not…he’s our top six scorer.

    any other attempt to get a 4-5 million player in the top six is going to put us in a horrible cap position that just stinks of what calgary is going to go through this summer.

    i think this summer should be about shedding salary so that we are in a position underneath the cap that lends to options. this crap of us being banged up against the cap is the biggest ‘item’ that needs to be addressed this offseason. having an inflated salary structure to appease fans that we’re ‘spending to the cap’ is ridiculous. as we’ve seen…cap and contracts equals a very difficult time tryinrevamp situations.g to make something happen in the trade

  13. Moose says:

    LT, I gotta say, the suggestion that Stoll is close to slipping out of the league is kinda ridiculous.

    Anybody who’s a top 10 guy on the dot, and can shoot the puck like that on the PP has enough to stick somwhere. Hell, look at how long Yanic Perrault has stuck around and he can’t skate worth a shit and he certainly can’t shoot it like Stoll can.

  14. godot10 says:

    Penner and Nilsson are our top six goal scorers for now.

    Trade Stoll. Keep Reasoner and Pouliot and Torres for now. I’d like to see Torres without Stoll.

    Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky
    Nilsson, Cogliano, Gagner (however they line up)
    Moreau, Pouliot, Pisani
    Glencross, Brodziak, Stortini
    Torres, Reasoner.

    Torres gives the option of going….

    Penner, Gagner, Hemsky
    Torres, Cogliano, Nilsson
    Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani
    Glencross, Brodziak, Stortini
    Reasoner, Pouliot

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    Lowe did mention on the radio a few months ago that he wants to keep the 1st line intact for a while, and will be working on the Horcoff extention this summer.

    Or course that was pre-injury.

    Then again, MacT probably has a say in it, and I think both of them realize how much losing Horcoff hurts them 5 on 5.

    If Horcoff is healthy, and the injury is not expected to hurt him in his near future, lock him up. Upwards to 5M.

    With respect to Moreau – I think he’s a bit overrated when it comes to EV. Plus, the guy takes too many penalties. The fact is, his best years are behind him and recently he’s been made out of glass. If there is any value on the market for him, I don’t see why you don’t move him.

    It will be interesting how much Glencross will end up making. I think he’ll get at least 1.3M – maybe more.

    Stoll – I think you use him to move say 10 spots up in the draft. Or get 2 second rounders for him.

    Nilsson – it all depends on the RFA offersheet. He’d certainly get less than 1.5M if there’s no RFA threat – if there is a threat, he may wind up making close to 2.0-2.5M

  16. Lowetide says:

    Moose: I really don’t think it is. Stoll’s EV/60 number is .71, which is comparable to Mark Smith.

    Stoll’s FO and PK ability are the reason he’ll get another contract but if he can’t contribute at a reasonable level he’ll see his TOI reduced.

    This season, Stoll’s EV TOI pr game is 11:14, Mark Smith’s is 5:37. If Stoll continues to underperform at this level his playing time will be cut back and if that happens the Oilers aren’t going to pay him.

    It’s already affecting his value, he certainly won’t get the contract one would have guessed he would before the concussions and at this point I can’t imagine the Oilers giving him more than a one year deal.

    If he can’t get his career back in 08-09 he’s going to be a free agent or offered a deal at a very reduced price.

    He’s at a crossroads.

    btw, Yanic Perreault’s EV/60 number this season is 1.47 and he’s having a terrible year.

  17. rickibear says:

    I have been thinking of the positive of our center wing combinations all year.What they generated at there best. What was their best 1/2 to 1/4 year pace projected over a year.

    First line Fit And Healthy
    Nov.20 -Feb.6 36Games
    1LW: Penner 14G 25P 82GM 32G 57P
    1C: Horcoff 14G 36P 82GM 32G 82P
    1RW: Hemsky 9G 36P 82GM 21G 82P

    Young Three set up as a Line.
    Jan.17-Mar.28 31Games
    2LW: Nilsson 6G 23P 82GM 16G 61P
    2C: Cogliano 11G 26P 82GM 29G 69P
    2RW: Gagner 10G 33P 82Gm 26G 88P

    GlenX traded for; paired with Brodziak; Pisani physically progressed & on PP.
    Feb.12-Mar.28 22Games
    3LW: GlenX 7G 11P 82GM 26G 41P
    3C: Brodziak 8G 13P 82GM 30G 49P
    3RW: Pisani 9G 13P 82GM 34G 49P

    Our fourth line (the rest) Moreau and Reasoner had chemistry in the Pre-season. Was it because of Brodziak on the RW?
    4LW:Moreau 25GM 5G 9P 82GM 16G 30p
    4C: ?????
    Feb.12-Mar.28 21Games
    4RW:Storitini 1G 8P 82GM 4G 30P

    The second and third lines make it clear why we are having the run for the playoffs.
    Our PK is covered by Horc, Moreau, Brodziak, Pisani. Though Reasoner is Statistically our best PK guy. Is this enough of a reason to retain as 4C.

    Do we retain Pitkanen? $$$ dictate:

    one EV pair is:
    Jan.10-Mar.28 31 games
    Grebeshkov 2G 11P 82GM 5G 35P
    .6HT/gm 1BK/GM
    All year & career
    Staios 82GM 6G 21P
    1HT/GM 2.25BK/GM PK 4.37GA/60

    Next EV pair:
    He yeilded to Pitkanen on the offensive side for the first 20 Games. After that he took on a more offensive role.
    Gilbert 59GM 11G 28P 82GM 15G 40P
    .3HT/GM 2BK/GM PK 4.47GA/60

    Terrible on generating EV offence but miles ahead of the rest of the team (3.07G/60)on even defence (except M. Greene 2.38G/60)and our best(historically top 5 in league) PK/PP dman.
    He played 6 Games healthy and 20 Games with a bad shoulder.

    Souray: 26GM 3G 10P 82GM 9G 32P
    1HT/GM 1 BK/GM PK 3.68GA/60 (6th)
    EV 2.42g/60

    A logical third pair would be Pitkanen paired with M. Greene. Our most offencively skilled Dman with our most Physical and best EV GA.

    The big problem is if you look at Staios, Pitkanen, Smid, Gilbert, and Grebeshkov. 3.07G/60 does not cut it when 8 of the top 11 teams are 2.6/60 or less and from the western conference. That has to be our standard for achieving the playoffs.

    Sorry for doing the D but this point has been eating me for the last 20 Games.

    We need Defencemen who offensively are 3.0-2.8GF/60 and below 2.6GA/60

    Of our DMen Souray and Greene fit defensively 2.4 GA/60 but are terrible GF though. The proper slotting with Offensive D would make a difference.

    Pitkanen is 3.17GF/60 and 3.11GA/60if he had skated with A physical Low GA Dman

    Grebeshkov and Gilbert had maintained 2.7GF 2.7GA most of the year.

    Staios 2.4 GF 3.2GA I wish we would move him but it won’t happen because of leadership.


    I would take Staios dollars adn Go after Aaron Ward for Pitkanen.

  18. Dennis says:

    LT was talking about how we’ll get a glimpse of Lowe’s ’09 expectations by how he deals with the glut at pivot and I dare say we can do the same by watching the way he sculpts the D.

    - Pitkanen stays unless he asks for too much
    - Gilbert showed more two-ways in a ~25 segment awhile ago than any of the other D. Plus, I don’t think we can look past just how much more offense he can give us when he gets more comfortable and begins to jump into the play on a more regular basis
    - Grebs has come around and is one of the coterie of offensive dmen that Lowe brought in not too long ago
    - You couldn’t move Souray with a tandem
    - Staios is reasonably priced
    - Greene tells jokes;)
    - Lowe put a lot of money on Smid not too long ago.

    In looking at that list one of these guys won’t be seeing regular time in ’09 up until the point that Souray re-injuries himself.


    - will Lowe be content enough with Roy-Peckham-Chorney as depth as to deal off one of 2-5-37?
    - if be brings back 16, will that plus the re-addition of 10 be enough to convince him that more vets up front can offset the all the youth on D?
    - if Lowe deals away Stoll and let’s Reasoner walk — and no, I can’t see both guys being ushered out — and goes 10-89-51-78 down the middle, will he try and make up the experience by bringing in another vet on D?

    If I had money to place right now, I’d bet that Lowe looks at ’09 as a year where, despite the youth, the Oilers should still manage to sneak into 7th or 8th and this means he can hold off on any big moves for one more season and then come next May, he’ll decide which one of the kids can’t cut it and then he’ll jump to improve the D.

    LT: Regarding 16′s icetime, I don’t think 89′s gonna take a significant cut in TOI and we know how MacT loves to lean on 10 so where in the name of gawd are we gonna find the min for everyone? Is it really worth paying Stoll to win draws, kill penalties and take the scraps after 10-89 get their cut? That’s not to mention Brodziak who’s making a push as well and is super cheap?

    Even though I’m a guy who thinks 16′s gonna bounce back, I really don’t want to pay him and let a Torres walk away, either. I think 51 or 78 would be fine on a secondary tough min line as long as they’re flanked by 14-34.

    Finally, at what point we do throw up our hands and walk away from 20? Just hear me out for a second here. If we bring back Torres, just how much time are we gonna be able to give our 4th line, anyway? And how do we measure the benefits of playing a 4th line for reg min at the expense of extra time for the 10-89 combo?

    That’s not to say I don’t like 20 because I”m a big fan but last night, for instance, he played just three min less than Nilsson. Is that something you want happening going forward?

    Glencross is picking a bad time for us to have a great 4th line season because I don’t want to keep him at the expense of the couple of hundred K that could cost to extend either of 10-25-77. Let’s not forget the real difference makers here and unless you’re certain that 20 can ascend to a bigger role, shouldn’t we have a line in the sand to what we pay 4th liners? Let’s not forget what happened with Fernie and Moreau and the difference they do or don’t make for their money or that we’re paying a third pairing D over 5 mill. We don’t have a lot of wiggle room to keep paying any more guys more than what they can cover.

    I think that at a certain point, you let 20 walk, you move up 51 or 78 between 14-34 and then the loser of that battle, along with 46, becomes the genesis of the 4th line with JFJ and Reddox slogging it out for the LW role.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: If it’s my team, they’d break camp thusly:

    Extras: Reasoner, Jacques

    D Pairings
    Veteran D-Gilbert


    Which sends away Stoll, Moreau and Greene. Make the veteran D a ruffian but more than that make sure he has calm feet and gives MacT a guy to throw out there when it’s going sideways.

    The Oilers blueline the past two seasons can be best described as “hey Marquette Frye, the police are pulling you over.”

  20. Asiaoil says:

    LT – your lineup looks largely bang-on to me and leaves us with Stoll, Greene and Schremp as trade chips.

    I do however agree with Dennis in that we should not get too wound up about GX and overpay. If someone wants to give him $1.5 million then I let him walk and we keep both Moreau and Torres. Torres can play top 6 and tough minutes and Moreau would do just as well or better as GX on the 4th line plus all the leadership and intangibles.

    Stoll is just done on this team – and he was filling his diaper long before getting the top line ice time. There are no reasons to keep him and pay that kind of money for a forward version of Souray (ineffective at ES, mediocre defense, big shot on the PP). Especially when we can resign Marty for veteran support, PK and faceoffs for half the price. What else does Stoll give you other than the opportunity to watch him pulverize sticks on the PP and we are already overpaying Souray for that.

    Take a look at TBL – they moved salary with the Richards trade but have no depth and tons of UFA. They seem like a prime target to move a few guys like Stoll, Schremp and Greene for a player and/or high pick. One place I could see a multi-player blockbuster – something like:

    To TBL: some combination of Stoll, Greene, Schremp, Roloson, draft pick

    To EDM: Kuba, Denis, first round pick

    Denis and Roloson are cap moves. Cap favors us – salary is a wash next year – but Roloson can still play in the NHL for TBL. If Denis can’t be our backup then we dump him in the minors and he’s off our cap (unlike Roloson).

    I think there is a deal to be made there as TBL is desperate for cheaper young vet depth and we are one of the few teams that could take Denis off their hands in a way that works for everyone. Would they deal Kuba? Who knows but there is still a deal to be made without him that sends some combination of Stoll, Greene, Schremp or Roloson over for their pick.

  21. HBomb says:

    Would I ever like to see the Oilers take a run at local boy Mike Commodore in the UFA derby this summer.

    Pitkanen-Commodore-Souray-Gibert-Staios as a top five sounds pretty decent to me.

  22. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – I’m with you – I think Lowe mostly stands pat this summer, moving out one or two guys but mostly going with the kids – see if they can get to the playoffs next year. See what happens and then fine tune.

    Of course I will regret saying this but I think they extend Horc this summer. Lowe and MacT have to know that if Horc was between Penner and Hemsky then this team likely has a couple of more wins and then we know where they are.

    Plus Horc is MacT’s boy and he was also money in ’06. Outplayed Thornton, lots of big goals, it ges on and on. Just as Smyth was moved because he was fifth in scoring that spring so will Horcoff get signed because of what he did then.

  23. Dennis says:

    Pat: We all go back and forth on just how much input MacT has on MGMT decisions but if we agree that the 94 move was more of a reaction by Lowe than MacT, then MacT might be able to call in a marker and make sure that Horc stays.

    LT: I really like the look of your team and I’m just wondering what you’d try and get for all of 2-16-18. Also, you’re ready to make 5 the 7th dman?

  24. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: I’d like them to get a stud Dman, a real piss cutter in his late 20s.

    As for Smid, I like him and maybe he plays ahead of Grebeshkov or someone else but it’d be alright to back up the depth chart.

    Besides, being 7D to start the season on this team means you’re top 4 by the end of October. :-)

  25. Coach pb9617 says:

    I can’t see the management team bringing in anyone that will be significant. They’ve got to dump two of three of Stoll, Torres and Moreau. There is finally depth on defense, and if it does take trading a young defender to move the forwards, then I could see making a run at someone like Orpik or Commodore. Reasoner will be back, with good reason, and 7 of the top 9 are already set. There isn’t much cap room, even if you dump two of the three forwards, and they need to reup everyone that LT talked about.

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