GDB XLV: Will mini-camp pay off?

Jason Gregor
January 12 2010 11:46AM

Will we see a different Oiler team tonight after three days of extra practice and work in the film room? No one knows — not even the coaches or the players.

“We’ll find out tonight if it sunk in,” said Sheldon Souray.

“Until we see them in a game I don’t know it made an impact or not, but they worked hard so I hope so,” Tom Renney said yesterday.

I get the sense from many Oiler fans they don’t want to see an improvement, and why would they. The Oilers are struggling and not even one of their usual Feb/March runs will be enough to get them in the playoffs.

You can’t ask the players to not give their best effort, but it is clear that this team isn’t that good, so why not get in seller mode sooner-than-later to ensure a lottery pick?

Fact is the Oilers play the Predators tonight, the Penguins on Thursday and the Sharks Saturday afternoon, so realistically one win is the most you’d expect them to get this week. And if they can maintain winning three or four out of ten the rest of the way then they’ll ensure themselves a lottery pick.

Cogliano Trade

I don’t doubt that the Oilers would trade Andrew Cogliano, considering they did this summer (until Heatley vetoed it), but that trade proposal seems like a lot to get or it shows that Lee and O’Brien aren’t NHLers in Ottawa’s eyes.

Cogliano is struggling, but he also isn’t getting many offensive opportunities. Look at the deal the Wild and Habs made six weeks ago. They swapped two underachieving forwards and both have produced in their new environment. Latendresse is on fire in Minnesota with 10 goals in 20 games, while Pouliot has four goals in the nine games he has played.

I think if Cogliano gets dealt it will be a package deal, or he’ll get traded for a struggling forward with potential. The only reason O’Brien made any sense was his size, 6’2”, but with only six points in 34 AHL games he doesn’t look like a scorer right now. I sent a text to a management type asking if there was any truth to the deal, and the response was, “NO, not close”.

Hall vs. Seguin

I’ve seen Tyler Seguin play two games this season, and I’ve seen Hall play seven times, none live though and Hall didn’t look that much more dominant than Seguin. But I also know that isn’t enough time to get an accurate read of their skills.

EJ McGwire from Central Scouting will be on my show today at 3:10 MST, (you can listen on line at www.justagame.ca) to discuss these two along with Cam Fowler and the other top-rated picks as Central Scouting released their midway rankings yesterday.

It's interesting to note that in 2006 Phil Kessel was ranked #1 at this time, but was 5th in the final rankings, and he went 5th to Boston. Taylor Hall is not a slam dunk like Sidney Crosby was or even Patrick Kane. This year’s class is very solid, with many predicting the top 12 will be solid NHLers down the road.

If you have any questions you want me to ask McGwire send them to justagame@theteam1260.com

Brule sick again

Gibert Brule is out with the flu again tonight. This is the 4th time he has been sick this year, and Quinn said the team is sending him to a specialist to see what the issue is. JF Jacques and Marc Pouliot took turns skating in Brule’s place alongside Ryan Potulny and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Jacques will most likely draw in. Pouliot isn’t in game shape and he hasn’t practiced for more than three days with the team in four months, so I’ll be stunned if he draws in ahead of Brule.

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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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#151 Matt Henderson
January 12 2010, 09:47PM
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Just for the record. I could have GMed this team to a 29th place record while spending to the Cap. And since we're in the "bang for you buck" mood (see latest Brownlee article), I would do it for less than Tambi gets paid too.

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#152 Crooked
January 12 2010, 10:15PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Horcoff has 19 in 40.. (devils advocate)

He's also playing with one arm tied behind his back this year. He's also never been a major point producer, nor was he signed to his fat contract for his offensive production.

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#153 Matt Henderson
January 12 2010, 10:37PM
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Crooked wrote:

He's also playing with one arm tied behind his back this year. He's also never been a major point producer, nor was he signed to his fat contract for his offensive production.

You dont think he was paid based on the point per game pace he was puting up in his contract year?

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#154 Maggie the Monkey
January 12 2010, 10:51PM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

You dont think he was paid based on the point per game pace he was puting up in his contract year?

(I'll jump in here...)

I think that it was a factor, but that his overall play at the time was a much bigger influence. He was playing a very strong two way game at the time, was winning faceoffs, and contributing with a more physical presence, too. Even to a Horcoff apologist like me it's obvious that he's nowhere near the player he was then, and I wouldn't argue that he's not overpaid by about $1 - 1.5M per season. (Based on his performance since the contract, that is; if he'd been able to keep playing the way he was before it he would be at pace with that cap hit, IMO.)

Through my rose-tilted glasses, I think that he is suffering a lot from the lack of experienced and capable depth down the middle, too. This isn't a revelation, of course, but I think that the impact of missing a second strong veteran center has hurt Horcoff's play considerably more than many recognize, while also stagnating the development of other young centres by placing too much weight on their shoulders too early. One key signing of a Langkow/Kessler type (or even Handzus/Lang type) could have made a huge difference to this team.

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#155 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
January 13 2010, 12:50AM
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Chris. wrote:

If Cogliano was a key piece to build around don't you think both his performance and the teams performance would be better after three seasons? Why would anyone think you can trade Cogliano straight up for a young top six forward with size when Cogliano isn't even a top six forward on a team heading for 29th overall in the standings? Wake up and smell the coffee people.

Don't think anyone says he'd be traded alone for a top 6'er with size. But a team in the summer looking for cap space and a shake up could be interested in Cogs++ for that player.

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