RE 10-11: The Blue

A year ago, I thought the Oilers blue was a strength of the team. Sure there was no Pronger, but Lubo, Sheldon and Gibby Gilbert were a solid trio and Denis Grebeshkov could do a job as long as he remembered his tinfoil hat.

12 months later and we’re looking at something else again.

The Oilers keep doing this kind of thing. From last fall’s group they have sent away Visnovsky, Grebeshkov and Staios. The team is replacing those players with Whitney, Kurtis Foster and Jim Vandermeer.

At least it isn’t like the transformation from 2005-06 to the 2006-07 team:

2005-06 (Rookie Minutes: 439. Percentage: 4.45)

Chris Pronger (2239)
Steve Staios (1712)
MA Bergeron (1592)
Jason Smith (1493)
Jaroslav Spacek (760-est)
Igor Ulanov (609)
Cory Cross (454-est)
Dick Tarnstrom (373-est)
Matt Greene (303)
Danny Syvret (123)
Alexei Semenov (119)
Dan Smith (79)
Mathieu Roy (13)

2006-07 (Rookie Minutes: 3217. Percentage: 34.4)

Jason Smith (1733)
Ladislav Smid (1481)
Matt Greene (1373)
Steve Staios (1240)
MA Bergeron (939-est)
Daniel Tjarnqvist (840)
Jan Hedja (795)
Danny Syvret (295)
Tom Gilbert (241)
Mathieu Roy (226)
Bryan Young (151)
Sebastian Bisaillon (28)

I don’t think Sheldon Souray will be with the club opening night, so have excluded him in my estimates. If he does come to camp and plays on the team, these numbers will be off my a mile. I’d expect that Peckham, Chorney, Strudwick and Belle would have far fewer minutes and that Plante and Petry won’t play at all in the NHL. We’ll see. Here’s the estimate:

  1. Tom Gilbert 80gp, 9-33-42 (1920 minutes)
  2. Ryan Whitney 70gp, 8-26-34 (1680 minutes)
  3. Kurtis Foster 64gp, 9-18-27 (1340 minutes)
  4. Ladislav Smid 53gp, 0-9-9 (1100 minutes)
  5. Jim Vandermeer 60gp, 1-3-4 (1070 minutes)
  6. Theo Peckham 50gp, 1-1-2 (800 minutes)
  7. Taylor Chorney 34gp, 1-4-5 (544 minutes)
  8. Jason Strudwick 42gp, 0-1-1 (516 minutes)
  9. Shawn Belle 40gp, 1-3-4 (510 minutes)
  10. Alex Plante 16gp, 0-0-0 (240 minutes)
  11. Jeff Petry 15gp, 1-1-2 (177 minutes)

Oilers blueliners scored 32 goals last season, after managing 47 in 2008-09. I’ve projected this group to score 31 goals in 10-11. Should Souray play (and stay healthy) then all bets are off and they score many more. One thing Sheldon Souray can do: shoot the damn puck.

With the forwards and defense now complete, I’m projecting this edition of the Edmonton Oilers to score 215 goals. Last season’s Oilers scored 214. Up next: the goalies.

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