Oilers Forwards 08-09

This version of the Edmonton Oilers is going to be better than the 07-08 edition.

Offensively, by quite a bit. Most of the increase in power (imo) will come from the top two lines as this should be the season Ales Hemsky takes another step (it’s his Rick Middleton year).

The 07-08 team had its injuries to major players and its massive at-bats totals for the rookies. This season it’s a year on, there’s an added piece to the powerplay up front and another on the blueline.

Here are my predicted points totals for the Oilers forwards this season:

  1. Ales Hemsky 73gp, 26-67-93
  2. Shawn Horcoff 71gp, 26-44-70
  3. Dustin Penner 82gp, 30-23-53
  4. Sam Gagner 78gp, 18-35-53
  5. Robert Nilsson 77gp, 17-34-51
  6. Erik Cole 71gp, 20-27-47
  7. Andrew Cogliano 80gp, 20-25-45
  8. Fernando Pisani 77gp, 17-19-36
  9. Kyle Brodziak 82gp, 10-20-30
  10. Marc Pouliot 75gp, 7-19-26
  11. Ethan Moreau 50gp, 10-7-17
  12. Ryan Potulny 50gp, 6-7-13
  13. Zack Stortini 75gp, 5-8-13
  14. JF Jacques 42gp, 3-7-10

The toughest player to keep off the F list was Brule because he does have a nice range of skills. Less difficult to keep off (because of roster makeup) was Rob Schremp, but he could certainly blow everyone away and make the big team. The problem for him (unless there’s an injury) would be role and icetime. The totals for the forwards, compared to last season:

  • 07-08: 185 goals, 300 assists= 485 points
  • 08-09: 215 gpals, 342 assists= 557 points

The big difference for me comes in the top 2 lines. The Horcoff line should get some breaks from time to time due to the strength of the line Pisani’s on, and the kids should be able to improve enough to be a going concern:

  • Horcoff line: 64 goals a year ago; projected for 82 this season.(+18)
  • Kid line: 41 a year ago ; projected for 55 this season (+14)

The amount of offensive talent on this team is impressive. How many of these players end up in the black is an open question, but they have the right coach for the job and are more balanced than they’ve been in some time. The season’s key up front is #83, with a hat tip to the kid in the photo who should be something else again by this time next season.

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11 Responses to "Oilers Forwards 08-09"

  1. Eetu says:

    If the forwards scored 185 of the 220 goals they had last year and they would go on to score 215 this year, that would put the team total around 255 goals. (Unless the defensemen scored an exceptional percentage of the Oilers’ goals last year, which I don’t think they did (correct me if I’m wrong).)

    According to last year’s numbers, that would put them well into the top five offensive teams of the league, fighting for the top spot in the West with the Red Wings. That’s a bit unrealistic, IMHO.

    I wonder how you’re going to predict the team to manage defensively. Their 169 5-on-5 goals against was 27th in the league, so there’s a lot more improvement to be made there…

  2. tcho says:

    All of your individual projections seem reasonable and well supported. There’s just something about the collective totals, as Alice pointed out a few posts earlier, that seems a little… pie in the sky?

    I hope you’re right. It would make for a fun year as an Oiler fan.

    I have been wondering about the defensive side of the game re. the Oil for a while now. Everyone seems to take it for granted that a) Rollie is past it for good, and b) last year was a permanent turn of the corner for Garon. I’m not sold on either. Plus, half the d corps is still pretty green.

  3. Lowetide says:

    I don’t think any of the projections are unreasonable. This club suffered quite a few injuries up front and have a lot of arrows pointed in the right direction:

    1. Hemsky’s in the exact right spot to emerge as a top drawer NHL player.

    2. The kids don’t have to get a lot better to have a huge impact.

    3. No matter who is coming off the ice, there’s nice things coming back on the ice.

    4. One of the offseason pickups (Visnovsky) should impact the PP in a very positive way.

    If you start from a premise of “the Oilers scored 220 goals a year ago, let’s give them 15 more and divide it up” then these projections must seem crazy. However, if you figure it out player by player then it’s a pretty reasonable number.

    Here’s an example: Hemsky.

    Last season he played 1,074 minutes (17.9 hours) at EVs and 286 minutes (4.77 hours) on the PP. Those numbers aren’t crazy out of whack with a player like Marian Gaborik but Hemsky does ridiculous things on the PP:

    5×4/points per 60: 5.82
    5×5/points prt 60: 2.34

    If they can get Hemsky up to 6 hours (not a huge stretch based on the improved depth across the roster, the Oilers could pair Hemsky and Gagner with Penner up front and Vis/Sourat on the PP and roll Horcoff, Cole and Pisani first shift out if they wanted to) and give him a softer parade at EVs he could improve his point total just based on time on ice/opposition.

    Add to that the guy is a year older and smarter. The keys to the GF improvement are Hemsky, the powerplay and improved depth in actual NHL players across the board.

    My projection isn’t 255 goals btw.

  4. spOILer says:

    The addition of Cole brings a top 3 player in terms of penalties drawn, to add to Hemsky who’s also top 20 in this respect. This is a team that needs its powerplay to mature into reasonable potency to capitalize. Throwing Hemmer out there for extra mins might be the way to do it, as you say LT.

    The powerplay seemed to turn from contaminated water into a decent table wine about midway through last year. Is that because Horc was injured and Gagner got those minutes, or because Grebs turned a corner, or the 2nd unit perked up, or because a coach was blinded on his way to Damascus? With hopefully vintage Souray and Lubo on the points, aged kids, and a little Cole, this is a powerplay that should improve to top half of the league. If the powerplay turns deadly, 230 GF is not out of the question.

    That question becomes how well will the team do 5 on 5?

    They’re still missing a pure finisher, unless Horc’s fancy stick and new-fangled wrister can pick it up where he left off last year (and he isn’t forced to shutdown the other team’s top line too often), or maybe Cole will be that guy. What would Hemmer’s point totals be if he had been playing with a Shanny or a Hull? (I’d be curious to see what Eberle looks like on Hemmer’s line during the exhibition season, just for the hell of it.)

    And they have some questions about 3C and defensive D. Face off questions, size questions…

    But their depth means they can roll lines with pretty much anyone and should be able to expose the one line teams at evens throughout the season. It’ll be real curious to see how they actually do 5 on 5. If the first and third lines can tread water, the 2nd line, PK and PP should over-match enough to win a few more games this year.

    If the Oil had a Peca and also a Sauer/Komi/Tyutin type on this team, I think they’d make the conference finals. We need Smid and Poul/Brod/Cogl to turn those corners as well as Hemmer his, to guarantee a playoff spot this season.

  5. Dennis says:

    On the PP: the PP really clicked when 83 had Pronger to team with and then last year it seemed to pick up when 83 had Gagner to team with. So, I honestly believe that these two guys together will make sure it’s in the top 10 all season. There will be ample opps for tips and tap-in’s for Penner and down-low play will allow Souray and Visnovsky to walk in off the points.

    On making the playoffs: when you start getting into how many goals the forwards will score, you really start to tread around the question of whether you think this club will make the playoffs.

    I think it’s safe to write — injuries not withstanding — Dal-SJ-Ana-Det in ink and then we can begin to look around. Losing Radulov should put a real crimp in the Preds plans and teams like the Blues and Kings shouldn’t even be considered. Jokinen helps the Yotes but they seemed to be getting a lot out of some kids or first years that don’t have the pedigree of say the Oilers young-uns so let’s call the suspect; plus, they still have to play 18 games combined vs the aforementioned Stars-Sharks-Ducks. The Hawks are real comers and the Jackets are much improved and I think this is the first year in a long time that just two teams from the NW will make the show.

    Note: I’ll throw in Chi given that the kids are older and Campbell and Huet are improvements over the guys they’re replacing.

    Van: Luongo’s likely to bounce back and their D absolutely cannot be as beat up as they were last year but there’s still no scoring so I don’t have a lot of hope for them.

    Cgy: Tanguay-Huselis-Nolan out and Glencross-Cammellari-Bourque in can’t be considered a positive and every year Kipper’s cracks become more pronounced.

    Colu: a potential mess if Sakic doesn’t come back.

    Min: Let’s call Demitra/Brunette a wash and then you get into Miettinen + Nolan vs Rolston. Still, I’ll give them a spot.

    So, that means I have
    - Dal-SJ-Ana-Det-Chi-Min as locks
    - Edm-Cgy-Van-CBJ for two playoff spot.

    I haven’t decided yet but I don’t think we’re worse than 9th.

  6. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Madness I say:

    “Einstein had become increasingly isolated from the physics community, refusing to embrace the strange but powerful theory of quantum mechanics—with its particles that are also waves and that exist in no specific place until they’re observed. Nature, he argued, couldn’t be so perverse. So for nearly 30 years he had pursued a quixotic goal: the creation of a unified field theory to describe all the forces of nature and to demystify the quantum world.”

  7. Lowetide says:

    And he would have done it too, if he hadn’t wasted all that time arguing with his shoes.

  8. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Ha.

    Staples will be all over the unified NHL theory next season.

  9. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Dennis:

    don’t have the pedigree of say the Oilers young-uns so let’s call the suspect;

    Mueller, Turris, Boedker, Hanzal, Porter and Kolarik have a much better pedigree so let’s not call that suspect.

  10. Dennis says:

    FCM: Well, three of those guys haven’t played a game in the league yet, so, they aren’t the fellows I was talking about. Though, neither of them are named Crosby or OV so I won’t be looking for big things from them until they do something.

    At least not in their first years.

    My biggest mistake here was sort of discounting Hanzal.

  11. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Fair enough on Turris, Boedker, Porter, Kolarik, Summers, McLean and Tiknov but they project exceptionally well. if the Oilers had that group in the pipeline there would be cartwheels being performed on 118th Ave. (not by hookers).

    But, If half of them are NHL players the Dogs are set with young talent.

    At this point, Mueller and Hanzal appear to cover Gagner and Cogliano tho Sam is younger.

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