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.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Kung Pow
September 17 2009, 04:18PM
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You don't think Comrie is a lock to make the team?

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#2 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 04:20PM
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@ Kung Pow:

He's pretty close. The only reason I included him is that while he says he's healthy you just never know.

But it doesn't make much difference; these guys are all almost locks, with Jacques the only guy who should really be worried, I think.

Then again, Quinn cut Travis Green one year, so maybe I'll be surprised.

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#3 Jason Gregor
September 17 2009, 04:21PM
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You are missing MacIntyre...And Pouliot is not as safe as one would think.

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#4 ScubaSteve
September 17 2009, 04:30PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You are missing MacIntyre

I would argue that with Stortini and JFJ on the roster, SMac is not needed for the 12 games a year to deal with Boogard and the like. IMO, we don't need a guy to play 6 minutes a game, just because he can fight.

Jason Gregor wrote:

And Pouliot is not as safe as one would think.

I totally agree with this, he would be the guy I would see being bumped, especially based on last night's performance.

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#5 jeanshorts
September 17 2009, 04:30PM
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I only watched a few periods of the last 2 games, but from what I saw I'd 100 percent agree that Dubnyk has a solid of a shot as anyone to challenge for the back up spot. Again I only saw a small amount of hockey, but from what I saw he looked more comfortable in the net than JDD. Deslaurier looked like he was forcing it a little too much. Hopefully he'll settle down as he gets into a rhythm during the season, but I think it looks good for this team that their number 3 goalie appears to be ready to jump in at any moment if JDD falters.

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#6 Woogie
September 17 2009, 04:38PM
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Nobody in their right mind can say Shremp is not DEADLY on the PP. You can teach defence easier than offence.

Pouliot has been given more than a chance to show what he can do with not much success (in my opinon) and Nilsson just can't bring it every night (yesterday as the last example).

Not a huge Schremp fan but I would rather them give him an honest shot before losing him via waivers.

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#7 ScubaSteve
September 17 2009, 04:40PM
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The other thing to think about here is the opening night roster will not be the roster that skates at mid-season. I can see Peckham and JFJ playing their way to regular minutes at the expense of some less interested players.

I can also see one or 2 of the ssf's (small skilled forwards)playing their way into the press box.

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#8 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 04:40PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You are missing MacIntyre…And Pouliot is not as safe as one would think.

Yeah, I should have noted him as joining Schremp on the waiver wire. Given Quinn's publicly stated aversion to one-dimensional tough guys, though I can't imagine he makes the cut.

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#9 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 04:41PM
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@ jeanshorts:

I liked Dubnyk better than JDD last night too, although I don't want to read too much into one game.

I do think Dubnyk is going to have the better career.

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#10 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 04:42PM
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@ ScubaSteve:

Who do you think starts the year in the press-box? I'd guess Brule and Nilsson, but that's just a guess.

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#11 Shanye Gretz
September 17 2009, 04:43PM
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So why is Hemsky listed third? /inevitable complaint

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#12 ScubaSteve
September 17 2009, 04:44PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I agree with you about Dubnyk, but I don't think he was that far above JDD to warrant keeping him and losing JDD on the waiver wire for nothing. This year will show if JDD can step up, or if he's a career minor leaguer, and I think Dubnyk will be an NHL starter one day.

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#13 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 04:46PM
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@ ScubaSteve:

I agree that JDD gets the job out of camp this year.

I just think next year will be different.

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#14 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 04:46PM
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@ Shanye Gretz:

LOL.

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#15 Fiveandagame
September 17 2009, 04:46PM
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I think JFJ and Pouliot could be gone. Pouliot does have more size but he doesn't really use it. I think a crash and banger like Brule would be better for our fourth line.

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#16 ScubaSteve
September 17 2009, 04:48PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

It'll be clearer once we see a couple more preseason games, but I think we'll see a rotation based on the opposing team. Since the season opens vs Calgary I see MAP and Nilsson watching the game from there.

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#17 ScubaSteve
September 17 2009, 04:50PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ ScubaSteve: I agree that JDD gets the job out of camp this year. I just think next year will be different.

This statement is endorsed by ScubaSteve©

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#18 ShaunDoe
September 17 2009, 04:50PM
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From what I heard and have seen of Stone I would think he could easily replace MAP. He is bigger, more skilled and of the same age. The only thing I am not sure about is his position. If stone is not able to fill the same roster spot position wise then I guess the argument is moot but really why wouldn't you take a flyer on this guy. From what I read about him when he was with the Pens, it seemed as if he was a yearly bubble player never quite making that last step to jump up to the big club. It seems, however, as if he has come to this camp with some get up and go.

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#19 John K
September 17 2009, 04:54PM
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If Eberle keeps up this kind of performance, I don't see how you can keep him off the team. I'm not very convinced another year of junior, even with the WJC will be the best thing for his development.

Granted its only one preseason game, but I thought Eberle played a better game then say, Nilsson and Cogliano last night.

Not to mention, Quinn is an obvious Eberle booster.

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#20 SL
September 17 2009, 05:00PM
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I like Eberle's chances, as long as he keeps playing well in the pre-season. I can't see how Quinn could cut him, and he'd be a great student of Renney.

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#21 The Menace
September 17 2009, 05:16PM
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I love Eberle, but I just don't see where he wuld fit this year. I think Quinn knows that another year in Regina would be good for him too. His only weakness seems to be that he's not strong enough on the puck.

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#22 The Menace
September 17 2009, 05:27PM
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@ The Menace: that should read, "would".

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#23 Benhur
September 17 2009, 05:27PM
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I really don't agree with your "status quo" picks. Quinn has stated nhe wants the best players. Moreau and Piasani are not the besrt players. Pouliot hasn had hic chances and has not done anything to prove he is a oproiductive oiler player. Staios would havwe been beaten out last year if not for the defensive injuries they had....Peckman definitly has surpassed him. Schremp has not impressed 5 on 5 so do you want a power play specialist...I don't think so with the potential of other players on the PP. Eberle deserves a shot in the NHL if he continues to show results....like gretz, Mess, Smyth, etc. We need changes to this team...we need excitement and enthusiasm...it's time to move out the so so performers and go with talent. I would like to see: FORWARDS: * Shawn Horcoff * Dustin Penner * Ales Hemsky * Patrick O’Sullivan * Sam Gagner * Andrew Cogliano * Eberle * Robert Nilsson * Mike Comrie The rest of the troops should eventually be trade fodder for proven players...which will of course take time.

I don't expect the Oil to be challenging for the SC for a few years so lets cut the chaff and keep the good players...the marginal ones will have to go.

Read more: http://www.oilersnation.com/2009/09/the-edmonton-oilers-end-of-camp-roster/#ixzz0RPQJbyuC

Read more: http://www.oilersnation.com/2009/09/the-edmonton-oilers-end-of-camp-roster/#ixzz0RPPbS9Gh Hemsky, Horc, Gagner,

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#24 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 05:41PM
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ShaunDoe wrote:

From what I heard and have seen of Stone I would think he could easily replace MAP. He is bigger, more skilled and of the same age.

Stone's a lot meaner than Pouliot, but he isn't much bigger (6'2", 207 vs. 6'1", 195). He also isn't more skilled - Marc Pouliot's put up more points than he has every single season going back to before their draft year.

Stone's also much, much slower.

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#25 Lofty
September 17 2009, 05:52PM
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I think you keep Schremp over some of the other guys that are not waiver eligible and see if his skills convert to the NHL then he's done (I dont know which guys are and are not eligible off the top of my head.)

I have a feeling he could come back and make the oil look stupid for letting him go in the future

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#26 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 06:01PM
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@ 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?

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#27 Lofty
September 17 2009, 06:03PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I will sacrifice my only son...

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#28 Lofty
September 17 2009, 06:07PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

At this point I send Nilsson down and hope someone picks him up... wont happen but then you let him hide there. I am a gambling man and I would gamble and hope Schremp's NHL play will out perform Nilsson's. I say my odds would be around 30% but... I like to gamble just like the Oilers scouts.

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#29 Asciutto
September 17 2009, 06:22PM
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"And Pouliot is not as safe as one would think."

But Brule [24 AHL points] is a lock!

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#30 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 06:31PM
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Sure-things: Shawn Horcoff Dustin Penner Ales Hemsky Patrick O’Sullivan Fernando Pisani Ethan Moreau Sam Gagner Andrew Cogliano Zack Stortini Mike Comrie Gilbert Brule

Bubble: Ryan Stone Steve MacIntyre Ryan Potulny Rob Schremp Marc Pouliot Robert Nilsson Jean-Francois Jacques Liam Reddox - useful AHL callup Jordan Eberle - likely headed back to Jr. for more seasoning

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#31 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 06:32PM
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^^ oops

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#32 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 06:35PM
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@ Asciutto: They're not putting him on waivers and losing him for nothing. He is a stone cold lead pipe lock!

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#33 Racki
September 17 2009, 06:42PM
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Benhur wrote:

Staios would havwe been beaten out last year if not for the defensive injuries they had….Peckman definitly has surpassed him.

No way has Peckham surpassed Staios. He's surpassed him in the toughness department, for sure. But Staios is everyone's whipping boy because it's the cool thing to do. He just needs a better defensive partner than Smid. Likewise, Smid needs someone who he works better with. Staios can play top minutes against tough opponents. Peckham can't. I have big expectations for Peckham and believe he'll be a damn good d-man one day, but let's be realistic here. Honestly, I'd like to see Staios replaced by a better shutdown d-man, but right now we don't have anyone that can do that better than him.

As for who I'd get rid of for Schremp.... maybe Pouliot if I felt Brule could take over here. Maybe MacIntyre if I didn't like a nuclear weapon (I'm 50/50 on that, now that Stortini is getting to be a better fighter). Other than that, I'd have to see "see ya!" and send him back down.

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#34 DangerMan
September 17 2009, 06:45PM
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Ryan Stone is a player that brings a lot of things that this team needs. Unfortunately for him, he is on a 2-way deal. It just seems he is in a case of being the right player at the wrong time.

Jacques is going to have to pick up his physicality next game or else he might himself out in the cold.

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#35 Racki
September 17 2009, 06:50PM
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DangerMan wrote:

Ryan Stone is a player that brings a lot of things that this team needs. Unfortunately for him, he is on a 2-way deal. It just seems he is in a case of being the right player at the wrong time. Jacques is going to have to pick up his physicality next game or else he might himself out in the cold.

2-way contracts don't have anything to do with waiver eligibility, just so you know... if that's what you were implying (if not, I apologize!). He has to clear waivers in order to be sent down. However if he plays in the AHL, he will make his AHL salary, not his NHL salary. I'm not so sure that's really much of a concern anyways too Daryl Money Bags McGee.

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#36 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 06:55PM
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Who's had the better chemistry over the past couple years:

Gagner & Nilsson

OR

Cogliano & Nilsson

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#37 DangerMan
September 17 2009, 06:56PM
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@ Racki:

I'm aware of waiver eligibility, the only thing that I'm implying is Stone will have outplay Jacques to get a job and not necessarily the other way around due to contracts. If its even, the job will likely go to Jacques.

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#38 Asciutto
September 17 2009, 06:57PM
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"They’re not putting him on waivers and losing him for nothing"

Who's going to take him Remember they have to keep him on the roster

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#39 Racki
September 17 2009, 07:01PM
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@DangerMan

Ok, just making sure because I know a lot of people have that misconception that 2-way/1-way determines waiver status (and I don't know you to know if that's what you were thinking). Anyways, I agree that JFJ has a much, much better chance of making the line up than Stone. I think Stone might be a career AHLer, to be honest, and that's likely all he was brought in here for. But you never know, I suppose.

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#40 Malc
September 17 2009, 07:08PM
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@ Asciutto:

Why wouldn't someone take him?

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#41 Jonathan Willis
September 17 2009, 07:09PM
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@ Asciutto:

I imagine a team like the Islanders wouldn't mind taking the chance.

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#42 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 07:12PM
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Asciutto wrote:

“They’re not putting him on waivers and losing him for nothing” Who’s going to take him Remember they have to keep him on the roster

So, you don't think there are any teams worse than the Oilers? Islanders? Thrashers? Toronto?

If they put him on waivers, he WILL be claimed.

Confirmation? @ Gregor: @ Brownlee:

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#43 DangerMan
September 17 2009, 07:15PM
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Who is a threat to Pouliot as the 4th line C?

- Brule is, but he hasn't played a game yet, so we will wait and see. - Stone if he makes it will probably be a winger, a tad slow to be a C at the NHL level. - Paukovich is too slow to be a C - Potulny isn't greasy enough to be a 4th liner.

The only other player I can think of is Reddox if he can tranform into a C and put him with two bigger bookends. He has the speed to play the spot, just not sure about the instincts.

Doesn't seem to be as many options as their once was.

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#44 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 07:18PM
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Find a player in a similar situation as Pouliot on another team and swap em

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#45 Asciutto
September 17 2009, 07:21PM
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Yeah That was a badly put comment

The oilers have a ton of guys who could be claimed. If they all hit the wires in quick sucession, One might be claimed

But it ain't necessarily so It depends on what teams are looking for what, and how exciting is picking up a non-playoff team's castoffs

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#46 ScubaSteve
September 17 2009, 07:36PM
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Racki wrote:

Staios can play top minutes against tough opponents.

Which Staios are you talking about? Dave Staios? Ron? Jim? Because Steve Staios definitely can't do this.

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#47 Death Metal Nightmare
September 17 2009, 07:44PM
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disagree 100%. eliminate Nilsson and Pouliot now. those dudes show nothing night in and night out. theyre floaters.

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#48 Archaeologuy
September 17 2009, 08:01PM
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What has anyone seen of JF Jacques in the last 2 years that suggests he's usefull in the NHL? That guy is waiver fodder for sure. Meanwhile the Oilers would pass up Schremp without even giving him the opportunity afforded to the likes of every other waste of skin on the bubble list.

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#49 Robin Brownlee
September 17 2009, 08:06PM
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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.

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#50 RossCreek
September 17 2009, 08:14PM
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@ Archaeologuy: tend to agree with you on that. When Winchester was here, I figured they should get rid of him in favor of Jacques. I'm thinking I was wrong; my perfect record now tarnished~

@ Death Metal Nightmare: also agree with your thoughts on Pouliot & Nilsson. Both could land on their feet elsewhere. Nilsson's cap hit is a number I'd be looking to remove... whatever it takes.

OUT: Nilsson, Pouliot, Jacques IN: ?, Brule, Stone

? = Potulny, Schremp, Eberle, other

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