The Edmonton Oilers are going to have a massive cutdown day very soon. So far, its been death by papercut since the 20 gunshots on September 20.
The cuts today have all kinds of interesting stories behind them.
Martin Gerber was placed on waivers by the Oilers after playing well in training camp. Edmonton certainly hopes he clears, ensuring the team will have solid goaltending in Oklahoma City this season. I have no idea if another team would take a chance on him, but there’s probably a very small chance someone picks him up. Gerber’s salary is reasonable ($500k in the NHL, $200k in the minors), he has NHL experience. You never know.
Sheldon Souray was also placed on waivers. The Oilers would love to rid themselves of the veteran, although his on-ice abilities are solid when healthy. The problem for the Oilers is Souray’s public condemnation of management, the problem for the other 29 teams is money this season and next. Mr. Souray gets $5.4M times 2, and one doubts anyone will pluck him from waivers. It didn’t have to end like this, the Oilers could have found a way to smooth things over. They chose not to. Souray could have found a way to avoid the media at a difficult time in his career, but chose not to. We find ourselves here. It is perhaps a reflection of both player and organization that the fanbase views this as a subplot to the season. Years ago, the Mike Comrie situation held sway in a much bigger way. The Oilers have successfully made the Souray problem a below the fold item.
Colin McDonald has an AHL only contract, meaning he isn’t on the 50-man list and is technically an Oklahoma City Baron. I thought he looked good this training camp, and he might see some NHL time down the line. Either way, McDonald didn’t hurt his reputation this fall.
Taylor Chorney was sent to OKC as well. The young man is in a tough spot, in that his lack of size and strength are the major issues. He’s a fine skater and can pass/handle the puck, but until Chorney can handle the bigger wingers pro hockey provides his NHL career is in some doubt. My guess is the Oilers are a little concerned about him, and we could see Chorney dealt at some point this season.
Alex Plante had a solid training camp, and brings size, toughness and some skill to the game. Bob Stauffer mentioned today that he spoke to a senior member of Oilers management today about Plante; the theme of the conversation surrounded Plante being most effective when he keeps things simple. I think we also saw a little bit of inexperience/difficulty with the speed of the game for him this fall too. Plante’s size/skill are a solid match for what the Oilers want from the blueline, and I think it is likely that the young man has moved past Chorney on the depth chart.
Jeff Petry probably did more to help his cause than any of the blueline prospects at this TC. Petry has impressive footspeed and can move the puck effectively. He needs to learn the defensive aspects of the game, but there’s a chance we’ll see him sometime this season.
With those 6 names off the roster, the Oilers now have 32 names and 9 cuts to go. Among those still in Edmonton, the 8 likely names to go appear to be Jeff Deslauriers, Richard Petiot, Shawn Belle, Alex Giroux, Ryan O’Marra, Ben Ondrus, Linus Omark, Chris Vande Velde with JF Jacques likely headed to IR. A few things to watch for:
- Did Dubnyk do enough to supplant JDD? Or will they carry three goalies? I know Renney prefers two goalies but there appear to be some holes around the league at the position. Allowing other teams to expose their G’s (and perhaps waiting a week) may help the Oilers slip one of the youngsters through.
- Has Petiot and or Belle done enough to push beyond Peckham and or Strudwick? The Oilers could keep one of the two outsiders and move Strudwick to F in order to get three out of four onto the opening night roster.
- I felt going into TC that O’Marra might have the edge because he can PK and win some faceoffs. It looks like Giroux may have caught fire at the exact right moment, and Vande Velde still hanging around reminds me of Shawn Horcoff’s deeper stay one decade ago. However, it looks for all the world like Liam Reddox at their lunch.
- Can Linus Omark’s ridiculous skill win the day? Or does he star in OKC in the season’s first half?
- Nikolai Khabibulin
- Devan Dubnyk
- Tom Gilbert
- Ryan Whitney
- Ladislav Smid
- Kurtis Foster
- Jim Vandermeer
- Jason Strudwick
- Theo Peckham
- Shawn Horcoff
- Sam Gagner
- Gilbert Brule
- Colin Fraser
- Dustin Penner
- Taylor Hall
- Andrew Cogliano
- Ryan Jones
- Liam Reddox
- Steve MacIntyre
- Ales Hemsky
- Jordan Eberle
- Magnus Pääjärvi
- Zack Stortini