Louise and I were talking today and she mentioned something interesting: at some point this season the Oilers are going to have to start talking about contracts for Grebeshkov and Gags/Cogs and that conversation will contain the names of two defensemen.
I spent quite a bit of time watching the Oilers very good young pairing today and have to say the future looks pretty damn goood.
- Denis Grebeshkov: Not only did the light go on but it’s a 100-watt beauty that hopefully lasts a decade. Looked good today, calm and under control.
- Tom Gilbert: I think he’s so smooth people don’t notice how very good he is at all kinds of difficult things: moving the puck, changing the shooting lane at the blueline before firing one, skating backwards, forwards and laterally and he also has an impressive wingspan. He’s a wonderful player, looks ready to me.
- Dean Arsene: He looked very good to me, I think he’d get an NHL shot with a team that had poorer depth. Planted Colin McDonald on a hit from behind and played nastier than anyone else today. I like him.
- Jason Strudwick: I think coaches must love these guys. Don Cherry tells the story of Dennis O’Brien who ripped the puck off the glass when no one was around because that’s what coach told him to do. I think that’s Strudwick, and use that story as a backdrop to break the news that I didn’t really notice him.
- Alex Plante: Wonderful game today. Scored a fine goal, he saw the G out of position (I was right behind him in the stands, could see it perfectly) and he took two strides and then fired to the upper shelf and nailed it. Also played a strong game physically and has improved a lot in his skating, especially backwards. He’s coming along, folks.
- Taylor Chorney: Mobile defender, he looked smaller this season with all of those big wingers they have in camp this year. Another season in the AHL is a no-brainer, I wonder where he is now on the callup depth chart.
- Jake Taylor: He wasn’t as impressive as Arsene which was disappointing. I think he had a subpar day or maybe I didn’t notice the good things he was doing. Either way, these AHL veterans are supremely underrated in my opinion and if a team wants a couple of $500,000 blueliners two of these minor league veterans would be solid options.
- Jordan Bendfeld: I don’t think I’ve ever said anything nice about him but today he impressed with size and physical play. Won some battles against older players.
- Dalton Prout: He didn’t do too much to get noticed, I don’t recall many shifts.
- Jeff Deslauriers: He matched Dubnyk’s performance in the earlier game, looked confident and aggressive.
- Andrew Perugini: Was beaten by Colin McDonald on the PS but looked fine to me otherwise. He’s probably the 4th best goalie in the system.
- Aaron Sorochan: He made some terrific stops and to my eye got more work than anyone, maybe a little weak on the Penner goal. Interesting situation for this player when we look at the depth chart. Does he play in Springfield? Stockton? Or do they send him home?
- Bryan Pitton: Gave up an early goal to O’Marra and a weak one to Chorney (or was it tipped) and generally looked a little behind the others.
That’s all, folks.