Pre-Draft Questions that Need Answers

Jason Gregor
June 17 2009 02:48PM

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The anticipation across the NHL and specifically for the fans will increase daily as we are now within ten days of the 2009 NHL entry draft. The scuttlebutt has the Islanders prepared to take Victor Hedman instead of John Tavares, but it’s not a slam dunk.

As we get closer to the draft and the start of free agency the Nation has been asking some great questions. **If you have any questions you want answered email Gregor at jason@justagame.ca.

I’ve read various reports on which Oilers need to clear waivers next year, but none seem right. Which current Oilers have to clear waivers at the start of next season? — Garrett in the Park

Good question, since it's likely the Oilers might have to try and hide a guy in the minors. Rather than list which guys have to clear waivers, I will tell who doesn’t.

Gilbert Brule doesn’t have to clear waivers at the start of the year, but once he plays three NHL games then he would have to.

Rob Schremp, Devon Dubnyk and Liam Reddox don’t have to clear waivers. They have only played three pro years, and have yet to play 160 NHL games, plus they are under 25. I have no idea why anyone would think Reddox needs to clear waivers. If a player has played four years pro, then he has to clear waivers regardless of how many NHL games he has played, or if he is over 25 years of age when the season starts.

Chorney and Peckham don’t have to clear.

Bubble guys that need to clear are Pouliot, MacIntyre, Jacques, Potulny (although I don’t think he has a chance of making team) and Stone.

Who do you think is the best option for the Oilers in goal next year? — Anderson

I still maintain their best option for next year is to sign Roloson to a one-year deal. The problem with that is he is looking for a two-year pact, and the Oilers won’t give him one unless it is worth $1.5 million per season.

Craig Anderson is 28 and Scott Clemmensen is 32, and both had decent years last year. The problem is they’ve only played more than 30 games once. The good thing is that neither can realistically demand more than $1.5 to $1.8 million per season. If the Oilers believe in JDD then signing one of these two to push him and be there if he falters makes loads of sense.

Lots of fans are high on Harding, and feel he is better than Deslauriers due to his AHL numbers and his 50 more NHL games. I don’t see them going with two young, unproven goalies, so if they get Harding they have to trade JDD or basically give up on him and ship him to the minors. I get the sense the organization feels he is ready to take the next step and just needs a shot. I’d give the Harding/JDD combo a look, because the two young guys could push one another. But if Tambellini went with an experienced coaching staff, I’d be stunned if he went with inexperience at such a key position.

I’m not high on Biron or Niittymaki, but they are options.

I want to see what JDD can do. We’ve seen other teams give young goalies a chance and they’ve flourished, so why not him.

Stortini had 25 fights in 53 games last year, which would have put him close to 40 if he played all year. What is the record for most fights in a season? — Stan from the Woods

This question took me all over the place. The Elias Sports Bureau doesn’t even have this record. My go-to-guy at the NHL office is on holidays for three weeks, and the Flyers couldn’t get me a confirmed number on Dave Schultz, who I would think has to be close considering he holds the record for most PIMs in a season with 472.

In 1996/1997 Paul Laus from the Panthers had 39 tilts. Mike Peluso had 35 in 1991/1992 with the Devils. Those are the highest totals in the last 20 years. I know fighting was more common in the 70’s and 80’s, but there were more guys on each team who fought so it isn’t a guarantee that guys were fighting 50 times a year. I’m certain my guy at the NHL office will get the info and then I will relay to you.

Still Paul Laus dropping the flippers 39 times is a hell of a feat. His hands must have looked like hamburger by the end of the year.

I know this is a hockey site, but I’m a big Oiler and Rush fan. Do you know who the Rush will hire as coach and GM? — Steven

Smaller league means they have a smaller pool to pick from so it is easier to get a read on who they will go after. Derek Keenan, coached in Portland last year, former San Jose coach Walt Christensen, Troy Cordingly just coached the Roughnecks to the NLL championship but resigned, and his assistant and former Rock coach Terry Sanderson are the four guys at the top of the list.

There are lots of rumours that Portland will re-locate of even fold, if that happens, then Keenan will be courted heavily by the Rush and the Rock. Keenan, a cousin of Mike Keenan, is from Peterborough, and the Rock would love to have him in Toronto.

Cordingly left Calgary for alleged family reasons, because he wants to be closer to home back east, so maybe he wouldn’t want to come to Edmonton. Christensen is a west coast guy, and Sanderson wants to be a head coach again.

Keenan and Christensen have to be the front runners because they coach and be the GM.

And if Portland folds, Rush fans will be over the moon, because the Rush would have the first pick in the dispersal draft, and they could grab Brodie Merrill. Merrill is the best athlete in the league. He is a defender/transition guy, and not a true offensive stud, yet he still controls both ends of the floor. He is the face of Reebok in all of their lacrosse ads in the States and Canada. He would give the Rush an immediate impact player if indeed Portland folds, which is likely.

Peeters to talk coaching

Pete Peeters will be on my show today at 3:10 to talk about coaching goalies. And if you missed Pat Quinn yesterday go to www.justagame.ca and take a listen.

He stated the Oilers need an identity again. They are in looking for a goalie and he touched on his relationship with the Captain and what he expects from him.

Also Steve Ott from the Dallas Stars today at 3:30, he is always good for a few stories.

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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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#101 Tyler
June 19 2009, 12:10AM
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To be honest, I'm having a hard time believing the explanation. We heard all year that the Oilers were limiting Brule's games because they didn't want to expose him to waivers. Now they DID expose him to waivers (even though they didn't have to) and he passed? The organization that was scared to expose JDD to waivers?

Even then, I don't necessarily know that the CBA gives the player exemption from waivers into the following season. It's not how I read it. I'd like to hear Olczyk himself explain how this works.

And, of course, the comment that drew me into this thread was Gregor's reponse to speeds, in which he said that Brule's games as a 19 year old didn't matter. He is, of course, still wrong about that.

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#102 Mike
June 19 2009, 01:05AM
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Tyler wrote:

To be honest, I’m having a hard time believing the explanation. We heard all year that the Oilers were limiting Brule’s games because they didn’t want to expose him to waivers. Now they DID expose him to waivers (even though they didn’t have to) and he passed? The organization that was scared to expose JDD to waivers?

Where did the Oilers say that...It was exposed on different media outlets. If you can find a quote from an Oiler management type I'd like to see it. The Oilers didn't mention he had to clear waivers and no one caught it. To me that is a great thing. They seemed to fool everyone. Maybe they are smarter than many think.

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#103 myteammytown
June 19 2009, 06:43AM
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@ Tyler:

if we hear it all year from people that dont know what they are talking about, it doesnt make it right.

pony up a link from upper management referencing it, and maybe your theory holds some water.

this one probably falls the way of injured players and how they count against the cap. how the situation actually works was mis-reported so many times it took on a life of its own (even stauffer had it wrong for a while)

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#104 Tyler
June 19 2009, 07:49AM
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Mike wrote: Where did the Oilers say that…It was exposed on different media outlets. If you can find a quote from an Oiler management type I’d like to see it. The Oilers didn’t mention he had to clear waivers and no one caught it. To me that is a great thing. They seemed to fool everyone. Maybe they are smarter than many think.

I would assume that the writers, many of whom have chosen not to try and figure out the CBA, got that from people connected with the team. Brule himself acknowledged that he was aware of the waiver rules and how they affected him in an interview with Brownlee in January:

“It’s in the back of my mind,” Brule said of the waiver rules under the CBA. “I look at my games played and it’s part of the rules, but I’m just trying to go out there and play the best I can with the chances I’m given.”

I'm reasonably confident that we were correct in thinking that he was waiver exempt until he played 160 games last year. About the best I can come up with is that they found some time period where they could sneak him through when it wasn't attractive to other teams to claim him and that that carries over to this year. The second bit in particular really does not conform with how I read the CBA. What's more, Brule would have known if he was on waivers - teams are required to notify the player. I'm surprised that this didn't end up getting reported.

Time will tell, I suppose. Or maybe Brule's agent will talk to Gregor and let us know whether Brule got waived.

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#105 dubya
June 19 2009, 08:55AM
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Brule is in a situation where he'll have to clear waivers in order to return to Springfield if he reaches 160 career games. Last night was No. 152. "I'm aware of the situation," [Brule] said. "I know I have to clear waivers if they decide to send me back down after 160 games. Hopefully, that doesn't happen. I'd like to stay here in Edmonton."

Doesn't really add much clarification, but if he cleared waivers, it's happened since January or Brule himself was not aware.

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#106 Jason Gregor
June 19 2009, 10:18AM
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I did hear back from Brule's representatives and they confirmed he had been waived.

They told me that according the to the NHLPA Brule played 12 games as an 18 year old, not the seven that is on nhl.com or hockeydb.com, which on the outside doesn't seem to make much sense.

So with that being the case he was waiver eligible last season, so he had to clear waivers, it wasn't a case of the Oilers just doing it.

On the outside looking in that doesn't make much sense and the representatives agreed, but since he has already cleared waivers they have agreed that the 160 GP is the point when he will need to clear waivers again.

NHL.com has the game summary from that year, and it looks like he played the first two games, and then got into five from Nov 20 to Nov 30. I didn't check the rest because I have to run to a meeting, but when I do I will see if there are any other games he was on the game sheet. Strange.

I now have a call into the NHLPA to see what they have to say. Interesting.

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#107 speeds
June 19 2009, 11:10AM
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The only thing I can imagine is that because Brule got hurt in that 05/6 year some of the games he missed due to injury counted for his contract. If that is the case, I wasn't aware it mattered, as it relates to waivers (game on the IR count as games played in some contexts, not in others IIRC).

But why would only 5 of the games have counted, when he missed 18 games with a sternal clavicular sprain and 18 games with a broken leg before being sent back to Vancouver of the WHL?

Jason, are you sure they understand you are asking about waivers specifically, and not just being assigned to the minors? It just seems so strange that we'd have heard absolutely nothing about Brule going through waivers when one of the stories I seem to recall from camp was EDM's ability to send Brule to the minors without waivers being an issue.

I am also curious to hear why that the 160 games threshold come back into play once he becomes waiver eligible and clears waivers, assuming he did in become waiver eligible, and therefore clear waivers. My understanding is that once you are eligible for waivers in one season, you are eligible for waivers for all years thereafter. Within a season there are a couple exceptions related to 10 cumulative games, and 30 cumulative days on the NHL roster, so that teams don't have to waive a player 5 times in a month to call him up for a game, send him down for two, call him up for another game, and so on.

This is pretty interesting stuff, thanks again for all the legwork on this Jason, greatly appreciated.

Any word on Schremp or Reddox as well?

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#108 Jason Gregor
June 19 2009, 01:01PM
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speeds wrote:

Jason, are you sure they understand you are asking about waivers specifically, and not just being assigned to the minors? It just seems so strange that we’d have heard absolutely nothing about Brule going through waivers when one of the stories I seem to recall from camp was EDM’s ability to send Brule to the minors without waivers being an issue.

I was very clear in specifically asking about waivers and not just being assigned to the minors. I have asked many times. From what I understand for a entry level player when he clears waivers the first time, he doesn't become eligible again until after 160 games. Which would jive with what Rick alluded to regarding him starting over, but I'm just guessing there. I can't see it anywhere in CBA either, but since the agents and some NHL people have told me it isn't the most well written document that would make sense that a mortal like myself can't find it.

I will talk to some guys who know more than me again next week before the draft to try and get some clarification.

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