There’s not much to say about tonight’s game. Jeff Drouin Deslauriers is scheduled to start and Taylor Chorney could play too (I have no confirmation but September at-bats for the kids when you’re running out the string is an Oilers tradition) but other than that tonight is going to feel like a dress rehearsal for a funeral.
The Edmonton Oilers have some fine things for the new coach to make use of in the fall. A fine-two way center in Shawn Horcoff, puck wizard Ales Hemsky at his side and probably a big, skilled LW on the portside. The Oilers have mentioned Hossa and we’ve also heard Gagne from the Flyers, but that sounds a little too good to be true and one would think that a new coach might just slot Penner in there and run with it for a full season.
As for the 2line, Gagner seems to have some chemistry with Nilsson and it’s also a reasonable spot for Patrick O’Sullivan. The other key elements up front (Cogliano, Pisani, apparently Moreau) are also reasonable talents (or in the case of Cogliano a quality young talent finding his way).
We’ll look at D in the GDT tomorrow, but I thought it might be an idea to post the Corsi’s with the level of difficulty for this season:
- Penner 7.3 (2nd toughest mins) (2nd best linemates)
- Hemsky 4.8 (2nd toughest mins) (best linemates)
- Horcoff 0.7 (heavy lifting) (best linemates)
- Gagner -0.4 (2nd toughest mins) (best linemates)
- Nilsson -1.7 (3rd toughest mins) (2nd best linemates)
- Cogliano -3.3 (3rd toughest mins) (3rd best linemates)
- Pouliot -4.3 (soft parade) (dregs)
- Moreau -9.8 (heavy lifting) (3rd best linemates)
- Pisani -12.5 (heavy lifting) (2nd best linemates)
- Brodziak -14.6 (soft parade) (dregs)
- Stortini -19.2 (soft parade) (dregs)
- Reddox -20.6 (3rd toughest mins) (3rd best linemates)
Based on these numbers, the 9 to keep from this season are Penner, Hemsky, Horcoff; Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano; Moreau, Pisani with Pouliot the possible bubble boy. No real surprises here except that Brodziak’s season hurt the club and you would have liked to have seen Pouliot do more with his best NHL chance.
I didn’t include O’Sullivan (or Kotalik) in that group so my best guess for the “returning” group would be Hemsky, Horcoff, Penner, Gagner, O’Sullivan, Nilsson, Cogliano, Moreau, Pisani. We can add Stortini in there because his contract is certainly covered by his role and abilities.
The men in trouble based on the math are Pouliot (maybe), Brodziak, Reddox, and the more I look at it Dustin Penner either played in exceptional luck or is a nice option for 2line LW in the fall.