Predicting the Oilers' 2009/10 line-ups

Jason Gregor
September 21 2009 11:18AM

lineup-whiteboard

After five games in six days, the Oilers will get a bit of a break before they continue their pre-season on Wednesday against the Flames.

The final three pre-season games should be better and more competitive than the first five because we'll see more NHL lineups this week. I don’t know if the first five games made the line combination picture any clearer.

Ryan Rishaug from TSN and I were debating what the combinations would look like come October 3rd. We both agreed that this year there doesn’t seem to be many spots that are secure. Ales Hemsky will be the 1st line right winger, and Stortini will play the right side on the fourth line, but after that the possibilities are endless.

I asked Rishaug to jot down his thoughts on the lines, and I’ll toss in mine as well. I’m guessing most of you will agree with some combos and disagree with others.

Ryan Rishaug's Oilers Lineup

Trying to piece together lines for the Oilers this season reminds me of looking through my closet for a suit to wear. I have the trusted "go to" combos that look relatively okay, and have worked in the past, yet they just feel a little stale.

I did find an old suit in the back of the closet that I hadn't worn in some time, and once I had it dry-cleaned and pressed, I remembered how nice it actually was, so it’s back in the rotation. Other than that, there are a lot of familiar looks.  Below is the mundane Monday to Friday look.

Penner — Horcoff — Hemsky

Comrie — Gagner — O’Sullivan

Moreau — Cogliano — Pisani

Jacques — Brule — Stortini

Pouliot Nilsson

But for the sake of this article, let's pretend for a moment, that I am standing not in front of my own closet, but instead that of Jason Gregor.  A closet filled with crazy colours, impossible combinations and endless options. And oh yeah, let's say it’s Friday night, not Monday morning. In this world, anything is possible, and like Gregor, I'm sure I will be mocked, but it is someone else's closet, so let's indulge.

Cogliano — Gagner — Hemsky

Comrie — Horcoff — O’Sullivan

Moreau — Brule — Penner

Jacques — Pisani — Stortini

Pouliot

MacIntyre

The first thing you'll notice is no Horcoff with Hemsky. It's time for Gagner to get some time with the big man and see what he can do. And enough of this talk of Cogliano being a third-line centre. He has a 25-goal and 60-point potential, but needs top-six minutes and some offence around him to make it happen.

Comrie and O’Sullivan have been great in pre-season together, why break up a good thing?  Brule is fast, and plays hard. A year of consistent minutes next to the captain would do him a world of good. In cases where the Oil need a shut down line, Comrie drops down to line three with Brule and Penner, while Moreau joins O’Sullivan and Horcoff as a shut down line.

There's been talk of Pisani perhaps not making this team, and while I believe he is in tough, I believe he'll be there, but perhaps as a fourth liner. He has played some centre, and even out of position is an upgrade on Pouliot as a fourth line centre. He's also a valuable penalty killer. Out of the mix in this scenario, is Nilsson and a savings of two million on the cap.

There are a few problems with this configuration. Penner is back on his off-wing, and the top line is pretty small, but the way this team is built, those two problems won't be avoided in any configuration. Also, Brule has to play extremely well to stay on that third line. If not, perhaps Pisani can bump up, but I'd like to see Brule get a shot.

So here I stand, in the middle of the busy bar on a Friday wearing light brown pointy shoes with dragons on them, tight blue jeans, and a shirt that looks like it was just torn off the back of Garth Brooks mid-concert. My glasses have bizarre bright green rims, but at least they match my earrings.

Go ahead, mock all you like. At least it’s not a boring black suit with a blue shirt and red tie; nice enough to wear on TV for a quick live hit or stand up, but not nearly nice enough to anchor Sportscentre, or for the VIP door at the bar. The defence by the way is already set, so no sense speculating.

My Oilers Lineup

I’m stunned that Rishaug’s combinations are a bit outside the box, because like his wardrobe, he rarely colours outside the lines.

I think it will take Pat Quinn and company at least ten regular season games before they know exactly what they have, but it's obvious that they want guys who won’t take short cuts anywhere on the ice.

I would like to see Gagner get a shot with Hemsky, but I see it happening as the season progresses, not from the start, so here goes.

Penner — Horcoff — Hemsky

Comrie — Gagner — O’Sullivan

Moreau — Cogliano — Pisani

Jacques — Brule — Stortini

Nilsson

MacIntyre

I think Penner is a better fit with Cogliano and Pisani, but I can’t justify putting Nilsson on that line to start the season, unless he rips it up in the final three pre-season games.

I also think Cogliano will eventually find himself in the top six, but not on October 3rd. I know these lines don’t look very different, but outside of Comrie and O’Sullivan no other combinations have produced so far. Hemsky likes playing with Horcoff, and since Gagner and Hemsky haven’t done anything yet, I doubt they will start the year together.

If — and it is a big if — Jacques plays more games like he did against Florida and less like his effort in Calgary, I can see him getting some shifts with the skilled guys. They will need some size and aggression in the top six at some point.

That's why I put Penner up top. Because they need some size in the top six, and even if he doesn’t use it all the time, he is still a better option than Nilsson at this point. Penner looks a step quicker, because he is actually moving his feet and if he continues to do that he will stay in Quinn’s good books.

What about Eberle or Stone?

Eberle has looked good in the pre-season, but how many points has he put up against NHL/AHL lineups? Zero. There is no point rushing the kid and he will be back in Regina by the end of the week I’d expect.

Stone has shown good energy, but he won’t be taking Pisani’s spot just yet. Stone has put himself in a position to be the first call up, when the injury bug inevitably shows up. Pre-season games against non-NHL lineups will not win him a job on the team, and while you might think it isn’t fair, the fact is Moreau and Pisani are more proven NHL third-liners.

Based on some short conversations I’ve had with coaches and some members of management, even they don’t know which combinations are the best. The whiteboard in the coaches’ office will have plenty of options, and we might get a clearer picture tomorrow when they return to the ice after their first day off since camp started.

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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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#51 Colin
September 21 2009, 01:14PM
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I see it not as a lines 1-2-3-4 set up, but a 1,2,2,4 setup. The Hmesky line is obviously line one, but you'll have two second lines getting roughly equal ice time. With seven or eight legitimate top 6 forwards I don't see they have much choice.

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#52 Digger12
September 21 2009, 01:16PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Death Metal Nightmare wrote: the Eberle “points” argument is junk. if that was the case, why was Sam Gagner on the team last season? because sucking for 60 games is awesome? Eberle looks better than Gagner out there even against the SAME competition level. Hardly, he hasn’t produced against quasi NHL/AHL/ECHL line-ups and yet people expect him to do it against full NHL line-ups. And Gagner was on the team last year because he had to be. The year he made the team, he dominated pre-season (which Eberle would have to be doing to legitimitly earn a spot)

Actually, Gagner made the team in the fall of 2007 not so much because of his preseason play (he went 4-2-0-2, so he wasn't exactly ripping up preseason), but in his 9 game regular season audition where he went 1-6-7 at the same time the 2nd line center from the previous season (Stoll) had a flat out terrible start (9-0-1-1, -7). He had a combination of good play and good fortune to make the team that year.

Who's to say that Eberle couldn't do the same?

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#53 jeff
September 21 2009, 01:20PM
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@ Digger12: You remember last year when Gagner was slumping and everyone was made because we couldn't send him to the AHL? Why would we do that again with someone like Eberle?

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#54 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 01:24PM
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Digger12 wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Death Metal Nightmare wrote: the Eberle “points” argument is junk. if that was the case, why was Sam Gagner on the team last season? because sucking for 60 games is awesome? Eberle looks better than Gagner out there even against the SAME competition level. Hardly, he hasn’t produced against quasi NHL/AHL/ECHL line-ups and yet people expect him to do it against full NHL line-ups. And Gagner was on the team last year because he had to be. The year he made the team, he dominated pre-season (which Eberle would have to be doing to legitimitly earn a spot) Actually, Gagner made the team in the fall of 2007 not so much because of his preseason play (he went 4-2-0-2, so he wasn’t exactly ripping up preseason), but in his 9 game regular season audition where he went 1-6-7 at the same time the 2nd line center from the previous season (Stoll) had a flat out terrible start (9-0-1-1, -7). He had a combination of good play and good fortune to make the team that year. Who’s to say that Eberle couldn’t do the same?

2 goals >> 0 goals

That team was also incredibly thin up front, this team is deep (in quasi 2nd liners)

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#55 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 01:25PM
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Since nobody really touched on it yet, HOW COOL IS IT that Ryan Rishaugh has made an appearance @TheNation?

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#56 Jeff
September 21 2009, 01:26PM
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With regards to Eberle I just don't see how owning Junior Gaolies all year will help him score against NHLers. I think if Tavares and Hodgson can make their respective teams than Eberle should be able to as well.

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#57 whitey
September 21 2009, 01:26PM
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@ Mr Pink 17 Not sure of the other lines, but i still think that Horcoff is a third line guy/penality killer/ face off guy. Give Cogliano a chance on the second line with Gagner

I'm happy someone is saying what some of us are thinking and not what our salary cap hit says we should be thinking. Horcoff is a 50-60 pt guy more so than a 70 pt guy. I think he will be more effective in #2/#3 spot as well.

I think Cogliano is so pre-occupied with face-offs he's forgotten his game - skate and create. Take the pressure off the kid - work on faceoffs in practice - move him back to wing.

Penner–Gagner–Hemsky Comrie-Horcoff-O’Sullivan Moreau–Pouliot–Cogliano Jacques–Brule–Pisani

Nilsson, Stortini

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#58 Jason Gregor
September 21 2009, 01:32PM
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TIM S wrote:

Gregor is there any thoughts on exposing a couple of veterns to waivers to try and clear some roster/cap room? I am thinking a Pisani, Staios, or even more unlikely Moreau.

I would be stunned if any one of them was put on waivers. I don't see anyone replacing the style Moreau brings, so until Jacques progresses the captain stays.

Staios and Pisani aren't spectacular players, but neither is worthy of a trip to the AHL. Staios will be an interesting case next summer, but I doubt either gets a ticket to the A by next Monday.

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#59 jeff
September 21 2009, 01:32PM
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@ Jeff: I would take Tavares off that list. He was a 1st overall pick and the Isles suck.

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#60 Josh the Accountant
September 21 2009, 01:42PM
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There is no debating that three offensively skilled players on those rare nights when everything is clicking can fill the net. However, these nights are rare. We should learn from last year that three skilled guys together are pretty easy to play against when they are not clicking offensively. At some point even Hemsky will have droughts during the year. I would rather see some balance and puck pressure on every line. Being “difficult” to play against for a full 60 minutes wears down the opposition and creates more offensive opportunity over the course of a season.

Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky* Moreau – Comrie – O’Sullivan Cogliano – Gagne – Stortini Jacques – Brule – Mac Pouliot Pisani

*Double shifting Hemsky on any of the lines below when he is really rolling

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#61 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 01:44PM
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Jeff wrote:

With regards to Eberle I just don’t see how owning Junior Gaolies all year will help him score against NHLers. I think if Tavares and Hodgson can make their respective teams than Eberle should be able to as well.

Hogdson hasn't made that team yet, his pedrigree is also superior to Eberle.

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#62 Reggie
September 21 2009, 01:45PM
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Josh the Accountant wrote:

Moreau – Comrie – O’Sullivan Cogliano – Gagne – Stortini

I really don't see Quinn starting Moreau ahead of both Cogs and Gagner. It just ain't gonna happen. People are pitching Gagner as possible first line and you have him on the 3rd line ? Nope, Gagner will be on the 2nd line at the least.

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#63 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 01:45PM
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Jeff wrote:

With regards to Eberle I just don’t see how owning Junior Gaolies all year will help him score against NHLers. I think if Tavares and Hodgson can make their respective teams than Eberle should be able to as well.

You also lose a year off of his rookie contract, pushing him closer to his RFA/UFA contract. I highly doubt he helps the team win more games then anyone he would replace.... so why burn the year?

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#64 Reggie
September 21 2009, 01:49PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Jeff wrote: With regards to Eberle I just don’t see how owning Junior Gaolies all year will help him score against NHLers. I think if Tavares and Hodgson can make their respective teams than Eberle should be able to as well. You also lose a year off of his rookie contract, pushing him closer to his RFA/UFA contract. I highly doubt he helps the team win more games then anyone he would replace…. so why burn the year?

Ogden, I agree. Two years ago the team had no scoring depth and that is one of the reasons Gagner stuck. Now we have too many contracts and I don't see adding another 18 yr old is going to benefit him the most.

He might get a 9 game look, but hey, if he lights it up, that will make the decision easy for Quinn and company.

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#65 jeff
September 21 2009, 01:50PM
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@ Ogden Brother: I was just going to say that Hodgson has put up superior numbers in junior hockey plus he did put up 6 points in 11 playoff games in the AHL.

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#66 oilman007
September 21 2009, 01:53PM
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Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky Nilsson-Gagner-Cogliano O'Sullivan-Comrie-Pisani Moreau-Brule/Pouliot/Reddox-Stortini Jacques

Line 3 is really only there due to Pisani. They are probably better than the kid line.

It sounds like only Reddox has really impressed in camp so far. Pouliot invisible as usual. One of these guys plays and then the 14th forward is between the other 2 and Big Mac. Kid line plays only soft minutes.

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#67 Reggie
September 21 2009, 01:54PM
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jeff wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: I was just going to say that Hodgson has put up superior numbers in junior hockey plus he did put up 6 points in 11 playoff games in the AHL.

Eberle did put up 9 points in 9 games in his AHL debut. Pretty decent numbers given what that team was in Springfield.

Btw, Hodgson put up better numbers last year in the OHL, but his top goals were 43 and Eberle had 42 in his draft year.

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#68 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 01:56PM
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Reggie wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Jeff wrote: With regards to Eberle I just don’t see how owning Junior Gaolies all year will help him score against NHLers. I think if Tavares and Hodgson can make their respective teams than Eberle should be able to as well. You also lose a year off of his rookie contract, pushing him closer to his RFA/UFA contract. I highly doubt he helps the team win more games then anyone he would replace…. so why burn the year? Ogden, I agree. Two years ago the team had no scoring depth and that is one of the reasons Gagner stuck. Now we have too many contracts and I don’t see adding another 18 yr old is going to benefit him the most. He might get a 9 game look, but hey, if he lights it up, that will make the decision easy for Quinn and company.

Sure, I wouldn't be opposed to giving him the 9 game look.... I just don't see it being in the long term benifit of the team/Eberle to keep him here.

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#69 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 01:57PM
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Reggie wrote:

jeff wrote: @ Ogden Brother: I was just going to say that Hodgson has put up superior numbers in junior hockey plus he did put up 6 points in 11 playoff games in the AHL. Eberle did put up 9 points in 9 games in his AHL debut. Pretty decent numbers given what that team was in Springfield. Btw, Hodgson put up better numbers last year in the OHL, but his top goals were 43 and Eberle had 42 in his draft year.

I would bet 90%+ of scouts/experts would rank Hodgson well ahead of Eberle.

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#70 Jeff
September 21 2009, 01:57PM
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Moreau is best served on the 4th line. If he's on the 2nd line we're screwed.

I think that 2nd line RW position is up for grabs with the 1st 3rd and 4th going to Hemmer Pies and Storts respectively. As of now I'd give it to Eberle or Schremp.

But honestly I don't think that will happen. I think They will move Nilsson to the right wing and have Comrie play center with Sully on that line. Cogs will probably play left on either the first or third line. These are probably going to be the lines. 98% sure.

Penner Horc Hemmer Sully Comrie Nilsson Cogs Gagner Pisani Moreau Brule Storts

If they want Jacques at left wing I don't see him replacing any of the current Left wingers. So he's out because He's not going to play on the 2nd line RW position nor can he dethrone any other RWer.

That would leave Pouliot and Brule. I think Pouliot has been given enough chance with this organization while Brule on the other given the fact that he can't be sent down anymore will probably take the 4th line center.

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#71 jeff
September 21 2009, 02:00PM
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@ Reggie: I know it's tough to compare leagues, but if you look Eberle only improved by about what 5 points last year? Hodgson on the other hand improved by 30 points.

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#72 Reggie
September 21 2009, 02:01PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

I would bet 90%+ of scouts/experts would rank Hodgson well ahead of Eberle.

You are probably right. I guess my point was the kids more of a shooter, so he needs to score goals.

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#73 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 02:01PM
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Marc Pouliot to the Habs for Kyle Chipchura

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#74 Reggie
September 21 2009, 02:02PM
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jeff wrote:

@ Reggie: I know it’s tough to compare leagues, but if you look Eberle only improved by about what 5 points last year? Hodgson on the other hand improved by 30 points.

That may be true, but his team missed the playoffs which speaks to the calibre of his team mates last year. In jr. hockey it makes a huge difference playing on a good team.

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#75 Reggie
September 21 2009, 02:04PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Marc Pouliot to the Habs for Kyle Chipchura

I'd prefer a draft do over and we pick Parise instead. :o))

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#76 jeff
September 21 2009, 02:05PM
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@ Reggie: True enough.

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#77 David S
September 21 2009, 02:05PM
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Alot of you guys are penciling in Eberle based on pretty flimsy data. Sure he's looked good, try and all. But he's put up 0 points against squads of hacks. Not to mention that its pretty obvious most of our vets aren't interested in getting their hands dirty, with the exception of Comrie (who has something to prove), so there's little to compare to.

Brule's development was stunted because he was put into the show WAY too early. So why would you repeat the same mistake with Eberle? Yeah, OK. If he was shooting the lights out, you'd have a case. But like the guy above said, would the Red Wings do it?

We've already got way too many projects on the team as it is, and everybody knows that's half our problem. The only way Eberle sees the light of day in a regular role is if he clearly makes the team better. Right now, its too early to tell. Last thing this team needs right now is yet another non-NHL'er in the lineup.

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#78 Jeff
September 21 2009, 02:07PM
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Reggie wrote:

jeff wrote: @ Reggie: I know it’s tough to compare leagues, but if you look Eberle only improved by about what 5 points last year? Hodgson on the other hand improved by 30 points. That may be true, but his team missed the playoffs which speaks to the calibre of his team mates last year. In jr. hockey it makes a huge difference playing on a good team.

Exactly no question a player who plays on a team that is challenging for the memorial cup will have more points that a player whose team misses the playoffs.

When Eberle and Hodgson were on the same team they were on par in terms of points.

Having said that. I think Hodgson is the better player for sure just not by as much Canucks fans will make it out to be.

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#79 Word
September 21 2009, 02:07PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Marc Pouliot to the Habs for Kyle Chipchura

Did this happen or is this a prediction?

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#80 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 02:07PM
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Robert Nilsson to StL for Brad Wichchester

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#81 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 02:08PM
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@ Word: prediction/suggestion. Sorry

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#82 Word
September 21 2009, 02:09PM
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@ RossCreek:

No worries. I'm easily confused today.

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#83 Mr. Pink 17
September 21 2009, 02:10PM
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@ whitey: the only one I don't like is Pouliot for third line centre, Replace Nilsson for Pouliot

Moreau Brule Storts fourth line combo stick SMac in there once in a while to keep teams honest

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#84 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 02:10PM
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Reggie wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: I would bet 90%+ of scouts/experts would rank Hodgson well ahead of Eberle. You are probably right. I guess my point was the kids more of a shooter, so he needs to score goals.

Ya I agree, I posted that more in responce to the person that refrenced Tavares/Hodgson as to why Eberle should make the team.

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#85 Reggie
September 21 2009, 02:14PM
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Jeff wrote:

Having said that. I think Hodgson is the better player for sure just not by as much Canucks fans will make it out to be.

ha ha ... priceless ! love it !

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#86 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 02:20PM
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Gagner should play with a steadying force like Pisani and another skill guy

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#87 R Kenny
September 21 2009, 02:23PM
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Colin wrote:

I see it not as a lines 1-2-3-4 set up, but a 1,2,2,4 setup. The Hmesky line is obviously line one, but you’ll have two second lines getting roughly equal ice time. With seven or eight legitimate top 6 forwards I don’t see they have much choice.

I agree that we probably shouldn't get stuck on the difference between 2nd and 3rd lines with the way the Oilers forwards look this year. I'd propose something like this:

Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky Comrie - Gagner - O'Sullivan Nilsson - Cogliano - Pisani Moreau - Brule - Stortini Jacques Pouliot

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#88 Milli
September 21 2009, 02:25PM
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I think Eberle is way better served with 1 more development year. Like was said earlier, what would detroit do? Would gagner have been better served with another year of development? The line combos are going to be interesting, I hope to see Cogs in the top 6 as I think that kid will put up some real good numbers.

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#89 misfit
September 21 2009, 02:27PM
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Comrie has played center in every preseason game he's dressed, yet all 3 of those possible lineups have him at LW. What, exactly, are these based on again?

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#90 Jeff
September 21 2009, 02:31PM
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misfit wrote:

Comrie has played center in every preseason game he’s dressed, yet all 3 of those possible lineups have him at LW. What, exactly, are these based on again?

Well when he's played at Center he's played on an incomplete team. With a complete team he's probably behind Comrie and Horc but then where would Gags play? That would mean that Cogs would center the 4th line which I think would not fit well. Unless Comrie or Gags are moved to the Wing or Horc is not the 1st line Center.

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#91 Ogden Brother
September 21 2009, 02:32PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Gagner should play with a steadying force like Pisani and another skill guy

Not a bad idea, I also like a Gagner/Pie/Penner idea. Set up guy, finisher, all around guy. They should also be solid on the cycle.

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#92 Ender the Dragon
September 21 2009, 02:34PM
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I find it a bit disheartening that outside of some brief speculation from Gregor last week, no one gives Reddox a chance to make this team. Disagree if you like, but I put Reddox above MAP, Nilss, and JFJ based on reliability, versatility, and straight-up effort every night. Granted, he's not the guy you put on the ice when you need to put up points, but I'll argue that he is the guy you put on the ice when you don't want the other team to put up points.

I recognize that the Oil have a lot of potential candidates for 12 forward spots this year, and I think most people recognize that several guys with NHL-time including MAP, Nilss, and JFJ are in danger of spending significant time on a bus this season instead of a plane. Maybe Reddox starts the season as a 13th forward and I can even understand that. I just hate to see that guy head back down to the farm when he's able to fill-in defensively so well in a pinch.Guy didn't get any shots on goal in Vancouver, but he did block two of the oppositions and played just about every PK. I notice Nilss took 2 penalties for 4 min. Reddox seemed a lot more focused.

Maybe he's miscast; I get the feeling he should have been born a shut-down defenceman rather than a forward. Either way, I think the Oil should keep him around. Rub the ginger for luck, eh?

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#93 venue
September 21 2009, 02:37PM
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@ Milli: That Detroit argument is bogus. Detroit hasn't chosen to keep young players in the minors, they simply haven't had the room on their roster for them. If they had a young player who was performing better than an older one, I would bet that the player playing the best would be in the lineup.

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#94 mrzael
September 21 2009, 02:40PM
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I just don't get Matheson and others drawing Stone comparisons to Pisani and replacing him on the roster. Apples and oranges, different roles and skill sets. Reddox or Omarra down the road maybe but Stone?

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#95 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 02:43PM
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Would the Islanders pick up Pisani on waivers? They probably need to add salary just to get to the floor, so his contract isn't really an issue. With just this season left on his deal, maybe he'd be picked up before a guy like Robert Nilsson who has more skill/upside, but still has another year left. Thoughts?

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#96 RossCreek
September 21 2009, 02:45PM
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@ Ender the Dragon: I had Reddox as the 13th forward. I'm just sayin ;-)

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#97 Predicting the Oilers’ 2009/10 line-ups 3rd sense
September 21 2009, 02:45PM
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[...] Original post: Predicting the Oilers’ 2009/10 line-ups [...]

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#98 misfit
September 21 2009, 02:47PM
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Here's my stab at it:

Gagner - Horcoff - Hemsky - Let's face it, we've got more centers than center positions and at least one of them will be playing the wing. Gagner has been tried out with Hemsky already, and I think Horcoff and Hemmer are just too good together to keep them appart for long.

Penner - Comrie - O'Sullivan - Comrie and O'Sullivan have shown some great chemistry this preseason, and I have a hard time believing they won't at least start the year together. Penner plays a similar game to Stone, so I just think he'll work here. Penner and O'Sullivan can switch wings depending on what works best for them.

Nilsson - Cogliano - Pisani - Nobody likes the idea of Cogs on the 3rd line, and some don't even want him at center, but that's where he'll be. For one reason or another, that's where they want him. Despite the fact that most Oiler fans, don't even want him on the team, I think Nilsson will be in the lineup, and this was a good trio when they were together in the past.

Moreau - Pouliot - Stortini - This could end up as Brule in the middle, but I like Pouliot better in this role. Plus, this line will probably end up facing decent competition, and I've got to go with the more experienced hand in MAP.

Souray - Gilbert Grebeshkov - Visnovsky Smid - Staios

- Same pairings as last year. Nobody here seems to be in danger of losing his job, and they worked well in these pairings a season ago, so I'm going with the known quantity.

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#99 Reagan
September 21 2009, 02:47PM
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To start off lets try something that has been working in the pre-season with Comrie and O'Sullivan?

O'Sullivan-Comrie-Hemsky

Eberle-Horcoff-Gagner

Penner-Cogliano-Pisani

Moreau-Stone/Brule-Stortini

Stone/Brule MacIntyre

Therefore dumping Pouliot, Nilsson, and Jacques...

You can always send Reddox to the minors for a few games, untill Eberle gets his 9 game tryout.

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#100 Rob
September 21 2009, 02:54PM
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I don't know why Stone shouldn't replace Pisani. Stone has shown one hell of a lot more interest in the season so far. Granted he's a player trying to crack the line-up and Pisani plays like he's Daryl KATZ' son in law.

Pisani in my view shows zero passion and just about zero on the skill set front. Has he made a pass or thrown a check yet? The guy shows zero emotion for the game. Head for Home Depot Fernando and buy a hammer because you will soon be working for Daddy.

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