Playoff Team?

Among the things we talked about on the various Oiler blogs today was the question of this team being a playoff club.

Are they better? I’d say they’re different.

Are they a playoff team? I’d say they are if they can stay (somewhat) healthy.

Health was the big issue for me at the beginning of the day, specifically left wing. I think bringing in Erik Cole (and sending away Raffi Torres) addresses this and although this club clearly isn’t finished yet you can see what the plan is on left wing:

  1. Cole
  2. Penner
  3. Moreau

I don’t know that they’ll play in that order (and the Kid Line isn’t represented) but it would seem to me that if we pencil in who is going to get the most TOI that’s the pecking order. Cole for the tough hauling and time on the PP, Penner for softer minutes and PP time too, and Moreau in the PK rotation with RW Pisani and C’s Cogliano, Brodziak and possibly Pouliot.

A few other points about today:

  1. I suspect Denis Grebeshkov is going to be very important to this defense. With Sheldon Souray and Ladislav Smid playing LD, Grebeshkov is likely to be the top option at EVs and will be paired with either Staios, Viznovsky or Gilbert. Another D should be on the shopping list.
  2. There is very little sandpaper left on this team. I’m certain Lowe will address this in the next few weeks too, and because of the need for more grit up front skill prospects have had their chances of making this team impacted by Kevin Lowe’s sending away Stoll, Greene and Torres. Tim Sestito has a better chance of making this team than Rob Schremp.
  3. I’d rather play Cole on a super outscorer line with Pisani and possibly Brodziak. Keep Horcoff between Penner and Hemsky, keep the kid line (Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson) together and then for the 4line roll Pouliot, Moreau and Stortini. Extras might be UFA signee Marty Reasoner and a physical role player who looks right now like he might be named Tim Sestito.

There’s a long way to go and today’s trades were a mixed bag. Picking up Erik Cole for Pitkanen is an upgrade in a position of need with the only negative being that Cole is UFA one season from now, and picking up Gilbert Brule improved their “flawed prospects from other organizations” list and gave MacT another project but it cost them grit, skill and an EVs warrior in Raffi Torres.

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46 Responses to "Playoff Team?"

  1. dwillms says:

    As I mentioned during last season, there is only one player currently on the roster who has scored 30 goals in a season at the NHL level.

    That player is Erik Cole. He needs to play on the top line with Hemsky & Horcoff.

  2. doritogrande says:

    The sandpaper will not be named Tim Sestito. He will be named Gilbert Brule.

    Seriously, this kid plays like a wrecking ball. I watched him singlehandedly destroy the Manitoba Moose this year in the Calder Cup playoffs. He hits EVERYTHING in sight, legally.

  3. godot10 says:

    I expect that the Oilers defense will be

    Vishnovsky, Staios
    Grebeshkov, Gilbert
    Souray, Smid (as the third pairing).

  4. Devin says:

    LT, why can’t you spell Visnovsky properly? ;)

  5. Alice says:

    fwiw,
    a friend who gets an oildrop paycheck says Hossa’s a near-lock

    I guess we’ll see soon enough.
    The deck chairs are certainly getting shuffled, though I’d prefer to see a nice 3M pickup who can outperform, we spent the last 9 months trying to stomach the Souray big-splash event. It’s a nice line in the sand tho, for those FA who didn’t take Edm as a serious destination.

    LT, you’ve got about 3km of blog here in the last fortnight – who the hell cuts your lawn?!

  6. Lowetide says:

    devin: I prefer the Baltic spelling. :-)

    dorito: Brule? I don’t think it’s a good idea for this kid to play limited minutes. Unless he comes in and takes charge ala Brodziak a year ago then it would be best imo to get him straightened out and pointed in the right direction. He didn’t play very damn much in Columbus, less than 10 minutes a game.

    dwilliams: Cole should play on the outscoring line. I’m sorry to put my foot down like this but it’s for your own good. :-)

  7. Lowetide says:

    Alice: I am married to the princess of goodness, who is also the angel of darkness.

    It works for us. :-)

  8. Black Dog says:

    Playoff team if they stay healthy. Look around the division – man some teams took a step back. Not sure what the Avs are doing and the Flames are short up front bigtime. The Canucks still need help up front and the Wild are going to miss Rolston and maybe Demitra is gone too.

    There is some vulnerability there.

  9. Coach pb9617 says:

    Another D should be on the shopping list.

    You are a smart blogger.

  10. budorduke says:

    Any idea on dollars Alice?

  11. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: Wild signed a nice UFA forward today and traded for a killer on the blueline. I hate them, I really do.

    VCR has Jesus Luongo and that’s like having the Braves starting rotation in the 1990s for every series.

    Calgary I think will be a team that starts off slow, gets the coach killed and then romps through the spring.

    Edmonton has some nice things but you can just tell we won’t be balanced when it’s time for takeoff.

    The Colorado Avalanche are a bunch of crazy bastards smoking spliffs and barking at airplanes.

  12. Devin says:

    BD- yes, but CHI is looking very strong, PHX is adding to the pile of talent, and teams like DAL, SJ and ANA were far enough ahead of us that their losses probably won’t bring them back behind us. I think as usual we live and die by how we play MIN, COL, CGY, VAN. This team in the EC would stomp 10 other teams :(

    Questions in the NW:
    - Does CGY add anything up front, and is Kipper an elite stopper in 09?
    - Does COL get Sakic back? I assume so, but what about their goalies? Raycroft?!
    - VAN has no one playing forward. Who replaces Morrison and Naslund?
    - MIN: Who replaces Demitra and Rolston? Their D looks great with Zidlicky added but they need FW depth.

    If we sign Hossa all bets are off, however. We could challenge for the WC.

  13. Coach pb9617 says:

    Cole should play on the outscoring line. I’m sorry to put my foot down like this but it’s for your own good. :-)

    Agreed. If Penner can’t find that December / January karma that he had going with Horcoff and Hemsky, then you get Cole in there. But Penner was on a 35 goal pace for those two months when they finally put it all together. Horcoff was headed for 30 goals and had a PPG pace in those two months. That is a HUGE line, no matter how you cut it.

    The kid line should continue to thrive with really soft minutes, so I wouldn’t touch them.

    Cole – Brodizak – Pisani just makes so much sense. It’s a line that could very easily play the toughs and pop in 50 goals. Cole and Pisani are likely 2 and 3 in the two-way forwards list on this roster and Brodizak isn’t far behind, though unproven. This line is just nightmarish to match if you are an opposing coach.

  14. misfit says:

    I’ve got to think they (either Lowe, MacT, or both) weren’t really happy with the way Penner performed on the top line, particularly after Horc went down, with all the talk of the need for a top 6 forward and then trading for a LW.

    Cole is definately going to get his time with the top line allowing MacT to go power against power as he so loves to do. Erik Cole is a prototypical Oiler, and should be a good fit. I’m just sorry it cost us Pitkanen to get him.

    I’ve got to agree with you on Grebeshkov, LT. In all interviews I’ve heard, Lowe seems very high on him. Last year he was pretty bad in the first hald, but ended the season looking great. The thing is, he turned the corner once he was paired with Gilbert. Almost to the day. I’d have to think that pair will stay together. Staios and Smid seems to be something Huddy likes, which leaves Souray and Vishnovky as the likely pair, which (at least style-wise) it seems like a good fit.

  15. Lowetide says:

    MC mentioned it over on his blog and it makes sense. IF the Oilers sign Hossa, they probably have to rid themselves of 2 out of 3 contracts:

    1. Roloson
    2. Souray
    3. Penner

  16. goldenchild says:

    Its hard to say how anyone will be used yet because we know there is definitely 1 more shoe to drop. If the Hossa hail Mary scores then another number of moves will be needed to get to the cap. If the Hail Mary fails then there is at least 1 more move to be made or the Torres deal makes no sense, Brule is not helping this team in 2008-09 and Lowe and MacT seem squarely focused on the upcoming season..

    I must admit the thought of a Horcoff-Hemsky-Hossa line has me positively giddy.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Hossa and Hemsky are both effective on RW, I might be tempted to either move Hemmer to LW or split them up and give each of them a big W (Cole, Penner).

    The C’s would be Horcoff and Gagner, I’d guess.

    Sweet Christmas, this IS the Oilers we’re talking about right? Where’s the dud in the group?

    There isn’t one! Robert Nilsson could get crowded out after working like a bugger to win a job. The modern Hal Breeden.

  18. Devin says:

    LT – agreed, I think you put Hemsky onto Gagner’s line to murder the nobodies while Horc and Hossa boss around the somebodies. You’d still have Nilsson and Cogs flying around too with Pisani to protect them. Sweet Jeebus that would be something, no?

  19. Slipper says:

    It was a safe bet that Raffi was out the door as soon as Stoll was shipped out.

    Too bad. I had been honing my craft at creating cocaine innuendos in case this upcoming season went into the toilet.

    There’s going to be alot of urgency for some parts of the team to get older, and fast, if next season is going to look better than last.

  20. goldenchild says:

    LT Maybe I’m oversimplifying but 2 guys of immense talent like Hossa and Hemsky would surely find a way to play together. You put Miles Davis with Coltrane and you get “Kind of Blue”. Hemsky needs his Coltrane.

    If you kept the kids together against the softies could you play a line of Cole, Penner, Pisani against tough comp?

  21. Black Dog says:

    devin – yes on phoenix and chicago but they need to do one thing, win their division – I think it can be done

    LT – agreed on the Wild but Brunette for Rolston and Demitra plus the Gaborik hanging over them?

    Canucks are so shallow up front its scary and how will the Sedins react to being on the block

    And Calgary is going to sag – big time I think. If Kipper’s play drops off even a bit they are pooched

  22. Alice says:

    Bduck,

    Sorry, I have no details, my source is once-removed. They were buying him a plane ticket was what I heard. Course it all looks good until it looks dead, it’s kind of a binary event.

  23. Lowetide says:

    Alice,

    Thanks for this info, it’s stuff we wouldn’t get otherwise and I promise not to shun you if it doesn’t work out. :-)

    SN just said that the Oilers apparently flew well over the rest, with an offer of 9 years, $81M to get it done.

    My question is, why isn’t it done?

  24. Jonathan says:

    Hossa and Hemsky are both effective on RW, I might be tempted to either move Hemmer to LW or split them up and give each of them a big W (Cole, Penner).

    The C’s would be Horcoff and Gagner, I’d guess.

    If Hossa’s on the way in, I think Penner’s probably on the way out. It hurts to say that after all the drama with him last year, but Cole – Horcoff – Hossa can play against anyone in the league, and Nilsson can play LW with Ganger and Hemsky for a much cheaper price than Penner. If Penner is shipped off in a salary dump for a good 3rd line guy and a nice pick, than there is a decent chance the forward lines could be balanced. The same goes if we switch Penner with Nilsson, but if Hossa’s in then we need cheap scorers like Nilsson more than a guy like Penner.

  25. Jonathan says:

    SN just said that the Oilers apparently flew well over the rest, with an offer of 9 years, $81M to get it done.

    My god.

  26. doritogrande says:

    9 years 81-M?

    Fuck off. No player is worth that. OV and Crosby! included.

    Off-topic question I need clairification: Wasn’t Vinny supposed to get his contract today?

  27. goldenchild says:

    9 years?

  28. CrazyCoach says:

    Hossa for 9 years is an insane deal. I really hope they don’t do it.

    I do like the way they are going for it though.

    Is this the sign of the Katz regime wanting to build a winner.

  29. Coach pb9617 says:

    SN just said that the Oilers apparently flew well over the rest, with an offer of 9 years, $81M to get it done.

    I…am…so…pissed…off…right…now.

  30. grease trap says:

    Hossa: I’ll sleep on it.
    Katz: Perfect. We’ll make the announcement at my presser tomorrow.
    Both: Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  31. Jonathan says:

    Ryder signed with Boston for 12M/3 years. There are no bargains on UFA day, except for Kurt Sauer.

  32. Black Dog says:

    jonathan – exactly

    Hossa probably has so much cabbage being thrown at him he’s going to sift through the offers. 81 million here, 75 million there, 70 million thataway.

    Comes down to the best fit when it comes to that money, I think.

    Or maybe they want the drama – they introduce Katz who in turn intoduces Cole and not one but two Slovakians.

    The intrigue! Where’s Peter Lorre?

  33. The Rage says:

    Hey, Stauffer was saying the bidding has gone past 10.5 mil per year, so 9 million seems great in comparison.

  34. grease trap says:

    As for that plane ticket, I imagine every team still in the running is buying a similar ticket. One way, of course!

  35. Coach pb9617 says:

    Ryder signed with Boston for 12M/3 years. There are no bargains on UFA day, except for Kurt Sauer.

    You are correct – and a few posts back – I had my Finger and my Sauer reversed.

  36. Lowetide says:

    Good one coach. I can’t believe Toronto signed a guy no one in the eastern division has heard of for what another team spent on an actual NHL player who can make a difference right away.

    On a related note, I haven’t heard any Leafs fans say “see, I told you all these Ontario boys were just waiting to sign with the Leafs at a reduced rate!”

  37. Lowetide says:

    Canucks just signed Ryan Johnson. Hey, do you think that maybe the NHL forget to send them the ENTIRE list of free agents?

  38. Coach pb9617 says:

    LT – That’s because the Pittsburgh fans have Orpik signing for 3 million and Hossa for 7 – to keep that team together.

    :-O

  39. Jonathan says:

    Hey, do you think that maybe the NHL forget to send them the ENTIRE list of free agents?

    It’s the Scott Mellanby scouting strategy- he’s only familiar with people that live in the same town as him.

  40. Ducey says:

    Hey the Canucks signed Darcy Hardichuck too! He was in huge demand. Stauffer must be crying himself to sleep.

    I don’t mean to be a downer here and ask a small question: Do the Oilers really want to have Hossa at 9 years and 9 M per?

    He has had one 100 pt year, and 66 points in 72 games last year. He was -14. Is this the guy to lead the franchise for the next decade?

  41. Ducey says:

    To try to answer my own question. Hossa points per game .92
    Horcoff ppg .94
    Hemsky ppg .96

    Hossa’s Desjardais numbers:

    -.27 5 on 5
    1.48 5 on 4
    .16 4 on 5

    I think he is great complementary player, not a franchise player.

    Somehow it seems proving that the Oilers can attract the top free agent this year seems to have obscured the fact he is maybe the 15th? best forward and 40th? best player in the league.

  42. jon k says:

    If Brule and Cole are both in the lineup that probably comes close to matching the sandpaper that Stoll and Torres brought.

    Cole will lay out some bruising hits as Torres did, while Brule will pretty consistently finish every check like Stoll.

  43. Lowetide says:

    I think it’s a long shot Brule makes the club.

  44. CM says:

    well I’m fine with it as long as it doesn’t contain a no movement clause…at least that way they can send him to the minors for the last 4 years of the deal and avoid the cap hit

  45. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think it’s a long shot Brule makes the club.

    He can only make the club if Hossa does not come in. With that cap hit – he’s screwed.

  46. Dennis says:

    That Ryder contract is absolutely fucking mental.

    WOW.

    As for Hossa, LT beat me to it in another thread but I imagine that Nilsson could be one of the odd men out of Marian’s an Oiler. One of the things some of us liked when the Oilers signed 12 is that he’d be easy to move and I think we can throw in his contract along with Souray’s, Penner’s and Roloson’s when it comes to how the Oilers will find the room for Hossa in ’09.

    For next year, they can try and trade or buy out Pisani but for next year, those are the guys most likely to go.

    I certainly want Hossa here; and while I understand you don’t put the cart before the horse, I’d only want him here if Katz eventually decides to buy out Souray.

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