The 4 pillars of this MacT team are likely to be Horcoff, Pisani, Staios and the veteran tandem in net. If these men can perform their jobs and finish > while climbing Everest then the Oilers should make the second season.
I’ve always had a theory that the Lowe-MacT Oilers went into a season with the idea that there were three veteran blue they could count on to overcome the flood and then a bunch of kids and retreads they hoped would turn in a solid season.
This year the kids (Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Smid) will appear in more prominent roles and the other veterans (Visnovsky, Souray, Strudwick) come with issues. Some are too small, some are too slow, and then there’s Staios whose experience and skills make him extremely valuable.
In fact, the Oilers could use another.
If we make a list of his positives needed from the veterans (leader, gritty, durable, versatile, capable, willing, can pass the puck) who have more than a couple of kids in the everyday lineup Staios is the last man standing when you get to the end of the list. Visnovsky is a wonderful offensive player who can do some things defensively but he lacks size and can be beaten down low by bigger men (and there are plenty of NHL wingers who are bigger). Souray can be beaten exterior and interior, lacks foot speed and isn’t what we might call a strong passer. Strudwick is a limited role player who can perform some of the things on the list above (and I believe will be rewarded with much more playing time than expected because of it) but one suspects Staios will get the call for many of the toughest assignments this season.
In each season since his arrival, Steve Staios has finished top 4 in overall D minutes. In fact he’s finished second each season but the year he missed the final 15 games of the year due to knee injury (06-07). We know his numbers suffer when he plays too many minutes and especially too many tough minutes.
Ergo, his numbers suffer in 08-09. If this thing goes sideways, he might end up -14 again.