Driving around Our Town yesterday I heard a very interesting exchange between Jason Gregor and Ryan Rishaug on Team 1260. I don’t have the exact quote so don’t want to overstate Rishaug’s words, but he did say something to the effect that he felt the Oilers’ brass wouldn’t be terribly upset to see the likes of Schremp and Brule force their way onto the roster at the expense of Marc Pouliot.
Jason Gregor met the statement with mild surprise, as Pouliot recently signed a one-way deal with the team for 2 seasons. Rishaug stated they obviously didn’t want to give him up for nothing but that the team had given him all kinds of chances and new blood might be the order of the day.
I think that’s about right, hope I’ve framed the issue properly (if not my apologies to Jason Gregor and Ryan Rishaug).
Anyway, it’s a very interesting thought and worth looking at closely. First of all, is Rishaug credible? I’d say yes, in fact even moreso because he has been at cross purposes with MacTavish at least once (a very public exchange in a scrum) which gives him all kinds of street cred (Edmonton media has a plethora of “soft tossers”) in terms of asking questions that are close to the bone. Rishaug has also been around the team long enough to get an inside scoop such as this from any number of sources.
Does it make sense? Yes, I think it does. The things Pouliot brings are not tremendously unique. He doesn’t score a goal every second game, he doesn’t play a physical style. There is some evidence that he can play effectively without the puck and the math tells us that his goals-against/60 is quite impressive. Having said that, the Oilers usually have a few guys capable of same and should the team look at an “energy” 4line one would think candidates like Brodziak, Brule and Stortini are a better fit.
Is that enough? Haven’t a clue. He’s in the mix. If what Rishaug has stated is true then Pouliot needs to come in and play at peak level during this training camp in order to make the decision go his way. Remember, both Brule and Schremp can be optioned out so in theory all Pouliot must do is “tie” his opposition at the finish line in order to make the club.
Could Marc Pouliot be traded during this TC? Certainly. We’ve discussed it before many times and although I’ve always been a fan of Pouliot’s no one can argue that he didn’t get his 500 at-bats.
Would the Oilers risk waivers on him? I don’t think so. If Pouliot comes into camp and gets outplayed the Oilers can still keep him up and work on a trade while sending down the better player for a time. Remember, the Oilers kept Jacques and sent out Stortini a year ago and often the player making the team out of training camp spends extended periods in the pressbox and loses his job to a farm hand who is shooting lights out in the AHL.
Both Marc Pouliot and Rob Schremp have been passed by other forwards (Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson just a season ago) but this season seems to have them in something of a head to head battle. MacT’s words yesterday re:Schremp tell us this is a completely different TC (last season whenever anyone asked the coach about Schremp the word “injury” was soon to follow) for him and there is most certainly a window of opportunity.