The Edmonton Oilers End of Camp Roster

Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009 04:16PM

Looking at the current contracts and waiver eligibility of the group of players assembled at the Oilers’ training camp, I believe we can say with near certainty (barring a trade or injury) who will be playing with the team to start the season.

Forwards

Let’s start by considering the locks:

  • Shawn Horcoff
  • Dustin Penner
  • Ales Hemsky
  • Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Fernando Pisani
  • Ethan Moreau
  • Sam Gagner
  • Andrew Cogliano
  • Zack Stortini

That’s a list of nine players who will be with the team. I think we can add five more players with a reasonable degree of certainty:

  • Robert Nilsson
  • Mike Comrie
  • Marc Pouliot
  • Gilbert Brule
  • Jean-Francois Jacques

There are very few question marks even with those six players. Robert Nilsson is a leading candidate to be dealt based on skill-set and cap space. Some have suggested Marc Pouliot is as well, but at 6’1” he adds some size to the lineup and can play a defensive role – both skills which are in short supply on this roster. Gilbert Brule would need to clear waivers and given the cost to acquire him (Raffi Torres) and his pedigree I think it’s extremely unlikely that the Oilers would risk it.

In reality, the only player whose spot is in any real danger (with the possible exception of Nilsson) is J-F Jacques, but his numbers (6’4”, 217lbs) and the fact that he would need to clear waivers make it extremely unlikely that he’ll lose his job.

All this means that it’s a good bet that Jordan Eberle will be returned to junior, guys like Potulny, Reddox, Minard and Stone will go back to Springfield, and that Rob Schremp will disappear on the waiver wire or join that foursome in the AHL.

Defense

Again, let’s start by considering the locks:

  • Lubomir Visnovsky
  • Sheldon Souray
  • Tom Gilbert
  • Denis Grebeshkov
  • Steve Staios
  • Ladislav Smid

Some might argue with the inclusion of Staios, but while his contract is hefty and the returns are diminishing I think there’s very, very little chance he ends up anywhere else on opening night. That leaves Jason Strudwick on the bubble, but given that the player with the best chance of passing him (Theo Peckham) was injured to start camp, I’d say he’s pretty safe too.

Goaltenders

Everybody’s a lock here. Nikolai Khabibulin is the team’s designated starter and there isn’t anyone who can challenge him for that role at this point. Meanwhile, Devan Dubnyk can clear wiavers and Jeff Deslauriers can’t. Honestly, Dubnyk probably has as good a shot at any of the guys on the outside of forcing his way on to the roster, since the Oilers need to make a choice on these two before next season, but it remains highly unlikely that he’ll be able to do it out of training camp.

That’s it. The only real mystery that remains is the line combinations.

Oh, and just to forestall the inevitable complaints (why is Hemsky listed third?) the players above are ranked by cap hit.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#51 Benhur
September 17 2009, 08:19PM
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Staios looks like he's skating on one leg when the pressure is on. He doesn't have any grit and when's the last time you saw him make a decent hit? How many behind the net passes does he have to make to show he can't move the puck up ice to his forwards...turnovers are too often. Peckham may be inexperienced comparatively but he can play as well or better than Staios and a lot tougher. Forwards won't be to eager to go into his corner.

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#52 ronaldo
September 17 2009, 08:25PM
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@ Benhur I picked Staios as my goat but to say he has no grit is just out to lunch. He has made a career out of being gritty, with little skill.

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#53 Chris
September 17 2009, 08:51PM
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JFJ Hits hard. Despite his age, and apparent inability to take the next step consider these three points. 1) JFJ has had his development stalled due to back problems. Given his health issues (hopefully behind him ~no pun intended~) it's hard to project JFJ's high end. 2) It's been said, that the "coke machines" often take longer to mature. 3) Also, let's remember that JFJ is effective, and produces well at the AHL level. (More than what can be said about Brule, and Schremp) I thought he played better than many of our "skill guys" down the stretch last season.

Eberle looks good so far; but lets face facts, he is a boy playing a man's game. Don't rush him. Let him win a Memorial Cup, and another World Jr Gold... it's not like the team is short on forwards.

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#54 Joey Moss
September 17 2009, 09:05PM
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ON needs a Youtube channel with clips from practices, interviews from media scrums and other behind the scenes stuff...

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#55 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 09:23PM
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Nashville hard after Kessel eh. Blum & Radulov? Makes the Preds a little scarier.

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#56 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 09:29PM
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Phaneuf CRUSHED Okposo

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#57 Racki
September 17 2009, 09:33PM
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ScubaSteve wrote: Which Staios are you talking about? Dave Staios? Ron? Jim? Because Steve Staios definitely can’t do this.

Well neither can Peckham, whom the other poster suggested as his replacement. However Staios and Souray were our best pairing defensively at even strength (despite what people like to believe), against tougher opponents than other pairings, and with more time on ice (source is hockeyanalysis). Staios gets a bum rap because he's the fan favorite goat these days. I don't have illusions that he's a stellar shut down d-man, but he's the best that we have so long as him and Smid aren't on the ice at the same time.

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#58 David S
September 17 2009, 09:59PM
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OT I know, but Brownlee's "Irritants of the week is up."

hxxp://www.justagame.ca/audio/brownlee%20-%20irritance.mp3

Seriously funny stuff, especially when Gregor cuts in. Stuff like that would be great here at ON. Maybe we could talk Gregor into letting Wanye do a guest appearance for the Irritants segment some time.

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#59 Gerald R. Ford
September 17 2009, 10:27PM
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David S wrote:

OT I know, but Brownlee’s “Irritants of the week is up.”

"Trying to watch a show here!"

hehehe

I was hoping he'd mention the idiots who brake in the middle of free-flow lanes...

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#60 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 10:37PM
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Dion Phaneuf on Kyle Okposo www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YQJaq-jQOM

The boys on The team figure its a dirty hit. I think not. Thought?

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#61 TonyT
September 17 2009, 10:38PM
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@ RossCreek: Don't mean to be rude but the mighty Oil played Calgary two days ago. Phaneuf can crush whoever he wants, at the end of the day he still plays for Alberta's other (less sucessful) hockey club.

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#62 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 10:41PM
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@ TonyT: LOL. One preseason win and the chirping begins.TonyT wrote:

he still plays for Alberta’s other (less sucessful) hockey club

We shall see there pal :-)

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#63 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 10:47PM
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www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXnt3Pq0U4A

THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO!

:-)

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#64 Archaeologuy
September 17 2009, 10:52PM
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@ Chris: I just dont buy it about JFJ, MacIntyre has had an easier time transitioning into the NHL. The guy is a waste of roster space.

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#65 Asciutto
September 17 2009, 11:01PM
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"I just dont buy it about JFJ, ... The guy is a waste of roster space."

A couple of weeks ago Brownlee suggested that the Oilers had given up on Chimera too soon Did you - Nod your head in agreement - say "no way, and they should dump that waste of roster space, Jacques!"

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#66 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 11:11PM
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Chimera's better than jJcques

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#67 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 11:11PM
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^^ ah..... Wow

EDIT?

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#68 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 11:26PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Thank goodness the team has been picked. No need for those inconvenient trips to the rink for practices and pre-season games over the next two weeks. See you Oct. 3.

Nah, still got to figure out line combinations ;)

All I'm saying is that there's a lot less mystery, based on contract situations and waiver eligibility, than there has been in previous seasons.

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#69 Ogden Brother
September 17 2009, 11:32PM
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Chris wrote:

JFJ Hits hard. Despite his age, and apparent inability to take the next step consider these three points. 1) JFJ has had his development stalled due to back problems. Given his health issues (hopefully behind him ~no pun intended~) it’s hard to project JFJ’s high end. 2) It’s been said, that the “coke machines” often take longer to mature. 3) Also, let’s remember that JFJ is effective, and produces well at the AHL level. (More than what can be said about Brule, and Schremp) I thought he played better than many of our “skill guys” down the stretch last season.

Agreed 100%. 80 games of the JFJ from down the stretch gives us an excellent physical 4th line. Sadly though I think the Comrie signing puts JFJ out of the top 12.

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#70 Word
September 17 2009, 11:44PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Lofty: Of the 14 forwards on the list above, only Gagner and Cogliano aren’t waiver eligible, and they aren’t getting sent down. Someone’s going on waivers; who do you cut for Schremp?

What about waiving someone less likely to get picked up? So really no one goes. It seems that Schremp would be taken as a gamble by a team like the Islanders because he comes free. But would any team want to pick up Pouliot on waivers? Sure he has immediate value to the Oilers because the team (oddly enough) is lacking in defensive, averaged sized 3rd/4th line players. But no other team needs these right now. The market has shown it.

If teams knew now that they needed another Pouliot at this time of the season, they wouldn't have waited until September to sign or invite guys like Betts, Comrie, Sykora, Malhotra, etc. to camp.

Give Schremp a (20 game?) shot in the bigs. If he bombs, then we move on without wondering. But waiving him now and letting him get picked up just seems like something that could haunt us.

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#71 TonyT
September 17 2009, 11:54PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ TonyT: LOL. One preseason win and the chirping begins.TonyT wrote: he still plays for Alberta’s other (less sucessful) hockey club We shall see there pal

It's not chirping, it's a fact: Five is greater than One.

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#72 Word
September 17 2009, 11:56PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Dion Phaneuf on Kyle Okposo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YQJaq-jQOM The boys on The team figure its a dirty hit. I think not. Thought?

Not a dirty hit, but a dirty move. Dude's a lock for the team and he head hunts a (star... kinda?) like he has something to prove. Veterans shouldn't go out and demolish veterans in preseason games. And if you do? Answer the bell to a guy trying to make the team.

That was weak to thrash a guy and not even tussle with a bubble player who understands his role and came to the defence of his teamate. In preseason.

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#73 ScubaSteve
September 18 2009, 12:00AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Dion Phaneuf on Kyle Okposo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YQJaq-jQOM The boys on The team figure its a dirty hit. I think not. Thought?

Not dirty, but a hit like that in preseason vs a team in a different division? It just shows the level of class that Dion has. You could end a guys career because you wanted to make the highlight reel in a preseason tilt.

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#74 Jonathan Willis
September 18 2009, 12:30AM
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Word wrote:

What about waiving someone less likely to get picked up? So really no one goes. It seems that Schremp would be taken as a gamble by a team like the Islanders because he comes free. But would any team want to pick up Pouliot on waivers? Sure he has immediate value to the Oilers because the team (oddly enough) is lacking in defensive, averaged sized 3rd/4th line players. But no other team needs these right now. The market has shown it.

Free question, to anyone:

Has Schremp done anything in his professional career to make him worth more than Pouliot? Anything at all? They score at the same level in the AHL, but Pouliot's bigger, faster, and realizes the rink has two ends.

Pouliot's not all that and a bag of chips but the kid's an NHL'er and that's more than you can say for good chunks of the roster. He's heavily undervalued around these parts.

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#75 Word
September 18 2009, 12:42AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

No no, I get that and agree. Pouliot is more valuable than Schremp for the Oilers, but waiving Pouliot simply means sending him to the minors. I don't think anyone will pick him up on the wire.

On the other hand, Schremp is an almost guarantee loss (for no return value!) on waivers.

Why not send Pouliot to the AHL for 20 games, and gamble on Schremp.

a) He sucks for 20 games, we waive him and he gets picked up, but everyone knows that in real league play, given a reasonable period of time tp show otherwise, Schremp is not an NHLer at this point of his career; or

b) Schremp shows a bit of talent, but not enough to replace our other skill smurfs. We've paraded him at the NHL level for 20 games and can now at least get a late-round draft pick in return for a former 1st-rounder on the cusp; or

c) He shocks everyone and challenges for a legitimate spot on the top 2 and now the problem is who do we get rid of instead while trying to bolster the defensive aspect of the team.

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#76 Word
September 18 2009, 12:45AM
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@ Word:

And in scenario (b) I meant to say that we bring Pouliot back up, and it's just like before.

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#77 ScubaSteve
September 18 2009, 12:51AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I think why you see this Schremp > MAP current is that we've all seen what MAP brings to the team, and it isn't anything you can't get out of pretty much any waiver wire pick-up. Guys with MAP's size and stats are a dime a dozen.

I would rather see Schremp just to see if his skill set can translate to the NHL, it may not, but if it does, it's not something that can be picked up on waivers.

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#78 Reagan
September 18 2009, 06:30AM
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Most likely Staios and Strudwick will be gone next season, and that will make room for guys like Motin, Peckham and Chorney.

As far as our forwards are concerned, a lot needs to be determined in the next few weeks. Pouliot, Shremp, Jacques, Brule and Nilsson should be cut in my mind, but Oilers MGT has different plans.

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#79 Fiveandagame
September 18 2009, 07:25AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Size in the game only matters if you USE it. Pouliot has not made use of his size even when put in situations repeatedly last year where he should have been a more physical player.

Miscast in that role by Mac T maybe, but come on the size argument for Pouliot is a non factor. Yes he's a bigger body to knock off the puck than say Brule, but I would take Brule's tenacity and skill set over Pouliot ten times out of ten.

Pouliot will never be a top six guy and we already have a better comparable player in Pisani.

Say hello to waiver land Pouliot.

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#80 cableguy
September 18 2009, 07:41AM
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RossCreek wrote:

Dion Phaneuf on Kyle Okposo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YQJaq-jQOM The boys on The team figure its a dirty hit. I think not. Thought?

hit itself wasnt really dirty.

the fact that it is a meaningless preseason game and the guy was in a pretty vulnerable spot was kind of a dick move.

that, and phaneuf being a grade A puss and not answering the bell the rest of the game.

pretty much showed the level of class phaneuf has

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#81 jeff
September 18 2009, 07:54AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I thought Pouilots best hockey was when he played with Schremp. Did Pouilot, Schremp and Jacques play together in the AHL? Might be a line to try during preseason.

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#82 Clarkenstein
September 18 2009, 08:04AM
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SMac, Pouliot, Jacques, Nilsson and.... Pisani... gone. Staios 7th D-man. With a new coaching staff there WILL be surprise changes. 3 years out of the playoffs means veterans will be put on waivers, cut, bought out... whatever it takes. And don't put any stock into 2 meaningless pre-season games!!

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#83 jeff
September 18 2009, 08:07AM
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@ Clarkenstein: Buyouts are pointless, with the cap going down we don't need cap space being taking up with buyouts. The minors would be a better option in my mind.

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#84 jeff
September 18 2009, 08:18AM
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Going to tonights game and I am getting what I asked for. I wanted to see Stone and Jacques, see who is better. And I'll also get my look at Schremp, Brule and Comrie. I would've liked to see Nilsson and Pouilot as well, but tonights lineup is good enough for me.

And according to the Oil site I will get to see Dubnyk on defense. Is MacT coaching again?LOL

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#85 The Menace
September 18 2009, 08:25AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

RossCreek wrote: Dion Phaneuf on Kyle Okposo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YQJaq-jQOM The boys on The team figure its a dirty hit. I think not. Thought? Not dirty, but a hit like that in preseason vs a team in a different division? It just shows the level of class that Dion has. You could end a guys career because you wanted to make the highlight reel in a preseason tilt.

Not only a different division, but a different conference too. Just another move in a series of classless moves spanning his whole career.

I'm a Rebels fan, and even when he was here I couldn't stand him. My wife went to school with him when he was here, and she said even then he was obnoxious - even by teenage hockey player standards; he needed constant attention and ego-stroking or he would lose it. She said it got to the point where people would provoke him on purpose, just to get a reaction out of him.

The hit may have been "clean", but totally unnecessary. The guy's a bum.

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#86 Jonathan Willis
September 18 2009, 08:27AM
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Fiveandagame wrote:

Size in the game only matters if you USE it.

I'm going to disagree there. The obvious example is Detroit, where they have plenty of non-physical players with size, so they don't get pushed around.

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#87 Jonathan Willis
September 18 2009, 08:28AM
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Clarkenstein wrote:

3 years out of the playoffs means veterans will be put on waivers, cut, bought out… whatever it takes.

I would bet money that's not true. You're expecting things that are never going to happen; the owner doesn't spend millions as lightly as you do.

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#88 Jonathan Willis
September 18 2009, 08:29AM
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@ jeff:

Pouliot and Schremp played together for a while, but I can't remember who their winger was.

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#89 Jonathan Willis
September 18 2009, 08:30AM
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@ Word:

I guess what I'm saying is that if we can all see that Pouliot > Schremp, I'm pretty sure NHL teams can see it too.

Pouliot probably wouldn't clear waivers.

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#90 scorecoff hemmercules
September 18 2009, 08:35AM
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@ The Menace:

That hit was pretty unneccesary. I like how he skated away not expecting to get in a tilt afterwards, and Giordano had to step in to fight his fight.

Caveman = pussyRossCreek wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXnt3Pq0U4A THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO! THEO!

Isn't there a flames fan site you should be at. No one here cares about some drunken drugged up wash out from Cowtown.

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#91 jeff
September 18 2009, 08:38AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: The one thing to remember is every year teams have to send guys down that have to clear waivers. Not too many teams are looking to pick up guys right now. I remember a couple years back Montreal sent 7 or 8 guys down throught waivers and not one was picked up. Now they weren't all decent prospects but some were. I really question someone getting picked up unless of course it is someone who has played an amazing preseason or if it is a vet sent down because of cap issues.

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#92 Fiveandagame
September 18 2009, 08:42AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Fiveandagame wrote: Size in the game only matters if you USE it. I’m going to disagree there. The obvious example is Detroit, where they have plenty of non-physical players with size, so they don’t get pushed around.

Thats fine, but Pouliots head and way he thinks the game is top six, where he slates in on the depth chart is bottom six. It's one thing to not be pushed off the puck, it"s another thing all together to use your size to push someone off the puck.

I don't see the tenacity or "jam" in Pouliot's game to indicate he will out muscle or win the battles in the corner.

Pouliot's a fine player but using his size as an argument for his being on the team is silly. Hell Shremp is 200 lbs, a few shy of Pouliot and a few inches shorter, there for he should be harder to knock off the puck.

Brule brings energy and physicality, Pouliot does not. We need a Draper/Maltby players on our forth line not Yuri Hudler.

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#93 smiliegirl15
September 18 2009, 08:44AM
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Didn't Schremp sign a two way contract? What does that mean exactly? Can't he be called up but get sent back down without having to clear waivers? Isn't that the point of a two way contract? My apologies for the perhaps stupid question but I really don't know and would appreciate an explanation of how these contracts really work. If a two way contract means you have to clear waivers anyways, what's the point of having one?

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#94 RossCreek
September 18 2009, 08:45AM
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@ scorecoff hemmercules: You gotta admit... that was storybook. I don't normally bring a lot of Flames talk here, but those are 2 vids I figured would spark some convo.

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#95 Fiveandagame
September 18 2009, 08:46AM
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@ scorecoff hemmercules: Speak for yourself, I love a good comeback story. Root for the underdog.

Seeing him score the shootout winner and the humility he's playing with now? Gotta root for the little man.

Last night in Calgary was a great night in sports. Take off your copper and blue glasses and you'll see other teams have other stuff going on too. Just like how you had no problem picking some other team to cheer in the playoffs when the oil fell short.

~come on it's not like he's talking about the friggen leafs.~

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#96 jeff
September 18 2009, 08:47AM
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Janik x2, Matt Ellis, Joakim Lindstrom, Nathan Mciver

Above is a list of who was claimed off waivers last year after training camp/preseason. Now I might of missed someone so don't hold me to the list. It's quite rare for someone to be picked. Sure someone might get picked up, but there seems to be too much put into us losing half our team through waivers.

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#97 SkinnyD
September 18 2009, 08:48AM
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Shremp is unimaginably bad in the defensive zone. I don't think it's a lock that he gets picked up on waivers...and if he does, good riddance. He's had plenty of time to work on this in the AHL and clearly hasn't. If you can't get the puck out of your own end, you can't be in the offensive zone to score. Pretty basic stuff.

I would imagine Brule and Pouliot take turns being in the press box this season...both are useful in different ways.

My head says send Eberle to Regina to bulk up...the other side of my head watches him outplay much of our roster. My head hurts. That's our future captain...

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#98 Archaeologuy
September 18 2009, 08:53AM
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@ smiliegirl15:

I hadnt heard it from a non-commenter until just recently but this year because of all the rules in place for how many years, + games played, etc Schremp has to clear waivers before going down. The 2 way contract means that in the AHL Schremp will be paid an AHL salary but if he goes to the NHL it will be significantly higher. Conversely, if Penner is sent down (example) he will still be paid 4.25 million. I assume that if Schremp makes the team he will be scraping the league minimum. The 2 way contract saves the team money and at the same time lets them keep guys to develop in the AHL or wherever.

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#99 scorecoff hemmercules
September 18 2009, 08:57AM
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@ RossCreek:

I get ya. I personnaly don't give a rats ass about Calgary and their pre season games. The Phaneuf hit was worth checking out though.

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#100 Ogden Brother
September 18 2009, 08:59AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: I think why you see this Schremp > MAP current is that we’ve all seen what MAP brings to the team, and it isn’t anything you can’t get out of pretty much any waiver wire pick-up. Guys with MAP’s size and stats are a dime a dozen. I would rather see Schremp just to see if his skill set can translate to the NHL, it may not, but if it does, it’s not something that can be picked up on waivers.

And that is the focal point of the whole Schremp debate, a contingence of fans that think they need to "see him" to decide. The orginization has seen him 100's of times.

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