Making The Cuts

This is Esa Tikkanen in 1999, the year he tried to make his comeback with the Oilers. He ended up playing in the SM-LIIGA with Helsinki (Jokerit) that fall before retiring to a life of beer and lihapullat.

Last season we had Anson Carter return to the Oilers and this season we thought someone might show up (Kevin Lowe teased us a little) but alas there was no Tommy Salo, no Boris Mironov, no Jason Bonsignore.

Instead we’ve been treated to the results of what a quality procurement department can do when they have several drafts under their belts. In the period of time when Kevin Prendergast was the de facto head of scouting, the Oilers can boast quality in all areas. Ales Hemsky, Jeff Deslauriers, Kyle Brodziak, Zack Stortini, Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp, Devan Dubnyk, Liam Reddox, Andrew Cogliano, Taylor Chorney, Slava Trukhno, Theo Peckham, Cody Wild, Sam Gagner and others represent tremendous quality in a 7-year cluster. New man Stu MacGregor can boast a nice first year with Jordan Eberle the gem of the 2008 group. Added to that are names like Visnovsky (acquired for players who were draft picks) and Dwayne Roloson (same).

It’s been a nice run.

As for which players will make up the end of the roster (forwards 12-13 and D- 7) it is anyone’s guess. I’m reminded of a MacT quote from one year ago:

“We do like we always do and we get in a hypnotic trance and look at the lineup board and hope the answers just jump off. They very seldom do.”

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17 Responses to "Making The Cuts"

  1. B.C.B. says:

    Hey LT: didn’t we trade draft picks for Roli not players we drafted.

    I wish we could get Marchant for TC: maybe we will see a 3rd Vet Centre after two months of losing draws.

    PS: I started a blog with friends (, I’ve only seen one game so nothing about the oilers yet, just the NHLPA, but once games show up on TV- i’ll be bitching, analysizing, and preaching all oil all the time.

  2. Lord Bob says:

    Pedantry Corner: Tikkanen actually player-coached a season or two in the Asian league after his SM-liiga career but before retiring.

  3. Lowetide says:

    He also played a little in Germany, but 1999 was 1999 for Esa.

  4. raventalon40 says:

    Isn’t Eric Daze available? Yeah, he’s had back problems in the past, but he would make a formidable 4th line LW.

    Either way:

    If we trade Roloson and Pouliot (easier said than done, if you want to trade Roloson at all, that is), sign Smoliski… and play DesLauriers and Brule/Schremp/Trukhno, then we have ourselves a pretty skilled lineup.

    Outside of the conventional names, I would actually pick Reddox to make the team. He seems like the kind of guy who would fit perfectly in the 4th line LW role.

  5. Asiaoil says:

    Here’s an idea – Columbus is in dire need of talent at center while we have way too much youth at the position. Seems a match. They have Peca for their 3rd line plus Umburger – so it looks like they could use a 2nd line kid with some offensive talent. They also have Malhotra who is big, fast, defensively decent and put up a pretty good FO% last year – he’s also UFA next year. I think he’s a good fit for us but would Schremp for Malhotra works for both sides?

  6. Bank Shot says:

    asiaoil-I think Columbus would probably rather put guys like Derrick Brassard and Voracek on their roster then trade good player like Peca for Schremp.

  7. B.C.B. says:

    bs: I think asiaoil wants Malhotra, not peca, for our 3C position. Why would you trade for Peca, since he didn’t want to play here last time?
    It also depends on how Voracek played at TC: could they send him back to junior? Schremp has a couple years on him and might be better fit if Columbus wants to be in the playoff drive in the spring- would you want a low draft pick (3rd/4th) back with Malhotra for Schremp

  8. Coach pb9617 says:

    asiaoil-I think Columbus would probably rather put guys like Derrick Brassard and Voracek on their roster then trade good player like Peca for Schremp.

    Just glossed over asia’s post, didja?

  9. Bank Shot says:

    Oops. I missed the part at the end.

    Anyway, I don’t see why Columbus wants a player that can’t crack the Oilers when they are trying to make the playoffs this year, and they have two potential rookies that will likely be better then Schremp.

  10. Bruce says:

    Where’s Doug MacLean when we need him?

  11. Dennis says:

    He’s on Hockeycentral which is SN’s new nightly hockey highlight-fest. I caught some of it last night and is he ever awful.

    Just wanted to add a couple of things here that I just read this morning; these things are worth chewing on:

    - MacT said there are a lot of guys in the mix and this must mean he’s either unimpressed with Pouliot or impressed with Schremp, Brule and Truk

    - there was an article about the Oilers and faceoffs and 78′s name wasn’t mentioned once. I found this very odd. You know, I’ve never looked up his faceoff stats but are they bad enough to be prohibitive in considering him a pivot option? And has he been taking a lot of draws thus far?

  12. Doogie2K says:

    He’s on Hockeycentral which is SN’s new nightly hockey highlight-fest. I caught some of it last night and is he ever awful.

    Hockeycentral’s been on Sportsnet for years, as their answer to TSN’s That’s Hockey. I think it’s shifted by a half-hour, though, so it doesn’t have to go against TH.

  13. spOILer says:

    Pouliot FO%:

    05-06 55.4% on 56 attempts
    06-07 48.7% on 353 attempts
    07-08 47.7% on 44 attempts

  14. Dennis says:

    D2K: I know what the old Hockeycentral was but this is like a mini NHL On The Fly or the old That’s Hockey 2 that used to be on TSN: it shows highlights of every game.

    Mike: thanks for the posting of 78′s dot stats. That’s a pretty big sample size from ’07 and he certainly wasn’t as bad as 13 and 89 from ’08 so we just might have something to work with there.

  15. Dennis says:

    One last thing, Mike.

    Are good faceoff men born or made? To clarify, could you dig up the stats of some other guys and their faceoff work while at the age as 78 was in ’07?

    And then post how they progressed?

    I’m just wondering if there’s a pattern. Maybe I’m just focusing too much on what 13 and 89 did last year but 78′s stats from ’07 look like a decent starting point.

  16. Asiaoil says:

    Malhotra was 59% on 1158 attempts – bloody stellar – I’d try obtain him now, at the trade deadline, or next summer.

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