Sometimes my days have themes. Seriously. I don’t know why, they just do. Today, my conversations were about center ice for the Edmonton Oilers and how the team might look in the fall. Of course, as with most conversations this time of year we’ve already talked about this and now we’re coming around again. But I think with good reason.
In the 2006 playoffs, coach Craig MacTavish used 5 players on his roster to take faceoffs. Each of these players had more than 90 sorties in the circle:
- Shawn Horcoff 518 (53.9%)
- Jarret Stoll 398 (50.7%)
- Mike Peca 366 (50.8%)
- Rem Murray 136 (43.4%)
- Ryan Smyth 92 (46.7%)
He also had Fernando Pisani take faceoffs during that run, and Moreau and Hemsky and on it went. MacT liked to have players with a wide range of skills, players who could fill in up the depth chart in various roles.
Which makes the current roster stand out as an anti-MacT group. I think we’re going to see more ‘mentor’ types like Pisani ( a current example is Horcoff) and as part of that I believe we might see some centermen enter the system over the summer.
In a big way.
Sure, Viktor Stalberg (or someone from that family) will play LW on the 2line, but my guess is we’re going to see the Golden Nugge line up with various wingers and that sometimes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and others will play in the middle. I also think we might see some additions (either through free agency or trade) who can play both center and wing.
I think we’re going to see a Stoll-Brodziak style addition behind Nuge-Gagner-Horcoff, but I don’t think the Oilers will stop there. This is 2007-08, a year in which the Oilers had 7 guys taking faceoffs consistently.