This is Marc Pouliot in a game last winter against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jason Gregor has suggested a few times this training camp that Pouliot’s job may be in jeopardy. On September 11 Gregor said “I still think Pouliot is going to be the odd guy out” and most recently suggested yesterday that Gilbert Brule “has a job if he wants it. He is much more physical than Pouliot, is just as good on the draws and plays way more aggressively.”
I’m not certain there’s a lot of evidence about Brule being as good on the draws and it may not matter because Pouliot isn’t playing at center all of the time. Based on what we know it would seem to be a long shot that the Oilers dump Pouliot this fall, but Jason Gregor is connected, has access to the powers that be and is suggesting the Oilers will run with Gilbert Brule as 4line center.
Has he been good enough? Last night, against AHL rubby-dubs, did he show enough? We’ll see. The Oilers have posted their lineup (but not lines) at their website and it goes like this:
- G- Jeff Deslauriers, Devan Dubnyk
- D- Sheldon Souray, Denis Grebeshkov, Ladislav Smid, Johan Motin, Bryan Young, Jake Taylor
- C- Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Marc Pouliot, Liam Reddox
- L- Dustin Penner, Robert Nilsson, Ethan Moreau, Slava Trukhno
- R- Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle, Steve MacIntyre, Colin McDonald
- Eberle is getting a real shot here. I’m still not convinced Ryan Stone is going to be a top 14F to start the season but we should discuss the idea of Eberle staying for the first 9 games of the season.
- They’re playing Cogliano at center, and with the performance of O’Sullivan with Horcoff it would seem the 1line LW job may be moving from pencil to pen.
- The Gagner-Penner combination is possible tonight (remember these aren’t lines) with both Hemsky and Eberle available for the line.
- I’ve listed Pouliot here at center, but will he play there? Is he being showcased for trade? This would make sense if Jason Gregor’s thoughts (quoted above) hold water.
- Johan Motin is flying up the depth chart, and kudos to both Young and Taylor for hanging in this long. Along with Chorney (who had a fine game last night), Plante and Arsene we may be seeing Springfield’s top 6 blue.
- If Deslauriers plays the entire game, I’d suggest Dubnyk’s TC may end on Monday. No sense keeping him around to sit when the Falcons training camp opens today.
NOTE: Par (below) posted the lines from the Oilers site:
- Gagner-Brule-Hemsky: Brule gets a massive opportunity (as per Gregor’s suggestion) on the top line with the two most skilled men on the roster. The club is clearly taking a long look at this player.
- Cogliano-Penner-Eberle: A solid second line, with the svelt Penner helping out two undersized men on a skill trio. Once again Eberle gets a prominent role. As Par mentioned, this is further evidence Cogliano is a center for this team and that Brule/Pouliot is a fight for the 4line job and that O’Sullivan has grabbed the Heatley spot on the 1line.
- Pouliot-Moreau-Nilsson: A good spot for Pouliot, he has two NHLers on his line which is a step up from last game. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get on the scoreboard this pre-season (he’s 1gp, 0-0-0 -1 compared to Brule’s 1gp, 0-0-0 E).
- Reddox-McDonald-MacIntyre: Nice to see Reddox get another game (he’s 1gp, 0-0-0) and this is Colin McDonald’s first game of the pre-season. All three are interesting players to watch because one has to show something in his one night of TC to do it and the others (from what we know) are in the mix for the kind of role they’ll play tonight.