Ales Hemsky is worth the price of admission. He is easily the best of Edmonton’s skill right wingers this decade (Bill Guerin’s 12 games before the fall 2000 trade, Anson Carter’s 69 goals) and his spring 2006 (24gp, 6-11-17) topped off a wonderful 05-06 season and represented his arrival as a legit top line player who delivered on draft pedigree.

Hemsky has some company on RW and the depth chart at this position is excellent. Backing up Hemsky at the position are Robert Nilsson, Fernando Pisani and Zack Stortini.

As an example of just how good this group is, let’s list the EV/60 numbers for each and compare it to their opposite number on the Calgary Flames:

  1. Hemsky 2.36 Vs. Iginla 2.85
  2. Nilsson 2.37 Vs. Nolan 1.57
  3. Pisani 1.55 Vs. Moss 1.55
  4. Stortini 1.24 Vs. Godard 0.35

Louise mentioned in a previous post that Sam Gagner played his best games on the Soft Parade line while at RW, so if we put him in there instead of Nilsson that gap is somewhat less (1.96) but it still indicates that the Oilers can put up more EV offense when the cannons are pointed in the right direction than the Flames (save Jesus Iginla) right wingers.

If we complete the depth chart from the previous posts on the subject (and make the change Louise mentioned), we come up with this:

Keeping Glencross (C-LW-RW)

  1. Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
  2. Cogliano-Nilsson-Gagner
  3. Brodziak-Torres-Pisani
  4. Pouliot-Glencross-Stortini
  5. Moreau and Reasoner as extras

Keeping Stoll (C-LW-RW)
  1. Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
  2. Cogliano-Nilsson-Gagner
  3. Stoll-Torres-Pisani
  4. Brodziak-Moreau-Stortini
  5. Pouliot and Jacques as extras

I think either of these two forward groups have enough to make the playoffs. The keeping Glencross team has an area of obvious weakness (experience at C) but nice depth elsewhere. The Stoll group is better at center but would need to rely on JF Jacques should Moreau or Raffi go down and would be in real trouble if Stoll remains ineffective and injuries hit the LW again in 08-09.

Should they add a veteran NHL skill player who is a first shot scorer to either top 12 above then I think we can start talking about this forward group overtaking Colorado (for my money the best F cluster in the division during 07-08) as the best in the NW for 08-09.

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20 Responses to "Starboard"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Rob Schremp still has no spot, and I think I’m finally entering reality and coming to the understanding that he won’t be an Oiler. I’ll throw this out there again, because the more I think about it the more I like it. Schremp for Gilbert Brule (CBJ). We could thank GlenX for his services and wish him and his 1.5M good luck, and replace his crash-n-bang on the 4th line with someone younger and with a higher ceiling.

    Brodziak-Moreau-Brule as your 4th line with Pouliot and Stortini as extras.

  2. Asiaoil says:

    I like the “keep Glencross” lineup as long as he signs for $1 million and not a penny more – but I would make one change.

    The 2nd line is way too small and soft – yes it worked this season – but it’s not something you run with longterm and it’s an accident waiting to happen on the road where you can’t control the matchups. What we need on the 2nd line is more size. I would:

    1- put Pouliot between Nilsson and Gagner and play Cogs on the 3rd line, or

    2- play Torres with Gagner and Nilsson and again put Cogs on the 3rd line between Pisani and Moreau

    I like all of Gags, Cogs and Nilsson – but all three in the top six is just not a longterm solution – simply too small. So one of those 3 will be moved sooner or later – and as much as I like Cogs – I think it might be him.

    Cogliano to Toronto for the #7 pick? Would they do it? Should we do it?

  3. Bruce says:

    Stortini 1.24 Vs. Godard 0.35

    Gotta love that Stortini vs. Godard comparison. Or maybe that should read “no comparison”. I had a little statistical fun with that match-up on BofA a while back after some Calgary dude accused the Oilers of having the worst enforcer in the league. Zack kicked Godard’s butt in every way imaginable except possibly in whatever fight they might have had way back when, and really, who cares about that? 4th line RW is one position I am not worried about, at least until such time as 46 gets promoted to the third line. Realistically that’s at least 1-2 years off yet.

    Probably longer considering Fernando’s strong comeback this past season. He remains critical to the mix, for one thing he’s the only one of the five RW (inc. Nilsson and/or Gagner) who kills penalties. I still would like to see MacT give Hemsky a spin on the PK occasionally, Ales might make things interesting on the counterattack.

    With the expected (with speed bumps) improvement of 12 and 89, regardless of which one lines up on RW, Oilers will have a lot of playmaking pop coming from the right side.

    A strong unit all told. A little bump and grind and a lot of twist and shout.

  4. therealdeal says:

    The Vaunt #2?

    Seriously though I like the group but there are a couple guys (like Stoll or Moreau) that probably should be moved, if nothing else just to make room for the depth that does exist.

  5. Sean says:

    I’m with Doritogrande and AO on this. Schremp likely wont make the team and our 2nd line is too soft for a whole season. If we take LT’s statement “Should they add a veteran NHL skill player who is a first shot scorer to either top 12…” and remove the word veteran does Schremp have any chance of being that guy? The answer is yes, but its likely close to 10%.

    Is our captain really being considered an extra? He’s not Lanny MacDonald.

    AO – Should we consider Cogliano for the #7? No. We hit it big with Gagner last year and he’s the only other prospect on the team I’d take over 13. Could we do it again? Maybe but I doubt it.

    The lineups proposed is a very interesting set of alternatives. IMO Stoll is a better player than GX but for some reason, right now I’m kinda leaning towards the “with GX lineup”. Could go either way.

  6. Stuart van says:


    Stortini, Moreau and Reasoner as extras

    Gagner’s a better option than Penner on the 1st line. Schremp and Nilsson had chemistry in the AHL and could form the new kid line. The addition of Penner will make our 3rd line a top scoring line. And our 4th line will be unstoppable.

    Edmonton will be the new Buffalo, but with more grit.

  7. Quain says:

    The second line isn’t tough enough for the rigors of a full NHL season.

    Hey, I know! Let’s add Rob Schremp to it!

  8. Big T says:

    I like the GX line-up simply because there is less ‘what if’ to it – ie: a safer bet to outperform.

    I do think Moreau has a great deal to offer to this team and am less worried than most about his health. Clearly he’ll be in tough to outperform that contract of his but what is his trade value now? Raffi’s? Stoll’s?



  9. Bruce says:


    Stortini, Moreau and Reasoner as extras

    Edmonton will be the new Buffalo, but with more grit.

    In that line-up much of the grit is on the fifth line. Those first two lines would just get pounded.

  10. Rick says:

    Am I alone in not being able to picture the kid line staying intact beyond the first 10 or so games?

    I think we have to expect atleast one of these guys to take a temporary step back this season.

    Right now I picture Cogliano as that guy.

  11. PDO says:

    In my magical world…

    Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Torres – Cogliano – Pisani
    Moreau – Gagner – Nilsson
    GlenX – Brodziak – Stortini

    Reasoner and Pouliot extras. Stoll dealt at the draft.

  12. Big T says:

    New interview up on the Oilers website with Lowe. Lowe says he hasn’t had any discussions with Pitkanen’s agent whatsoever, and very few talks with Stoll and GlenX’s agents. Does say that this is no unusual for this time of year though.


  13. Jonathan says:

    Am I alone in not being able to picture the kid line staying intact beyond the first 10 or so games?

    Nope, you’re not. If I was a betting man, I’d say that Gagner gets bumped to 1st line LW, and Penner plays with Cogliano and Nilsson, with the bonus that Penner could help cover for Cogs in the faceoff department.

    Or, if Stoll gets dealt, maybe Cogs centres the third line and Torres jumps up with Gagner and Nilsson.

    But, whatever MacTavish comes out of training camp with will probably not resemble our projected lines, even if the personnel is the same.

  14. Oilmanic says:

    First reaction:

    I would like to think the strength of brodziak pushes out pouliot to save for a cheaper stoll. Thats the squeeze. (perhaps w Schremp?)

    Stoll and Moreau are the same player – (look at your previous description for Moreau) – so if you have them each for half a season, they complete one quality player.. or more if they can each stay healthy… thats the squeeze for stoli… imo wadr…

    Then, there is the Sourray factor which no reasonable fan can ignore or deny for long.. that extra shot on the pp, to match insignificant ev/pp’s, brings about squeeze of ‘taken’ financial spending on ‘a shot’… stoli loses that one too..

    unless of course they have the money,.. which could happen?!..


  15. Oilmanic says:


  16. Oilmanic says:

    One last thing,

    Boo-yeah Glencross, hoping 1.5 x 2 years…

  17. Bruce says:


    Oilmanic: Still confused. Even strength points per game? PPG has a double meaning, dammit.

    Agreed on your larger point that a healthy Souray (sic) makes Stoll’s big point shot redundant if not irrelevant.

    The thing about Stoll is he does so many different things you’re going to have to find a bunch of different guys to take on the various responsibilities, e.g. Souray on the PP point, Brodziak on the PK, Pouliot centring the third line, Penner taking the big draws, Reasoner soaking up more tough minutes, or whatever combination thereof actually works. If collectively Oilers can cover off Stoll’s strengths — and I’m not so sure they can — then certainly they will be able to improve on his weakneseses, primarily even strength play. And probably do it for less $$$.

  18. dawgbone says:

    I can’t see them going without Stoll this year.

    MacT really leaned on Stoll/Reasoner for a lot of faceoffs and I don’t think they’ve got anyone that can step up this next season and do that job.

    Granted they’ve got Horcoff back, which should help stop some of the bleeding that went on with 16 and 19. The Oilers relied too much on their centres last year to think they’d get rid of one now.

  19. Asiaoil says:

    People think that getting Stoll back to center the 3rd line is a good idea – not so in my opinion. Not only is he not a strong ES out-performer as has been proven over time – but he’s also expensive. If we want more veteran depth to take on the tough minutes for next year – there are guys who can do it better and cheaper than Stoll:

    Mike Peca (07-08) 65 8-26-34 -1 ($1.31 million)
    Jarret Stoll (07-08) 81 14-22-36 -23 ($2.2 million)

    …..and there are others.

  20. GSC says:

    Torres is mucho trade bait, folks…I can understand having him in the projected lineups since he’s technically still with the club, but I doubt he’ll be back. I feel like wasn’t part of the club at all after he went down with his knee, while the likes of Moreau, Horcoff, and Souray kept close tabs on things and stayed in the mix with the dressing room and the like.

    It’s a shame that he hasn’t developed the consistency in his game that he’s capable of. I’d love to have him and Stoll back at (or even near) their 05-06 season performance. They were great for this club and we haven’t seen them at that level since. Oh well, moves have to be made to free up salary and Raffi is definitely one of those on the chopping block.

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