Culling the Herd

Steve Tambellini is proving to be more decisive this summer. The Oilers have had a logjam up front for several years now and today he took action (with more to follow) to remove the clutter and make room for some of the young guns.

By not qualifying Marc Pouliot and Ryan Potulny, Tambellini opens up some spots in the 7-14F portion of the roster and gives us a glimpse into what the team is going to look like in ’10-11. In my season-ending look at Pouliot’s year, I suggested the following in answer to the question “how important is he to the organization?”

  • Nothing. The Oilers are free of Pouliot and the 2003 draft, the Prendergast firing establishes it. Edmonton could walk away from him, deal him or send him down during TC and lose him on waivers (or not) and no one is going to blink. I don’t think he’s a suspect, but he’s not a prospect anymore. I bet someone will take a chance on him should the Oilers go another direction.

Bob Stauffer mentioned today that Mike Comrie is a possibility for this roster in ’10-11, depending on what happens in regard to O’Sullivan and Nilsson. Here’s the depth chart as I see it:

  • C: Horcoff, Gagner, Fraser, Cogliano
  • L: Hall*, Penner, Moreau, Ryan Jones, MPS*, Jacques, Omark*
  • R: Hemsky, Brule, Stortini, Eberle*, O’Sullivan, Nilsson

That’s 17 forwards, and the club might add Comrie, Stone and a Colton Orr-type to the group above. I think the forwards still need a RH 2-way C and a veteran RW too, but we’ll see how things roll out. Here are the players impacted by today’s decisions:

  1. Sam Gagner: Qualified and now they begin the process of finding a number. Gagner is certainly worth more than a QO but the Oilers may want more seasons in exchange.
  2. Andrew Cogliano: Qualified and there’s a real chance he won’t be here in the fall so that makes a deal early in summer more likely. His new team would probably want to have a say in contract length and dollars.
  3. Gilbert Brule: QO’d and now the dance begins. This is a player we should watch closely, the Oilers are in a dangerous area with his next contract. No need to overpay him, but in today’s NHL does that mean he’s under 2M/yr when all is said and done?
  4. Colin Fraser: QO’d and he is in a nice spot. The Oilers didn’t have a lot of good penalty killers and lost one in Pisani through free agency.
  5. Liam Reddox: QO’d and I think he’s earned it. Reddox has made himself into a fringe NHL player and works his bag off for everything he gets. You have to respect a player like that, even though he’ll likely spend most or all of the season in Okla City.
  6. JF Jacques: QO’d because of his size and hitting ability. Jacques had one of the worst seasons I’ve ever seen from an Oiler forward, by eye and slide rule. A rather mysterious choice, unless (as speeds indicated yesterday in the post below) this is a QO in order to have him play in the AHL next season.
  7. Ryan Potulny: Not Qualified. I think this is less shocking because of Matty’s column and the fact we kind of kind of know who this player is: a good pinch hitter on a contending club or an everyday player on a poor one. Hall, Paarjavi, Omark and Eberle all make him expendable for next season.
  8. Marc Pouliot: Not Qualified. I think it is a very poor decision, unless they plan on signing him to a lesser deal (say 600k times 2 years) as suggested in the spring by speeds at his blog OR they plan on finding a more proven version of Pouliot. He’s a good hockey player despite the warts.
  9. Ryan O’Marra: QO, man they really do see something in this kid. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t show up in any measurable way.
  10. Theo Peckham: QO and in a very good position. A full tank of gas, no one else on the highway and miles and miles of blacktop straight ahead. Opportunities like this one don’t come along everyday, Theo Peckham. Seize the day.
  11. Devan Dubnyk: QO and I think he’s in a solid position. The organization will deal one of their two young goalies this summer (unless they’re really worried Silent Sam is in actual trouble) but my guess is it’ll be the other guy.
  12. Jeff Deslauriers: QO and just famous enough to be easier to deal than the other guy. Deslauriers would be a solid backup to an aging veteran and really isn’t expensive.
  13. Josef Hrabal: Not qualified. “The Pencil” leaves the organization.
  14. Bryan Lerg: Not qualified. He looked good in his first training camp for a good 2-3 days.
  15. Geoff Paukovich: Not qualified. Not much return for Jason Chimera.
  16. Slava Trukhno: Not qualified. Didn’t show much in the minors, but you know what? He impressed in every training camp and that’s a fact.

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