Exiting the System, Goodbye

With a new coach (Pat Quinn) and a change in direction (away from pure skill, toward size and grit) it might be time for the Edmonton Oilers to bring in all the failed 1st rounders, the marginally talented minor league free agents, the NHL bargain UFA’s looking for a roster spot and playing time.

For an exceptional number of “fringe” Oilers and “regular” Falcons, this summer and fall are a definite crossroads. Some of these kids are going to be traded and still others may not get contracts. And those who do make it to TC will have a harsh reality facing them: If they can’t make the grade under Pat Quinn this fall, a bunch are going to be gone. Either via waivers, trade or plane ticket to Europe.

I think we can safely name 10 forwards who are likely to be there on opening night (barring trade, but one assumes if they are dealt a replacement will be coming back in the deal). They are Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Patrick O’Sullivan, Kyle Brodziak, Ethan Moreau, Fernando Pisani and Zack Stortini.

The strong candidates from the AHL (and fringe major leaguers) for slots 11-14 are a diverse group:

  1. Robert Nilsson
  2. Marc Pouliot
  3. Steve MacIntyre
  4. JF Jacques
  5. Liam Reddox
  6. Gilbert Brule
  7. Rob Schremp
  8. Ryan Stone
  9. Ryan Potulny

speeds has a post up about many of their players and the waiver situation. Basically all of these guys have to either be traded, make the club or clear waivers before playing in the AHL. Alexei Mikhnov is another name out there: The last time we saw him the big Russian didn’t show much in the passing or checking department, but he has size and hands. His most recent KHL season (52gp, 16-19-35 +25–he led his team in plus minus) looks a lot like the last one, and his size (listed at 6.05, 215) keeps him in the picture. We don’t know that he’ll be coming over for TC, but with a new coaching staff it’s a good idea to have a look at what’s available.

I’m also hoping the Oilers grab a forward from the bargain UFA tree. The two clubs who played in the SCF this season had a few of them throughout each roster, and you can see why a veteran (even an average NHL veteran) has the edge in the big games over young players trying to establish themselves.

Which brings the question: how much should a contending club rely on inexperienced players? Even one player (Matt Greene, not to pick on him, is an obvious example) can cost a club a tremendous amount in a 7-game series.

Another question: say we’re in Vegas and can bet on the 4 players who’ll win the final roster spots (as listed above, and we’ll include Mikhnov). Who would you bet on?

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42 Responses to "Exiting the System, Goodbye"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Jacques and Stone, Potulny and, um, Brule.

    Quinn rolls his lines, no place for MacIntyre.

  2. hunter1909 says:

    Penner costs a fortune, so might not be around once the hunt for the star players finally plays out. Moreau has aged, and become almost as much of a liability than an asset(you almost can see Moreau dreaming of his number going up to the rafters, such is the change from this formerly useful grinder).

    Imagine the Lightning can take Tavares, and ask for Hemsky as part of a package?

    The only two players I would fully expect to be there at training camp, bar none are Peckham and MacIntyre. Both are extremely tough and very cheap. Any of the rest could potentially go in a trade for a Kovalchuck/Tavares level player.

  3. Coach pb9617 says:

    Is there a pool on this?

    2. Marc Pouliot
    3. Steve MacIntyre
    4. JF Jacques
    9. Ryan Potulny

  4. Mr DeBakey says:

    Brodziak
    Jacques
    Betts
    Lefebvre

    I confess
    I cheated
    Twice

    One of Brodziak or Pouliot will go,
    that's a 50/50
    Lefebvre replaces Mcintyre

  5. Jfry says:

    brodziak
    Smac
    jacques
    potulny

    i put brodziak on this list, because i believe we will be getting a "third line center", so this changes his usefulness/need to the team.

  6. jon k says:

    Brule, Stone, Jacques, and Brodziak.

    The team hopes that the collective toughness of these players makes up for the loss of the MacIntyre.

    Potulny gets pigeon-holed in the minors and will re-surface with another team at some point as a Maxime Talbot-type player. I could see him potting 20 and 20 in the NHL as a sheltered winger.

    Pouliot leaves as a throw-in for a veteran centre, Reddox and Schremp are sent down. Nilsson is shopped and may be traded, if not his salary is buried in the minors and maybe a 50% chance another team claims him. His $2 million is needed to make space for whomever we decide to throw huge wads of cash at.

    I put Brodziak as well since I see at least one of these spares being traded for a veteran centre.

    Brodziak will once again be the 4th line centre between a rotation of Stone, Stortini, Jacques, and Brule.

    Brule gets kepts out of the lineup for bigger, rougher teams while Stone gets kept out for faster, skilled teams.

  7. Lord Bob says:

    Potulny, Jacques, Pouliot, and Reddox. Surprised I'm the first one to come down for #85.

  8. Gerta Rauss says:

    Brule
    Potulny
    Jacques
    Stone

    same as BD…i think the bottom six will be piss and vinegar rather than vanilla useful

  9. Deano says:

    The team is more focused on who is entering the system. We are going to have to give up players that we want to keep (Cogs?) in order to get the Hossa's or Heatleys.

    It will depend on who is left after the wheeling and dealing.

  10. Paper Designer says:

    Nilsson, Jacques, Reddox and Brule. Although Nilsson has a spot in the top six, IMO, if he's still standing by the time camp comes.

  11. Ribs says:

    I think your first 4 are the guys, LT.

    Robert Nilsson
    Marc Pouliot
    Steve MacIntyre
    JF Jacques

    Mostly just because they are the only ones that I would worry about getting picked off of waivers. I don't see the other guys outperforming any of them in camp. Reddox could squeeze in there over MacIntyre if Quinn decides he's fine with Stortini as enforcer.

    I would love to see Traktor Boy really impress though. I think he's definitely an untapped resource.

  12. Jonathan Willis says:

    Nilsson, Pouliot, Jacques and Brule.

  13. shepso says:

    Great post LT. It's going to be quite the offseason in Oil Country to be sure.
    Ok, on to the task at hand: Sorry, gonna have to say JFJ is not going to be on my list. Quinn likes grit, but JFJ and his 2 career points won't make the grade. Springfield or elsewhere for the big coke machine I think. Nilsson, though I kinda love his game when he's on, especially with Gags, is gone too, likely to the minors or in a trade as a piece of the puzzle. I just can't see Quinn having the patience for his inconsistency, nor Renney taking the time to really work with him. Penner is Quinn's project for the year, while Hemsky taking the jump from star to elite player is Renney's mission. (See Jagr, J., for more information on Renney's powers with slightly surly Czech RWs). Why Brods keeps getting mentioned as a bubble boy is beyond me. He's useful as a 4th line or even soft(er) 3rd line C, of which the team doesn't have many options. Potulny, Stone, Brule, and (I hate to say it) Poo are my four guys to remain. I really hope SMac remains in the org., just playing in the minors to start the year. I really like the big lug, and want him to be an option should Zorg go down in a blaze of glory. I can see Reddox wearing the C (or an A) in Springfield this year. The kid's got loads of potential as a leader and plugger type, but his time just isn't now. Daum will get a lot out of him on the farm and it will be great for his development.

    @Hunter…totally agree with Peckham making the team right of the bat this year, even as the 7th D. He's big, and has tonnes of potential.

    Well, that's my two cents, but we all know I'm often wrong. (Except for the whole Quinn thing, which I called in December…Just thought I'd put that out there…)

    By the way, what are everyone's thoughts on the Curse of the Conklin? 06, 08, 09? Each year he is the backup to the SC loser. It's funny how Hossa's defection to the Wings got so much attention and Conk's doing the same didn't even get so much as a footnote. I dunno, I just think it's funny, in a tragic sort of way…

  14. MrOiler says:

    Personally, I think there is going to be a lot of moves this year in Edmonton. I believe many of the players listed will be gone through release or trades.

    Here's my shot at it:

    MacIntyre
    Jacques
    Potulny
    Reddox

    Grit, role players and the only guy on the farm team who had a good year.

  15. Asiaoil says:

    Brodziak
    Stortini
    JFJ
    Brule

    …but Stone and Mac could also be there as a number of the 10 guys you list will be gone as well. I think that Penner, Moreau, Nilsson and Cogs could all be gone by TC. I want way more skill in the top 6 (hello Heatley) and a totally rebuilt 3rd line (goodbye Moreau).

  16. Ribs says:

    Think Conks is headed to Boston next year? I hear they're playing the Winter Classic in Fenway.

    I think he needs to do it one more time to be a "legit" curse.

  17. mjsh says:

    My picks are Nillson and JFJ. Penner will become the 3rd line left winger and Nillson will have a great year. JFJ will shine. He has the size and the speed. I would not give up on him yet.

  18. speeds says:

    I have no idea whatsoever what EDM plans on doing with all these bodies.

    I do think I'd be pretty surprised to see EDM waive Brule though, I think he could be a guy they give a one way contract. Not sure how Tambellini sees him though.

  19. Lowetide says:

    speeds: My list would be Pouliot, Brule, Nilsson and Jacques. Pouliot because he's shown some things, Brule because you want him here when (if) the light goes on, Nilsson because he really does have some terrific hands, and Jacques because he can bang and crash.

  20. Coach pb9617 says:

    speeds: My list would be Pouliot, Brule, Nilsson and Jacques. Pouliot because he's shown some things, Brule because you want him here when (if) the light goes on, Nilsson because he really does have some terrific hands, and Jacques because he can bang and crash.

    Jacques and Pouliot will outplay their contracts.

    As to the other ones – if Cogs goes, Nilsson might be a top six player, if Quinn teams O'Sullivan with Pisani and new center guy.

    And I don't mind it much.

  21. Mr DeBakey says:

    Someone, KP?, commented unfavourably about Stone's footspeed/skating

    Brule seems like a good candidate to be thrown into he much discussed Heatley package

  22. Black Gold says:

    The best options on that list are:
    Poo is an NHL player, he's in.
    JFJ has the size and speed, hopefully he can stay healthy.
    Nilsson has the highest current talent level and highest ceiling on that list.
    Potulny had a hell of a year considering what was going on in Springfield.

    If Tambellini is serious about making his forwards bigger, it doesn't make a lot of sense to ship out the cogs', pos's and nilssons to replace them with Schremps, Reddoxs and Brules. Even Potulny isn't a large man. So after those 4, I think I'd give Mikhnov as serious look.

    Even Stone is more likely an Oiler next year than Schremp. (I like Stone, but he's not yet an NHLer)

    Black Dog is right about MacIntyre. Quinn likes his players to be able to play.

    All that said, Quinn wants to win. And he wants to win now. LT has mentioned a couple times about how many 'NHL players' were in the SCF, I don't think Quinn would be impressed if he had to bring along many Schremps or Eberles.

    But really I'd be surprised if any of Nilsson, Smac, Reddox, Brule, Schremp, Stone, or Mikhnov were filling out the bottom 6.

  23. Black Gold says:

    Also I'm surprised the armchair gm's of the world haven't said anything about a threeway like this Souray+ to SJ, Heatley to Oil, and some of that SJ talent to Ott. (Erhoff/Vlasic, Cheech+)

  24. Bill Needle says:

    The fewer games played by these guys, the better the Oilers will be. The dream result would be zero games played by these guys, but that would be a Fantasy Island result.

  25. MikeP says:

    Exactly what Black Dog said, and for some of the same reasons.

    They'll all be on short leashes, but I expect JFJ and Stone will be given the most slack.

    Stone's got size and grit and has proven he can bring it in the A. Ditto JFJ. Potulny's shown enough as well, and Brule's an interesting chap.

    My dark horse is Marc Pouliot.

    That being said, I can't imagine what they'll do with Nilsson.

  26. Coach pb9617 says:

    Also I'm surprised the armchair gm's of the world haven't said anything about a threeway like this Souray+ to SJ, Heatley to Oil, and some of that SJ talent to Ott. (Erhoff/Vlasic, Cheech+)

    I brought it up either here or at JWs. I'm pretty sure it was here.

    Souray+Cogs to SJ
    Cheechoo+Pavelski to Ottawa
    Heatley to Edmonton

    Grout with picks to make it work.

    Edmonton still has to dump lots of cap in that situation. I still just can't see that happening.

    I'd much prefer:

    Souray to Dallas for Ott+
    Souray to Columbus for Klesla+

    Trading size and toughness but getting it back AND clearing $3.8 million in cap space. They need cap space so badly.

  27. Gerta Rauss says:

    Trading size and toughness but getting it back AND clearing $3.8 million in cap space. They need cap space so badly.

    I hear you Coach,but that kind of deal is a tough sell amongst the 'sphere…the notion that cap space has value hasn't really caught on yet.

    Somebody made a post here about 6 months ago(might have been you Coach) basically stating that you see these "oddball" trades in the NBA all the time…basically salary dumps that on the surface look like terrible asset management,but really the value lies in the freeing up of cap space.

    Now that we're 5 years into this CBA,perhaps you'll see more of this in the NHL.

  28. robert cleave says:

    I hear you Coach,but that kind of deal is a tough sell amongst the 'sphere…the notion that cap space has value hasn't really caught on yet.

    I think there are still people that get hung up on the concept that trades should be "hockey trades", like that has some sort of virginal purity. I'm a Calgary fan, and believe me, if Darryl Sutter traded Kiprusoff for a 6th rounder in 2025, I sure as hell wouldn't cluck my tongue and say, "that's just a salary dump." I'd look at it as a gift from the deity of your choice that allowed the team to utilize precious cap dollars on better things, like a goalie could outdo a .903 SV%. Sometimes you need to purge in order to renew.

    Gerta, the point about teams not using the NBA as a role model is a good one. The caps aren't identical in composition, but the general principles are similar. The one other thing that hasn't been exploited quite as fully is using offer sheets to pressure capped teams into trading or releasing assets they'd rather hide, but the majority of GMs in the NHL are still very much about not rocking the boat. I suppose they're wary about alienating potential trading partners, but at some point everyone would get over it and just accept it part of doing business. Except for Brian Burke, of course.

  29. Gerta Rauss says:

    Interesting you mention Burke-much as I think the guy is loud and self important,I give him credit for pushing the envelope at the trading deadline.

    What did he trade..?…a 4/5 round pick of his,to Tampa Bay for their 2nd round(32 OV?),an injured(and out for the season) Oleg Kolzig,and another roster player…basically he bought TB 2nd rounder for the $$ remaining on Kolzig's contract.And he could do it because he had the cap room,and the Toronto owners willing to spend real dollars.

  30. Steve says:

    That being said, I can't imagine what they'll do with Nilsson.

    The allusions to burying salary in the minors have got to refer to him, I'd think. Are they really going to do that to the captain or an alternate?

    That said, I'd think somebody would be willing to take Nilsson off our hands; he has succeeded to a limited level before, and has to be considered at least a possibility to outperform his contract. We wouldn't get value for him, I'm sure, but I suspect somebody would be willing to pay his salary.

  31. Coach pb9617 says:

    Column in the Sun by Tychkowski shows some sense but for the wrong reasons.

  32. Coach pb9617 says:

    Somebody made a post here about 6 months ago(might have been you Coach) basically stating that you see these "oddball" trades in the NBA all the time…basically salary dumps that on the surface look like terrible asset management,but really the value lies in the freeing up of cap space.

    Now that we're 5 years into this CBA,perhaps you'll see more of this in the NHL.

    Yeah I was talking about that. NBA teams are forced to deal legit players for 3 bench-warmers with expiring contracts to get cap space for the off-season and no one bats an eye. Of course the NBA is a bit different when it comes to roster makeup and management, but the concept is the same. The most valuable the in the NHL is a cap dollar.

  33. robert cleave says:

    Interesting you mention Burke-much as I think the guy is loud and self important,I give him credit for pushing the envelope at the trading deadline.

    Fair enough. He certainly recognized his asset (cap space) in that case. I was thinking more of his foot-stomping overreaction to the Penner situation.

  34. Coach pb9617 says:

    What about trading for Kessel?

    Younger, cheaper, on the rise…

  35. Jonathan Willis says:

    Coach: Pass on Kessel.

    Leaving aside the character questions, isn't he exactly what Edmonton already has a lot of (albeit a little higher on the food chain)?

  36. ian says:

    First off I am not related to Souray even though I consistently rail against any trade talk concerning our top goal scorer.
    Neither of these two players will replace the goals that we would lose if Souray was to waive his NTC
    Souray to Dallas for Ott+
    Souray to Columbus for Klesla+
    I would say that Souray exceeded his contract expectations last year which for a big ticket guy is a lot harder to do and he did it on a team that was not good enough to get invited to the end of season dance!

  37. raventalon40 says:

    My bets are on

    Steve MacIntyre
    JF Jacques
    Gilbert Brule
    Ryan Stone

  38. ian says:

    Would Smac get a job in Springfield and be available for cal ups or would it be a waste of a contract?

  39. Lowetide says:

    Ian: I believe all of these men would have to clear waivers.

  40. doritogrande says:

    I'll take Pouliot, Nilsson, JFJ and Potulny with Pouliot and Nilsson being the 11-12 F's.

    Playing the Falmes? JFJ's in on the 4th line with Stortini. Going up against Vancouver Potulny steps in for Stortini.

    Oh, and the Kid line makes a resurface, because Quinn only wants one line of small kids to shelter.

  41. dunciano says:

    I've got MacIntyre, Brule, Jacques and someone not from your list Eberle making the team.

    MacIntyre is the only shoe-in.

    Brule has grit and some versatility. He is a competitor.

    Jacques – they want his size and physical play on the 4th line and reserve duty.

    Eberle will impress again at camp and I think he will make it.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Someone is going to be a surprise next year. I wonder who it will be? Who is going to have a great off-season and improve a ton?

    Maybe Pouliot, but he is so passive and a lazy type player right now.

    Maybe Chorney.

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