Mike Krushelnyski was a big hockey player for his era. He was a rugged player with skill; when Gretzky went to LA, it was Krushelnyski (and enforcer McSorley) who went packing to Hollywood with the Great One.
The current group of Oilers is a little shy of Krushelnyski’s. They have a big LW in Dustin Penner, but he’s not as chippy and is more skilled. The kid Pääjärvi will be capable of doing damage someday, Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Jones can play a physical style and play with skilled men.
After that, the Oilers up front grit comes from bit players like JF Jacques, Steve MacIntyre and the banished Zack Stortini.
The St. Louis Blues ooze grit. You could put this forward group in the middle of the 1970′s and they’d survive. A guy like TJ Oshie is a buzzsaw, David Backes has size, grit and determination. David Perron can hit and score goals on the same shift when healthy and newly acquired Chris Stewart is an absolute power forward. The Blues do have some softer forwards like Brad Boyes and Matt D’Agostini, and Andy McDonald is undersized and injury prone. Alexander Steen gives them a 2-way presence and the club has some nice prospects coming along up front. They aren’t quite Boston west, but the Blues are getting there.
Jim Matheson suggests not much is happening for the Oilers this deadline and that’s fine by me. Tambellini had a solid deadline one year ago (dealt Grebs for the pick that became Curtis Hamilton, sent Lubo to ANA for Whitney and got a pick for Staios) and added a solid NHL winger in Ryan Jones via waivers. A quiet deadline with that kind of subtle move would be welcome.
A quick look at 5×5/60 scoring rates (via Desjardins) has some interesting results:
- Ales Hemsky 2.98 (having a fine season)
- Linus Omark 2.27 (HS a mystery, so says math and saw him good)
- Jordan Eberle 2.12 (sublime talent)
- Dustin Penner 2.07 (math loves him way more than saw him good)
- Sam Gagner 1.97 (a solid number)
- Taylor Hall 1.75 (young man is coming on strong, getting many chances)
- Liam Reddox 1.69 (motor runs all day and all of the night)
- Ryan Jones 1.69 (lots of power from the bottom of the batting order)
- MPS 1.58 (steadily improving)
- Andrew Cogliano 1.57 (getting huge push with two gifted kids on the wings)
- Shawn Horcoff 1.47 (working in a coalmine and posting decent numbers)
- JF Jacqes 1.04 (this is probably as good as it gets)
- Steve MacIntyre 0.94 (terrific number for the big man)
- Colin Fraser 0.59 (I thought he’d be way better)
Interesting list. Several career highs folks, including Gagner, Hemsky and (I’m fairly certain) Reddox. There are some areas of need (center who can win faceoffs and PK, some grit too) but if this bunch were kept together for the next four years I suspect we’d like the results.
The kids are more than alright; they’re diamonds.