Actual NHL Players

I’ve been reading that the Oilers need an impact player. I’ve also been reading some interesting takes on how that beauty 2006 team made its run.

Typical of the prevailing wisdom is this quote from Bleacher Report: In the 2006 Stanley Cup run, it was one star and lots of slot fillers. Any chance to repeat in the near future could depend on a simliar roster, which has seen the gap between the stars and fillers widen the past three seasons.

If I recall, the Edmonton Oilers of 2006 spring had several impact players: Chris Pronger, Dwayne Roloson and Ryan Smyth were the team’s best players, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Raffi Torres and Fernando Pisani played important roles, and a large number of quality NHL veterans played a consistent, dependable style. These would include Mike Peca, Sergei Samsonov, Jaroslav Spacek, Steve Staios, Jason Smith, Ethan Moreau, Dick Tarnstrom and Radek Dvorak. Jarret Stoll and MA Bergeron were youngsters who helped out along the way, as did Brad Winchester with some important moments (Octopus, big goal against DET). I think Jussi Markkanen deserves a mention too.

How many of them were “slot fillers?” Todd Harvey, Georges Laraque, Ty Conklin, Rem Murray, Matt Greene. Or does “slot filler” now mean Michael Peca?

I think the Oilers under new GM Steve Tambellini need to add some Peca’s and Dvorak’s and maybe a Raffi Torres or two. Dany Heatley can’t play the whole game, and it’s amazing how often the team with the most actual NHL players actually wins the game.

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69 Responses to "Actual NHL Players"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Agreed 100%, I made the same comment in my most recent post.

    Crosby goes down, even for half a game, and Talbot and Adams move into more prominent roles up the middle and Dupuis jumps from the fourth line to more shifts on the wing for Talbot.

    Carolina had some nice role players on their fourth line and 6 deep D. Anaheim had a shallow D but four lines of forwards. Detroit is deep everywhere, the Pens too.

    That idea of a superstar plus filler is ridiculous. Get some frigging guys who can play the game who need to shave for starters. Even old Floppy Neck knew where to be, even if sometimes he couldn't get there anymore.

  2. kris says:

    Interesting post LT, but I dissent. Dissent I say! From you too BDHS. :)

    You're setting it up like it's an either or: depth or star players and your opponents -the trade for Heatley crowd- believe only in star players. I think everyone can agree you need both stars and depth to be a winner in the NHL these days.

    I'd say the reason everyone is itching to trade for Heatley or spend all of Katz's cough-syrrup money on an overpay is that this team looks like it might be incapable of getting star players. (Of course, part of that is the lingering specter of the bad old days, when we were the Coyotes.)

    On the contrary, it's a little easier to add depth. (Or is it?) I mean, the Flames still have a few problems, Mika "Make a No Save" Kiprusoff being the biggest, but they did a pretty good job retooling their depth at forward 6 last off season: Bourque, Glencross, etc. They didn't seem to have problems doing it either. No?

  3. kris says:

    I mean, if you have a Pronger, a Smyth, and a Hemsky, it's pretty easy to add a Roloson, a Spacek, and a Samsonov.

    Isn't that exactly how we did the cup run: get 3 stars and then fill in the roster?

  4. Coach pb9617 says:

    As per Sportsbook.com, the Oilers are 30-1 to win the cup next year. Get yer bets in now!

  5. Mustafa Hirji says:

    I dissent only in that Horcoff outplayed Smyth, be it stats or role. That's not a knock on Smyth, but Horcoff was our top forward.

    - Mustafa Hirji

  6. Lowetide says:

    Mustafa: Yeah, I have no argument with that point, you might even include Hemsky and Pisani as being better during the run. Having said that, Smyth was a guy who took on some heavy lifting every night.

  7. Mr DeBakey says:

    The proof in this pudding is that
    despite Heatley, Lecavillier & Kovalchuk,
    Ottawa, Tampa & Atlanta are picking before the Oilers

  8. Bar Qu says:

    This is an interesting dissenting piece from the frenzy going on about possible UFAs right now. I admit I have been caught up in the hype of Heatley et al, but the more I look at it, the more that cap space looks too valuable to waste on one guy.

    My hope is that there are some UFAs out there that can be convinced to be part of something greater than just their paycheques. Maybe it starts with some sweet talking of Boumeester (who is a better value for the money than Heatley) to take a long-term deal for lower cap dollars and then sign those pieces that will win the Cup. Zanon, Fiddler, Ward, just to put out a few names that Willis has mined.

  9. Coach pb9617 says:

    Tough minutes guys available: Moen and Knuble.

    Second toughs guys available: Malhotra, Reinprecht, Samuelsson

    A guy that I'm coming around on more and more lately at LW: Antropov

    Bonafide NHLers all…

  10. Schitzo says:

    So to totally sidetrack the conversation, my wife wants a fourth kid. Someone tell me that nobody has four kids anymore.

  11. Coach pb9617 says:

    So to totally sidetrack the conversation, my wife wants a fourth kid. Someone tell me that nobody has four kids anymore.

    Four?! Two is too much for me to handle on my own.

    Good luck bud. You're going to need it.

  12. Lowetide says:

    NEVER get outnumbered by your children. It's a rule, just like "don't make eye contact with your wife when she asks you how many beer you've had" and "build a moat when your daughter becomes a teenager."

  13. Bar Qu says:

    Schitzo,
    Dude, I know whereof you speak. We are deep in the throes of having 3 boys (5, 3, 5months) and just treading water some days. Then she says she doesn't feel done yet! My kids are great, but Im starting to think either I stop being a teacher and make real money or I start looking around for a sweatshop to employ my oldest. Let alone one more boy (it would be!) eating me out of my home.

    build a moat when your daughter becomes a teenager I thought that was buy a gun? ;)

  14. PDO says:

    "don't make eye contact with your wife when she asks you how many beer you've had"

    You can replace that with girlfriend and it holds just as true….

  15. Bar Qu says:

    LT, looks like you don't have to secretly cheer for a Minnesota team coached by MacTavish anymore. Richards in. I wonder what that team looks like this season now?

  16. Alice says:

    3 and 4 are the same diff, if you're at 3 already you've hit the 'outnumbering' thing already (for those of you not there, that's Two parents or Two hands, vs 3 kids). 4th doesn't change the equation one bit, but you won't be able to travel in a sedan anymore. Good luck!

  17. Schitzo says:

    Good work, LT. You cracked up my wife.

    See, the part that makes it tough to say no is that only the youngest kid is mine (she has two from her first marriage).

    So I've only ever done the baby thing once.

    But man. 4 kids. Minivan.

  18. Alice says:

    16F, 15M, 13M, 11F

    And only the girls play hockey anymore :-)

    Do it.

  19. bookie says:

    I will be honest, MacT was such a nutbar this year, I dont think he will coach for a few years. He will make shortlist after shortlist, but I suspect that he will be out a few years.

  20. dstaples says:

    @Coach: I give you Joel Ward, penalty killer, third line guy, Edmonton Oiler.

  21. Coach pb9617 says:

    "build a moat when your daughter becomes a teenager."

    *takes notes*

    just like "don't make eye contact with your wife when she asks you how many beer you've had"

    This is not an issue, she's unable to make eye contact with me because of the wine she's had makes her go cross-eyed.

  22. CM says:

    Ok so the oilers make 3 trades.

    1. Vishnovsky, Cogliano and Shremp and a second for Heatley and Lee.

    2. Sully, Souray, Moreau, Eberle and one of petry/chorney/wild for bouwmeester, horton and weiss.

    3. Staios and nilsson for harding and foster.

    Line is as follows.

    heatley/horcoff/hemsky
    penner/gagner/horton
    pouliot/weiss/pisani
    jacques/brodziak/stortini

    Bouwmeester/foster
    gilbert/grebeshkov
    smid/lee

    harding
    JDD

    MacIntyre/Brule/Peckham

    Total cap hit 56.4mil
    bouwmeester signed to 15years/90 mil 6mil cap hit
    foster 5 years 9 mil/1.8 mil cap hit
    Grebs 3years 9 mil/3 mil cap hit

  23. Coach pb9617 says:

    @Coach: I give you Joel Ward, penalty killer, third line guy, Edmonton Oiler.

    Realistically, the Oilers third line is their second because POS – Gagner – Cogliano aren't going to be able to handle second toughs. The third line has to be some sled pullers in this case.

  24. Bar Qu says:

    bookie, I hope you're not right, because it sounds like you might be. Of course, as soon as a team goes 2 and 8 to start the season, things might roll out more easily for him.

    coach and staples,

    didn't Quinn say he was going to get away from that way of looking at his lines? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he say he just wanted four lines he could put out anytime? I don't know how that affects line combos, but I think Ward would have a place in that line up.

  25. Coach pb9617 says:

    didn't Quinn say he was going to get away from that way of looking at his lines? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he say he just wanted four lines he could put out anytime?

    We're all hoping Renney runs the lines.

  26. doritogrande says:

    coach: I think you're underestimating Gagner in this regard. He's faced increasing level of competition in each of his first two seasons and has improved markedly from year 1 to year 2. Is not a similar jump expected this season?

    And didn't Cogliano center the 2nd toughs last season?

    I'm not quite sure I agree with you in saying that these boys need to be sheltered anymore. Throw them out there with O'Sullivan as your LW and I think they eliminate the need for a shutdown line.

  27. bookie says:

    Bar Qu

    I actually think a year or so to reflect on the game would make MacT a better coach. If he came back to the game the way he left it (ultramicromanaging) he would likely not find success elsewhere. He needs to take a breath and realize the limits of coaching. (at least thats what I think).

  28. Black Gold says:

    So to totally sidetrack the conversation, my wife wants a fourth kid. Someone tell me that nobody has four kids anymore.

    Worked for the Staals.

  29. Asiaoil says:

    Bookie – MacT was just terrible at a very big part of being a good coaching….motivation. Sure you can say that if he has a vet team full of Horcoff's then he doesn't need to do that – but that's unrealistic – hell a lot of guys could bluff it for half a season in that context. Motivating high performance athletes is a very large and very important part of modern coaching – and MacT is both fantastically limited in his approaches and very unsuccessful in practice. Just is…

    Coach – agree that POS-Gagner-Cogliano aren't going to be able to handle second toughs – but POS-Gagner-Pisani probably could. Two shooters with Gags and defensively decent ones at that. We have been paying Pisani like a 2nd line guy for years and we should finally play him that way. If we do this and assume a Moreau trade – then we need to rebuild the 3rd line with tough, battle hard vets making reasonable coin. With a good PvP top line and decent 2nd line – they don't have to be elite – just competent, battle tested and a bit nasty.

  30. Black Dog says:

    My best friend's wife is due with their fourth. And we have friends who have, wait for it, eight.

    Yeah, eight.

    If you're thinking of it then you may as well do it. You'll never regret having another. We almost stopped at two and I'm glad we didn't.

    And you're already outnumbered anyways.

  31. Mike says:

    Schitzo

    It's a resource based decision – has to be. Can your house accomodate another? Your vehicle? Your child care budget?

    I have 2 boys (4 and 18 months) and they are my life. But add another one and I will need a government bailout.

  32. Sean says:

    I agree LT. The Oilers could use one or more Paullsons, Betts or Wards but they have too many contracts to shed so its going to be difficult. IMO the Oilers need another Vishnovsky type trade this summer just to free up some roster spots and address their lack of top end FW skill. The problem with Heatley is that he likely isn't a value buy and this team cant afford more dead weight on the books.

    Are Gagner and Cogliano going to be actual NHL players this year? Is Penner going to show up for more than 40 games? Can Brodziak step up as a bottom 6 player instead of bottom 3? Can Stortini improve again this year?

    The Oilers with their roster situation are going to need some actual NHL players to show up internally.

  33. Alice says:

    Schitzo,
    Here's a different arithmetic:

    Almost all our regrets in life are over things that we didn't do, not things that we've done (I'm excepting HBomb here for both statistical and moral reasons).

    So go with the odds, and go with your heart, and go with your wife. The only thing you have to lose is your golf game – and that might even be good news! :-)

  34. George B says:

    Whether Heatley or not, you don't win without any stars. Souray is pretty close, Hemsky is pretty close. But until we have a bonafide guy that can change games, then elite is a slingshot away.

    As far as teenage girls….19F, 19F, 15F, 15M, 7M.

    Of all the things I have lost….I miss my mind the most.

  35. Forain says:

    I agree that a team that's too top-heavy is probably going to fall on its face, but it sounds like the pendulum might have swung too far in the anti-Heatley direction. Heatley might be a one-trick pony, but Jesus… what a trick. I've seen that trick a thousand times and it just never gets old. Hockey games are, at the end of the day, still decided by numbers of goals.

  36. Forain says:

    Black Dog, haven't you been neutered?

    Hypocrite. :)

  37. hunter1909 says:

    Now that several NHL teams have passed on our glorious former coach, it appears that the hype we used to hear from the EIG micromanaged media simply wasn't true.

    Who in their right mind wants a coach who has gone on record as:

    - not being bothered to motivate any of his players
    - assuming every single NHL player was tough enough to take on virtually any other NHL player
    - thinking that the press was a coaching tool, then used it regularly to belittle and demean underperforming players, to the ridiculously laughable extent of going out of his way to hound players left behind on the farm team
    - being unable to develop a single star player in eight seasons(please no Hemsky talk, he returned from the lockout a made man, having left a nervous Nilsson type)
    - being clueless with goalie management
    - having teams who constantly get called for too many men on the ice penalties
    - having the toughest player in the league, and effectively muzzled him
    - practising blatant favoritism with long time mediocre players

    Almost certainly one of the major reasons nobody wanted to play for the Oilers, but since that's still waiting substantiation, we can wait until the truth emerges before making it official.

    Of course his name gets mentioned for coaching jobs, since he's been unemployed for less than two months. The question is, what exactly will he bring to a new team, from their point of view? Anecdotes of the Oilers glory days? That 1994 NY Cup final draw?

    Come to think of it, Sather's going to hire him. Book it.

    lol

  38. knighttown says:

    I type this with my 3 week old baby girl in my arms. Alice, Sadie didn't end up making the cut. Oh well, Gabrielle works for me. That's number two and as my neighbour says, playing man-to-man defense is a heck of a lot more effective than playing a zone against which is whats required if number 3 comes along.

    It's tough on us guys but what the gals have to go through would make the best of us go insane.

  39. Alice says:

    Gabrielle, that's beautiful! Congrats.

    My daughter's friend, they just call her Gabby.

  40. digger says:

    As a father of 4 (ages 15/14/13/12), the biggest regret that I have in my life is that I got myself snipped.

    I won't presume to speak for others who've gone that route, but for myself I consider what I did an act of cowardice. There's not a day it doesn't creep into my mind.

    The worst is when my 14 yr old daughter talks wistfully about how much she'd love to have a baby sister. It tears at my heart to hear her, but what can I do? There's always the reversal surgery, but it's got its own complications.

    I'm sorry for the unrelated rant, it's not something I talk about much.

  41. Coach pb9617 says:

    The worst is when my 14 yr old daughter talks wistfully about how much she'd love to have a baby sister. It tears at my heart to hear her, but what can I do?

    Puppy.

  42. Bar Qu says:

    kt congrats on the little one. Enjoy those late nights/early mornings while they last ;)

    It's tough on us guys but what the gals have to go through would make the best of us go insane. Hear hear – I'm about to go off for my two month break from school and I always marvel at what my wife goes through during that time.

    BTW, I love the hockey discussions here, but I love it even more when regular life creeps in too. This is the best place ever!

  43. Black Dog says:

    Forain – oh for me, three is quite enough, thank you very much ;)

    But if you are not sure (and we were not after 2) then I say go for the gusto.

    You sure as hell won't regret it.

  44. hunter1909 says:

    coach: Don't worry about 14 year old girls, since every single one of them is technically insane.

    Instead, you can while away the hours making plans re what you're going to do when she's 15+ and doesn't understand the difference between a guy being nice to her and giving her attention because he really likes her, and that other kind of guy who will really give you nightmares.

  45. bookie says:

    Hunter – I agree MacT is overrated, but I hope you have the stats behind you with regards to the tooManyMen comment cause the stats guys around here will be on the case in no time!

  46. Coach pb9617 says:

    Instead, you can while away the hours making plans re what you're going to do when she's 15+ and doesn't understand the difference between a guy being nice to her and giving her attention because he really likes her, and that other kind of guy who will really give you nightmares.

    I'm not so worried about that. She has an older brother. A large older brother.

  47. Bar Qu says:

    I'm not so worried about that. She has an older brother. A large older brother.

    That is the best defense possible!

    I feel the need to disagree on Mactavish. I do think he is a great coach in the right situation (nobody gets to SCF on luck alone), but he needs the horses to let him coach his style. I suspect this year was an aberration for him for all the points that hunter notes (or overhypes) and that he will end up somewhere else doing a good job for that team.

  48. Traktor says:

    "That idea of a superstar plus filler is ridiculous."

    Its no more ridiculous than thinking a team can win a championship without a superstar.

    08/09 – Crosby, Malkin
    07/08 – Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk
    06/07 – Niedermayer, Pronger, Selanne
    05/06 – Staal
    03/04 – Lecavalier, St Louis
    02/03 – Brodeur, Niedermayer
    01/02 – Lidstrom
    00/01 – Sakic, Forsberg
    99/00 – Niedermayer, Brodeur
    98/99 – Modano

    The worst "best player" that has won a cup in the last 10 years is Eric Staal and we don't have anyone even in his league.

    As for MacTavish… how many New York seconds have passed since he was let go?

  49. Dennis says:

    This team's gonna make a jump as soon as the PK picks up and 89 matures. Because the day that 89 starts eating the soft min provided him by 10's strong back, then we'll be worth talking about.

    The PK is something that's probably only going to be improved by the addition of a couple of new bottom sixers.

  50. Traktor says:

    "This team's gonna make a jump as soon as the PK picks up and 89 matures."

    The thing is every team has a Gagner, so while he may improve, so will all other teams' prospects.

    Gagner's maturation will allow us to maintain our mediocrity but wont really gain us ground.

    If Gagner even going to end up better than Perron?

    I wouldn't call either of them saviors – if this teams chances hedges on Gagner's development then we're royally screwed.

  51. Master Lok says:

    Traktor,

    how many NHL teams don't have a superstar?

    NW
    Edmonton – none.
    Calgary – Iginla, Phaneuf
    Vancouver – Luongo, Sedins
    Minnesota – (formerly Gaborik)
    Colorado – Stasnty / Sakic?

    C
    Chicago – Toews, Kane
    Detroit – Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk
    Nashville – Suter? Weber? Sullivan?
    St. Louis – Mason?
    Columbus – Nash

    Pacific
    San Jose – Thornton, Marleau
    Anaheim – Pronger, Niedermayer
    Dallas – Morrow, Zubov?
    Phoenix – none
    LA – none.

    Just saying that most teams these days have at least one star – it's not that rare.

  52. Oilmaniac says:

    excellent point Bar Qu:

    Bowmeester being better value for the money than heatly… if only he were to sign with the 'chuck…

  53. Traktor says:

    "Just saying that most teams these days have at least one star – it's not that rare."

    I'd call Hemsky a star myself but problem is our star is a setter and our middle and power can barely touch the top of the net. What a waste.

  54. dstaples says:

    Dennis, you nailed it — this team will pick it up (a bit anyway) when Gagner picks it up, and the PK improves.

    Horcoff and Moreau had terrible numbers on the PK; both tended to overcommit, play too aggressively, and that allowed for open point shots (very bad things, as Don Cherry constantly reminded us).

    My feeling is that Moreau is done as a topflight penalty killer, but that Horcoff just had a bad year, maybe just a bad luck year.

    I say this because Horcoff is a younger and smarter player than Moreau, and he appeared to make fewer mistakes on the pk of the kind I just described.

    BTW, it was interesting to see Filppula try to step up in the finals and try to play a tougher quality of competition, facing off against Malkin this year, as opposed to the soft parade. Filppula got beat up bad, and it made me wonder if Detroit might not have been better off trying out Helm against Malkin.

    In any case, Gagner isn't going to be asked to play against the Malkins of the world any time soon, not with Horcoff on the Oilers, so that's the good news.

  55. Steve says:

    Master Loc: I think Hemsky's in the same league as a few of the guys you mention there. If Edmonton doesn't have a superstar – and it's certainly a defensible proposition that it doesn't – neither do a few of those other teams.

  56. hunter1909 says:

    I believe that next season we will see at least one maybe two young Oilers break out in a huge way, once they simply take their MacShackles off.

    Horcoff won't be worked to death, so will provide good two way play, although not so much of the going forward type.

  57. Sean says:

    I agree with those who think that having a star is important to building a winner. You need NHL vets but adding the star is more important.

    Speaking of Heatley, his last 4 season ppg's are 1.25, 1.28, 1.15, 0.88. Do you guys think his 0.88 is part of a trend or an anomaly. He could be a case of buying low (not that your can really buy low @ 7.5 per).

  58. hunter1909 says:

    Based on last seasons antics, I wouldn't be shocked to find out that Moreau thinks there's a small chance his numbers getting retired.

  59. Traktor says:

    Sean:

    The decrease in numbers can be 100% attributed to the loss of all Ottawa's puck moving defensemen.

    I posted the following on the HFSens before the start of last season:

    "Murray is building his D like the 2006-2007 Oilers.

    Nobody to play on the PP and all the D can do roll-around-the-rim and high glass.

    Spezza, Heater and the rest of the forwards are going to take a big hit offensively. All those goals scored on the rush are a thing of the past now that this team will have ZERO transition."

    They all called me idiots at the time.

  60. Oilmaniac says:

    Nice,.. this is some positivity that I can get behind…

    Dennis said…
    "This team's gonna make a jump as soon as the PK picks up and 89 matures. Because the day that 89 starts eating the soft min provided him by 10's strong back, then we'll be worth talking about.

    The PK is something that's probably only going to be improved by the addition of a couple of new bottom sixers."

    Im in total agreeance… also, good points being made about having (atleast some) elite talent backing up a SC winning team…

  61. rickibear says:

    Do you think Detroit would trade holmstrom?

    I would smile all season if I saw a:
    Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
    Holmstrom-Horc-Knuble
    Cogs-Brodz-Pisani
    Jacques-Bonk-Storts

  62. Traktor says:

    Trading assets for a player on the wrong side of his career like Holmstrom would be the final straw for me.

  63. godot10 says:

    Holmstrom is done, or would be such a short term "solution" to be a "non-solution".

    Penner is a more than adequate version of Holmstrom for the power play, so what exactly would Holmstrom bring?

    Knuble brings much more as a year-to-year stop gap, but again, that is really short term thinking

  64. Smarmy Boss says:

    You gotta think that Renney can get us back to having a respectable penalty kill?

    Tambo would be best served finding some dependable, cheap veterans for the bottoms six. I'm thinking guys of the Martin Gelinas mold.

    A few tweaks like that should get the team back in the playoffs. (Well depending on what they do with goaltending)

  65. Master Lok says:

    If Hemsky is considered a star, then if you accept Traktor's premise that you need stars to win, then do we need Heatley?

  66. Traktor says:

    Master Lok:

    The problem is that there isn't a player in the league who relies on his teammates to finish the play more than Hemsky.

    If we're not going to find a sniper to play with Hemsky then we'd be better off trading 83 for a player with more than one dimension.

  67. rickibear says:

    Traktor: If I get 2-3 years of the second best outscoring LW in the league the last two years. I will take it.

    You think he is done!

  68. uni says:

    I believe that next season we will see at least one maybe two young Oilers break out in a huge way, once they simply take their MacShackles off.

    Considering that they have another season of pro-experience under their belts, and hopefully a better team to work with, at least a few of the young'n's stringing together a decent season wouldn't be a surprise.

    I would love to see Gagner & Cogliano sign 6 year extensions on the cheap and then break out with 20G 60A and a 30G 20A seasons though…ah fantasy land is much happier.

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