8 More sent Packing

This is Ryan Potulny celebrating a Sam Gagner goal in January. I always wonder about men like him passing through waivers every fall without being picked up by another team.

What is it? The man scored 38 goals on a team that didn’t give him much help a year ago, wouldn’t someone take a chance on him? Ryan Potulny has played in 52 NHL games and scored 7-10-17. In 2 full AHL (158 games) seasons he’s popped 71 goals which is a pretty nice total. Are there really 420 forwards available to NHL teams who are better than Ryan Potulny?

My answer is no. I believe NHL teams don’t pick up men like Potulny for several reasons: they’re protecting their young players who have to stay in the NHL or risk waivers; they’re going with the “devil they know” from their own club–and a good teammate is often an end-of-the-roster guy who has gained respect through TC; and there is probably something of a “gentleman’s agreement” with all of these AHL veterans being sent down at about the same time.

Potulny didn’t show much in training camp but he also didn’t have that featured role he enjoyed in Springfield. There’s talent there, but an expansion draft is probably his best hope for future NHL employment.

Here are the players sent out today, their cut date from a year ago (if they were an Oiler) and then some comments on where I ranked them on September 12th:

  1. LW Ryan Potulny (Oct 2): I had him ranked right at the cusp of making the team (#15 overall) and one of the reasons was he was a very late cute one year ago (Schremp, Jacques and Brule were the only forwards sent down after him). This year there are more forwards to be dealt with and I suspect Potulny brought a kinfe to a gunfight: the Oilers are looking for energy guys with a mean streak as roster fills this fall. Among the players I ranked lower who are still here are Gilbert Brule (#16), Liam Reddox (#18), Ryan Stone (#19), Rob Schremp (#21), Jordan Eberle (#23), Kip Brennan (#25).
  2. LW Chris Minard (not an Oiler): I’m surprised he didn’t get a longer look, but then again the names who are getting the nudge (Stone, Brule, Brennan) bring more grit and energy to every shift than another skilled man like Minard. I’d still suggest that both Potulny and Minard are candidates for big league time this year.
  3. RW Ryan O’Marra (Sept 25): Another reminder that the organization is looking under every rock for grit and energy. O’Marra is not a strong candidate for the NHL and this cut was predictable and overdue.
  4. C Milan Kytnar (Sept 19): He lasted longer this season, but circumstance (there was a game in Saskatoon last night) may have played a part in it. I also think we can make a case for Kytnar showing well, he is stronger than some of the 20-year olds and an excellent forechecker. I’m surprised he is going back to junior and wonder aloud (ALOUD!) if this is some kind of favor to the Blades or at the very least a matter of stocking up the Falcons. I had him 33/36 on the original depth chart and he lasted a long time.
  5. D Dean Arsene (not an Oiler): I ranked him 10th and he played very well, turning some heads and getting a very nice comment from coach Quinn. He’s never played an NHL game and one suspects that might happen this winter. There are no defenseman ranked below Arsene who are still on the roster at this time.
  6. D Jake Taylor (Sept 25): He had a deeper run this season (the Oilers sent out Plante, Chorney, Peckham and put Roy on IR after he was sent down one year ago) and would have to be considered a possible for callup to the show. I had him ranked #11.
  7. D Alex Plante (Sept 28): He showed very well this TC and put himself in the mix for callup this season. Big man, still raw but there’s a toolkit there.
  8. D Bryan Young (Sept 25): A “feel good” story this fall, Young signed an AHL contract in the summer which ordinarily dooms a player to career minor league duty ala Potulny. However, Young showed the new staff that he could play and is also a guy who could get the call.

This basically puts the Oilers roster (with a few exceptions, Peckham is hurt and goalies Sorochan and Mucha haven’t been assigned that I’ve seen) at just a few above the required 23:

  1. G Nikolai Khabibulin
  2. G Jeff Deslauriers
  3. G Devan Dubnyk*
  4. D Lubomir Visnovsky
  5. D Sheldon Souray
  6. D Tom Gilbert
  7. D Denis Grebeshkov
  8. D Steve Staios
  9. D Ladislav Smid
  10. D Jason Strudwick
  11. D Theo Peckham (IR)*
  12. D Taylor Chorney*
  13. C Shawn Horcoff
  14. C Sam Gagner
  15. C Andrew Cogliano
  16. C Marc Pouliot
  17. C Gilbert Brule*
  18. C Rob Schremp*
  19. L Dustin Penner
  20. L Mike Comrie
  21. L Ethan Moreau
  22. L JF Jacques
  23. L Liam Reddox*
  24. L Kip Brennan*
  25. R Ales Hemsky
  26. R Patrick O’Sullivan
  27. R Fernando Pisani
  28. R Zack Stortini
  29. R Ryan Stone
  30. R Robert Nilsson
  31. R Jordan Eberle*
  32. R Steve MacIntyre*

Players with an asterisk are the ones I believe will be sent out. A small change you may notice is that Ryan Stone now makes the team (by my estimate) and Steve MacIntyre gets placed on waivers. We should also be prepared for someone to be placed on IR should Eberle continue to play so well. I’ve chosen to keep Pouliot over Brule in terms of which player to protect from waivers, but you should know Jason Gregor (who has strong connections with the team and may know something) has Pouliot being swept away this fall.

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