Opening Night Lineups in Recent Seasons

Now that the Oilers have done their summer shopping we can have some fun with projecting lines and roles each player will be asked to fill by MacT.

The lines are a moving target (and any MacT line setup should be written in pencil) but at the very lest it gives us an idea about the skill level, size, toughness and the number of actual veteran players who are after all the men who make the difference in the NHL.

Here are the starting lines and pairings for opening nights over the last few seasons:

Opening Night Fall 2005
  1. L1: Horcoff-Smyth-Dvorak
  2. L2: Peca-Torres-Hemsky
  3. L3: Stoll-Moreau-Pisani
  4. L4: Reasoner-Harvey-Laraque
  5. D1: Pronger-Staios
  6. D2: Ulanov-Smith
  7. D3: Cross-Bergeron
  • Important things to note here are just how many two-way veterans are in the lineup up front. Dvorak might not look sexy in the top 6 but he did some nice things. It’s also interesting to note that Mike Peca is out there again and the current group of forwards could use a hand like Peca.
  • The combined NHL games played of this D group opening night was 3333. Pronger (722), J. Smith (710), Ulanov (702), Cross (603), Staios (537) and Bergeron (59). That’s a lot of NHL experience and I think this roster represents MacT’s comfort zone: Some gifted young players coming along in defined roles, with veterans surrounding them both F and D.
Opening Night Fall 2006
  1. L1: Horcoff-Smyth-Lupul
  2. L2: Sykora-Torres-Hemsky
  3. L3: Stoll-Moreau-Pisani
  4. L4: Reasoner-Thoresen-Winchester
  5. D1: Tjarnqvist-Smith
  6. D2: Smid-Staios
  7. D2: Bergeron-Greene
  • Important notes here include Smid’s role on the team despite being 20 years old and having no NHL experience, the hugely significant change on the 1line and the fact that Stoll-Moreau-Pisani was together two opening nights in a row.
  • The combined NHL games played total for those 6 defensemen entering opening night was 1871: J. Smith (786), Staios (619), Tjarnqvist (278), Bergeron (134), Matt Greene (27) and Ladislav Smid (0). The Oilers began the season with two rookies and another player with less than 2 NHL seasons under his belt, and gave up over 1450 games of NHL experience to the previous club (that had a very strong chance at the Stanley).

Opening Night Fall 2007

  1. L1: Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
  2. L2: Stoll-Torres-Nilsson
  3. L3: Reasoner-Sanderson-Brodziak
  4. L4: Cogliano-Jacques-Gagner
  5. D1: Pitkanen-Staios
  6. D2: Souray-Greene
  7. D3: Tarnstrom-Gilbert
  • Important notes here include the promise of that 2line, how much Brodziak had impressed during TC to earn that elevated role, the fact that Jacques is so unique he keeps getting chances. For those who STILL complain about Horcoff in the 1line role: give your head a shake. You don’t keep a job for three NHL seasons if the results aren’t there.
  • The combined NHL games played this time? 1558. Staios 677, Souray 506, Tarnstrom 258, Pitkanen 206, Greene 105 and Gilbert 12. Only one rookie this time, who would eventually pass Greene during the season (he passed Smid in TC). ANOTHER 313 games lost in terms of NHL experience when compared to the Stanley team.

Opening Night 2008 (Projected)

  1. L1: Horcoff-Nilsson-Hemsky
  2. L2: Gagner-Penner-Cole
  3. L3: Cogliano-Moreau-Pisani
  4. L4: Brodziak-Pouliot-Stortini
  5. D1: Souray-Visnovsky
  6. D2: Grebeshkov-Gilbert
  7. D3: Smid-Staios
  • The forward lines were posted in the “peek at the depth chart” thread by Coach. I’m not saying it’s how MacT will break camp (and I’m still loving the idea of a Brodziak-Cole-Pisani line) but this makes all kinds of sense if the plan is to have two scoring lines. Two forwards on each of the top 2lines are veteran and the kids on each line are very talented. It’s a fine use of resources.
  • The combined NHL games played for this top 6? 2128. Staios (759), Souray (532), Visnovsky (499), Smid (142), Grebeshkov (104) and Gilbert (94). It’s headed in the right direction (a 570 game improvement year over year) but there are THREE defensemen with less than two complete NHL seasons experience. I think the Oilers need to add a veteran defender MacT can count on when the chips are down. Injuries and slumps will give Smid plenty of chances to get into the lineup, but if Staios goes down we’re looking at Roy or Peckham and all of a sudden there’s a ton of pressure on a very young trio and two veterans not known for being complete players.
  • I do like this team. I also like the fact that all over the Western Conference there are teams that seem to be running in place or falling behind. Curious choices in the division (Colorado, Vancouver) and a club going through an awkward looking youth movement (Calgary) leave Edmonton as a possible second choice in the division behind Minnesota. If they could add a veteran defenseman with a wide range of skills, the Oilers might be two things they haven’t been in several October’s: balanced and multidimensional.
  • I understand what the Oilers are trying to do in terms of going cheap on the back end of the blueline. For me, it might be a better plan to deal off some of these young defenders (as they did with Greene) and ask Lowe/Huddy whomever to pick off a nicely priced veteran from the Staios-Hejda tree for fill a 5-6 role with a younger player. Imagine how impressive this lineup would be if they had one more veteran defender for the top 4.
  • I believe the Oilers get that player before the fall and they move Roloson’s contract to make room. Just a hunch.

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36 Responses to "Opening Night Lineups in Recent Seasons"

  1. Asiaoil says:

    Decent lineup LT – but I can’t see Cogs being ready for that 3rd line tough matchup gig. I love the player but he’s too inexperienced to match up with top line centers, his faceoff skill are poor, and he got knocked around pretty badly against anybody other than weaklings last year. He may be Butch Goring v2.0 – but not this season.

    Frankly given our top 6 of Hemmer, Horcoff, Penner, Cole, Gags and Nilsson – I don’t know where Cogs fits anymore and the Cole trade only made that worse not better.

    For me MAP is a much better option unless we bring a vet – MAP is bigger, good passer, more experienced, and decent ES numbers in a small sample. I think he could work between Moreau and Pisani.

    We do need to make some decisions on all these young centers this year and the only way to do that is give them the minutes…….but there are just too many IMHO and somebody has to go.

    I’d still be willing to deal a couple of young forwards like Cogs, plus Schremp and young dman like Chorney for a difference maker at any position. ATL needs a deal like this in the worst way – but they have nothing to give aside from the Russian and Lehtonen.

  2. budorduke says:

    I would like to see the kid line get a chance at the start. Why not:

    Horc Cole Hemsky
    Gagner Cogliano Nilsson
    Brodziak Penner Pisani
    Pouliot Moreau Storts

    The first line will have speed to burn, I think Horc and Cole can keep up with Hemsky better than anyone on the team in terms of their styles coinciding more than the other speed players we have, like Cogs or Nilsson. The Gagner with Hemsky experiment comes to mind when Gagner kept running into Hemskys back on the right side.

    The second line showed real promise and creativity near the end of 08. Why not give them 15 – 20 games.

    The third line has size and Pisani and Brodziak bring it down to earth. Also did anyone else notice that Pisani evidenced a little more “dangle” last year along with Brodziak? Maybe the kids are wearing off a bit.

    Fourth line duty could see stretches of Brule, Jaques, Scremp etc as required, but Moreau’s elevated energy should ensure effort out of that group.

    I think MacT could use these four lines to decimate a team like Calgary or Vancouver. That said, coaches lines sound fine as well.

  3. budorduke says:

    PS sounds as though Omarra is bulked up and ready to possibly challenge as well, 6-2 and 210 – 215 pounds.. Could fill a GlenX void at some point in the year.

  4. HBomb says:

    How would I do it right now?

    Cole Horcoff Hemsky
    Penner Gagner Nilsson
    Cogliano Pouliot Pisani
    Moreau Brodziak Stortini
    EXT: Two of Brule, Schremp, Jacques, Potulny, etc.

    First line power vs power, second line getting the most sheltered minutes. Essentially it would be “learning on the job” for Pouliot and Cogliano in a secondary tough minutes (Pisani would earn every dollar covering their butts, but he’s one of the two guys on the team I’d trust with such a task, Horcoff being the other).

    It would be nice to get an experienced RW to play with Moreau and Brodziak and create a super-effective 4th line capable of more than just the token minutes against the other team’s “scrubs”. What IS Mike Johnson up to these days anyways?

    Anyways, this team is Mike Peca and Jason Smith away from being the favorite in the division. No joke.

  5. Ducey says:

    From his comments in the Journal today, it sounds like Lowe is not going to do much until camp. Thats fine by me.

    Asiaoil,
    I can’t see what good dealing away Cogs, Schremp and Chorney would do. You’re sure you real name is not John Ferguson Jr., eh?

    This team is going to make the playoffs, but is not going to get very far. The goal has to be to be contending for a cup in a year or two and stay at that level for a few years. The best way to do that and still fit under the cap is to develop the young guys.

    You may feel Cogs can’t play shutdown centre in October. Maybe not, but by Feb he might be able to and I think he could do the job in a year or two. Cogs has everything you could ask in a hockey player – heart, brains, world class speed, and talent – you don’t just give that up for the short term.

    As for Chorney and Schremp – they are not worth much now. Based on MacT’s comments, Schremp might have finally figured things out – why dump him for another flawed older player?

    The plan for this team has to be to look towards the trade deadline. By that time they will be able to determine what they need. I expect that some of the GM’s who are overspent are going to be looking to dump salary then too.

    By the way, the biggest issue come camp is going to goaltending. Going with a 3 headed tandem is going to be tough on everyone.

  6. David says:

    I think Schremp forces his way into the opening night line-up. He’s trending upwards fast, and I think that may leave Pouliot as someone who makes this team as a thirteenth or fourteenth forward.

    Or they could just trade Pouliot. Perhaps the kid could use an organization that needs him to be a second line center, and would try to nuture him into that role.

  7. Ribs says:

    For those who were hoping Vasicek would come, he’s signed on with Yaroslav Lokomotiv.

  8. Scott says:

    What top 4 vet D is still out there right now? I certainly wouldn’t have seen Hejda when they picked him up, but it wasn’t as though he was instantly in the top 4 at EV either.

    The three UFA options I can see out there that fill the void of a veteran D-man with some pedigree in the toughs are Hedican, Seidenberg and Malik. Hedican and Seidenberg both had good years last year and pretty bad ones the year before.

    Marek Malik has played 649 NHL games. He was 1st among Rangers D in QC and excelled, with a 2.99 GF/h vs. 1.63 GA/h. The year before he was playing the soft minutes and killing them, going 3.33 GF/h vs. 1.79 GA/h. He was also an effective penalty killer the last two seasons. He was in the press box a whole bunch this year which may speak to some underlying issues with his personality given his performance was great. Or maybe his performance just doesn’t look effective since he’s slow. Really slow. When I went to watch a Habs-Rangers game at MSG last year, he was playing and all the fans hated him, yelling at him (we were close enough that when they screamed in unison he may have even been able to hear) every time he came to our end of the ice. They felt justified when in overtime he got beat bad by someone going wide. The guy didn’t score, but it was brutal. But the numbers look great.

    Seidenberg was 3rd among D for Carolina this past season in QC, but I think that this was his first season doing any heavy lifting, he was in the negative at EV two years ago and he’s actually not much of a vet (225 GP), so we could probably leave him out.

    Hedican will be turning 38 before the season starts so he really very old. That said, he was first among Carolina D this season in AC and finished with 3.58 GF/h vs. 2.60 GA/h. The problem as I see it is that the last number isn’t really all that good for a “shut-down” guy. Also, the year before he was 4th or 5th in QC, but he allowed a lot more: 2.38 GF/h vs. 3.(it doesn’t matter) GA/h. He has played in 988 NHL games, but judging from some of the high numbers in the GA column he doesn’t really seem well-suited to “shut-down” minutes, especially if we’re playing with a tight lead.

    I really think that Malik is the best option, but I think the style of his effectiveness will cause Oiler fans to hate the guy (at least that was my impression in NY).

  9. Jonathan says:

    For those who were hoping Vasicek would come, he’s signed on with Yaroslav Lokomotiv.

    Well, that leaves Tjarnqvist, Brylin, Hlavac, Gelinas and Brown as legit veterans with success against tough competition.

  10. BBZC says:

    This is the way I see the forwards looking next season

    Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky
    Gagner-Cole-Pisani
    Cogliano-Nilsson-Schremp
    Brodziak-Moreau-Stortini/new enforcer
    Reasoner-Pouliot

    Mac T rolls four line again. Schremp replaces Gagner on the “kid line” and plays softies, Horcoff line plays tough minutes.

  11. Gord says:

    jonathon,

    I am positive Tjarnqvist just signed in Colorado……

    On a relevant note, nothing wrong with going with our present defensemen – let the kids continue the learning curve.

    If perchance injuries (or a potential deep playoff run) forces our hand, then we can trade for an experienced rental player prior to the trade deadline…

  12. PDO says:

    Roloson to a team trying meet the cap floor, Havlat for Schremp?

    Just saying…

  13. Ribs says:

    Yea, Tjarnqvist signed for cheap in colorado ($0.75M) a couple days ago. Great pickup if he can play. It looks like he played a grande total of 18 games with Lokomotiv last year, garnering 1G & 2A in the regular season. He played 8 playoff games and managed to get 4 A for his troubles.

    the price is right but I’m guessing he won’t play many games this season.

  14. honkey says:

    Me thinks Jonathan is talking about Mathias, he’s still available. Since it was his brother that signed with Colorado a few days back.

  15. spOILer says:

    In an interview earlier this week MacT said that he would be remiss if he did revisit the Kid Line next season.

    That’s not saying he won’t change his mind in TC, but I think that’s his starting point right now, till he gets all the bodies on blades.

    PENN HORC HEMS
    NILS COGL GAGN
    COLE BROD PISA
    MORE POUL SCHR

    I think that’s how it will shake out. MacT may use the 3rd line as a whip with Penner — if he doesn’t hit or use his body, he gets flipped to the 3rd for Cole.

    Brodz deserves a shot to move up somewhere. This is a guy who generates 1 or 2 absolute quality scoring chances a game. We should exploit that somehow. Cole will be a better wingman than GX.

    Hockey Jesus will get his shot. How long he lasts is anyone’s guess. They could play Stortini on the road, if necessary, & Moreau is a pretty good baby-sitter anyway.

    Seems sad though to waste Cole on the 3rd, and I think after a couple of weeks MacT will see the light and run something closer to Coach’s line-up:

    PENN HORC HEMS
    NILS GAGN COLE
    MORE COGL PISA
    SCHR BROD STOR

    I have Nilsson and Penner flipped from his line-up because I don’t think Nilsson is enough of a goal-scorer for Hemsky’s talents (too many passers on that line), and really he should be the play-maker for the two goal-scorers on the 2nd, not Penner.

    I’m not convinced we have that “balance” you mentioned, LT. This roster really isn’t a good mesh of resources. We’re either wasting a Penner, Cole, or Cogliano on the third, and likely a Moreau on the 4th or go with a 4th line that sucks dust bunnies. Not to mention, we can’t have Cogliano and Gagner both playing centre, so which is it going to be?

  16. spOILer says:

    That should say “remiss if he didn’t revisit”

    Sheesh.

  17. Ducey says:

    “I think Schremp forces his way into the opening night line-up. He’s trending upwards fast…”

    I can’t say I agree. Potulny and Pouliot are clearly ahead of Schremp at this point. They have shown they can play some defence.

    There is the quote from the team last year along the lines of “some players win the battles in the corners, some players lose the battles in the corners, Robbie isn’t even interested in the battle”.

    You would assume that MacT’s positive remarks originated with Chad Moreau regarding Schremp’s training this off season. He still needs to show he can find a corner and his own zone and use his newfound fitness. I think he will need to prove this in the AHL. If he can, he will likely get an injury callup by midseason.

  18. Gags/Hemmer=Droolz says:

    The lines would be best like this I propose:

    Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Penner-Gagner-Nilsson
    Schremp-Cogliano-Brule
    Moreau-Brodizak-Pisani

    Visnovsky-Gilbert
    Souray-Grebeshkov
    Smid-Staios

    Garon
    Roloson

    The First line enables Hemsky to utilize his speed and skill efficiently playing with two other guys who have dynamite speed. Cole is also a big physical presence to replace Penner on this line.

    The Second line allows Gags and Nilsson to use their skill and creativity by having a big guy open up alot of space for them, I also think hes a better fit for those pair of playmakers then Cogs is.

    The third line is this years version of the Kid line, shelter them by giving them the least amount of minutes, but expect 15-18goals from them such as Gags and Nils did last year playing with Cogliano.

    The fouth line can be our shutdown line and I am more than willing to play them against tough opponents. The key for this trio will be staying healthy, and I say that this line will be more effective then Brodziak-Glenx-Storts last year.

    On defense We pair every Veteran with a Kid so that we are always filled with experience. We also have 4 guys on the backend who are solid puck-movers.

  19. dave says:

    I think it is always valuable to have a real shut down line especially when Zet, Dat, Hos are in town.

    Horc,Hem,(NilorCole)
    Gagne/Penner/(NilorCole)-(Penner was getting some C experiments for what ever reason last year)
    More,(Yelle)/Brodz,Pisani

    Then any combination line depending who’s playing better who we are playing against. I agree with everyone that doesn’t think Cogs is batting 3rd. We were calling for him to get sent down following that. We should be willing to give something up the middle to shore up the D agreed. Grebs and Gilbert will give us trouble and Gilbert will feel pressured.

    Can’t wait for puck drop.

  20. David says:

    “I can’t say I agree. Potulny and Pouliot are clearly ahead of Schremp at this point. They have shown they can play some defence.

    There is the quote from the team last year along the lines of “some players win the battles in the corners, some players lose the battles in the corners, Robbie isn’t even interested in the battle”.

    You would assume that MacT’s positive remarks originated with Chad Moreau regarding Schremp’s training this off season. He still needs to show he can find a corner and his own zone and use his newfound fitness. I think he will need to prove this in the AHL. If he can, he will likely get an injury callup by midseason.”

    Keep in mind that the comment by MacTavish came when he was asked about adding a third or fourth line checker. That he brought up Schremp, despite the context of the question, shows that he already has Schremp in mind as a prime candidate. I think MacTavish genuinely covets as many skilled forwards as he can cram into his line-up, so long as he can mold them into workable defensive players as well, ala Nilsson.

    I say he’s trending upward fast, because there’s been very little talk about what Schremp “needs to do” this summer. It’s all about “what he’s doing” and “good thing we’re hearing”. These are the types of comments that turn a good camp into a roster spot.

    I’m not saying that he’s written into a roster spot in ink, but I don’t think he needs to have a Gilbert-esque training camp to force his way into the line-up, just a good one.

  21. IceDragoon says:

    hbomb: Anyways, this team is Mike Peca and Jason Smith away from being the favorite in the division. No joke.

    You had me at “Mike Peca and Jason Smith“.
    ;-D

  22. Gord says:

    dave wrote “(Penner was getting some C experiments for what ever reason last year)”

    Penner was also taking some faceoffs near the end of the season with a 55% success ratio… That was my second clue that Stoll was going to be traded.

    My first clue was MacT continually putting Stoll on the point on every 1st PP shift – to pad his stats…

  23. Scott says:

    This team is not that much better than last year on D at EV. It might be worse. Pitkanen played some tough competition and came out even. I would expect that based on what happened last season and with what we have now Souray is going to be given the tough assignments. I don’t expect him to do very well.

    Say what you will about Matt Greene but the guy is a better option than Mathieu Roy and I would be (ecstatic but also) astounded if anyone we have in the AHL guys outperforms him at EV in the NHL this year in goal differential.

    I really like Visnovski, but I would be surprised if he can handle the toughs as well as Pitkanen did last year. I

    like Jason Smith, but he’s not the answer. Last year in Philly, the guy wasn’t getting the toughs and he couldn’t break even. Two years ago with us, he did get the toughs and didn’t exactly shine iirc.

    We need a guy that can play some tough minutes if we hope to improve defensively at EV.

  24. jon k says:

    I agree that the defense is moving in the right direction, but also further agree that 3 defenders who may still be classified as green is worrisome, especially when considering the likelihood of injury to one of the veterans.

    If this team was more interesting in winning this season, and a little less interested in bringing in the youth, inserting a Peca-type player and Smith-type player would go a very long way to helping our odds.

    Problem is, I think Smith is done, at least for the first few months of the season. He may bounce back, but I heard that he was close to signing in Buffalo but failed their physical on account of shoulder problems sustained in Philly’s run. Talk about giving it your all. He left it all on the ice for a team that wasn’t going to re-sign him, when his performance wasn’t likely to influence is value much as a known commodity.

    After him, there’s pretty slim pickings for veteran C’s and D’s who are still useful.

    Bret Hedican anyone?

  25. Ribs says:

    Hey guys, MacT just sent me an email with his plans for the lines this season…

    ………..{——}………………
    [====================]…………
    .(___________________)………….
    ..|O…………………|…………..
    ..|.I…………………|…………..
    ..|..L……………….|…………..
    ..|….E……………..|…………..
    ..|……R……………|…………..
    ..|……..S………….|…………..
    …(===============)……………
    ….| MAC-O-TRON .|……………..
    ….|..*** 2000 ***…|……………..
    ….|_____________|……………..
    …./=============\……………..
    …/__ON O OFF O___\…………….
    ../_________________\……………
    .[===================]…………..

  26. Jonathan says:

    Me thinks Jonathan is talking about Mathias, he’s still available. Since it was his brother that signed with Colorado a few days back.

    Yep, you got it.

    And incidentally, I’m firmly on the Curtis Brown bandwagon. As I wrote about him yesterday:

    He played limited ice time against the 4th toughest competition (among Sharks forwards), outscoring them with a very nice 2.83GFON to 1.96GAON. He averaged just over 10 minutes per game when he did play, but scored at a rate of 1.96PTS/60, indicating much better offensive ability than one would suspect coming from a guy with 9 points. He went 59.2% in the faceoff circle. He’s 32 years old and still seems to have some game left, and is reasonably sized but not big (6′, 200lbs). It’s a good bet that he’d be willing to sign for 600K/yr, and at that money has a really, really good chance of outperforming his contract. It’s a good bet MacTavish would love him, and HFBoards types would be angry at him for taking a roster spot from Brule.

    Incidentally, I don’t think Brule has much of a shot at making this team unless he blows everyone out of the water at training camp. Ryan Potulny needs to clear waivers, Rob Schremp is knocking at the door, and Liam Reddox had a breakout season last year. Guy Flaming had a standout article on Brule here, which nicely gives the details about Brule’s situation.

  27. danny says:

    So… I was sitting in front of a door and a security guy comes along and tells me ‘Sir you cant stay there you are blocking a fire escape’…

    … like if a fire broke out, I’d be blocking the fire escape? Aything with two legs and flammable will never be blocking a fire escape.

    … sorry, just watched a Mitch Hedberg clip and wanted to share :D

  28. RiversQ says:

    Ha ha, very good ribs. You forgot the icebreaker button.

    I agree. MacT will probably pretty much stick with his preferred forward pairs and mix and match the rest of them as needed.

    Probably 10/83, 27/89, 18/34 with everybody else switching around for the most part. 51/78 could be one as well depending on whether they pick up another veteran forward. Nilsson, Cole, and Cogliano will see a lot of different linemates methinks.

    LT would probably prefer Horcoff/Cole as a pair, but I doubt they’ll let Hemsky off the hook against top opposition. They’ve been grooming him too long and he’s finally good at it.

  29. Lowetide says:

    RQ: Actually I’d like them to roll Horcoff-Penner-Hemsky and the kid line as per last year, and then have Brodziak (or Pouliot, or hell sign Peca) play with Cole and Pisani.

    But it’s highly likely that your point re:MacT is the pertinent one.

  30. HBomb says:

    LT and RQ:

    Here’s something outside the box:

    Cole Horcoff Pisani
    Penner Gagner Hemsky

    Are Hemsky and Penner good enough respectively to cover for Gagner? Also the question arises – who plays with Cogliano and Nilsson?

    Another option is this, IF they deem Schremp ready:

    Cole Horcoff Hemsky
    Penner Cogliano Pisani
    Nilsson Gagner Schremp

    Third line clearly gets super-soft minutes, but given that Nilsson and Gagner seemed to click towards the end of last year, and Schremp/Nilsson worked together in the AHL, that might be an option.

    Most likely scenario?

    Cole Horcoff Hemsky
    Penner Gagner Nilsson
    Moreau Cogliano Pisani (with Cogliano to LW and Pouliot at centre as soon as Moreau gets injured again).

  31. Lowetide says:

    Well Cole Horcoff Hemsky is probably the most dangerous trio possible. Fair? Not “vaunt” but a miserable trio to play against.

    Penner with the two puck wizards would be terrific but what would be the degree of difficulty you’d trust them with?

    Penner is going to be a key element this winter.

  32. HBomb says:

    LT: There’s another alternative here, IF MacT wants to keep the kids together.

    Cole Horcoff Hemsky
    Cogliano Gagner Nilsson
    Penner Pouliot Pisani

    (Moreau-Brodziak-Stortini or some variation as the 4th line)

    I do not think they acquired Cole to not play with H&H. Penner on the 3rd line doesn’t look good on the surface, but a) that’s the de-facto second line most nights at ES, based on sheltering the kid line, and b) that’s not your average 3rd line. Penner and Pisani both have above-average finish, so a playmaker like Pisani might be the guy to set the table for those two.

    I do not think Moreau should be in the top nine. If that’s the case, the team needs another forward. Then again, did we not see Penner at center with Moreau and Pisani at times last season. Might we just see that again at times this year? Perhaps.

    Marty Reasoner is not the answer here. I reiterate that he should not be signed at all. First, they’d bring him in as a 13th forward and MacT would not be able to resist playing him 75+ games, and there’s better options out there that might just bring an added physical dimension that this team sorely needs (once again, we come back to Mike Peca).

  33. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think Schremp forces his way into the opening night line-up. He’s trending upwards fast,

    Based on…..?

  34. Schitzo says:

    Just something I was thinking about last night – even if we only keep Cole for a year, do you think Lowe is hoping he can teach Penner and Jacques a little bit about how you become a true power forward?

  35. Dennis says:

    I don’t think we can really count on 27 until he decides to lose the weight and keep it off. There were times last year when the HorPenSky line was a GPG but then 27 went cold afterwards and though he was our leading goalscorer, I believe Ty had a post where he showed that his P/60 wasn’t all that much to be cracked up about.

    Lots of questions when considering how Lowe might run things:

    - 78 looked for real down the stretch but is MacT ready to give him the second toughest pivot min? Whomever’s on that patrol will have 34 on his starboard side and 78/34 have worked together well before.

    - I called into Gregor’s show the other night to talk about this and he said 51 was one of the Oilers best defensive forwards last year. That was wrong and I told him so, but the other thing is MacT loves this guy so maybe he gets the 3rd line gig and 78 breaks in with 4th line.

    - how much can we really get out of 27 if we don’t give him primo min?

    - how much are we trying to coddle Cole given that we might want to bring him back?

    - if we’re trying to really win this year, you hope Peca doesn’t go back to SJ OR you look at Curtis Brown types. If you don’t do that, then it’s 13-51-78 for the last two spots. 19 hasn’t been brought back by now so I don’t think he’s coming back.

    - MacT might be hearing good gym-related Schremp stories from the other Mendelbaum — love that tag — but like the man said, here, until he can use that strenght in the corners, he’s still Falcons fodder for Oct ’08.

    - are you worried about “losing” Schremp mentally if you send him back and does that mean you give him a spot? Personally, I think we’ve developed enough players that we don’t need to coddle him and if he won’t play ball, then we send him back to triple A. And if he tears it up down there, then you look to offload 12 and his affordable contract/caphit.

  36. Master Lok says:

    Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Nilsson – Cogliano – Gagner
    Cole – Brodziak – Pisani
    Moreau – Pouliot – Stortini/Schremp

    Why? Because the key will be the PK.

    PK
    Horcoff – Pisani
    Brodziak – Moreau

    After rolling out Horc, Pies, Brodziak and Moreau – the only guys you have left who are fresh… are the kids. So the kid line stays reunited on the second line.

    The 3rd line is a defensive line. They take defensive faceoffs. They battle the top lines. Horc’s line can go top line for top line. Leaving the Kids line to feast on what’s left.

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