Front Row Falcons

Today at 2PM the Springfield Falcons are back in action. This is turning out to be the most interesting Oilers farm team in many years and in so many ways.

Before the season began, I suggested that we should give each player a “line in the sand” in terms of reasonable expectations. That post is here.

If you make a group of bets on players to begin a season, there are four possible outcomes: covering the bet, failing to cover the bet while still delivering something useful, epic fail and injury. When I used to spend thousands of hours on rotoball it was always the same: the pitcher I bought for $1 would win 20 and the OF I purchased for $54 would pull a groin in April.

The surprising thing about this edition of the Springfield Falcons is that so many kids appear to be covering the bet and those that are not at least contribute on some level. Let’s take a quick look at a “starting lineup”:

  • G Devan Dubnyk: We agreed that a .915SP for the season would be a solid year for the big man. Currently, after a blazing first half of November, DD sits at .925 and safely in the top 10 overall. He’s facing 31.7 shots per 60 minutes and has a winning record (7-5-1) despite playing in front of a young blueline.
  • D Theo Peckham: He is one of 3 players that I believe has a legit claim to being the organization’s best prospect (Nash, Eberle) and he’s delivering a nice season. Reasonable expectations were pegged before the season as “a more prominent role in the AHL with a better plus minus number and perhaps some powerplay time.” He’s been all that, his numbers are 12gp, 2-5-7 +2 which compares to 12gp, 3-2-5 -1 a year ago. Peckham has also increased his shot total (20-12 year over year) while still playing a very physical style (PIMs are 31-29 year over year). He was the first D called up this year.
  • D Taylor Chorney: The most prominent of the AHL rookies Springfield features this season, Chorney has been high event (-6) in 08-09. His first month in pro hockey (8gp, 0-3-3, -5) was a struggle but in November the numbers show improvement (6gp, 0-2-2, -1). Before the season, the reasonable expectations were “a full, healthy season in the AHL, with a plus minus in the middle of the D pack and enough offense to justify his draft number.” His plus minus is easily the worst on the team and he ranks 2nd among D in points. He has 3EV points and 2 on the PP.
  • C Gilbert Brule: He’s having a very nice start to the season despite the injury. His line in the sand before the season began was “a full AHL season in multiple roles, perhaps 10 games in the NHL.” He may not spend time in the NHL because of his waiver situation, but his numbers in Springfield (9gp, 5-2-7 +5) are going to attract a lot of attention if he has some sustain.
  • LW Slava Trukhno: After a terrific start (8gp, 1-6-7 +3) he’s fallen off badly in November (6gp, 0-0-0 E) and I wonder about his icetime. With Brule back from injury, Trukhno seems to have been demoted to a lesser role. Before the season began, I suggested we should expect that he would “establish himself on the top 2lines and as a viable option on the 1st powerplay.” I’d say he did in October, not so much in November.
  • RW Colin McDonald: The Oilers keep talking offense in regard to McDonald, so I suggested that “if he gets to play with skilled men all season and a lot of PP time then 15-20 goals is reasonable. This is his time, though. If he struggles the Oilers have all kinds of options available.” He started fairly well (2-2-4 in his first 10 games) but overall numbers (14g[. 2-2-4 -2) suggest he is what what thought he was and that Prendergast’s scouts made a bad bet in 2003 on this guy.

One final item: shots. Some of these Oilers prospects appear to have a weird idea about why they’re on the ice offensively. Below is a list of the top 10 Falcons scorers, their GP number and their shot total (and then by game). Swing the bat, kids!!!

  1. Ryan Potulny 45 shots/14 games (3.21)
  2. Liam Reddox 34 shots/12 games (2.83)
  3. Gilbert Brule 25 shots/9 games (2.78)
  4. Theo Peckham 20 shots/13 games (1.54)
  5. Colin McDonald 20 shots/14 games (1.43)
  6. Slava Trukhno 19 shots/14 games (1.36)
  7. Rob Schremp 16 shots/12 games (1.33)
  8. Carl Corazzini 17 shots/14 games (1.21)
  9. Tyler Spurgeon 15 shots/14 games (1.07)
  10. Taylor Chorney 12 shots/14 games (0.86)

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14 Responses to "Front Row Falcons"

  1. spOILer says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Potulny up here playing in GlenX’s old spot, although he’s a centre.

    Not sure how he is in traffic along the wall, but Brodz could sure use a shooter on his line.

    In fact one thing that struck me last night was that with the new lines and no Penner, we had virtually no cycle and little o-zone possession.

    I still wonder about the Brule trade. He’s a fine player, just don’t know where he fits on a depth chart that already has flyweights Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, and Reddox, not to mention other centres in Brodziak, Pouliot and Potulny.

    We are looking far too small and inexperienced up the middle, now and in the future.

    Matty raised the spectre of Spezza in the chippie wrap again this morn. Reports too that Ference is out about 2 months and Beauchemin likely gone for the season, ACL.

    Wouldn’t solve our experience issues, and he’s looking at a big raise, but I’d be asking after Jo. Staal too.

  2. spOILer says:

    Vermette is supposedly up for grabs for a decent puck-moving Dman, and I think we could accomodate the Sens there. Doesn’t help our size issues, but gives us a LW/C option that can be trusted out against the big guns while supplying some nice supplementary scoring.

  3. raventalon40 says:

    Reddox could easily play in GlenX’s old spot too.

    I find that the Oilers had good chemistry in New York with a lineup that seemed like something out of outer space.

    The key to that game was that MacT was able to roll 4 lines though. With the exception of Nilsson and Stortini who only played about 6 minutes each.

    If we could keep the 4-line thing going we could make use of the tools we have on this team.

    Nilsson-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Reddox-Cogliano-Cole
    Moreau-Pouliot-Pisani
    Penner-Gagner-Stortini

    I think those are 4 pretty good lines that are balanced offensively and defensively that you could role in the next outting.

  4. raventalon40 says:

    It’s interesting how well Schremp is doing on such a low shot total. Would be interesting to see how we would fare if he started taking more shots off the halfboards like so:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYrJ-khizCo

    Mind you the goalies in junior and the AHL are an ocean apart in average skill but I’m sure a player of Schremp’s ability never forgets how to shoot from the point or halfboards.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Schremp is tied for 77th in overall AHL scoring. He’s missed some games but for a guy whose offense is well north of 50% of his game he has to be better.

    Even if we tighten the numbers to favor Schremp, he needs to be better in these categories:

    *tied for 14th in assists (10, he’s five behind the leader)
    *tied for 60th in PP assists (3).

    His EV number is better this season, though.

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    Springfield getting outshot 29-8. Dubnyk has let in only 1 goal so far, midway through the third.

    On an unrelated note, is there anyhthing that can provide relief for a migraine?

  7. Asiaoil says:

    Well Dubnyk kept the game 1-0 until the middle of 3rd – but SPR was outshot 35-9 and it ended 3-1. Another good effort for DD – rest of the team – not so much…..again.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Asia: You’ve followed these things closer than I have and it makes sense what you said the other day (about waiting to see if he’s really turned a corner).

    Having said that, wouldn’t the run he’s on (in November) be one of the things we’ll look back on as a turning point (should he emerge as a #1 NHL goalie)?

  9. pennersmom says:

    Seems like MacTavish usually saves his harsher criticism for the locker room, because it doesn’t really come out to through the media. That said, he tore him a new one there.

  10. Clarkenstein says:

    Punjaboil.. to relieve your migraine…
    A)Get off this website and others like it…
    B)Find some new interests…
    C)Take yo’ momma to the ballet!!

  11. doritogrande says:

    Eleven goddamn shots on net today.

    ELEVEN!

  12. Asiaoil says:

    Hi LT – sure it’s a nice start to the year but as I’ve said a bunch of times – it doesn’t matter much if you can’t sustain it. JDD had some runs like this the last 2 seasons but really fell apart later in the year. We just have to wait and see with DD – the results will speak for themselves.

    But keeping a .925 is damn hard – even tonight with this great effort DD’s SP will slide – so clearly the team plays a role in this. SPR is young and seems pretty loose defensively – so if DD can maintain a SP above .920 that will be outstanding. Anything above .915 will also be good as you said at the start of the year – but no reason to break out the champagne – just a good solid result.

  13. Bruce says:

    How the hell can a team that’s below you in the standings come in to your building and outshoot you 35-11 ?!

    I saw a game like that last year when the Sharks came in and absolutely owned the Oilers by the same score of 3-0, and 39-13 on the shot clock, but there was no question that they were always the better club. Getting smoked in your own building by 6-8-2 Worcester begs a few questions.

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