Pouliot the Parade Maker

Marc Pouliot appears to have a glorious opportunity to establish himself as a top 9 forward on the Edmonton Oilers 2009-10. Not only have the Oilers cleared Kyle Brodziak from the roster, they’ve also passed on the free agents available (so far) to fill in at 3line C.

The candidates at center include the redoubtable Shawn Horcoff, the wunderkind Sam Gagner, the little flash from the big smoke Andrew Cogliano and the fearless Gilbert Brule.

And hockey’s parade maker, Marc Pouliot. His progress has been slow since turning pro in 2005 but he’s shown some flashes along the way. Mixed in with weird line changes, hilarious attempts at a slapshot and falling down in an effort to win a puck battle have been some genuinely useful things.

I think Oilers fans have a very good overall view of Pouliot. Some examples:

  • RiversQ: I’m not sure why everyone overlooks Pouliot’s contribution from two years ago. He posted even better numbers at that time, particularly defensively, over a larger sample size. I think we can stop waffling over the 24 games and realize he’s got the equivalent of a full NHL season playing with middling to poor linemates against middling opposition and his defensive numbers have been stellar.
  • Asiaoil: MAP seems the best bet to me as well. The kid has not developed a single outstanding skill (although he’s a pretty damn good passer) but he’s not bad at anything either and he has some size which we need. I think he can keep his head above water on the checking line if he’s pair with say Moreau and Pisani who may also benefit from his passing skills. But who knows – we all made a completely sensible case for Conkanen a few years ago and look how that turned out. It will be an interesting year and I predict at least one of our young centers will be gone at the trade deadline – probably MAP or Cogs).
  • Louise: Interesting bit of radio I just heard. Bob Stauffer said that MacTavish told Pouliot that he sees a ‘Guy Carbonneau’ in him. And apparently, our young C was not impressed. hmmm… Guess the kid still has dreams of grandeur. Certainly can’t fault him for that.
  • Jonathan Willis: I don’t want to trash Pouliot too badly, but of all the prospects this team has (with the possible exception of Jacques), I think a case could be made that the mental/character side of the game is what’s holding him back.
  • Black Dog: I think he is a better fit for the Pisani pivot spot, myself; I saw the Toronto Penalty Shot game, as Dennis calls it; he played with Torres and Thoresen and had a terrific game that night. On at the end with the big boys as they tried to equalize. Looked like the sky is the limit.
  • speeds: I’m a bigger believer in Pouliot’s upside than most, and think it wouldn’t hurt to check him out with offensive linemates for a couple of games in camp before moving him down the lineup.
  • HBomb: Give Pouliot two finishers in Penner and Pisani and give them the 2nd toughest assignments. Heavy PK time for Moreau/Brodziak, and the Cole/Horcoff/Hemsky trio in power vs. power.
  • PunjabiOil: I think he can develop his games to become a Reasoner type with solid defensive awareness, but I’m not convinced he will be able to score goals at the NHL level (i.e. More than 10). His shot is very, very average. I think that will prevent him from becoming a top 6 forward, as was initially hoped by Lowe and co.
  • Dennis: 78 marches to the beat of his own drummer to be sure; he doesn’t believe in Camp Mendelabum and he doesn’t know or fails to accept a Carbonneau compliment when he sees one.Just because of his low GA/60, I think he should get the third line job.
  • Bryanbryoil: I see him at his best on a cycling line with skill. If he were to be lucky enough to get to center a line of Penner and Pisani, IMO he’d be in his element and could be rather productive. I still don’t see top 6 potential in Pouliot yet, but he could be a very solid 3rd line center.
  • Lowetide: He played with against about the same quality as Andrew Cogliano and had the identical Corsi and they were extremely close in 5×5/60. At MacT’s last press conference he did say that Pouliot had made some progress and we know that the player and coach had some differences in philosophy with regard to Pouliot’s ideal slot in the batting order. We have to assume Pouliot will get the hint and show up in NHL-level shape this fall. A new coach might mean a fresh start for this player and that could mean an increase in responsibility and the arrival of Pouliot after a long incubation period. And a strong nickname couldn’t hurt. I suggest Sledgehammer.

Pouliot’s boxcars and secondary numbers have some nice things:

  • Boxcars: 63gp, 8-12-20, 23pims
  • Plus Minus: +1
  • Corsi: -4.4
  • GF/GA ON: 25-26
  • 5×5/60: 1.67
  • Quality of Competition: dregs
  • Quality of Teammates: 3rd level
  • FO %: 48.3% in 211 sorties
  • 09-10 Cap Hit: $.825M (nhlnumbers.com)

Two final things: I’ve always cheered like mad for this guy, because he’s a sublime passer. I’ve suggested in the past that he could end up being a small “r” Ratelle (as in Jean Ratelle) and continue to hold out hope that this will come true.

And the final word to Kevin Prendergast, who has given an entire generation of young people an opportunity to use the word hyperbole. However, I believe he gave us the money quote on Marc Pouliot and this organization back 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.”

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104 Responses to "Pouliot the Parade Maker"

  1. Black Dog says:

    Unless they are waiting for the remaining guys like Maholtra to panic and accept peanuts I think that Pouliot is the guy they are going with.

    There are quite a few guys whose opinions I respect a lot who don't like the guy (Traktor, Fake Craig Mc) and they can put up a pretty good argument but I think that he may be the guy who may benefit most from the coaching change.

    I guess we will see.

  2. rananda says:

    Very odd that a team, particularly one with Tom Renney on the coaching staff and one that has a relatively short supply of experienced NHL centers who can win a faceoff and kill a penalty, would not have signed Blair Betts right now. He'll make any team in the NHL better, especially one with glaring holes like the Oilers.

  3. steve says:

    Aaron Portzline speculated about Malhotra on Sunday:

    "Center Manny Malhotra won't be back with the Blue Jackets, but it's a mild surprise that, nearly two weeks into free agency, he remains unsigned. Malhotra is said to be asking for $2 million per season, but he might need to lower that price."

  4. Lowetide says:

    The good thing about the Heatley deal as it stands is that it is keeping the Oilers from doing anything dumb.

    I'd be fine with Jagr coming in for money but very unhappy with a Kessel offer sheet.

    I'd be thrilled if they would just sign a nice veteran center and a nice veteran defenseman and call it a summer.

    The Oilers have some nice arrows for 09-10 as they currently sit, and if they add Malhotra and someone from the Hejda tree it would imo be a solid off-season.

    Added some veteran things, kept the kids and drafted well.

  5. HBomb says:

    Malholtra is only asking 2 million a season now?

    Cripes – offer the guy the Nilsson deal (6 over 3) and deal Rowbear for a fourth round pick.

    I have no problem with MAP whatsoever – in fact, I'm rooting for the kid and can see why they chose him over Brodziak. But I'd be WAY more comfortable if he and Brule were 2/3rds of an effective fourth line (perhaps with JF Jacques) as opposed to our 3C and 4C.

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    O'Sullivan Gagner Cogliano
    Moreau Malholtra Pisani
    Jacques Pouliot Brule
    EXT: Stortini, MacIntyre

    That doesn't look half-bad to me.

    And Lowetide, nice work making me scramble for an online dictionary before 9am on a Monday.

    Redoubtable:

    1. Arousing fear or awe; formidable.
    2. Worthy of respect or honor
    .

    Nice word choice. I can honestly say I've never heard that particular one before in my entire life.

  6. rananda says:

    I'd be thrilled if they would just sign a nice veteran center and a nice veteran defenseman and call it a summer.

    You're not going to get better value than Betts.

  7. Black Dog says:

    I'd prefer Pouliot over Brule on the fourth and then a vet on the third.

    rananda – where did Betts slot in on the Rangers – fourth line, tough minutes? I know he worked on the PK.

    So the plan is Heatley and then if that doesn't work out fill the holes in September? Or is it status quo if not Heatley?

  8. DBO says:

    You do have the man crush on Pouliot LT. I agree he has been mishandled, mentally abused and played out of position from the start, and that is a big reason why he has not excelled. However, you have to agree he's vanilla in his skill set. he does nothing very well, and does not bring an element of either speed or physical play you need to compensate for middle of the road skills. Having said that i hope he exceeds since he seems like a good kid, has paid his dues and should get a legit shot. But at the same time i want a veteran centre at the 3C. If Malhotra or Moore can be had for $2 mill or less i say make it happen. If all this team does is sign a vet 3C, i would actually be Ok going into the year.

  9. Coach pb9617 says:

    rananda – where did Betts slot in on the Rangers – fourth line, tough minutes? I know he worked on the PK.

    Fourth line BD. He worked with Colton Orr and Freddie Sjostrom for most of the year.

    The remaining vet centers are divided into three distinct classes, using the tough minutes system of line ranking:

    2nd: Lang, Malhotra, Moore
    3rd: Yelle, Betts, Peca
    Specialists: Bonk, Perrin

  10. Asciutto says:

    I'm sure the Oiler's plan includes Betts on the 4th line.
    After the 3 out for 1 in trade

    Many Commenters have very high expectations for the new coaching staff.
    Too high, probably.
    Improvement will come from those few guys who excel for Quinn,
    but didn't for MacT.
    See Pouliot, Marc and Smid, Ladi at the top of the list.

  11. Coach pb9617 says:


    Many Commenters have very high expectations for the new coaching staff.
    Too high, probably.
    Improvement will come from those few guys who excel for Quinn,
    but didn't for MacT.
    See Pouliot, Marc and Smid, Ladi at the top of the list
    .

    I won't write in Haiku, but I don't expect much more as far as results go. If Quinn is going to roll lines and avoid matching, Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky's numbers will go through the roof and the rest of the team is going to suffer mightily.

  12. rananda says:

    Fourth line BD. He worked with Colton Orr and Freddie Sjostrom for most of the year.

    Yes but he often used that line to match up against the other team's top lines, depending on the opponent. It's hard to believe, but Renney consistently matched Betts/Orr/Hollweg against Crosby's line at home against the Pens. And it wasn't because of the defensive work of the other two. Betts eats up tough minutes with aplomb and tenacity.

  13. Asiaoil says:

    It's pretty easy to say what to do with MAP…..play him at center already. The kid has been slotted out of position most of his career and it's as obvious he's a center as Cogs isn't. Vanilla skill set maybe – but that describes every 3C in the league aside from Peca in his prime – so I'm not sure what that means. Our needs at 3C with Moreau and Pisani are size, passing, two way play – and I agree that MAP is at the point where he gets it or not. Only fly in the ointment is thecaptainethanmoreau is not a fan – but I'm hoping the new coach rips off the C, tells him to shut up, and give it to Souray. Might as well try MAP at 3C as we in no way can afford another $2 million bottom 6 guy – no how no way. Betts for the 4th line would be nice insurance though – and let Brule work his way in from the PB.

  14. Black Gold says:

    See Pouliot, Marc and Smid, Ladi at the top of the list.

    Penner, Dustin and Nilsson, Rowbear, too?

    (Every passing day, it seems more likely Nilsson will be an Oiler in October.)

    Also, to me, Moreau is a 4th line LW at this point in his career. I doubt he'll have any positive chemistry with MAP.

    The Oil team I want to see in the fall will be giving MAP 12 minutes a night or more, and Moreau 10 minutes or less.
    I want to see more of Stone and Potulny and less of Moreau.

  15. Boondock says:

    Might as well try MAP at 3C as we in no way can afford another $2 million bottom 6 guy – no how no way.

    I would agree with you, but based on the Neil offer, I don't think Tambellini does.

  16. DBO says:

    At this point we have great value on gagner, so a one year deal for $2 mill for a 3rd line centre is fine by me. If it's a longer term, then maybe a 3 year, $5 million deal would be great value. looking at what other 3C guys siugned for this year, anything less then $2 million is a bargain.

  17. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Asiaoil said…
    It's pretty easy to say what to do with MAP…..play him at center already. The kid has been slotted out of position most of his career and it's as obvious he's a center as Cogs isn't. Vanilla skill set maybe – but that describes every 3C in the league aside from Peca in his prime – so I'm not sure what that means.

    We don't need to range too far from home to see 3C's that aren't vanilla flavoured.

    Craig Conroy 12G 36A 48P +20
    Ryan Kesler 26G 33A 59P +8

    There are others.

  18. misfit says:

    Like you, LT, I've been a big fan of Pouliot's for a long time, and I think he's our best option for the 3rd line C role currently on the roster. I also thought he was the best option this time last year as well.

    With that said, I'd still be a lot more comfortable if we had another vetran center to help insulate him with. Preferably a southpaw.

    One thing is for sure, with Pouliot, Gagner, and Brule as our RH centermen, Pouliot is going to be on for a lot of own-zone draws this year, and might as well start fitting himself for a pair of goat horns right away. Of course, that's only if Quinn cares as much about which way his center shoots, or where on the ice the faceoff is, as MacT did.

  19. misfit says:

    @HBomb

    I felt the same way when I read that about Malhotra. If all he wants is $2M, then we should give it to him and put him in a sweater. He's the ideal #3C for this team, and we could easily find $2M of room to fit him under the cap.

  20. ian says:

    Pouliot at 825.000 for 2 years is a very good reason to give him a shot.
    Somewhere along the way we need to have value contracts a la Marty Reasoners to offset the top six "overpays"

  21. oilerdago says:

    Asiaoil makes a good point about the "issues" w/MAP and thecaptainethanmoreau that I'd almost forgot about. With Quinn now running the show, it could be interesting to see what happens sans all the politics.

    I fall in the camp of guys who'd like to see MAP succeed but am not convinced he's ready for 3C. That said, he's never really been given the chance and if this year is going to be about development, I'm willing to cut him and Brule/Potulny slace to see what can be done.

    Question though would be would Cogs be on the wing on the 3rd line?

  22. HBomb says:

    misfit: Personally, I have no issues spending 2 million on a quality 3C. It's an important position (if I'm GM of a hockey team, I'm spending the bulk of my cash on my first two lines, my 3rd line center, my top four D, and my starting goalie, and cheaping out elswhere – hence why I think we should ditch Moreau and hope that Pisani signs a Moss-type extension, cap-hit wise, after this season; also hence why I hated seeing Glencross walk away).

  23. Lord Bob says:

    Wait, so Pouliot has no track record and hasn't achieved anything, but has a good contract, is pretty small, and is thus popular with the Oilogosophere?

    So, if he and Dustin Penner shook hands, it would be like matter and antimatter?

  24. Asiaoil says:

    HBomb – I agree with you but that's not how we are setup. We have $4.5 in cap hit going to 3RW Pisani and 3LW Moreau and can't afford another $2+ million for the 3C this season. Maybe next year after Pisani's contract is done and Moreau is traded at the deadline (fingers crossed) but not now.

    We desperately need value contracts if these are out there – but need to clear several existing contracts just as bad. Nilsson, Staios and Moreau to start. If Pisani continues to decline or won't sign for $1 million next year – he's gone as well. Getting those 4 guys off the books gives us the ability to sign a good 3C and re-up Gagner. But for now some of these kids better have the light turn on and fast.

  25. TC91 says:

    @ Lord Bob

    Isn't Pouliot 6-foot-0/6-foot-1 and 200lbs?

    And I think that Penner and Gilbert Brule would be more along the lines of matter and antimatter.

  26. ian says:

    I think you do not want to have Pouliot run out of town and then find out he was on the verge of becoming a good/decent center.He is 24 years old and decent size and his numbers according to LT have matched up with Cogs [not saying, just saying]

  27. NBOilerFan says:

    I also feel that Pouliot is better suited for the 3rd line with Brule the better option on the 4th as the crash and banger.

    However to me it comes down to which of these is the better option at 3rd line center; Pouliot or a Vet (i.e. Malhotra/Betts).

    I would rather they finally get the veteran center, but I think the organization is leaning toward giving Pouliot the shot plus having teh added bonus of salary savings of not signing a vet.

    I just don't like the idea of Horcoff, Gagner, Pouliot and Brule down the middle. We will be starting the season without addressing this same problem yet again. I'd hoped for more from Tambellini.

    I'd be thrilled if they would sign a nice veteran center and a bigger 2nd line LW (i.e. Taylor Pyatt), went status quo on D and dealt Nilsson & Pouliot for whatever they could get.

  28. Matt N says:

    How many "at bats" have the Oil dedicated to Cogliano at center? Is this experiment done? MacT put alot of time and effort into letting this guy develop into "Todd Marchant with hands".

    I get the FO% problems and average defensive work, but do we just throw this all away and now develop him as a winger? Seems like a waste of a couple of years.

  29. Sean says:

    Pouiot also seems to choke everytime he is given a real opportunity. I remember last year when he got 2-3 games with Cole and looked horrible. It wasn't all Cole either. But I'm hoping for some good things from Pouliot this year. As it stands, Oilers need it!

  30. dstaples says:

    Thank you, LT, for making that Pouliot as a Jean Ratelle Lite comparison. It makes me feel better about my own comparing of Gagner to Joe Sakic.

    By the numbers, Pouliot isn't the write-off that many fans, including me, have at times declared him to be.

    As for what to expect next season from Pouliot, he had a real nice way of finding a sweet spot in the offensive zone to get off a good shot last year. So he has shown some good offensive awareness.

    Putting him a line with Penner and Pisani might not be such a terrible idea, though that's a slow-moving line.

    I see not much indication that Pouliot can be a checking line center, who handles tough opposition. He lacks a nasty edge, or any edge, he wanders a bit in his own zone, he doesn't combine particularly well with his defencemen on passing plays to advance the puck out of the zone.

    Really, with his ability to get off the odd good shot on offence, he's looking more like a winger to me.

    So perhaps a Rick Middleton Lite comparison would be a better idea, LT ;)

  31. Promethian says:

    //We don't need to range too far from home to see 3C's that aren't vanilla flavoured.

    Craig Conroy 12G 36A 48P +20
    Ryan Kesler 26G 33A 59P +8

    There are others.//

    I see where you're going here, but is Kesler really a 3C? He played 2nd line minutes from the get-go, and even played with Sundin as the second line once he was picked up. His boxcars show offense because he was used in more offensive situations than more defensive-minded 3Cs generally are.

    Your Conroy example is pretty decent though.

    In other news, these are three things that I associate with Pouliot:

    1. Having learned French when I was younger, I still call him Poo-lee-oh, not Poo-lee-ott. Linguists correct me if I'm wrong.

    2. When HF had he and Sugarteets listed as potential #1 and #2 centres a few years back, I always said, "That Poo-lee-oh will be better than Robbie, you watch", to the ridicule of some colleagues. Remains to be seen if I have last laugh or not.

    3. He'll always be MAP to me.

    So can he 3C-it this year? I say give it a go. We desperately need cheap, effective, homegrown players filling important positions on this team. Once they mature (cheaply), they can accept larger, more prominent roles, or if not, they stay bottom 6F or bottom 2D on the cheap.

  32. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    Promethian said…

    I see where you're going here, but is Kesler really a 3C? He played 2nd line minutes from the get-go, and even played with Sundin as the second line once he was picked up. His boxcars show offense because he was used in more offensive situations than more defensive-minded 3Cs generally are.

    Kesler really was a 3C until showing enough skill to move up and isn't that really the position you would like to be in?

    We often forget that we have to beat other teams when projecting players into roles on the Oilers but I was merely responding to the notion that the prototypical 3C is "vanilla".

    That flavour might be more the exception than the rule considering such others as Staal in Pittsburgh, Handzus in LA and even young Hanzal in Phoenix.

  33. Traktor says:

    If we're asking whether or not Pouliot can become a low event 3C then we're asking the wrong question.

    It's like asking if Schremp can become a top 6 player – who cares.

    Will this team benefit more from added toughness or added defensive play – that's the real question.

    We need to tougher either in the top six or get tougher in the bottom six and assuming that most want to keep the kids around, well then we only have one option (assuming you are not calling Tambellini a liar for saying this team needs to get tougher in his season ending presser).

    Marc Pouliot further swings the pendulum in the "easy to play against" direction.

    If we go into the season with a couple defensive players that can win draws and PK but have zero physical edge we're going to get ran out of the rink again.

    We need to look for players like Burrish, Ott, Cooke, Eager, Ruutu, Clarkson ect to fill out our bottom six. Maxim Lapierre would be my first choice but we probably missed the boat on that one.

  34. Traktor says:

    FCM: Fisher, Ott, Lapierre and Gaustad are a couple more..

  35. Traktor says:

    Paul Gaustad,

    6'5, 230 pounds, 27 years old

    Last season,

    62 games
    12 goals
    17 assits
    29 points
    108 PIM's

    52.7% on the dot last year after 858 draws

    Qual Comp – 0.02
    GFON60 – 2.46
    GAON60 – 2.21
    Differential + .25

    That's the guy I want as my 3C.

    Maybe something like Visnovsky + Nilsson/O'Sullivan for Gaustad + Stafford could be worked out.

  36. Masamax says:

    Traktor said:

    We need to tougher either in the top six or get tougher in the bottom six and assuming that most want to keep the kids around, well then we only have one option (assuming you are not calling Tambellini a liar for saying this team needs to get tougher in his season ending presser).

    Not all toughness comes from getting bigger, meaner guys. In my estimation, being harder to play against isn't just how hard to hit, and how big you are. It is much more important to have a work ethic that is tough. Even small guys can be tough to play against if they are fighting the battles along the boards and forcing their opponents to actually fight the man on man puck battles. This is something even our big men failed at last year for the most part, and something that coaching can do a great deal to help with. MAP is a decently sized man, and not significantly smaller than Malhotra, so that is not really an upgrade.

    What you can argue is that a guy like Malhotra is an upgrade in compete level, and this is what I really think the Oilers need more of next season. Very few of our players last year showed the kind of compete level that they should have, and of course it made us soft to play against. When you don't fight the puck battles, when you don't finish (or even initiate) your checks, the other team is going to take you to school. Adding one guy with a built in compete level is not going to change that if the rest of the roster doesn't step up. As was shown last year, having one mean SOB in Souray won't stop a team from taking liberties. The entire squad needs to step up their compete level. If Quinn can do that, why bother with a $2 vetran when we can pay less than half of that for a similarly positioned player? And if Quinn can't? Malhotra is not going to make a significant difference, and the point is moot.

  37. bookie says:

    If Quinn can do that, why bother with a $2 vetran when we can pay less than half of that for a similarly positioned player

    I think that all of our off season analyzing with regards to the Oilers is really difficult because we don't know how big of a change coaching can make on the players.

  38. rickibear says:

    Craig Conroy 12G 36A 48P +20
    Ryan Kesler 26G 33A 59P +8

    There are others.

    Fake Craig:

    You picked two of the four centers in the whole league who: face 2nd line or better; outscore them; and make less than 2.5M a year.

    The other Reasoner and Ott 1.3M. There are no others.

    Then there are three more that make less than 3.75M
    Cullen 2.8M
    Gaustad 2.3M
    Malhotra ?????

    Then there are 8 who face only tough. they make 3.75M+ from rfa and 5.5M+ from UFA.

    Lots of choice!
    Lets get the magic trade fairy again.

    Malhotra I thought he would get 3M.

  39. rickibear says:

    Maybe something like Visnovsky + Nilsson/O'Sullivan for Gaustad + Stafford could be worked out.

    Clearly the trade fairy is out.

  40. kris says:

    Of course, this is just going to cause Traktor to go berserk, but I'll say it anyway.

    And Traktor, please take this in the right way, but whenever I read your stuff, I'm reminded of the advice of the berserker dad to his berseker son in the Monty Python-esque, Viking comedy 'Erik the Red.' 'You'll never make it as a berserk, if you let the red rage out before battle.'

    It's a funny scene, it's about 50 seconds in at this you tube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAe3NLbaZfU

    Anyway: If we're asking whether or not Pouliot can become a low event 3C then we're asking the wrong question. It's like asking if Schremp can become a top 6 player – who cares. Will this team benefit more from added toughness or added defensive play – that's the real question."

    This makes zero sense. If Schremp became a good top 6 forward and Poo became a good, "defensive" 3C, I'd be very excited about our chances. The former isn't likely to happen, but the latter might. So, it's a good question.

    I'm not sure how you're deciding which questions are 'the wrong questions.' The right question is: Does player X being on the ice make it more likely that we'll score more goals than the opposition. That is still how you win games, afterall.

    Pouliot's numbers show that if he can improve a bit more, he can become a "low event," smart outscorer like Pisani. It might be unlikely -how likely is what we should be debating- but it could happen. If it does happen, it's going to be fantastic.

  41. Coach pb9617 says:

    Yes but he often used that line to match up against the other team's top lines, depending on the opponent. It's hard to believe, but Renney consistently matched Betts/Orr/Hollweg against Crosby's line at home against the Pens. And it wasn't because of the defensive work of the other two. Betts eats up tough minutes with aplomb and tenacity.

    Why do people say stuff like this when it can be EASILY verified? Betts time against Crosby:

    He plays a half of one even strength shift against Crosby..

    He plays two even strength shifts against Crosby..

    He plays one even strength shift against Crosby..

    He plays two even strength shifts against Crosby..

    He plays four even strength shifts against Crosby..

    He plays four even strength shifts against Crosby..

    He played a total of 11 minutes against Crosby at even strength..

    Crosby played 26 minutes against Gomez, 29 minutes against Dubinsky, 28 minutes against Drury..

    It's hard to believe, but Renney consistently matched Betts/Orr/Hollweg against Crosby's line at home against the Pens.

    It's hard to believe and patently false.

  42. Masamax says:

    bookie said:

    I think that all of our off season analyzing with regards to the Oilers is really difficult because we don't know how big of a change coaching can make on the players.

    I couldn't agree more bookie. At this point, I would be willing to stand with the roster we really have here. With the cap situation, we really have to be careful about going out and getting guys we might not really need. I don't even think that we have to think of this coming year as a development one. The fact is that the range of possible performances by this team I could see could land us anywhere from 1st in NW to 14th place. We certainly had high expectations for last season, as did many analysts who get paid to do what we are doing right now. With additions of players like POS and Bulin, and with a hopefully healthy Pisani, I honestly think this team is even better as it stands right now than last year. But what was missing? Was it really a vetran 3C that kept us from the playoffs? Or was it an endemic problem from the first line to the last? I vote the later. Whether Quinn can motivate these players is a big question. If he can't, we have far bigger problems than a 3C anyways.

  43. Coach pb9617 says:

    Somewhere along the way we need to have value contracts a la Marty Reasoners to offset the top six "overpays"

    Except that the Oilers' overpays are in the bottom six and bottom pairing.

    blech.


    I get the FO% problems and average defensive work, but do we just throw this all away and now develop him as a winger? Seems like a waste of a couple of years
    .

    I think you consider it sunk cost and see if he can play wing before you pay him 3.75 million a year. Do you want to pay a center that is historically bad at faceoffs and average to worse in his own end $3.75 million?

  44. bookie says:

    Why do people say stuff like this when it can be EASILY verified? Betts time against Crosby:

    Probably because they are used to other blogs where they don't get scooled by guys like you Coach!

    On that note let me just state that Horcoff sucks because he got minimal points even though he always played against the easiest opponents, got the best face off opportunities, and had more PP time than anyone on the team. Also Robbie Schemp is way better than any player of his generation. Also, Penner is a cow who drug his linemates down.

  45. Coach pb9617 says:

    On that note let me just state that Horcoff sucks because he got minimal points even though he always played against the easiest opponents, got the best face off opportunities, and had more PP time than anyone on the team. Also Robbie Schemp is way better than any player of his generation. Also, Penner is a cow who drug his linemates down.

    You take that back.

  46. rananda says:

    Why do people say stuff like this when it can be EASILY verified? Betts time against Crosby:

    Notice I said Betts/Orr/Hollweg. Care to guess which season or seasons I was referring to? Care to guess which season I was not referring to? All of the shift chart links you posted and other data were from last season, when a Betts/Orr/Hollweg line could not have been iced for obvious reasons. C'mon dude.

  47. NBOilerFan says:

    Completely off topic here – but I am turning 40 this September and I am finally getting an Oilers jersey (been a fan for 25 years now and have never owned a jersey).

    I want to customize it and looking for opinions. I am a long time Messier fan (since 1985) and #11 is still my favorite number to this day, have long been a Smyth fan, also a Hemsky fan. Also strongly considering getting a Gagner jersey since I believe he is the next face of the franchaise will be around a long time from now (starting to wonder how long Hemsky may be here).

    What jersey should I get? Something about getting a Messier or Smyth jersey doesn't feel right anymore so I'm leaning heavily to Hemsky, with Gagner a close second.

    Thoughts? Opinions?

  48. Coach pb9617 says:

    Notice I said Betts/Orr/Hollweg. Care to guess which season or seasons I was referring to? Care to guess which season I was not referring to? All of the shift chart links you posted and other data were from last season, when a Betts/Orr/Hollweg line could not have been iced for obvious reasons.

    In 2007-2008, Crosby played 30:08 against Gomez, 25.53 against Drury, 24:55 against Dubinsky, 22:41 against Betts,

    in 2006-2007, Crosby played against Michael Nylander 36:52, Blair Betts 30:37, Martin Straka 23:07. Colton Orr did not see more than 22:23 against Crosby.

    Any Pens fan will tell you that it was Jagr's line being matched two years ago.

  49. Coach pb9617 says:

    What jersey should I get?

    Hartikainen

    #35

  50. kris says:

    We need a soft bottom six player just as much as we need another 5'11 one-dimensional top six player (Schremp).

    Yes, we do need both. :) Give me butter soft Reasoner -who used to play a lot like Reasoner- at 3C for the bottom 6 and an up and coming "one-dimensional" offensive powerhouse like Patrick Kane to play with Hemsky on line 1 (okay, I know Kane is a RW, too) and this team is rolling.

    We already have Souray, Stortini, Moreau, Strudwick, Peckham, JFJ, and to a lesser extent, Smid for toughness and grit. We have SMac for the gladiator arena. That's 8 players, almost a third of a 23 man roster. I guess a little more toughness would be nice, but it's not necessary to be a winning team.

    We need help at 3C and on the PK to make the playoffs, and scoring help to be a contender, IMO.

  51. kris says:

    I mean 'play a lot like Pouliot,' of course.

  52. DBO says:

    Anyone saying they are fine with the roster has not been reading LT's blog for the last few years. our lack of "NHL" players has been what hurt us the most, leading to MacT trying to kill Horcoff with ice time, and not being able to trust young players. now some young players are "NHLers" but a lot of our roster would not dominate evn the AHl, so how can we expect them to hold their head above water. As it stands one of Brule or Pou will get a decent amount of ice time, and anyone who thinks that is a good thing does not want us to be in the playoffs next spring. one of Pou or brule at 4c is great. both seeing decent ice time is a recipe for another frustrating year.

  53. Masamax says:

    DBO said:

    Anyone saying they are fine with the roster has not been reading LT's blog for the last few years. our lack of "NHL" players has been what hurt us the most, leading to MacT trying to kill Horcoff with ice time, and not being able to trust young players.

    I just don't think saying MacT couldn't trust these players means they can't be trusted. Nor do I buy the argument that we need to have a roster stocked with "NHL" players that have a hefty price tag for the same limited abilities that a young player could possibly provide. In a perfect world we could, but not when we have to choose between a servicable bottom 6 and the rest of the team.

  54. Alice says:

    /What jersey should I get?/

    Easy:
    Highbaugh, #13

    [Linseman wore it too, as does my daughter]

  55. Coach pb9617 says:

    Betts has played the easiest minutes with the worst teammates two years running and hasn't done well at ES. He did have 38% of his faceoffs start in the D Zone (ZS: 62), which is in line with Horcoff's 39% (ZS: 156) but nowhere near the crazy stuff Brodziak had to go through: 44% (ZS: 149).

  56. SK Oiler Fan says:

    So we have to assume the Oilers are in win now mode, not development (tank) mode. Proof: Heatlygate, Khabibulin, spending to the cap. Next season would seem like a more logical "go for it" year, but the owner wants to play with his new toy. Fine, we'll have to throw our logical contender building ideas out the window then.

    Elements of a contending team:
    Strong goaltending = check
    Strong top 4 D = check
    Strong up the middle = black hole!

    A contender is always strong up the middle 1-3! ie. Crosby, Malkin, Staal or in LT terms: Alomar, Fernandez, White.

    As it stands now the Oilers are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to strength down the middle: Horc, Gags, Pou, Brule?

    I like Gags down the road and Horc is a hell of a player, but he's not Batman. If a Malhotra, Betts, or D. Moore are available for 1 to 2M Tambs has to find a way to fit one of them in to 3C. Pou, Brule, and Potulny can fight it out for 4C.

    If they really want to make the Falcons more competitive then keep 2 of Pou, Brule, and Potulny down in the A.

  57. DBO says:

    Not saying they can't be trusted, just saying running rookies (or as good as) out constantly and your team will not win. you don't need high priced veterans. In this market with cap consideration and a depressed economy where a lot of owners are in money saving mode, you can pick up solid vets for a million, or better young players who have the skill set we need. a good example is sjostrom who just signed in calgary for $750K per season. he's a solid two way player. A guy like Marcel Goc (who was not qualified by SJ) is a better fit then pouliot, and could actually cost us less then Pouliot. he plays physical, has a 58% faceoff rate, and 250 NHL games experience.

  58. Coach pb9617 says:

    In this market with cap consideration and a depressed economy where a lot of owners are in money saving mode, you can pick up solid vets for a million, or better young players who have the skill set we need. a good example is sjostrom who just signed in calgary for $750K per season. he's a solid two way player. A guy like Marcel Goc (who was not qualified by SJ) is a better fit then pouliot, and could actually cost us less then Pouliot. he plays physical, has a 58% faceoff rate, and 250 NHL games experience.

    Or a guy like Yelle, who I think should come in around $750,000…

  59. doritogrande says:

    NBOilerFan:

    Go with something classic. I love Andrew Cogliano to death, but my White 13 jersey was almost rendered obsolete five months after getting it.

    I've never understood why everyone still thinks our third line needs to be the shutdown line. The Oilers really arent' set up this way, and our young kids need to be put into positions where they can succeed and develop at the same time. I don't see Pouliot as developing into the shutdown guy. Has he legitimately been this guy at any point in his hockey career? Do you think Sidney Crosby played defense when he was in Junior? Hell no, and Pouliot was riding shotgun all along.

    He needs to be put in a complimentary scoring role to succeed. Willis had a post up recently on C&B with some video of one Rob Schremp, who for this game was playing on a line with our boy Pouliot. Cogliano made up the third part to that line. Schremp was leading the way with two assists, but Pouliot looked comfortable in this role. As a complimentary point producer. Now, given we have a multidue of younger, better complimentary point producers (by complimentary I mean not the Horcoff line) that should be getting his minutes.

    In my opinion, he's fighting for his ideal spot in this organization against the likes of Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, Eberle, and MPS. He doesn't have a hope in hell.

    We need a vet for the third line if we're to be playoff-bound this summer. We've got assets to trade for one and I believe this is the method we should be going about it. We take a young-ish top-6er of which we admittedly have a few, be it Nilsson or Pouliot and we make our trade for Jerred Smithson or Jeff Halpern.

  60. hunter1909 says:

    And there's me, checking up on the Oilers every day half expecting a Heatley to the Oilers announcement. Luckily I've got other things to occupy my free time – like studying the battle of Stalingrad. Those crazy Germans, who had another chance to go for Moscow in 1942 and despite the generals arguing themselves until they were blue in the face Uncle Adolph said no.

    As much as it would be fun to get Heatley, I would personally be happy to see the Oilers do nothing until Quinn takes over in September/October/whenever these things happen.

  61. hunter1909 says:

    I'm terribly sorry, but I don't know who POS is. I'd assumed it was Nilsson, then read the other day that it wasn't. And with so many choices for the title, I'm confused.

  62. Ribs says:

    Patty O', hunter. If that was a serious question.

  63. HBomb says:

    POS = Patrick O'Sullivan.

    An ironic acronym, because the guy is far from, ahem, useless.

  64. HBomb says:

    Dammit Ribs, edged me out at the finish line by a pubic hair on that one.

  65. Nennog says:

    Betts may not be entirely healthy after having his face caved either.

    I wonder to what degree veterans are selected based on their ability to tutor younger guys. I felt Doug Weight was seen as precisely the template for Joshua Bailey on the Islanders and signed for his deals accordingly. Vish is a good teacher for Grebs, but is there one of these players here who could help Poo or Gagner or Riley Nash more than he would help the team short-term?

  66. Woodguy says:

    But what was missing? Was it really a vetran 3C that kept us from the playoffs? Or was it an endemic problem from the first line to the last? I vote the later. Whether Quinn can motivate these players is a big question. If he can't, we have far bigger problems than a 3C anyways.

    Oiler's BTN ratings for 08/08 season

    Goals For/60 5v5 tied 10th w/ 2.9

    Goals Against/60 5v5 tied 14th w/ 2.5

    If you stop there, they are a playoff team.

    Special teams

    Goals For/50 5v4 tied 25th 5.6

    Goals Against 4v5 26th 7.6

    Interestingly, Penner's GFON/60 5v4 was a team best 6.88. If the team performed to 6.88, they would have been tied for 9th in the league with the likes of Chicago.

    I really don't think it was motivation, I think it was structure, systems and coaching.

    MacT ran out two sets of forwards for the PK and gassed 10 in the process making him less than useful in the other myriad of roles he had to fill. He had run out 3 sets when the Oilers were in the top 10 in the league for years. I guess he felt he couldn't trust other to fill that role, but he hurt his team in the process.

    MacT also kept his best PP guy on the bench for a significant amount of time.

    They seemed to be ok with 83 getting the puck on the 1/2 boards and making it up as he went along. Unfortunately he didn't use everyone on the ice and the PP was uber-predictable.

    With better coaching on the PP(skating, jumping holes, moving your legs with the puck to create odd man situations down low etc.), and running out 3 sets of forwards on the PK (10, 34, 18, 19….maybe 13 (not on the dot), 78, 67…maybe getting the 3rd and shortest shift) the Oilers can improve the most glaring of their holes, that being special team.

    When I was trying to come up with forwards 5 &6 for the PK I shuddered a bit. I think 78 can do it, and 13 should be able to as well given his feet, just keep him off the dot.

  67. Nennog says:

    Betts may not be entirely healthy after having his face caved either.

    I wonder to what degree veterans are selected based on their ability to tutor younger guys. I felt Doug Weight was seen as precisely the template for Joshua Bailey on the Islanders and signed for his deals accordingly. Vish is a good teacher for Grebs, but is there one of these players here who could help Poo or Gagner or Riley Nash more than he would help the team short-term?

  68. Master Lok says:

    LT,
    I don't see Pouliot as a defensive centre type. In fact, I'm not sure what I project Pouliot to be. Can you give me a modern day example LT of what you think Pouliot might project to? (i.e. NOT Jean Ratelle)

  69. Lowetide says:

    Master Lok,

    I think we're beyond projecting MP, but it's also true he's survived a long and difficult apprenticeship. Pouliot has some things, he just does. He also doesn't have some things.

  70. bookie says:

    What jersey should I get? Something about getting a Messier or Smyth jersey doesn't feel right anymore so I'm leaning heavily to Hemsky, with Gagner a close second.

    I never understood paying $100+ for a jersey, but if I were to get one it would not be a Smyth or Messier Jersey, they just make you look old and out of touch. Gags is probably a good choice. I think Hemsky is also a good choice.

    I would probably avoid Smid, Cogs, and Penner (though they may be on sale). I have heard the Heatley Jerseys are about 60% off in Ottawa and still are not selling. You could pick up one of those and then wear it if he comes to Edmonton.

  71. bookie says:

    Anyone saying they are fine with the roster has not been reading LT's blog for the last few years. our lack of "NHL" players has been what hurt us the most, leading to MacT trying to kill Horcoff with ice time, and not being able to trust young players.

    LT had an old man crush on MacT and this blurred his objectivity. He was starting to come around at the end of the season.

  72. Lowetide says:

    I don't think anyone can reasonably suggest this roster couldn't use some more veterans.

  73. Oilmaniac says:

    what i dont get is.. we were saying, 'rah rah pouliot for 3c last year… and last year was a disaster.. is this all blamed on MacT refusing to give him a shot… i dunno…

    My vote is for a real, seasoned, 3c.. call it a vote of no-confidence but let the kid learn from a pro.. f' making room for brule, he'll get there when hes ready (I got no problem having brule as a thirteenth)..

  74. Lowetide says:

    Except Pouliot has never played a full season at center. I think that may be what the organization is thinking at this point.

    Of course, it isn't over yet. They could sign a UFA or make a deal to address center.

  75. serum114 says:

    So, just to get an idea of the opinion (both saw him good and math based) of doing a pair of things long suggested around the blogosphere: moving 13 to the wing and trying 78 at center, what about something like:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    POS-Gagner-Nilsson
    Cogs-Pouliot-Pisani
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini
    Jacques/SMac

    I am in the camp of wanting to add a Moore/Malhotra type, but assuming standing pat, would that lineup not work well? Could that 13-78-34 line handle tough minutes? Would 18 accept being a 4th liner and PK specialist?

  76. kris says:

    Q1. Could that 13-78-34 line handle tough minutes? Q2. Would 18 accept being a 4th liner and PK specialist?

    1. Probably not. They might learn by the end of the season.

    2. Let's hope so / doubt it

  77. DBO says:

    it seems the org is looking at a lineup to start the season somewhere near this:

    new LW-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Penner/new Lw-Gagner-POS
    Moreau-Pou-Pisani
    Jacques-Brule-Stortini

    While the bottom six has more size and grit then last year, it is nothing to write home about, and if we do get heatley then we need another 2LW, unless they plan on Moreau in that role (threw up in my mouth a bit there)

  78. godot10 says:

    //I don't see Pouliot as developing into the shutdown guy. Has he legitimately been this guy at any point in his hockey career?//

    Marty Reasoner WAS Marc Pouliot. Essentially the exact same resume at this point in his career.

    Junior top-six forwards who fail to score in the NHL often have careers in the NHL as checkers. Or become career AHL scorers.

    It is a choice. Do you want to check in the NHL, or do you want to score in the AHL?

  79. Woodguy says:

    I don't think anyone can reasonably suggest this roster couldn't use some more veterans.

    I really think that's dependant on the real goals Tambo & Lowe have for the season.

  80. bookie says:

    I don't think anyone can reasonably suggest this roster couldn't use some more veterans.

    Sure, but I also think that we can expect some improvement from guys like Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Gags, Nilsson, Cogs, Pou, Pisani, and Moreau.

    The way I see it, is everybody on the team except Stortini, Roloson, and SMac underperformed last year. I doubt the same happens again this year if we stick with this lineup.

    As per vetrans, I would be happy swapping one or two of the young guys for a vetran provided the deal was good. I would also like to see one of our defenders + one of our forwards go for a strong first or second line forward.

  81. jon k says:

    For the love of God sign Malhotra. As we get deeper into free agency it becomes more and more apparent that any team lacking at centre as badly as the Oilers could have tried for Malhotra and Koivu for around 5 million.

    It's insanity.

    Pouliot at 3C very well may work, but the odds are such that I wouldn't bet good money on it.

    He did OK being bounced around the 4th line, maybe even well. But he certainly didn't dominate playing against the dregs. Giving a player a significantly higher responsibility level before they dominate at the previous level isn't sound team strategy.

    At the very best it's a leap of faith to slot him into the 3C spot and hope he thrives. At worst it's madness.

  82. kris says:

    Some perspective on Malhotra:

    Malhotra in 06/07

    QualComp: -0.07
    GFON/60: 1.97
    GAON/60: 2.74

    Malhotra in 07/08
    QualComp: 0.03
    GFON/60: 2.22
    GAON/60: 2.15

    Granted, his 08/09 numbers were great, but that's just one year. He's 29 now.

    I'm not saying don't go after him, but I don't know if I'd go past 3 million for him and people keep saying he wants a lot more.

    Moreover, Malhotra's numbers show that smart, defensive players develop slowly. Pouliot still has a chance to develop into something special and his numbers don't suggest total failure anymore than Malhotra's once did. It took years for Reasoner to develop, too.

    Poo's ahead of the curve for his kind of player, even if he hasn't made it yet, or even if he never does.

  83. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    SK Oiler Fan said…

    Elements of a contending team:
    Strong goaltending = check (debatable)
    Strong top 4 D = check (check)
    Strong up the middle = black hole! (check!)

    A contender is always strong up the middle 1-3! ie. Crosby, Malkin, Staal or in LT terms: Alomar, Fernandez, White.

    Jordan Staal
    Gagner
    Horcoff
    Pouliot

    Check!

  84. jon k says:

    Kris: By recent reports Malhotra has been holding out for 2.0 million. Given that no one is biting, I think a team could have him for 1.75.

    The nice thing about a guy like Malhotra though is that you can move him around in the bottom 6. If Pouliot begins to show signs that he could thrive at 3C there's no downside to putting Malhotra at the 4C position. That's how you should develop a third line centre, at least in my opinion.

    I don't think anyone expects Malhotra to be a world beater if we brought him on board though. But he could very well be the difference between a tweener 08-09 Oilers team and a bad 06-07 Oilers team.

  85. oil dude says:

    The way I see it, is everybody on the team except Stortini, Roloson, and SMac underperformed last year.

    Well I would add the top 4 D as not underperforming but the point is taken. Seems like half our players have had "off years" for 3 years running and I don't think that is sustainable.

  86. boopronger says:

    NBoilerfan,

    Get a jersey with #44.
    Under it reads Schremp/Pronger

  87. bookie says:

    Well I would add the top 4 D as not underperforming but the point is taken. Seems like half our players have had "off years" for 3 years running and I don't think that is sustainable.

    Yeah, I wasn't thinking about the D at all for some reason there (lacking sleep). I was mostly focused on the forwards.

  88. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Realistic contenders for 3 and 4C:

    Player – Age – GF – GA – 08/09 Sal
    Pouliot – 24 – 26GF – 26GA – .825M

    Potulny – 24 4GF – 2GA – .645M

    Brule – 22 – 3GF – 6GA – .765M

    Malhotra – 29 – 44GF – 36GA – 1.5M

    Betts – 29 – 13GF – 29GA – .615M

    Moore – 28 – 53GF – 56GA – .900M

    Goc – 25 – 16GF – 22GA – .775M

    Have I missed anybody?

    Malhotra likely gets the biggest raise out of this list for 09/10. The rest should expect minimal raises.

    What are your choices for 3 and 4C and at what salary?
    Assuming the Oilers are in win now mode.

  89. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Should have included this data as well:
    Player – Size – FO%
    Pouliot – 6'3", 200lbs – 48.3%
    Potulny – 6'0", 190lbs – 10%
    Brule – 5'10", 185lbs – 80%
    Malhotra – 6'2", 217lbs – 58%
    Betts – 6'3", 210lbs – 49.3%
    Moore – 6'0", 188lbs – 54.1%
    Goc – 6'1", 200lbs – 58.2%

  90. Spot The Loon says:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=284653

    I would like to see the Oilers making a signing like this one more than worrying about bringing in Heatley.

  91. Bill Needle says:

    Pouliot's 6-3? He's no Ratelle, he's an Isbister.

  92. SK Oiler Fan says:

    And hits:
    Pouliot – 42 hits in 63 GP
    Potulny – 5 hits in 8 GP
    Brule – 14 hits in 11 GP
    Malhotra – 74 hits in 77 GP
    Betts – 93 hits in 81 GP
    Moore – 75 hits in 81 GP
    Goc – 83 hits in 55 GP

  93. SK Oiler Fan says:

    correction: 6'1"
    Pendergrast probably said he was 6'3"

  94. Bill Needle says:

    He's still no better than Isbister.

  95. bookie says:

    McTavish ruined Isbister.

  96. Coach pb9617 says:

    So, just to get an idea of the opinion (both saw him good and math based) of doing a pair of things long suggested around the blogosphere: moving 13 to the wing and trying 78 at center, what about something like:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    POS-Gagner-Nilsson
    Cogs-Pouliot-Pisani
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini
    Jacques/SMa
    c

    Getting rid of Nilsson's cap hit and going with:

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    O'Sullivan-Gagner-Cogliano
    Niedermayer/Pyatt-Pouliot-Pisani
    Moreau-Brule-Stortini

    Would be better for all involved.

  97. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Agreed Coach

    Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky
    POS-Gagner-Nilsson
    Cogs-Pouliot-Pisani

    Those 3 lines do not make the Oilers harder to play against.

  98. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Oilers site actually lists Pou at 6'2" so he's Bucky.

  99. Masamax says:

    Faceoff percentage isn't everything. I recall a post several days ago detailing how lackluster the Rangers were in the FO circle yet still had one of the top PKs in the league.

    In any case, if Malhotra can be had for under $2 million I'd definitely consider it, but to get there we'd almost certainly need a multi-year deal. This raises many questions:

    How many players of his caliber are going to be availible next year? And more importantly, what is Pouliot shows marked improvement over this season at centre if he is on the 3rd line? Can Maholtra play the wing effectively? Pou has shown himself to be poor at that position. What about all the centres who might fit the bill we have in the system (Nash comes to mind) in the next couple of years? How much will coaching affect this players supposedly now ingrained two way skill?

    I don't assume that a guy like Pou WILL become a great two way centre, but I think it is unwise to assume that paying relatively high money for a 3rd line player in a declining cap is the only option, esspecially given what we have in the system, and what could change in the coming year as to what players are availible. What happens if a player like Stall becomes availible? With our already tight cap, wouldn't it be prudent to roll with at least a passable player (which I think Pou is) at a respectable contract that he could easily outperform? Malhotra does NOT make this team a playoff team if they already aren't. I for one believe they are.

  100. misfit says:

    @Oilmaniac

    It was only ever "rah rah Pouliot for #3C" once it became clear that they weren't going to replace Stoll and Reasoner.

    It's the same story this year. Few would rather have Pouliot play that role than sign a FA centerman who's more proven, but he's the best option we have until that happens.

  101. uni says:

    One hopes that Pouliot has moved next door to Adam Oates, and is currently spending his days power training, followed by evenings bugging old man Oates for face-off & passing lessons.

  102. oilswell says:

    Oilers probably don't win or lose a playoff spot with Pouliot on 4th C, but hopefully he plays behind a veteran that can take enough defensive zone faceoffs. I think he's good enough filler and its right that their worries should be focused upstream.

    Pouliot's a weird player but hopefully they can turn him into a contributor even if he brings little offense. He was half a year older than Horcoff was when Horcoff posted similar numbers in a similar role (01/02) with not much more ice time. And, no, I can't see him climbing nearly as high, but the point is he won't be a Nylander type but I'm rooting for value like a Reasoner or Conroy type. And the team could really use a Carbonneau type.

  103. Dennis says:

    I guess it's not unprecedented that 78 could play secondary tough min ; a guy like Bolland came up great for Chi last year but he also had a lot of help from Havlat as well.

    Though, the killer is we could've tried this last year and then he'd have a year's experience heading into 2010.

    I found him to be a way different player last year because I watched him closely during the stretch of '08 and he was very attentive in the d zone but last year I found he was much more offensively based.

    But as I said many times he has real chem with 34 so a tough min LW to flesh them out could be a good start.

  104. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Penalty Kill time:
    Pouliot – 0:10 / gm
    Brule – 0:00 / gm
    Potulny – 0:01 / gm
    Malhotra – 2:49 / gm
    Betts – 2:59 / gm
    Moore – 2:19 / gm
    Goc – 1:28 / gm

    Give me Malhotra for 3C under 2.25M and the cheaper of Goc and Betts for 4C.

    Pou, Brule, and Potulny go to the PB or in the minors. We don't even know what Pou is yet and Katz wants to win now.

    We know exactly what Malhotra, Betts, and Goc are.

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