One thing the Expos of Gene Mauch taught me was that you’ve got to be patient when new recruits arrive. As a kid, Rusty Staub was my hero; big lefty batter who always seemed to do something special when the Expos were on television. Staub was the first big league star for Canadian baseball and when the club dealt him to the Mets for three kids it was a sad day.
Turns out the sun shone the next day, and Ken Singleton was a helluva player. Not only that, Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen were pretty good too, and Montreal was paid in full for their aging star.
The toughest part of being an Expos fans in those years? About the time you realized Ken Singleton might be better than Staub, the organization traded him for a sore armed pitcher and a load of hay.
Buck Rodgers’ Expos were even better in delivering the age old lesson of not judging a book by its cover. As the 1986 season ended my Expos fandom was in the ditch, mostly because of Awesome Andre’s bad knees and a starting rotation that looked broken.
Rodgers and the Expos spent the winter of ’86 checking in every warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse from Anchorage to Caracas. The list of retreads who arrived in training camp 1987 was about two pages long, but that club won 91 games and were in it until the last week of the season.
You never know.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed two Finnish free agent forwards.
Lennart Petrell was signed to a one-year deal; he’s 27 (6.03, 209) and played in the SM-Liiga this past season. I spoke to Scott Reynolds of Copper and Blue about him on this weekend’s Nation Radio show, and Scott’s intel suggests he’s a veteran winger with checking ability. Scott felt Petrell might be a player who could push someone like Teemu Hartikainen for that 4th line LW job and possibly play for the big club in a support role. Petrell’s NHL equivalency:
- 82gp, 10-18-28
According to capgeek, his one-year two way contract has a $680,000 cap hit, includes a $90,000 bonus and he’ll make $67,500 in the AHL this year.
Elite Prospects: A large winger with a lot of power and strength. Plays with high energy and intensity. Effective on the forecheck and always finishes his checks. Good hands and hockey sense.
Antti Tyrvainen is 22, 5.11 and 198. Scott told me he’s an agitator type who is apparently very good in that role. Elite prospects says he’s “a winger with a rough style. Plays with a lot of energy and is a fast skater. A decent shot. Goes aggrissively for rebounds. Sometimes goes too far and takes unnecessary penalties.” NHLE:
- 82gp, 12-8-20
Tyrvainen had 186 PIMS in 52 games. He played for Finland in the 2007 U18 WHC’s and would seem likely to spend the entire 11-12 season in the AHL with OKC. He signed a 2-year two-way deal, paying him $55,000 for the AHL portion and dividing the $90,000 signing bonus over the two seasons. Should he play in the NHL, his cap hit will be $570,000. All salary numbers via capgeek.
But remember, you never know.