Depth Chart July 2009

Steve Tambellini certainly isn’t finished (this is not a playoff team) but it does look like the next move is some time in the distance. As opposed to the salary post of a few days ago (scroll down), I thought it might be an idea to list the roster in terms of depth at position. I’m stretching a little in some cases but wanted to include everyone with at least an outside chance of consideration for the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers.

Goal
  1. Nikolai Khabibulin
  2. Jeff Drouin Deslauriers
  3. Devan Dubnyk
  4. Bryan Pitton
  5. Andrew Perugini

Should this list stay the same, the chances of Dubnyk seeing NHL action this year are solid. I imagine the Oilers will shore up the position with a signing/waiver pickup similar to last season’s acquisition of Dany Sabourin.

Defense

  1. Lubomir Visnovsky
  2. Sheldon Souray
  3. Tom Gilbert
  4. Denis Grebeshkov (RFA)
  5. Steve Staios
  6. Ladislav Smid (RFA)
  7. Jason Strudwick
  8. Theo Peckham
  9. Taylor Chorney
  10. Cody Wild
  11. Johan Motin
  12. Alex Plante

The Oilers could begin the season with the depth chart and be solid at the major league level. This isn’t Calgary’s blue but there are veterans here and a decent mix of skills. We keep hearing the Oilers will move a D to address F and if they do it’s likely a defender will be added to the mix.

The Springfield group is going to need some help. Peckham has proven he can play in the AHL (a very good league) but Chorney and Wild are currently around the Mendoza line in the minors. Motin has SEL experience but he’s still a new hire and one imagines Alex Plante will be a deer in the headlights for most of the winter.

Center
  1. Shawn Horcoff
  2. Sam Gagner
  3. Marc Pouliot
  4. Andrew Cogliano
  5. Gilbert Brule
  6. Ryan Potulny
  7. Rob Schremp
  8. Tim Sestito

The position most lacking at this point. The Oilers have a bona fide NHL center (Horcoff) with a complete skill set and two gifted kids who are not yet playing at “NHL average” for their position and minutes. It’s a bit of a black hole for this team and was under the previous coach too, and I can’t imagine the Oilers standing pat in this area.

There does seem to be an underlying feeling in the organization (going way back) that Marc Pouliot could fill a bigger role. MacT’s “Carbonneau” comments are evidence, as is this quote from Kevin Prendergast in March 2008:

  • “He played out of position [in the NHL], wasn’t comfortable and had a couple of bad games and put himself in the doghouse and rightfully so for the mistakes he made. I think we’d have to play him at center though and make the decision that we’d have to live with [his mistakes] for the short term. He just needs consistency; don’t be afraid to make mistakes because they’re going to happen but limit the mistakes.”

Pouliot played 141 NHL games under Craig MacTavish and made some progress (MacT mentioned he’d done as much during his final PC as coach). Perhaps the organization plans on bringing in a few players from the Boyd Devereau tree (quality AHL veterans) to push him. The Oilers have all summer, but this would explain their lack of action (so far) in this area.

Left Wing
  1. Dustin Penner
  2. Patrick O’Sullivan
  3. Ethan Moreau
  4. JF Jacques
  5. Liam Reddox
  6. Ryan Stone
  7. Chris Minard
  8. Geoff Paukovich
  9. Slava Trukhno
  10. Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson

This position has seen so much turnover in the last couple of seasons I’m tempted to say the club should just stay the course with this group. Penner is not a complete player and in fact is a liability in some important areas of the ice, but the results have been good in his time as an Oiler. O’Sullivan is a real shooter and we should get a better idea about him over a full season. Ethan brings veteran leadership (!?!?!?!) and grit and based on the Oilers own estimates JF Jacques is a nice in-house option for making this team difficult to play against in 09-10.

Reddox never gets any respect but is surviving at the NHL level and could be a useful part in 09-10. Paukovich makes the list because Rob Daum liked his progress (this courtesy of Guy Flaming who is lapping the field with Oiler prospect coverage again this summer) and Trukhno is on the list because he’s so damn skilled there’s always going to be a chance. Minard was just hired yesterday and is likely an AHL signing.

I’ve included MPS here for two reasons: First of all, a line in Redline Report (“He’s also got good size and strength, and has been competing against men in the Swedish Elite League all year, so he may be ready to step in and play in the NHL right away”) and the Oilers penchant for elevating players early. It’s highly unlikely, but there’s enough of a chance for me to list him.

Right Wing
  1. Ales Hemsky
  2. Robert Nilsson
  3. Fernando Pisani
  4. Zack Strotini
  5. Steve MacIntyre
  6. Jordan Eberle
  7. Colin McDonald

Hemsky is a quality player and central to this team’s success. Nilsson is the most exposed player on the roster, I think it’s less than 30% that he returns in any kind of offensive role this winter. Pisani has lost a step over the last couple of seasons and I don’t know that the organization has any kind of backup plan available in this area. Stortini has become a good player in a defined role and seems secure. MacIntyre should also have a roster spot as an enforcer.

Eberle has a chance to make this club. I think the Oilers are prepared to cut bait on Nilsson and should the kid from the Pats have a strong camp there’s a very good chance he makes the roster (if only for the maximum gp total before going back to junior). A training camp story raving about Eberle’s emergence may deflect attention away from the Heatley summer.

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107 Responses to "Depth Chart July 2009"

  1. DanMan says:

    LT, I gotta disagree here, brother.

    This is pretty much an identical roster to last year with O'Sullivan instead of Erik Cole. In addition, we have a slight upgrade between the pipes.

    Just on the basis of natural progression of players like Gagner, Cogliano, Penner, Hemsky, Nilsson, Gilbs, Grebs and every other player under age 27, we WILL BE BETTER ON PAPER than last year.

    You gotta think over a full season Patty-O will put up 50-65 points, ditto for Gagner (possibly even 70 as the third year seems to be the biggest jump for top 10 Draft picks)

    Lets not forget this team was in 6th-9th place for the vast majority of last season with a lame-duck head coach who seemed to be out for himself and playing favourites.

  2. DanMan says:

    I guess the part I disagreed with you was your assertation that this is not a playoff team.

    As of now we're better than Columbus and St. Louis so I'm putting us in.

  3. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: Here are the question marks:

    1. Center-who is going to help Horcoff? It's a big problem. I like Gagner and Cogliano big time, but they've shown little ability to keep the puck in the right end of the rink.

    2. Right wing- Pisani's injury prone and there's no replacement available. Nilsson looks like a "tweener" and unlike Mike Jorgenson who couldn't hit enough but had dynamite defense, Nilsson is not a complete player.

    3. Toughness- Oilers stated this was a big need, and they do have guys like Jacques who can be added to the Stortini's, MacIntyre's and Souray's. Not enough.

    I'm fine with LW.

  4. godot10 says:

    Pisani has had one hockey injury. How does that make him injury prone?

  5. Lowetide says:

    This from David Pollock of the Bay Area News Group re: Sharks and Heatley.
    **This next sentence is me backpedaling: Those reports out of Canada linking the Sharks to the Dany Heatley situation may not be so preposterous after all, despite what you may have read here before. Not saying that something is happening, just saying that the local view may have shifted a little once July 2 got here and there wasn’t a $4 million bonus payment to deal with.

  6. Art Vandelay says:

    Is it fair to say that Roloson was never in danger of being waived during his time as an Oiler? And that he didn't do anything last year that would cause the Oilers to want a better goalie?

    Whereas Khabibulin spent several years with a tenuous grasp on the No. 1 job in Chicago.

    Maybe I'm not drinking enough Katz-Aid but I don't see Khabibulin as an upgrade on Roloson on any level.

    Rather, I see a lot of November heartache over a disinterested, money-chasing goalie who has been dining out on a Stanley win for a half-decade now.

    Oh, and a dressing room where 2/19ths of the starting roster were traded for a coach-killing malcontent.

    I see heartache in River City.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Pisani's injury history:

    February 12, 2007: Concussion
    September 11, 2007: Ulcerative colitis
    October 23, 2008: Back injury
    November 18, 2008: Broken ankle.

    It's no sin, he turns 33 this winter. Pisani's had one fluke ailment but he's at an age where injury costs games.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Art: I think there are a lot of Oilers fans who feel exactly the same as you do re: Khabibulin.

  9. godot10 says:

    But we all would have been screaming just as loudly if they had given Roloson the two year deal.

    If I knew the Oilers were going to give Khabibulin 4 years, I would have given Roloson two, but I (we) weren't ever going to know the conditionality.

    Quinn needs a goalltender that he had heard of before. There is no way he was going to have any confidence in a "moneypuck" goaltender. He didn't even know the players on the Oilers when he was hired.

    The only good thing is that if Khabibulin plays well he is tradeable to a contender desparate for a goaltender…i.e. Philly or Chicago, if Huet and Emery fail to deliver.

  10. godot10 says:

    I don't think the Heatley thing will affect Penner any worse or better than he has been affected already.

    Smid has requested a trade previously. So he can't exactly be upset either.

    Cogliano is the only one the Oilers have to worry about.

    The Oilers should be targetting Lombardi in Phoenix as a centre. Phoenix signed Fiddler and have Turris, Hanzal, and Winnik. Lombardi is UFA after this season and earning over $2 million this year. Give Phoenix a cheaper playe and a prospect or draft pick.

  11. bookie says:

    (this is not a playoff team)

    I also disagree (Assuming that we pick up a decent 3rd line centre which should not be a problem)

    I think the primary influence on one's opinion on this is whether you think MacT raised the level of play of this team or lowered it (lets say as compaired to the avg NHL coach). I actually think that he lowered it.

    Many of our key players have moved on from their sophomore year which should be an improvement right there. I also believe that the shift to a more aggressive style of play should help the energy of the team. Quite a few guys had pretty sad years last year.

    I just don't think this team sucks. I actually think that without the bonzo coaching that they would have finished at 6th (or better) like LT was predicting.

  12. Mr DeBakey says:

    Will the worst-run team in Pro hockey make the play-offs?

    Center will be marginally better;
    Gagner hopefully a year better,
    Cogliano on the wing,
    the rest a wash.

    LW is not terible, O'Sullivan an upgrade on Nilsson

    RW – If Cogliano adapts and Pisani stays healthy better than last year. If.

    D – Hopefully the improvers [Smid] are outpacing the deteriorators [Staios, Souray?].
    Strudwick on D does not help win games.

    G – last year's starter was OK, but tandem [tridem?] not.
    No improvement this year, but it costs more.

    Moneypuck? Doesn't exist in Edmonton.

    But for injuries,
    Last year's team should've staggered into the play-offs,
    I predict the same for this year.

  13. DanMan says:

    LT, what do you think about this.

    Tom Gilbert to the pens straight up for Brooks Orpik.

    Orpik has shown to be one of the top tough defensive d-men in the league if not THE best. I think he is exactly what we need on the back end.

    Gonchar looks like he's on his last legs, and other than Letang the Pens have no proven puck movers. Goligoski is ok bu they could use a guy like Gilbert who one day could be a #1.

    The contract are virtually identical. Gilbert has 5 yrs left at 4.1 and Orpik has 4 at 4.0 cap hit.

    Would Pittsburgh do it though?

  14. Lowetide says:

    bookie: I said they were not a playoff team at this team. It's a distance from "sucks". I know that wasn't your intent (to frame the issue thusly) but want to clarify before we get deeper into the discussion.

  15. Coach pb9617 says:

    This from David Pollock of the Bay Area News Group re: Sharks and Heatley.

    We can only hope, LT.

  16. Coach pb9617 says:

    I don't think the Heatley thing will affect Penner any worse or better than he has been affected already.

    Smid has requested a trade previously

    …when the raving lunatic was in charge. These two had a fresh start.

  17. Coach pb9617 says:

    Orpik has shown to be one of the top tough defensive d-men in the league if not THE best. I think he is exactly what we need on the back end.

    You overrate Orpik. He's been shielded by Scuderi from the tough matchups for two years. He's been exposed when he plays the tough matchup.

  18. DeeDee says:

    I read lots of interesting things on the Oiler blogs and have learned so much from all of the statistical analysis from people that are way smarter than I am, but you can’t let your judgment be totally driven by spreadsheets and numerical analysis.

    Looking at the big picture, Lowe has pretty much blown up the 2006 SCF team.

    It’s easy to look at a list of numbers and pass sentence, trade this guy, dump that guy, but a team needs qualities that can’t be measured.

    The team had two major leaders last year in Rollie and Souray and there have been many calls to dump both of them, and that’s a huge concern to me.

    Look down the list of the roster from 2006 and see how many LEADERS are gone. They’ve been replaced with “prospects” and “skill players” and “youth”.

    I watched another year of bad hockey and I don’t have very many highlights to take from it. I remember Rollie standing on his head game after game, skating out of his net to defend players because no one else would. I remember him arguing with the Refs and thinking that he was back in the zone and playing like his old self.

    So we replace a 39 year old guy who wanted a two year contract with a 36 year old guy with a four year contract. So long, and thanks for all the fish Rollie. Oh yah, he was the team’s MVP last year too. Big deal, he was old.

    Management trots out their reasons for dumping a player and the fans buy in. Greedy, dressing room cancer, selfish…

    The fans keep their list of who to boo at the games, it’s hard to keep track of because it’s rather long, we’ve traded away more than most.
    Just once I’d like to see management use a little class when they trade away a player. It might help to attract a few payers.

    We’re chasing big name stars and ignoring glaring holes in the team. The only real thing I am looking forward to this year is Pat Quinn coaching Penner, hehe. But on the other hand we might have a Heatley of our own this fall ….

  19. Ribs says:

    Wow, looking at the roster now makes me feel like they really should have tanked last season and went for Tavares/Hedman. Even the defense looks shaky without Grebeshkov signed.

    Lombardi is UFA after this season and earning over $2 million this year

    Does his previous experiences with the Oilers have any influence here? Any hard feelings there?
    I really like the guys speed.

    Unrelated, I've been coming here for years and that damn security popup has annoyed me every damned day. I finally decided to find a way to rid myself of it. If anyone else is equally annoyed, here you go….

    Step 1: Go to Tool >> Internet Options

    Step 2: Select the "Security" Tab and then click on the "Custom Level" button

    Step 3: Scroll down until you see the option: "Display mixed content". Sect the option "Enable"

    Step 4: Click Ok, Then you will get a "Security Warning" pop-up. Click Yes

  20. Mr DeBakey says:

    Tom Gilbert to the pens straight up for Brooks Orpik.

    Orpik has shown to be one of the top tough defensive d-men in the league if not THE best
    .
    .

    D-men & thier +/-

    Denis Grebeshkov 12
    Tom Gilbert 6
    Lubomir Visnovsky 6
    Sheldon Souray 1
    Theo Peckham -1
    Jason Strudwick -4
    Taylor Chorney -4
    Steve Staios -5
    Ladislav Smid -6

    I'd say the problem is too many shutdown D

  21. DanMan says:

    Scuderi is this years Jeff Finger.

    What a horrible waste of cash for a career minor leaguer that played his best in a contract year. 18 pims? tough d-man, I dont think so.

    As for the matchups. Maybe for two games, not two years, coach. Orpik was matched against E. Staal in third round, Ovey in 2nd. I watched a lot of playoff hockey it was the best one ive seen in 15 years. He was pretty banged up in the final and Scud was playin over his head.

  22. DBO says:

    No to orpik. decent player, but he doesn't even fit in our top 4 right now, and that is a major overpay giving up Gilbert. i would sooner sign beauchemin to the same deal, around $4 mill and not move assets. Beauchemin is a better all around player. And move a dman asset for help up front. if you keep the team as is, you move a Gilbert for a 1LW, and then sign beauchemin.

  23. bookie says:

    Will the worst-run team in Pro hockey make the play-offs?

    Not sure that is dramatic enough, perhaps you should have said the worst run pro team ever in the history of the universe. Maybe the worst run organization ever.

    I don't see how anyone could seriously think this is the worst run team in pro hockey unless they have only been following hockey for about 3 days.

    bookie: I said they were not a playoff team at this team. It's a distance from "sucks".

    Totally correct on your part – I guess I was being the drama queen there. Realistically, I would guess that we are about 3-4 rankings apart 6th to 10th or something like that. And really when there are so many unknowns (i.e. who Penner will be in the new coaching regime) its difficult to have any strong opinions on the issue.

    Wow, looking at the roster now makes me feel like they really should have tanked last season and went for Tavares/Hedman. Even the defense looks shaky without Grebeshkov signed.

    Ok, I think that equals "this team sucks" so I guess Ribs was the target of my earlier "I dont think this team sucks" comment.

    Funny thing Ribs, I just did the same thing (remove the stupid pop up warning) and was about to post the instructions on how to do so. Apparently we think alike on our computer pop up frustration but differently on the suckyness of the Oilers.

  24. Scott says:

    Players are always rewarded for playing over their head on hockey's biggest stage.

    I love em, but Pisani and Roli got paid good money for three/four years based on four rounds of career peak-level play.

    I'm just afraid that Khabby has really figured out this scam… and that the Oilers haven't.

  25. Scott says:

    Re Popups:

    I thought everybody had ditched IE for Firefox, Chrome, Safari or even Opera by now…

  26. Traktor says:

    Is there a reason that Pouliot is slated ahead of Cogliano on the depth chart?

    I assumed it was because Cogliano might be traded but then I see you have Penner #1 on the LW depth chart.

    Pouliot isn't even an actual NHL player.

  27. Scott says:

    LT's love of Poo knows no bounds…

    Cogs should probably just be moved to wing already. But Nilsson's still here, so the depth chart looks screwy.

  28. Ribs says:

    bookie: It's not that they're sucky, it's just the unknowns that you speak of don't really leave me feeling all that confident that they will make the playoffs.

    They have made very little change to the team since last year and I think more needs to be done before we can say that they are any better than the eleventh placed team that they iced last year.

  29. Traktor says:

    I was just cruising around on HF and found out we signed Matt Nickerson. Just some farm team depth but some interesting comments were made,

    "Wow, I can't believe they brought Matt Nickerson back over…

    Nickerson is only programmed to do the following two tasks:

    1. Prepare to kill.
    2. Kill.

    He was a fan favorite in Finland as I understand it…but he became such an untamed player that the Stars actually released him from his entry level contract…"

    "Wikipedia says…

    On October 20, 2007, he was suspended for three games for attacking TPS forward Teemu Laine.[4] While serving this suspension, he attacked Ilves defenceman Kevin Kantee in the locker room area of the Ässät arena on October 27, receiving an additional five-game suspension

    This dude is bat**** crazy."

    I like it.

  30. DanMan says:

    Here is the market for big, skilled top-6 wingers:

    1.Heatley – no comment

    2.Frolov – only 1 year left on contract would come maybe with a young d prospect (tuebert, hickey?) for souray.

    3.Kovalev – I dont think it would work here and it would cost at least $4 mil cap hit. Cant afford it.

    4.Kotalik – Would he take the hometown discount, im thinkin 2.5 or less?

    5.Bertuzzi – Am I the only one in this city who thinks he would be a fit at $2 mil or less?

    Other than that we're tight against the cap, unloading salary is almost impossible.

    Better print out LT's depth chart cos thats what its lookin like this year.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Pouliot's at 3 because someone has to do the dirty work Horcoff can't and it sure as hell isn't Gagner or Cogliano.

    Nice offensive talents, probably excellent future for both. But for 09-10 Pouliot's the best option on the roster for that C role filled by Brodziak last season and Stoll the season before.

    Not an ideal solution, but the best currently available.

  32. Ducey says:

    "I don't see how anyone could seriously think this is the worst run team in pro hockey unless they have only been following hockey for about 3 days."

    Ditto.

    We are ways away from the season. Grebs will be signed, there likely will be trade or two and we will see what will happen with Heater.

    As DanMan said some of the young guys are in for natural improvement. Add in the new coaches, a full season from Vish, and this team should be just fine.

    They just need another tough centre who can play the 3rd line position and take the defensive zone draws. There are plenty of guys who can do that available as FA's or by trade.

    Time to get outside and get some sun fellas.

  33. Doogie2K says:

    This is only a playoff team if someone, anyone, can play 3C with any consistent competence. My bet is still that someone gets signed in late July for a six-pack and the keys to Steve Tambellini's lawnmower. (Wonder what the cap hit on that would be?) If not, well, best hope that Khabibulin continues to outperform his expected save percentage. And that the kids become everything we'd like them to be.

    D – Hopefully the improvers [Smid] are outpacing the deteriorators [Staios, Souray?].

    Is there any evidence to suggest that Souray's in significant decline, or is that just speculation? Because if not for Visnovsky, he's our best D last season by quite a bit.

    @Traktor: I love me some batshit crazy, but this just brings me back to something I ranted about during the draft: why the everloving fuck would you waste draft picks on goons? Bendfeld in the seventh last year, a week and a half before he's a free agent anyway, Abney in the third this year…then you go and sign some crazy bitch out of Finland with about the same NHL prospects. Brilliant, Tambo.

  34. DanMan says:

    I think you guys are too worried about the 3rd center spot. Cogliano is competent offensively, and the diffenence in faceoff% is neglegible.

    A 3rd center usually takes 8-10 faceoffs a game, unless playing special teams. If you have a 50% guy instead of Cogs thats 5/10-4/10 a difference of one per game. Half the faceoffs end up in scrambles anyway, and im sure Chopper can dig a couple out for him.

    Lets look at the NW divisions 3rd centers.

    Vancouver: Kelser slides into #2 for Sundin. Kyle Wellwood becomes the 3rd center unless Cody Hodgson makes the team.
    ADVANTAGE OIL

    Calgary: Craig Conroy
    ADVANTAGE OIL

    Minnesota: Assuming P-M Bouchard and Koivu are 1/2 it's James Sheppard, with Brodz getting a shot but Sheppards the real deal and my guess is he ends up on 4th line.
    THIS ONE'S A WASH

    Colorado: Colorado is in the Taylor Hall sweepstakes. Not even evil Arnason is there
    ADVANTAGE OIL

    If the 3rd center makes or breaks the season, It's lookin good for the Oil.

  35. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: Cogliano is ghastly at the finer points of playing center.

  36. GF says:

    Do we want any of the about-to-be-freed Chicago Six? A free-agent signing of some kind, followed by a deal to shed a body or two would help cheer me up about the state of the team. They shouldn't waste any more time on Heatley, obviously.

  37. DanMan says:

    If Brule becomes the player he should have been by now, we will be laughing.

    I'll still take the Pou over Wellwood, Conroy, and whatever garbage Colorado tosses out on the third line.

    And who knows maybe Cogliano turns into the Lombari/Vermette type we know he can be.

    We have options and im really optimistic about it.

  38. Black Dog says:

    DanMan – regarding the NW centres I think we want to make sure not to get too hung up on the label of 3 centre here.

    Last year's club had two guys who could win faceoffs and had any clue in their own end and now one of them is gone.

    I like Gagner but the problem is that if your one/two is Horcoff/Gagner I would say the Oilers are behind pretty well everyone in the division. Gagner is still just a kid.

    Sedin/Kesler, Jokinen/Langkow, Koivu/Bouchard, Stastny/Sakic

    Its not even close.

    And then you run Cogliano or Pouliot out there?

    Plus Brule?

    Its a bigtime hole. They need a guy like Malholtra or Moore or Halpern or whomever you choose – a vet who can take on the other team's vets and saw them off, win some draws, kill penalties.

    If they decide to go with Pouliot as 3C and don't bring in a vet then they will finish out of the money again.

    I think that throwing JDD out there 25 games plus will cost them a playoff spot anyways but if they don't add a veteran or two up front then they can certainly forget it.

  39. Black Dog says:

    DanMan – Wellwood appears to have gotten it – I would take him over Pouliot any day if the week. And I like Pouliot.

  40. shep says:

    old man conroy outscored tough competition last year for 1.1M. thats a bit better than cogs/pouliot

  41. DanMan says:

    Gagner has more offensive potential than any of the 2nd centers other than maybe Stastny. Kesler is about a 40-50 point player in his late 20's. Langkow? Gimme a break, he's on the back 9 and good for 50-55 points max. Bouchard is usually good for about 50 too. Gagner Had 45 + points at 18 and 19 years old. He's gonna have a big year.

    I know there are other factors than points. Its just that creating offense is the surest way to help your team win.

    This is Pat Quinn we're talkin about, fellas.

    The Oilers will contend.

  42. R O says:

    DanMan

    Conroy is at the end of his career, but he is still a superior centre than Poo in every facet – and he is excellent value for his contract to boot. The Oil should be grateful if one day Poo can be positively compared to Conroy.

  43. R O says:

    Offensive potential is great bit how about outscoring? There is the whole other facet of this game and it is called defence

  44. Highlander says:

    Thanks LT, is it clear now that R.O'Mara is a lost cause at this point. I recall that there was some hope for him when the Islanders drafted him and when we got his rights in the Smyth deal.

  45. Lowetide says:

    DanMan: Gagner's been drowning for two years against soft-ish opposition. You won't find anyone who likes him more than I do, but he's not helping so far and the learning curve for these guys (even the good ones) is long.

    I do agree he should be able to beat tar out of the soft parade at some point though and it might be this season.

    Although we have no assurance the coach will use him this way.

  46. ian says:

    Signing Khabby means that the Oilers will actually be forced to play JDD and evaluate his ability at the NHL level.As LT pointed out DD will also likely get a crack at the bigs.
    I think we lost a lot of winnable games last year and with Roli won some un winnable games.

  47. DanMan says:

    I think we have to give Gagner a shot at the #1 center spot this year.

    Any other team who has missed the playoffs 3 years in a row would have already done that by now.

    Look at Peter Mueller in Phoenix. That helped his development immensely. Getzlaf had a worse rookie year yet was on the first line faster. Not a great faceoff guy, either.

    Unfortunately MacT have his head so far up his ass he played Brodziak with Hemsky when Horc was out.

    Man I'm glad Pat Quinn is here.

  48. Lowetide says:

    Here's something I just thought of: what if the Oilers are waiting to match a Grebs offer sheet?

    Would that explain their inactivity?

  49. Chris says:

    You think we have an intradivisional advantage with Pouliot at centre..and that Gagner who can't hack playing the softs should play first line centre? Where is that facepalm image LT had up a few days back..this is some classic Hockey Futures style delusions here. I'm sure you think Rob Shremp really just needs a chance to crack the line up and prove he's an unsung contender for the calder too.

  50. striatic says:

    'better on paper than last year' doesn't mean much if the other teams in the division are also 'better on paper than last year'.

    we're through the looking glass.

    "Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."
    "A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

  51. RiversQ says:

    Good point LT. I think the number one most interesting thing to watch this season is how some of these forwards handle the lines being rolled by Quinn. Honestly I think most of them don't even realize how much harder this game is going to get if Quinn is true to form.

  52. ian says:

    Realistically isn't Eberle in a tougher spot now, considering that size and toughness is a bigger issue with the current coaching staff?

  53. Lowetide says:

    ian: You'd think so, but the Oilers are also going to be looking for men who can put the puck in the net. Eberle can do that.

  54. devin says:

    Just a note on the PIT trade idea. PIT has no need for Gilbert because they have a younger version of him in Letang. He also arguably projects better than Gilbert. He's a little smaller, but his skating and his shot are elite. His defending isn't at Gilbert's level, but he's in the same mold, and taking huge steps year over year.

    I'd also say that Scuderi was full value and is an elite PK guy. He was carrying Gill around for an entire season and still putting up excellent GA rates. On Orpik, he's improved dramatically in the past couple seasons – sort of a Matt Greene style turnaround – although he plays with Gonchar, who is quite possibly the most underrated D-man in the league.

    Folks, this is the team that won the Stanley – it's pretty hard to overrate their defense. Just look at their record after Gonchar returned from injury – they were basically unbeatable at home for 3 months!

  55. Chris says:

    Its pretty easy to look good as a defensemen if you have Crosby and Malkin driving possession and keeping the puck on the other side of the ice.

  56. bookie says:

    Here's something I just thought of: what if the Oilers are waiting to match a Grebs offer sheet?

    I don't understand the benefit? Is it just that the offer sheet may come lower than the asking price, or is there some other benefit?

  57. Lowetide says:

    No, I'm thinking about how long the Oilers have waited and the agent may have gotten a sniff from another team.

    Not impossible, though unlikely.

  58. devin says:

    Chris, you could say the same for Zetts/Datsyuk/Hossa, but DET's D didn't look particularly impressive in the finals.

    Anyway, my point was the numbers don't lie – Gonchar's presence is as impactful as a Chara or Pronger or SNieds, but he certainly isn't lauded like those guys are. Crosby and Malkin were there all season and until March the Pens had some trouble keeping the puck out of their net. I haven't dug through the shift charts but I doubt Therrien was using his d-corps much differently than Bylsma did.

    Anyway, I was hoping the infatuation with the "Detroit model" would wear off once they were shown to be beatable, but maybe it'll take another couple years (Lidstrom's retirement) for reality to set in.

  59. Lowetide says:

    devin: I think this summer might be the beginning. Mentioned somewhere during their run that it seems to me that when we start using the word "dynasty" the hockey Gods have a way of unwinding it and making us look silly.

    It's stood up well as a theory since 1990. :-)

  60. Bank Shot says:

    When you say "Hockey Gods" you are actually reffering to Kevin Lowe LT?

  61. slipper says:

    Ribs, you are the fucking man.

    I'm wondering if this team can compete by the end of the
    Hemsky era.

    They have 32.6 million on the books for the 2011-12 season: 3 forwards, 3 defensemen (two in their mid thirties) and one 39 year old goaltender.

    Gagner, Cogliano, O'Sullivan and Peckham (amongst others) reach restricted free agency by the '12 season.

    One of Vish or Souray must be moved before then, and probably for futures, in order to free up cap space to sign some of those RFAs in 2011.

    You got to believe that Hemsky is gone by summer 2012, either way. So you have to be competing by that season. That raises other questions, like if the Oilers are finally competing do they let Hemsky walk in the summer after a playoff run or deal him at the deadline. With Hemsky's cap hit every team will be able to fit on their roster and Ales will be in his prime(27-28), so the Oilers should really be able to shoot for the moon in return.

    I don't think Penner is on this roster by then. Just a feeling, but I think management has soured on him beyond any rational arguments.

    2009-10? Oh man, I've run short on hope.

  62. slipper says:

    Anyway, I was hoping the infatuation with the "Detroit model" would wear off once they were shown to be beatable, but maybe it'll take another couple years (Lidstrom's retirement) for reality to set in.

    Which realityare you speaking of?

    The one where Detroit was a leading cup contender for twenty years straight?

  63. Bill Needle says:

    If you assume the Oilers are poor at negotiating contracts (as the deals given Souray and Khabibulin suggest) then maybe it's a good idea for some other GM to set the price for Grebeshkov. That way, the Oilers can match and feel like they made a square deal.
    As for Brodziak, if he was so good, how come people think that Pouliot will be an adequate replacement? That suggests Brodziak's replacement value was something approaching zero, so the draft picks the Oilers got for him probably will be a good deal.

  64. Coach pb9617 says:

    What a horrible waste of cash for a career minor leaguer that played his best in a contract year. 18 pims? tough d-man, I dont think so..

    He played the tough minutes during the regular season and playoffs for two straight years on a team that lost in the cup finals and won the cup. He's good.

    As for the matchups. Maybe for two games, not two years, coach. Orpik was matched against E. Staal in third round, Ovey in 2nd.

    This is not correct. Not close to correct. In fact, this is blatantly wrong. Thanks to Vic, we can prove or disprove statements like yours.

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 1. Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 2. Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 3. Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 4. Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 5. Washington gets away from it for the first four minutes of the game, then Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin. This is the game Ovechkin moved to right wing to try and get ice against Gill, rather than Scuderi.

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 6. Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin

    Pittsburgh vs. Washington, Game 7. Scuderi is hard-matched against Ovechkin

    Pittsburgh vs. Carolina, Game 1. Scuderi is hard-matched against Staal.

    Pittsburgh vs. Carolina, Game 2. Scuderi is hard-matched against Staal.

    Pittsburgh vs. Carolina, Game 3. Scuderi is hard-matched against Staal.

    Pittsburgh vs. Carolina, Game 4. Carolina goes out of there way to get Staal away from Scuderi.

    I watched a lot of playoff hockey it was the best one ive seen in 15 years..

    You weren't watching closely enough. Perception bias is strong in you.

  65. Coach pb9617 says:

    Here's something I just thought of: what if the Oilers are waiting to match a Grebs offer sheet?

    Would that explain their inactivity?

    LT, why do you ignore me? I feel like your wife
    on draft day.

  66. Coach pb9617 says:

    Good point LT. I think the number one most interesting thing to watch this season is how some of these forwards handle the lines being rolled by Quinn. Honestly I think most of them don't even realize how much harder this game is going to get if Quinn is true to form.

    If Cogliano stays at center, he will absolutely drown.

    On the plus side, Horcoff and Hemsky should see a lighter load, but they'll always be playing down a goal or two.

  67. Coach pb9617 says:

    Its pretty easy to look good as a defensemen if you have Crosby and Malkin driving possession and keeping the puck on the other side of the ice.

    It was the Cooke-Staal-Kennedy line much more than Malkin's line doing the uphill work in Pittsburgh to allow Malkin to get the easy starts.

  68. slipper says:

    He was carrying Gill around for an entire season…

    This is a ridiculous comment. Nobody was carrying Hal Gill around.

  69. Chris says:

    I think right now what this team needs more than anything else is for a few of the prospects not just to cover the bet, but to blow the doors off. As much as we can laud Detriot and other organizations for looking like geniuses when they're gambles paid off and they pulled a superstar out of the late rounds, to some extent no one can really predict the future with any definitive certainty – although math certainly helps. Luck with the evasion of injuries, accidents and conversely solid and sometimes spectacular development is always still in the mix.

  70. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think right now what this team needs more than anything else is for a few of the prospects not just to cover the bet, but to blow the doors off.

    Getting an alternative to Horcoff to start in his own end and move the puck up the ice would go a long way towards allowing prospects to cover bets in the bigs.

  71. RiversQ says:

    On the plus side, Horcoff and Hemsky should see a lighter load, but they'll always be playing down a goal or two.

    Yeah, that would be good. It'll be interesting to see how this works if they do go this way. The bad side of matching lines is you sometimes allow the opposition to dictate your bench, so Quinn will be taking his bench back, but I can't help but think it will cost them some games with this lineup.

    I did hear Quinn likes to match with his D-pairs though, didn't I? Please tell me that's true.

  72. Coach pb9617 says:

    RQ: If it's a full season Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot or Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot – they are getting a top five pick

  73. devin says:

    This is a ridiculous comment. Nobody was carrying Hal Gill around.

    Slipper, I watch basically every game, and saw a several live (incl G4 cup final!!). Gill may have had some kind of injury in the playoffs (hand/wrist, etc) which prevented him from making any kind of hard play on the puck. It was apparent when watching warmup closely.

    My point is that Scuderi was what made that pairing go, BIG time. Gill is serviceable when he doesn't try to do too much, but honestly just watch the guy for a season and tell me he's in Scuderi's (or Eaton's) league positionally. The numbers at BTN seem to bear this out.

  74. Coach pb9617 says:

    Oops – that was supposed to be Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot or Horcoff, Gagner, Pouliot, Brule

  75. slipper says:

    A top 5 pick in next year's draft? Hmmm.

    Coupled with the return the Oilers get for Hemsky in 2012, that should ensure a competetive roster by the 2013-14 season.

  76. Lowetide says:

    I do think we're going to see a season of adjustment. Pat Quinn is 90 and doesn't know the roster. He'll be a lot more grumpy next July.

  77. slipper says:

    Well, Gill has been good enough to be more than one coach's shut down option over the past three or four seasons, and kept his head above water in the process.

    Just one season ago Gill was second only to Gonchar for defensive ES ice-time and posted the best Corsi and Pts/60 amongst Penguins D.

    I'm not saying he's the straw or anything like that. Yet, when judging a player I'm going to look at the bigger picture, say his past 250 games and not just the most recent stretch.

  78. PDO says:

    There's no way we're so ineptly run that we enter the season with Horcoff being the only C with more than 165 games experience…

    …. are we?

  79. slipper says:

    Does anyone really believe Penner is going to be playing here next season?

    I can't see it. Whether or not their rationale wass right, I think mgmt were happy as pigs in shit when they thought they had the opportunity to unload his contract.

    Dustin Penner gone.

    An NHL center in.

  80. RiversQ says:

    Coach pb9617 said…
    RQ: If it's a full season Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot or Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot – they are getting a top five pick

    All I said was "interesting". I should have added "and probably in a bad way".

    I know this is semantics for a lot of people and it doesn't fit the EA Sports paradigm (or Mighty Ducks either – how the F does that Flying V work anyway? I bet Quinn knows), but I really think the Oilers need two real top sixers behind Horcoff/Hemsky. This would push the kids to the 3rd line as I define it in terms of 5v5 minutes ranking and the team would get much, much better.

  81. bookie says:

    Does anyone really believe Penner is going to be playing here next season?

    Its possible, remember at least one of the Oilers Brass thought he was good enough to sign him to a big contract. Also, I don't think its a secret that he and MacT had some issues. Also, Penner while perhaps not worth his contract, is a pretty good player if you don't expect him to play physically agressive. Lastly, getting rid of him requires finding someone else who wants him and who is willing to give you something of value back.

    I am not saying he will be playing here, but he might be.

  82. Lowetide says:

    I think it's very hard to make an argument that the Oilers will play Gagner, Cogliano and the kids less often this season.

    That's why trading Cogliano does make the roster a little more manageable. I'm still not in favor, but dealing Cogliano and bringing in Malhotra makes the 4C:

    Horcoff-Gagner-Malhotra-Pouliot or Brule.

  83. Coach pb9617 says:

    I know this is semantics for a lot of people and it doesn't fit the EA Sports paradigm (or Mighty Ducks either – how the F does that Flying V work anyway? I bet Quinn knows), but I really think the Oilers need two real top sixers behind Horcoff/Hemsky. This would push the kids to the 3rd line as I define it in terms of 5v5 minutes ranking and the team would get much, much better.

    I define lines the same as you – I may have even picked it up from you. Lines should be ranked in order of ES play and level of difficulty.

    They might be able to get away with the current configuration if Gagner had some hard minutes wingers with him.

  84. RiversQ says:

    They might be able to get away with the current configuration if Gagner had some hard minutes wingers with him.

    So Tanguay's really the best option out there by a mile then. Just run him on LW with Gagner and Pisani and there's your real 2nd line. Then let Cogliano play with Moreau and O'Sullivan (or better yet Pouliot/Bottom Six Centre X and O'Sullivan and move him to the wing) and get on with it.

    I would be totally fine with that.

    I guess my point is that I see a lot of people frothing at the mouth over a guy like Blair Betts and he won't be nearly enough. They need two guys and one has to be way, way better than a bottom six centreman.

  85. Rhino says:

    I've never posted here before but I've been an avid follower of the discussions. The dialogue here here has been my catharsis throughout this latest clusterf**k of an off-season.
    What led me to finally post is that I noticed Ben Guite is available and what would you guys think of him for 4th line C and have Brule/Poo/whoever compete at the 3rd line C position. I see this as a cheap way to get nastier and more competent on the pk and faceoffs.
    Let me know what you guys think.

  86. Coach pb9617 says:

    So Tanguay's really the best option out there by a mile then. Just run him on LW with Gagner and Pisani and there's your real 2nd line. Then let Cogliano play with Moreau and O'Sullivan (or better yet Pouliot/Bottom Six Centre X and O'Sullivan and move him to the wing) and get on with it.

    Aye.

    .I would be totally fine with that.

    The problem, of course, if fitting him under the cap for any term.

    .I guess my point is that I see a lot of people frothing at the mouth over a guy like Blair Betts and he won't be nearly enough. They need two guys and one has to be way, way better than a bottom six centreman.

    Again, aye. You're balls-on on this one. But doing that means the crew has to jettison the captain, nilsson and staios to make it fit.

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Tanguay-Gagner-Pisani
    O'Sulllivan-Betts-Cogliano
    Jacques-Pouliot-Stortini
    Brule

    Souray-Gilbert
    Visnovsky-Grebeshkov
    Smid-Vet D
    Strudwick
    Peckham

    Khabibulin
    Deslauriers

    Bout 300k under the cap. Most balanced roster the team has had since spring 06. But no way in hell the crew has the gumption to dump those three.

  87. slipper says:

    I think it might be difficult to move Staios. More servicable defenders have been signing for well under Staios' cap hit.

    That leads me to believe that one of Souray/Vishnovsky has to be traded. If not now then by July 1st nexy year just to free up money for Gagner and others.

    But if you're looking to sign a capable center, and /or a Tanguay, then one of the big D contracts has to be the first place to look to make the space.

    I think Penner is as good as gone, so there's 4.25 M minus the return.

    Then they can try a shooter like POS on the left with Horcoff and Hemsky, tie a Tanguay to Gagner's hip, and spend the left over cash on a capable NHL center and put Cogliano on his wing.

  88. Chris says:

    A roster that involves signing Tanguay and a real centreman while tossing Moreau, Staois and Nilson out the door, warms my heart. I've been beating the drum for the Oilers to grab Tanguay. Although its mostly been in the context of thinking him a better power versus power option than Penner. But if we can find a way to make them both work, that would give us two much stronger lines.

  89. PDO says:

    Slipper:

    I think Staios has value, after watching Calgary dump Vandermeer without any trouble.

    I wouldn't even be surprised if he could be used as the main piece to bring in a veteran C.

  90. Lowetide says:

    I think these moves (dumping Moreau, Staios, etc) are "next year" moves. Quinn no doubt sees those names and feels comfortable, while perhaps questioning the less famous names like Grebeshkov.

    A year from now? Different story.

  91. bookie says:

    TO be fair Moreau was coming back from injury and it is not uncommon for an injured guy to have a full year of less than perfect hockey. The guy was not a disaster last season, just frustrating for specific stupid things. If he removes half of those stupid things and picks up his game a bit, we may all love him again.

  92. slipper says:

    My real problem with Moreau lies with the 40-50 minor penalties he takes every season.

  93. PDO says:

    My real problem with Moreau lies with the 40-50 minor penalties he takes 200 feet from his own net every season.

    … fixed?

  94. slipper says:

    PDO:

    You may be right.

    I know that I wouldn't acquire Steve Staios at a 2.7 hit for two more seasons, and I love the guy. But as with the case of Phoenix and Vandermeer, there always seems to be an NHL GM willing to do something that I perceive as stupid.

  95. slipper says:

    Atlanta could be in the market for a veteran defenseman. They have plenty of cap room.

    You know, there's a veteran center with a very affordable cap hit on the Thrashers that I've had my eye on for a while now…

  96. R O says:

    I know that I wouldn't acquire Steve Staios at a 2.7 hit for two more seasons, and I love the guy. But as with the case of Phoenix and Vandermeer, there always seems to be an NHL GM willing to do something that I perceive as stupid.

    Let me speculate on why this may have happened. As you know, Sutter trades for Jokinen in March, giving up Lombardi and Prust (as well as a 1st).

    It may be that Phoenix wanted Vandermeer over Prust – certainly from a hockey perspective a third-pairing defenceman like Vandermeer is still worth more than a fourth-line pugilist like Prust. However Phaneuf was already injured at this point (it was not disclosed at the time) and Sutter, preparing for a playoff run, wanted to keep all of his defencemen.

    So it's posssible, although mere speculation on my part, that this was a handshake agreement between Sutter and Maloney.

  97. slipper says:

    I agree that it smells fishy, R O.

    Who benefits more, though?

    Phoenix's problem sits with their forwards, right? They have just a shitload of kids on the front end right now.

    So Maloney send 1.7 M in cap space to Calgary for a number 6/7 defenseman.

    Odd that is.

  98. slipper says:

    I should mention that Phoenix has a number of RFA they'll sure want to sign this year, and a few more next year, aswell. So it seems odd to be giving cap space away as Vandermeer is signed through 10/11.

    Unless they see something in Vandermeer that I don't.

  99. bookie says:

    My real problem with Moreau lies with the 40-50 minor penalties he takes every season.

    Totally agree, but that does seem like an easy fix for a guy who only adopted that habit last year.

    I thought the post MacT interview with Moreau was interesting. He pretty much said "It's about time" and given that we all saw Moreau as a MacT favorite, it was surprising to see such a sense of relief from him. We have debated whether MacT's coaching impacted Penner and Nilsson, but maybe the bigger impact was on guys like Moreau and Horcoff.

  100. Chris says:

    Are we going to start blaming Moreau's stupid penalties on MacT too? That's starting to go to Ray Emery levels of scapegoating, whereas if a Senator pulled a hammy it was Ray Emery's fault for being a bad teammate.

  101. DanMan says:

    Wow coach, that is an amazing site with the ice time.

    What I've noticed in those stats (especially games 4 and 6 in the WSH series)is it seems the Pens matched Orpik up against Ovechkin in the third periods, and Scud in the 1st and 2nd.

    What that means I dont know.

    Maybe Orpik is the more "clutch" defender who gets thrown out to the wolves during crunch time.

    I do know he was really banged up during the entire playoofs, especially the final. It seems like they were saving him early in games to give him the hard minutes in the third.

    The ice time chart clearly shows that Orpik didnt get nearly as much TOI in the 1st and 2nd periods as he did in the third.

  102. DanMan says:

    Perception bias may be strong on me. But selctive deciphering seems to be strong on you coach.

    Looking at the Carolina series, there were no "hard matches". All 6 Pens d-men had some time against Staal.

    The TOI splits were way more varied than the WSH series.

    In game 2 CAR series I noticed Orpik got matched up with Staal in the third period, its seeming like a trend.

    Maybe I watch the third period more closely than the first two.

  103. DanMan says:

    An argument can be made that Scud was matched up against OVech in games 1, 2, 5, and 7.

    But remember WSH had home ice so they were the ones doing the matching.

    Same goes in the Carolina series in game 3 it seemed as though they wanted Stall against Gill and Scud.

    Thats the Canes doing the matching, not the Pens

  104. RiversQ says:

    DanMan said…

    Maybe I watch the third period more closely than the first two.

    Shit!! You're clutch too?!?!

    This is all coming together now.

  105. DanMan says:

    Let's just say I've pulled together some outstanding performances under trying circumstances.

    I still remember the comeback game against Dallas. Game 4, I think.

    I wasn't cheering my best is the 1st and 2nd. Even the first half of the third. But, dammit I hung in there! In the last 10 minutes and ot I was BRINGIN IT!!

    Screaming obscenities and spilling beer on the people than mattered most. And WHEN it mattered most!!

  106. Bruce says:

    If anyone else is equally annoyed, here you go….

    Ribs, you are my hero. Thanks.

  107. slipper says:

    Ethan Moreau has always taken his share of stupid penalties. This past season he seemed like he was making up for lost time, though.

    If I recall correctly, in the 2003 playoffs against Dallas, Moreau took 8 minors and went -4 in 6 games. There was one game alone where he took two minors and a double minor- which I think probably stands as his record.

    It might be a sign of mental illness.

    Second, for DanMan, teams can change on the fly, and coaches can still get their match-ups without last change.

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