At random: eight games in

Robin Brownlee
October 20 2009 03:30PM

Now that we have reached the pivotal 1/10th mark of the NHL season, it's safe to make some assumptions and observations about this edition of the Edmonton Oilers, no?

The biggest surprise from where I sit — aside from a 5-2-1 record in the wake of Monday's 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks and the corporate gouge at the gas pumps we woke up to today — has been Nikolai Khabibulin.

I'm not surprised that he's playing as well as he has in his last four outings because he's played at this level before, but I am surprised he's looked so sharp so soon after looking like another millstone contract in pre-season and in his first two starts.

While Khabibulin did little to inspire confidence in pre-season, he's been the difference in his last four starts -- a stretch in which he's stopped 135 of 144 shots for a .937 saves-percentage.

My biggest worry about Khabibulin wasn't that he couldn't find his game, but that it might take him a month or so to do it, which could have put the Oilers in a hole they'd spend all season digging out of.

That concern, it's clear, was unfounded.

After eight

  • Maybe the most impressive thing about that 5-2-1 record is that the Oilers have managed it largely without Sheldon Souray and Steve Staios, essentially their No. 1 defence pairing to start the season.
  • In the absence of Souray and Staios, Taylor Chorney has stepped in and vaulted himself ahead of Theo Peckham on the organization's depth chart. Peckham couldn't challenge for a job at training camp because of an ankle injury. While he's back on the blades in Springfield, Chorney hasn't looked out of place since being summoned, which signifies a nice bounce-back after a tough 2008-09 AHL season.

    Now, with speculation Souray could be out as long as a month with his concussion, Chorney has a chance to make hay.
  • No, Shawn Horcoff can't take a salary cut under terms of the new CBA, even if he should. With just 1-1-2 for boxcars, it doesn't take a vast intellect to see Horcoff is struggling mightily. His one saving grace had been his work in the face-off circles, but that hit the ditch against the Canucks.
  • Who is the dolt who came up with the moniker PDP, as in Poor Dustin Penner? The only thing I don't like about Penner's game right now is that he's not lining up with Horcoff and Ales Hemsky (and J.F. Jacques is).
  • Anybody willing to bet Tom Gilbert will reach 40 points this season? You know what I think: not a chance.

Just asking

  • Bob Stauffer and I were talking about this the other day: How about a first line with Mike Comrie at left wing, Sam Gagner at centre and Hemsky on right wing. Then, a second line with Penner on the left side, Andrew Cogliano at pivot and Patrick O'Sullivan on right wing?
  • If Chorney continues to show he's ready to play, does it make sense to trade Gilbert? Yes, I've heard the rumours about a swap with Buffalo for Drew Stafford.
  • I'm not going to take on Pat Quinn over not dressing guys simply to fight, especially given this tidy little start, but if Steve MacIntyre hasn't dressed for games with Calgary, Vancouver and Minnesota, why is he here?

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#151 Smokin' Ray
October 21 2009, 12:50PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The Oilers would need to send away quality. We're talking someone from the Cogliano/Brule/Gilbert/Grebeshkov grouping.

I don't think a deal involving the Oilers goes down goes down.

Good point. But doesn't every team need quality for quality? How often does that actually happen, especially when a team has a guy on the outs like a Frolov or a Smyth or a Pronger?

Out of those four guys, I'd give up Brule.

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#152 Giggsunited
October 21 2009, 12:51PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

I'll save you guys the effort. Nilsson has 26 goals in his entire career. That's even less impressive.

Other than pooping on an idea, what is your idea's for the trade?

ummm.... Pisani, Nilsson, Pouliot, Macyntire, and lets throw in a prospect like O Mara??? All the Kings have to do is make cap space! lol

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#153 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 21 2009, 12:57PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

Good point. But doesn't every team need quality for quality? How often does that actually happen, especially when a team has a guy on the outs like a Frolov or a Smyth or a Pronger?

Out of those four guys, I'd give up Brule.

Even when those guys were on their way out they got great return. We got 3 15th overall picks for Smyth. We got 2 first round prospects and two 1sts for Pronger. And I know Heatley didn't get the best package but that was because he would only go to a handful of teams and of those teams only 1 was able to make room for him.

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#154 Smokin' Ray
October 21 2009, 12:57PM
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Giggsunited wrote:

ummm.... Pisani, Nilsson, Pouliot, Macyntire, and lets throw in a prospect like O Mara??? All the Kings have to do is make cap space! lol

The Kings have about 4.5 million in cap space right now. Frolov is a cap hit of 2.9 million. So with him off the books, the Kings have about 7.4 million in cap space.

So really... the Kings COULD take all those players.

But let's be real.

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#155 Ogden Brother
October 21 2009, 12:59PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The Oilers would need to send away quality. We're talking someone from the Cogliano/Brule/Gilbert/Grebeshkov grouping.

I don't think a deal involving the Oilers goes down goes down.

Summer 08 Cammy and Tanguay both brought back last 1st rounders for a year of their service.

The rental market last year was cheaper then usual with Antropov returning a 2nd and Gurien returning a 4th with conditions to move up based on what round the Pens went to (really puts it into perspective what a fleecing the O'sully+2nd for Cole deal was from the Oilers perspective)

Based on the circumstances that puts Frolov on the market, I'd guess it would cost somewhere in between the Cammy/Tanguay and last years rental in returns. A late 1st or an early 2nd, or maybe a mid 2nd + 3rd.

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#156 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 21 2009, 01:04PM
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@Ogden Brother

With injuries occuring around the league and Frolov being 2.9mil cap hit, I think there could be quite a few teams with interest. Which in turn should drive up the price, that is if he is even on the market.

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#157 Smokin' Ray
October 21 2009, 01:27PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

With injuries occuring around the league and Frolov being 2.9mil cap hit, I think there could be quite a few teams with interest. Which in turn should drive up the price, that is if he is even on the market.

GM Dean Lombardi had this to say about Frolov, "He’s either going to get on board or we’ll go in another direction with him. It’s as simple as that. I like a lot of the things I’m seeing, with what we’re trying to establish here. Get or board, or there’s another way too. But like I said, this is not a knee-jerk reaction.’’

So I'd say if he's not on the block now, he will be shortly if he doesn't improve.

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#158 Jonathan Willis
October 21 2009, 01:29PM
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More on Frolov.

If he's available for a first round pick, I think the Oilers would have to make that deal.

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#159 Paq Twinn
October 21 2009, 01:35PM
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@Jonathan Willis

And that's all we're (Smokin'Ray and myself) are saying. If the oppertunity is there, the Oilers should go for it.

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#160 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 21 2009, 01:37PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

More on Frolov.

If he's available for a first round pick, I think the Oilers would have to make that deal.

I think I do that deal for a first. Still kinda have too many forwards, but I guess that could be dealt with.

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#161 Ogden Brother
October 21 2009, 03:14PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

More on Frolov.

If he's available for a first round pick, I think the Oilers would have to make that deal.

Problem is, our first will likely be in the 12 - 18 range with an outside shot of being in the 8 - 12 range. That's a fairly valuable pick for potentially 70 games and 25 goals.

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#162 Paq Twinn
October 21 2009, 05:38PM
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@Ogden Brother

Frolov's potential is higher then 25 goals, esspecilally if he's playing with a passer like Hemsky. I think 40 Goals would be more accurate but not guarantied, everything would have to click right away. If we waited until the deadline that leaves less time for Frolov to learn the system and become fimilar with his new teammates. Waiting to make a trade at the deadline never has made any sense to me for that reason alone.

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#163 Robin Brownlee
October 21 2009, 08:32PM
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Comrie, Gagner and Hemsky today at practice? That's crazy . . .

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#164 Smokin' Ray
October 21 2009, 09:19PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Comrie, Gagner and Hemsky today at practice? That's crazy . . .

I guess that makes Gagner the goon?

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#165 Smokin' Ray
October 21 2009, 09:20PM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

I guess that makes Gagner the goon?

Ugh. I forgot the ~

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#166 Colin
October 22 2009, 08:36AM
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Smokin' Ray wrote:

Ugh. I forgot the ~

I don't think a ~ was necessary, if that was the line, you'd be correct.

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