GDB 66: Contre les Habitants. Also: QTNA

Jason Gregor
March 10 2009 01:43PM

gdb66

A game-day thread and QTNA all in one. Bless you, Nationeers. If you have Questions that Need Answers, email Jason Gregor and ask him!

Zach Kassian does look like a solid pick considering we'll be drafting around the 18-20 spot. He could be a Milan Lucic type guy. I haven't seen him play, what is his speed like? Could he make the Oilers in the next two seasons? -- Luke in Edmonton

I have been pumping his tires for the past few months as a guy the Oilers need to look at when the draft rolls around. He is everything they don’t have in the system; big, physical and has decent hands. I’ve seen him ranked as high as 13, but he falls normally around 14-20. But then again some people have the Oilers taking Ryan Ellis in the 1st round. If the Oilers do that, then they should fire the scouting staff. The Oilers don’t need a puck moving D-man right now.

Kassian is the biggest forward ranked in the 1st round, and combined with his scoring he is EXACTLY what the Oilers need. Considering they have no one in the farm system close to filling out that role, I would bet if they got him that he would get a look within a year or two. In 2010/11 the Oilers will need some cheaper forwards who can produce, considering the cap will go down. If Kassian is in their system he will get a long look.

John Buccigross says we have a lot of questionable contracts. But in all the lists of bad contracts like this one, I never seen an Oiler deal listed. I would agree Penner’s contract is questionable and perhaps even Horcoff after this year, but “a lot of questionable contracts”? What do you think? -- Shayne

Bucci had to be referring to Horcoff and Penner’s contract. After that it is hard to find a real questionable one. Gilbert will score 45 points this year, so his $4 million doesn’t seem out of whack. The final year of Staios’ $2.7 million in 2010/11 could hurt because of how many minutes he will be playing. Outside of that I don’t see any horrible contracts on the Oilers.

I think the Province was sleeping at the wheel when they didn’t include Horcoff and Penner with the likes of Fisher, Hamrlik et al. There is no way that Horcoff can live up offensively to his $7 million dollar deal next year, ($5.5 million cap hit). It shows that there are other horrible contracts out there, but with the cap sure to go down in the 2010/11 season, either Horcoff and Penner produce or the Oilers will be hard pressed to score.

If Penner finds a way to score 25 goals then his contract won’t look as bad. Horcoff needs to be an 80-point guy and win 56% of his face-offs to even be considered equal to his contract.

What are the chances that the Oilers buy out Penner's contract either this summer or next summer? -- Daniel

This summer seems unlikely. They would have to pay him $8.5 million of his remaining $12.75 million, although they could spread it out over six years at a $1.42 million cap hit each year. While Penner is frustrating to most fans, it is too early to just give up on him. Some players take five or six years to “get it”, and if Penner does find some consistency in his game, he could be very effective. Remember, it took Bertuzzi seven years until he scored 36 goals. He scored 25 in seasons five and six. Granted Bertuzzi plays a more aggressive game, but if you are looking at production it is to early to just give up on Penner.

If he has another underachieving, uninspired season next year, then maybe they consider it next summer, but only after exhausting every possible trade avenue.

Does the Guy who does the SHAW phone commercial (the ones where he is playing tag and other things wit the phone) look a lot like Scott Howson? -- Andrew

I’m not well-versed in look-a-likes, although I have a friend who resembles Elisha Cuthbert (click on Friday picture at www.justagame.ca). Yes she is single, and as long as you are better looking that Phaneuf you might get a date with her.

I’ve seen the spot since you asked, and yes there is a small resemblance. But then this guy thinks he looks like David Hasselhoff.

Tonight: Les Canadiens

The lines for tonight will start like this:

21 – 10 – 83 12 – 89 – 78 19 – 13 – 34 85 – 51 – 46

So O’Sullivan and Cogliano, the two fastest forwards will play together, while Nilsson will get another shot with Gagner. Gagner scores five points in three games without Nilsson, so why not try Nilsson with Cogliano?

Nilsson and Gagner haven’t produced all season, so why keep going back to it? If MacTavish is looking for production why not try a duo that had some chemistry last year, in Cogliano and Nilsson?

After tonight, nine of the Oilers next eleven games are against teams below them in the standings. Based on how they played v. OTT and TOR there is no guarantee they will take advantage of the schedule, but the Oilers have a pretty favourable one the rest of March.

Ladislav Smid will play tonight, albeit with his faced still pretty messed up. And Roloson starts his 22nd straight.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 OvenChicken8
March 10 2009, 01:49PM
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I agree with you JG, switch 12 and 19 around and give it a shot.

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#2 Smokin' Ray
March 10 2009, 01:49PM
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GAME DAY!!!

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#3 speeds
March 10 2009, 02:00PM
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Gregor:

You advocate drafting for need? Why draft for need instead of BPA (best player available)?

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#4 Colin
March 10 2009, 02:00PM
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Will the oilers reach .500? Find out tonight only on ON(and several other places).

I guarantee an Oilers win tonight (Not a guarantee, offer not valid in Alberta, Quebec or any other jurisdiction where hockey is played).

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#5 topshelf
March 10 2009, 02:07PM
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MAP is a wasted roster space. There, I said it.

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#6 Adam
March 10 2009, 02:09PM
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Hasselhoff, that guy was smoking les crack pipe. He looks more like to guy who plays shaggy in the scooby-doo movies.

GO OIL

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#7 CurtisS
March 10 2009, 02:09PM
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A lose tonight will be extremly dissapointing. 3 wins out of last 10 games.........

Even a win puts us at 4 wins in last 10. Not good enough in the stretch drive.

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#8 Jonathan Willis
March 10 2009, 02:11PM
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topshelf wrote:

MAP is a wasted roster space. There, I said it.

Pouliot's not that bad.

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#9 smytty777
March 10 2009, 02:11PM
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speeds wrote:

Gregor: You advocate drafting for need? Why draft for need instead of BPA (best player available)?

Agreed, last time the Oilers drafted on need they passed on Parise because they already had two small centers. That's working out pretty well for them.

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#10 Reggie
March 10 2009, 02:13PM
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Hey Jason, tell your gal friend looks totally awesome ! Sweet Sweet Smile !!!

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#11 speeds
March 10 2009, 02:15PM
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smytty777 wrote:

speeds wrote: Gregor: You advocate drafting for need? Why draft for need instead of BPA (best player available)? Agreed, last time the Oilers drafted on need they passed on Parise because they already had two small centers. That’s working out pretty well for them.

They more recently drafted for need in 2004, when they selected a goalie (Dubnyk) 14th overall. I suppose it is possible they picked him as the BPA, but I remember reading/hearing some comments from Prendergast that suggested they felt they needed a goalie that year, so they selected Dubnyk in the 1st round.

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#12 topshelf
March 10 2009, 02:17PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I'd rather have Brule up here. His potential for success is higher than Pouliots I think and I don't think you give up anything defensively between the two of them. Pouliot has done nothing, absolutely nothing all year.

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#13 topshelf
March 10 2009, 02:18PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Oh and please don't throw a bunch of stats at me about this. It's just my opinion.

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#14 Jason Gregor
March 10 2009, 02:22PM
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speeds wrote:

Gregor: You advocate drafting for need? Why draft for need instead of BPA (best player available)?

Considering he would probably be on the short list of best player available as well, why not fill a GLARING hole. I'm not suggesting they go off the board with this kid. Kassian might not even be available when the Oilers draft, but if he is he would be considered one of the best available.

smytty777 wrote:

Agreed, last time the Oilers drafted on need they passed on Parise because they already had two small centers. That’s working out pretty well for them.

Pouliot isn't that much bigger than Parise anyways. I don't buy that garbage excuse. They screwed up on Parise, but it wasn't because Pouliot was such a better fit for the team. I don't think Pouliot was filling a need on this team at the time. Do you?

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#15 Ender the Dragon
March 10 2009, 02:23PM
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@ speeds: @ smytty777:

The questin becomes, then, who is truly the BPA of the two: Kassian or Ellis? If it's pretty much a saw-off, then you draft for need. Otherwise, you're totally right to draft BPA, and Kevin Lowe has preached that mantra at drafts before.

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#16 Jonathan Willis
March 10 2009, 02:27PM
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@ topshelf:

I won't. I get tired, you know ;)

I just don't get what people expect of Pouliot. He's been a fourth line forward almost all season, and has 18 points. It's not his fault that his name isn't Parise.

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#17 Jason Gregor
March 10 2009, 02:28PM
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speeds wrote:

They more recently drafted for need in 2004, when they selected a goalie (Dubnyk) 14th overall. I suppose it is possible they picked him as the BPA, but I remember reading/hearing some comments from Prendergast that suggested they felt they needed a goalie that year, so they selected Dubnyk in the 1st round.

This isn't just a need. The kid can play, and I'm saying if he is available they should take him. He plays tough, something they don't have. He competes hard, something they don't have. This isn't just about filling a need, it is about drafting a player is good and at the same time adds many elements that this team lacks.

Comparing him to Dubnyk or Pouliot is pointless.

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#18 Jason Gregor
March 10 2009, 02:31PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I just don’t get what people expect of Pouliot. He’s been a fourth line forward almost all season, and has 18 points. It’s not his fault that his name isn’t Parise.

He is a first round pick, I think they would expect more than 14 career goals five years after being drafted.

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#19 The Towel Boy
March 10 2009, 02:32PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Roloson starts his 22nd straight.

Who saw this coming?!?

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#20 speeds
March 10 2009, 02:34PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Oh and please don’t throw a bunch of stats at me about this. It’s just my opinion.

If I say "The earth is flat. Oh and please don’t throw a bunch of stats at me about this. It’s just my opinion." how can someone else have a discussion with me on the topic?

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#21 Reggie
March 10 2009, 02:35PM
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topshelf wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Oh and please don’t throw a bunch of stats at me about this. It’s just my opinion.

Topshelf, but then I would rather see Penner (with all his warts) playing than sitting in the pressbox.

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#22 speeds
March 10 2009, 02:38PM
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Jason Gregor wrote: This isn’t just a need. The kid can play, and I’m saying if he is available they should take him. He plays tough, something they don’t have. He competes hard, something they don’t have. This isn’t just about filling a need, it is about drafting a player is good and at the same time adds many elements that this team lacks. Comparing him to Dubnyk or Pouliot is pointless.

I didn't say he was "just a need." I don't think a team should draft for need because it is unlikely the team needs will be the same by the time the player is ready.

If you have two players rated evenly, then sure, why not draft for need. I just think it would be silly for a team to pass on a better player because they feel they have a different need, because by the time the player is ready, the needs will probably have changed.

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#23 Travis Dakin
March 10 2009, 02:40PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Pouliot’s not that bad.

When you compare him to the 10 players the Oilers should have picked over him.... yeah he is that bad.

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#24 Zamboni Driver
March 10 2009, 02:40PM
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Fighting rule modifications coming, Jason? Thoughts? Insights?

Me, I think the idea of linesmen coming in earlier would be helpful (though I'm not going to be punched in the back of the head, so easy for me to say).

The one I would like to say, risk the fans booing, but the whole 'stand off'-boxing style should be taken out. Two guys stand a million miles away with dukes put up should find themselves in a linesman bear-hug. That kinda nonsense has no place anymore.

Prepares for JW to show me the light with a mind-boggling amount of obscure stats.

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#25 shakey
March 10 2009, 02:40PM
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Gregor, Does Ryan Stone fall into the big, physical, decent hands category?

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#26 oilfan4life
March 10 2009, 02:40PM
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Gregor, which homo did you lose a bet with to pose in that picture with that awful green sweater?

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#27 Zamboni Driver
March 10 2009, 02:41PM
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'The one I would like to SEE'

Adds a vote to the 'edit' button request.

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#28 speeds
March 10 2009, 02:43PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Comparing him to Dubnyk or Pouliot is pointless.

I don't understand what you mean here? It's not like Kassian is a lock to live up to expectations.

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#29 Andrew W
March 10 2009, 02:46PM
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There is a sad irony that the Oilers are looking for a Lucic type player, of course, as he was chosen by Boston with the pick given up in the Samsonov trade. Not that the Oilers were likely to draft him with their pick if they'd still had it, but it's tragic nonetheless.

On the flip side, who knows if the run of `06 would have happened without Sammy, and his caliber of a rental player doesn't come for free. I'll always remember the give and go play he had with Hemsky in the last minute of game 6 to put away Detroit. It's an especially sweet memory because the Wings are my Dad's team and I was worried about months of taunting after they'd come back to tie the game.

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#30 MattL
March 10 2009, 02:47PM
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Let's not forget, the big knock on Bertuzzi for years was his lack of grit. Everyone wanted him to be a power forward, but he didn't like mucking it up, and preferred to dance around guys.

Sounds like Penner to me. Let's hope Penner doesn't go cave-man smash on someone's skull like Bertuzzi at least.

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#31 Malc
March 10 2009, 02:47PM
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@ OvenChicken8:

I would argue switching 89 and 13 instead. O'Sullivan, Gagner, and Pisani would be a great line - if they didn't produce, I doubt they would give up much. And Cogs can continue to develop some chemistry with Pouliot and Nilsson.

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#32 Pinto
March 10 2009, 02:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

topshelf wrote: MAP is a wasted roster space. There, I said it. Pouliot’s not that bad.

Well he's also not that good!!

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#33 CurtisS
March 10 2009, 02:51PM
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8-2 Habs tonight!

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#34 Jason Gregor
March 10 2009, 02:51PM
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speeds wrote:

If you have two players rated evenly, then sure, why not draft for need. I just think it would be silly for a team to pass on a better player because they feel they have a different need, because by the time the player is ready, the needs will probably have changed.

Yes, but do you think most teams can really tell the difference between two players that are that close? I don't have that much confidence that the Oilers can predict, for instance, Ellis will be that much better than Kassian. speeds wrote:

I don’t understand what you mean here? It’s not like Kassian is a lock to live up to expectations.

My point is how can anyone compare him to those two players. Just because they haven't panned out doesn't mean that Kassian won't.

And Pouliot wasn't a draft out of need. They screwed up on not taking Parise...nothing more than that.

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#35 Travis Dakin
March 10 2009, 02:53PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Pouliot isn’t that much bigger than Parise anyways.

Everybody always uses Parise as the example, but when it was time to pick at number 17 which should have been the Oilers Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richars, Corey Perry, Patrick Eaves, Loui Erickson, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Carle, Shea Weber, David Backes, Daniel Carcillo, Lee Stempniak, Dustin Byfuglien, Joe Pavelski, hell even Patrick O'Sullivan were all there! That hurts. I count 5 top three forward and a bunch of great role players and 2 great young defensemen there.

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#36 shakey
March 10 2009, 03:02PM
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@ Travis Dakin: Missing one or two of those guys is understandable but that list of missed players should have got someone fired. I didn't know it was all of those guys...Wow. That's brutal.

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#37 Pinto
March 10 2009, 03:03PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ topshelf: I won’t. I get tired, you know I just don’t get what people expect of Pouliot. He’s been a fourth line forward almost all season, and has 18 points. It’s not his fault that his name isn’t Parise.

What if his name was Perry or Richards, both of whom were drafted after MAP

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#38 Reggie
March 10 2009, 03:04PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Jason Gregor wrote: Pouliot isn’t that much bigger than Parise anyways. Everybody always uses Parise as the example, but when it was time to pick at number 17 which should have been the Oilers Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richars, Corey Perry, Patrick Eaves, Loui Erickson, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Carle, Shea Weber, David Backes, Daniel Carcillo, Lee Stempniak, Dustin Byfuglien, Joe Pavelski, hell even Patrick O’Sullivan were all there! That hurts. I count 5 top three forward and a bunch of great role players and 2 great young defensemen there.

And that has been the kicker here in Edmonton the past 5 years or so. Yes, we have found some skill players like Hemsky, Cogs and Ganger but not enough of them.

I think there are signs of improvement, but if you look in Springfield right now, the cupboard is bare with some young prospects up and coming, but not ready for the NHL.

If Brule is given a 4th line chance or they need a 6 or 7th defenceman in Peckham, I don't see many new faces from Springfield on the opening season roster in October.

So, that means that the Oilers would need a FA or a trade to upgrade the talent on the big club for October.

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#39 Ducey
March 10 2009, 03:08PM
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Gregor,

You draft the BPA. You trade for need.

There is no reason the Oil can't trade a few of their younger smurfs for guys with bigger bodies and the ability to forecheck.

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#40 Peter Pan
March 10 2009, 03:16PM
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CurtisS wrote:

8-2 Habs tonight!

Please get off this site.

4-3 Oil! Souray to have a big night!

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#41 esa tikkanen
March 10 2009, 03:17PM
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when discussing the issue of drafting based on need, we keep coming back to Pouliot, fair enough.

One other big mistake in Oilers history was after the 1992 season when the Oilers got manhandled by Chicago in 4 straight in the western conference finals, Sather thought the Oilers needed more size so drafted Joe Hulbig on draft day a few weeks later. I think he played 10 NHL games and was beaten up regularly despite his size, in particular once was badly beaten up by none other than Jason Strudwick.

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#42 CurtisS
March 10 2009, 03:19PM
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@ Peter Pan:

I was here first ;)

8-2 Habs. Mact gets fired.

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#43 Kent W
March 10 2009, 03:21PM
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Ryan Ellis looks like a top 10 - if not top 5 - talent to me.

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#44 Reggie
March 10 2009, 03:23PM
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CurtisS wrote:

@ Peter Pan: I was here first 8-2 Habs. Mact gets fired.

I could live with an 8-2 loss if they fired MacT (FMNF), but really ... Oilers 3-2 win in a shootout.

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#45 Reggie
March 10 2009, 03:24PM
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Kent W wrote:

Ryan Ellis looks like a top 10 - if not top 5 - talent to me.

I don't believe Ellis is top 5, maybe not even top 10, but everyone will remember the world juniors and look at what Green does in Washington and his stock will rise dramatically. I think top 5 would not be a surprise.

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#46 nutsandgum
March 10 2009, 03:26PM
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Gregor, this might be a question that you or maybe Willis might be able to answer:

The Oil seem to be getting outshot pretty regularly lately; I'm just wondering the last time they actually put more rubber on the net than their opponent? Also, just how many games this season have they been outshot?

Thanks...

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#47 Andrew W
March 10 2009, 03:27PM
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@Regie:

Wait a second...

You're talking about a franchise that, in the past couple of years, has developed, either through drafts or trades: Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Cogliano, and Gagner, with some other role players who still have the potential to blossom in Smid, Brodziak, Stortini, and Reddox? How much more do you want within a relatively short time period?

I know that none of these guys are Malkin or Ovechkin, but look around the league: there aren't a lot of those players around. There aren't many teams with the depth of young players playing prominent roles, even if there are a few with some higher end prospects. I have no interest in becoming an apologist for the sorry state that the team looks to be in for the rest of the season, but just because they "missed" with the Pouliot pick in one draft year doesn't mean that they're not doing a strong job with young players in general.

It takes years, not months, to evaluate talent in young prospects, and some of the young players on the Oilers will blossom. It's certainly painful in the short term, but I still applaud management for not panicking and trading away some of these young guys to fill short term needs of toughness or a top-line rental.

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#48 Jonathan Willis
March 10 2009, 03:29PM
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Yes, Pouliot was a bad pick. Things might have turned out differently if not for the injury trouble as a young player, but that isn't an excuse because sometimes things just break the wrong way for you (ask Doug Lynch).

Still, is it right for us to expect Pouliot to turn into Parise, Getzlaf or whoever? Not really. Is it right to question the Oilers' scouts because of it? Sure.

Pouliot's been performing just fine for a 4th line player. The fact that a player drafted at his position should be more than a 4th line player reflects on the scouting staff, his injuries, and the Oilers development dept. more than it does on Pouliot, IMO.

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#49 Jonathan Willis
March 10 2009, 03:31PM
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nutsandgum wrote:

The Oil seem to be getting outshot pretty regularly lately; I’m just wondering the last time they actually put more rubber on the net than their opponent? Also, just how many games this season have they been outshot?

The last time the Oilers outshot their opposition was in a 5-3 win over Tampa bay in mid-February.

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#50 Reggie
March 10 2009, 03:32PM
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Andrew W wrote:

@Regie: Wait a second… You’re talking about a franchise that, in the past couple of years, has developed, either through drafts or trades: Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Cogliano, and Gagner, with some other role players who still have the potential to blossom in Smid, Brodziak, Stortini, and Reddox? How much more do you want within a relatively short time period? I know that none of these guys are Malkin or Ovechkin, but look around the league: there aren’t a lot of those players around. There aren’t many teams with the depth of young players playing prominent roles, even if there are a few with some higher end prospects. I have no interest in becoming an apologist for the sorry state that the team looks to be in for the rest of the season, but just because they “missed” with the Pouliot pick in one draft year doesn’t mean that they’re not doing a strong job with young players in general. It takes years, not months, to evaluate talent in young prospects, and some of the young players on the Oilers will blossom. It’s certainly painful in the short term, but I still applaud management for not panicking and trading away some of these young guys to fill short term needs of toughness or a top-line rental.

The point of my comment was just to show that there is a gap for the coming fall. And as per your comment, the reason for this gap is the number of young players on the big club right now. Yes, we have had some success, but we have also had some misses.

Yes, there are some good prospects in the pipeline, but it will take a couple years to decide if they will make a difference with the big club. I would love to see Daum's post season review he presents to management with regards to prospects in Springfield and direction for next year.

Unless Stone or Potulny or Shremp changes peoples minds, Springfield is a team of young prospects for the coming year. Not potential call ups to the big club.

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