Looking to the future...

Jason Gregor
March 12 2010 09:59AM

IIHF World Junior Championship - Canada v USA - Gold Medal Game

When your team is worst in the league, looking towards the future is sometimes the only solace you have. Earlier this week The Hockey News hit the newsstands with their always-anticipated Future Watch edition. It ranks the top 75 prospects in the NHL, and for the first time ever the Oilers had two guys in the top eleven.

The Hockey News gathers info from every NHL head scout and some other scouts and then compiles the rankings. Here are the top eleven across the NHL:

  1. Alex Pietrangelo, (4th, 2008) D-man, St. Louis Blues
  2. Jacob Markstrom (31st, 2008) Goalie, Florida Panters
  3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (6th, 2009) D-man, Phoenix Coyotes
  4. Cody Hodgson, (10th, 2008) Centre, Vancouver Canucks
  5. John Carlson (27th, 2008) Defence Washington Capitals
  6. Jordan Eberle (22nd, 2008) Winger, Edmonton Oilers
  7. Nikita Filatov (6th, 2008) LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
  8. Colin Wilson (7th, 2008) Centre, Nashville Predators
  9. Luca Sbisa (19th, 2008) D-man, Anaheim Ducks
  10. Brayden Schenn (5th, 2009) Centre, Los Angeles Kings
  11. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (10th, 2009) LW, Edmonton Oilers

The only other Oiler prospect in the top-75 was D-man Jeff Petry who was ranked 56th. I put winger beside Eberle’s name because he is comfortable playing either wing. Colin Wilson is ranked 8th, but is currently playing in Nashville. The surprise in the top ten has to be Ekman-Larsson. Many people were shocked when Phoenix took him 6th last year, but clearly he continues to progress. The Coyotes have lots of good young players in their organization.

The THN also ranks the top ten players in each organization and it is interesting to see that Linus Omark is ranked 9th within the Oiler organization.

  1. Jordan Eberle
  2. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
  3. Jeff Petry
  4. Taylor Chorney
  5. Anton Lander
  6. Teemu Hartikainen
  7. Alex Plante
  8. Riley Nash
  9. Linus Omark
  10. Johan Motin

Hartikainen is a name to look for in the future. I know the Oiler scouts like his skating, grit and he has some decent finish. The 6th rounder in 2008 is currently playing for KalPa Kuopio in Finland, and he has 12 goals and 28 points in 49 games. He is 6’1” and 200 pounds and he plays with a bit of “crust”. You might see him come over here this upcoming season, but it isn’t guaranteed yet.

Omark’s ranking should calm some of those who have been calling for him to come here and be a lock in the top-six. If he expects a guarantee to play in Edmonton then I can’t see him coming over here. He does have an out-clause in his KHL contract that would allow him to come over next year, and maybe he comes, goes to camp and if he doesn’t make the team he goes back to the KHL and collect $1.2 million rather than $75,000 in the AHL.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 12 2010, 03:08PM
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what the kids be using these days

it worked!!! yippee

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#102 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 12 2010, 03:09PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

There are some at Copper and Blue but the above link is the most detailed comment I could find from JW.

Beware the Ogdens.

Beware indeed.

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#103 RossCreekNation
March 12 2010, 03:12PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

....

You did it wrong! There's only three...

I prefer ... over :

Why? I don't know. Is it just me?

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#104 Jonathan Willis
March 12 2010, 03:14PM
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@ RossCreek:

Sure. I don't know why the Oilers didn't waived Nilsson earlier this year.

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#105 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:15PM
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What's up with Ethan Moreau? I haven't seen him play for a while now. Is he injured?

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#106 RossCreekNation
March 12 2010, 03:17PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Me too. Perhaps they needed more time to assess Booby Nils, lol.

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#108 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:23PM
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@RossCreekNation

How could one justify waiving Nillson, while keeping Horcoff? I loved how he tried to sneak the puck through Halaks sweater yesterday on that breakaway. It was a 5.5 laugh.

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#110 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 03:27PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

How could one justify waiving Nillson, while keeping Horcoff? I loved how he tried to sneak the puck through Halaks sweater yesterday on that breakaway. It was a 5.5 laugh.

because waiving Nilsson costs .333 mil for 2 seasons while waiving Horcoff costs 1.8 mil for 10 seasons. What a waste ...

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#111 RossCreekNation
March 12 2010, 03:27PM
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Until Schremp does something more than seven goals in a season I think it is accurate to point out that he is nothing more than a paper asset.

Robert Nilsson goal totals:

05-06: 6G, 53GP
06-07: 1G, 4GP
07-08: 10G, 71GP
08-09: 9G, 64GP
09-10: 8G, 49GP

Robert Nilsson, paper asset. Sounds about right.

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#112 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:32PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You are in Schremp's corner because of what? His junior success? He is like many elite junior players, who don't make the jump.

Your argument that waiving Nilsson and keeping Schremp instead to save money only makes sense money wise. That is it. And as bad as Nilsson is, I'd take him over Schremp. He skates way better, and has the ability to force D-man to respect his speed. Schremp doesn't have that, nor will he ever.

It must be a slow day in the Nation that you guys are talking about him. And ARCH you said he was an asset? Really? The Oilers tried to trade him, but no body wanted to give up anything for him. That isn't much of an asset in my mind.

Until Schremp does something more than seven goals in a season I think it is accurate to point out that he is nothing more than a paper asset.

What jump? He was never given a fair chance in Edmonton. He seem to e doing alright on a crappy Islanders team with limited playing time.

What teams didn't want to give up anything for Nillson? What were the Oilers asking for?

7 goals isn't bad. Nillson has 8, Moreau and Cogliano got 6 each. I don't know what with the negativity on Schremp.

Paper asset is your opinion. I think he will finish with a better career numbers, then Moreau, Cogliano and Nillson.

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#113 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
March 12 2010, 03:34PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

What jump? He was never given a fair chance in Edmonton. He seem to e doing alright on a crappy Islanders team with limited playing time.

What teams didn't want to give up anything for Nillson? What were the Oilers asking for?

7 goals isn't bad. Nillson has 8, Moreau and Cogliano got 6 each. I don't know what with the negativity on Schremp.

Paper asset is your opinion. I think he will finish with a better career numbers, then Moreau, Cogliano and Nillson.

You can teach players to shoot. Cogliano-esque speed can't be taught, though. Game, set, and match to Cogliano.

Edit: That's why Cogliano gets included in a trade for Heatley, and Schremp gets waived by (what is now) the worst team in the league.

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#114 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:36PM
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@DougWeightProblem

fair enough. here is some math for you.

Horcoff is payed 5.5 a season. iIf he is not here you're only paying 1.8. that frees up about 3.7 in cap room. for about 1.5 to 2.0 a year for the next 10 years you will be able to find a 3rd line centre to do what Horcoff does. so if my math is right you are saving around 2 mill a year.

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#115 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:39PM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

So why haven't they started to teach Cogliano to shoot yet? The game the set and match is only your opinion. What good is speed if he is constantly skating around aimlessly. I'm not hating on Cogliano but I'm just stating ain't much worth in his skating.

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#116 jeanshorts
March 12 2010, 03:41PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

What jump? He was never given a fair chance in Edmonton. He seem to e doing alright on a crappy Islanders team with limited playing time.

What teams didn't want to give up anything for Nillson? What were the Oilers asking for?

7 goals isn't bad. Nillson has 8, Moreau and Cogliano got 6 each. I don't know what with the negativity on Schremp.

Paper asset is your opinion. I think he will finish with a better career numbers, then Moreau, Cogliano and Nillson.

If Rob Schremp finishes with more career goals than those other players you listed I will pay you $1000 of my own money.

He's only 135 behind Moreau and he'll be lucky if he hits 60 on his career.

On a completely unrelated note, just in case the Hall/Seguin debate wasn't muddled enough, here's even more to read!

http://www.faceoff.com/hockey/teams/story.html?id=de92a89f-60e2-420e-b72f-f4e7799ffea4&add_feed_url=http://www.faceoff.com/columnists.atom

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#117 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
March 12 2010, 03:41PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

So why haven't they started to teach Cogliano to shoot yet? The game the set and match is only your opinion. What good is speed if he is constantly skating around aimlessly. I'm not hating on Cogliano but I'm just stating ain't much worth in his skating.

It's my opinion, but it's shared by people who have more pull in the NHL than I do. I edited the comment you quoted after-the-fact with an explanation.

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#118 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 03:44PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

fair enough. here is some math for you.

Horcoff is payed 5.5 a season. iIf he is not here you're only paying 1.8. that frees up about 3.7 in cap room. for about 1.5 to 2.0 a year for the next 10 years you will be able to find a 3rd line centre to do what Horcoff does. so if my math is right you are saving around 2 mill a year.

No, your math is wrong. You're still spending the same on Horcoff, just over a longer period. That is called gross mismanagement. You can argue it was gross mismanagement that awarded him that contract, but buying him out is simply not an option to a fiscally responsible, sane owner.

Talk to Mr. Wang. Ask him about Yashin and what they're still paying him for the next few years even though he's been out of the league.

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#119 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:49PM
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@DougWeightProblem

How is my math wrong?

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#120 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 12 2010, 03:50PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

fair enough. here is some math for you.

Horcoff is payed 5.5 a season. iIf he is not here you're only paying 1.8. that frees up about 3.7 in cap room. for about 1.5 to 2.0 a year for the next 10 years you will be able to find a 3rd line centre to do what Horcoff does. so if my math is right you are saving around 2 mill a year.

Here's the catch, you can't get third line center that does what Horc does for 1.5 - 2 million.

Lets see a few examples of centers with multiple 40+ point seasons signed for 1.5 - 2 million.

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#121 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 03:52PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

How is my math wrong?

you're not saving 2 mil a year, you're spending an extra 1.5 to 2 for that centre to replace Horcoff (who probably won't perform as well as Horcoff CAN). Horcoff is a great 3 mil centre on a 10th place team, but extremely lousy as a 5.5 mil centre on a 30th place team. Can't argue with that ...

*waits for an arguement with a smug look on his DougWeightFace*

OOB already beat me to extolling the virtues of Horcoff ...

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#122 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 03:55PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Put a good hard working 3rd line centre on a skilled 1st line and they will do the same, guaranteed.

40+ points was mostly others people doing and not Horcoff.

PPG stats, and Schremp will finish just as good as Horcoff by the time his career is done.

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#123 Chris.
March 12 2010, 03:58PM
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DougWeightProblem wrote:

because waiving Nilsson costs .333 mil for 2 seasons while waiving Horcoff costs 1.8 mil for 10 seasons. What a waste ...

I think you'rwe talking about a buyout... placing a player on waivers is completely different.

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#124 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 03:58PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Put a good hard working 3rd line centre on a skilled 1st line and they will do the same, guaranteed.

40+ points was mostly others people doing and not Horcoff.

PPG stats, and Schremp will finish just as good as Horcoff by the time his career is done.

I didn't know Schremp's Mom's screen name was "Hans Baur Hatecoff Smidsky Watson". Seems awfully vague and convoluted, but no less jaded and delusional.

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#125 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 12 2010, 03:58PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Put a good hard working 3rd line centre on a skilled 1st line and they will do the same, guaranteed.

40+ points was mostly others people doing and not Horcoff.

PPG stats, and Schremp will finish just as good as Horcoff by the time his career is done.

Sure sure, the only reason he's scored 50+ and 70+ points is because of everyone else blah blah blah. If that was reality their would be 50+ point players all over the league.

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#126 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 04:01PM
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@DougWeightProblem

What does Robbies mom have to do with this? Or is your brain just pulsing uncontrollable and that's the best it came up with?

Honestly thou, what's with the poor insult?

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#127 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 04:02PM
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Chris. wrote:

I think you'rwe talking about a buyout... placing a player on waivers is completely different.

my bad ... I mispoke/miswrote.

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#128 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 04:04PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Prove me wrong then.

What has he done without a star on his line with likes of Cole, Smyth and/or Hemsky?

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#129 Mike Modano's Dog
March 12 2010, 04:04PM
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@jason scott

I know that The Hockey News has been doing it a long time - always interesting.

I can say that I am happy that we have 2 guys ranked in the top 11. That said it takes me back to when both Jani Rita and Alexei Semenov were ranked highly in 2001. I know Rita was ranked #2, and I want to say Semenov was ranked around #12.

I can remember being very excited back then after seeing that and couldn't wait to see those guys in action. Obviously it was disappointing that it didn't pan out.

So I am happy to see us up there in their rankings but let's just say that I take them with a grain of salt now.

I agree it would be nice to get a picture of how the top picks from this year's draft rate with those from past years. I have been wondering that as well. Yes, they are the best this year, but the best compared to what is the question. I totally believe Hall will be a superstar in this league one day, and hopefully soon.

So, the question is can we compare them to:

Lafontaine and Yzerman? That year you couldn't lose with either of them!

Tavares and Duchene? Both high picks that year; Matt Duchene is starting stronger.

P. Kane and Turris? One is dominating, where is the other who was compared most often to Joe Sakic?

Kessel and Toews? Toews mentioned as possibly the best two-way player in the game today. Kessel, the Bruins were happy to send him away even after producing for them.

Stephen and Brendl? Ah, the '99 draft! Patrick Stephan, Atlanta'a #1 pick was a role player all his career really, and Pavel Brendl considered by many to be the most talented player that year, never bothered to have an NHL career!

Now I don't think that anyone is as enigmatic as Kessel, nor do I think that they will be as bad as Patrick Stephan or Pavel Brendl were.

But the question is where do they belong for the time being? And yes, it would be really cool to have those comparisons or ratings.

Being we don't in the meantime I think we could all share what we think might be our own comparisons, just for fun:

My thoughts are perhaps Taylor Hall would be something like a Mark Messier, the player I have heard him most often compared to, but not as physical, obviously. Actually throw in a little of Pavel Bure's offensive flair, just not as much and somewhere in between might be the right mixture of ability and heart. He is supposed to want the game on his shoulders and relishes the chance to do that, which also sounds like Messier to me. Of course he could fall well short of that and still be a great player.

Of course in the end, Taylor Hall will be Taylor Hall, and there will not be another player in the history of the league that could define him, just as it was for all the others before him.

Tyler Seguin, who was off the radar for the #1 pick before this season, and this is just my guess, might be more like Sylvain or Pierre Turgeon. Sylvain did score 269 goals and 495 points in the NHL, but was ultimately known for the players he was picked ahead of in the 1983 draft: Lafontaine and Yzerman! Of course, he could also be more like Stylvain's younger brother, Pierre Turgeon, who put up very good numbers but ultimately never led his team to a championship. (He may have led his team to a championship but after Dale Hunter's cheap-shot after an overtime winner we'll never know.) Now that said, Pierre Turgeon finished 30th all-time in points and although one of my personal favourites, never was considered a great leader, like his brother.

As I mentioned with Hall, Seguin will be his own man by the time it's all done. I don't think Seguin is going to be a bad player by any means, but I am not sold that he is going to be held in the same esteem as some of the best leaders and go-to guys in the history of the game.

So, that is just my guess at this point. All things considered, I take the guy who has been doing it at the top level for a long time running over the guy who has done it for one year at that same level. Also, I do believe that Taylor Hall may just make all those he plays with better around him as well...so it might not be just a coincidence that he is surrounded by stars.

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#130 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 04:04PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

What does Robbies mom have to do with this? Or is your brain just pulsing uncontrollable and that's the best it came up with?

Honestly thou, what's with the poor insult?

Not an insult, just poking fun. Sorry it came off as too intimidating ... don't be so sensitive, I enjoy a good debate.

Though OOB is right, how many 50+ point guys are there in this league, regardless of who they play with. It's pretty exclusive company, and Horcoff is a pretty decent player. Just overpriced on this contract.

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#131 Jonathan Willis
March 12 2010, 04:05PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Not demoting him to the minors. Putting him on waivers to see if anyone was interested.

At the start of the year, someone might have bit.

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#132 Bucknuck
March 12 2010, 04:05PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Sure sure, the only reason he's scored 50+ and 70+ points is because of everyone else blah blah blah. If that was reality their would be 50+ point players all over the league.

Amen Brother

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#133 Chris.
March 12 2010, 04:06PM
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@Aleslav Smidsky

Paper asset is your opinion. I think he will finish with a better career numbers, then Moreau, Cogliano and Nillson.

Paper asset in my opinion also... and in the opinion of the 29 other General Managers who wouldn't offer anything for Schremp via trade.

Let's face it: Schremp is a very marginal NHLer on a very marginal team... The fact that you would even compare Schremp to the player Moreau was, and the player Cogliano already is, is laughable.

Why do so many people base their player evaluations entirely on boxcar numbers?

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#134 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 04:07PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Prove me wrong then.

What has he done without a star on his line with likes of Cole, Smyth and/or Hemsky?

I think you should have to prove us wrong. What other mediocre centres have racked up consecutive high-point seasons playing with stars, then sucked after the star left?

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#135 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 12 2010, 04:09PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

Prove me wrong then.

What has he done without a star on his line with likes of Cole, Smyth and/or Hemsky?

Heres the proof. If scoring 50 - 75 points was simply a function of playing with other good players every team in the league would have 3/4/5/6 of these guys.

Every team doesn't so your theory is complete non-sense.

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#136 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 04:11PM
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@DougWeightProblem

I'm not being sensitive or intimidated. I fear if i was to poke some fun at you, few people might ask for an IPban.

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#137 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 04:14PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

I'm not being sensitive or intimidated. I fear if i was to poke some fun at you, few people might ask for an IPban.

~that sounds like a threat!~

Seriously though, take it easy ...

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#138 David S
March 12 2010, 04:15PM
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Thanks Jason for setting off this ~stimulating~ discussion about the merits of Rob "Hockey Jesus" Schremp.

All that's left is to wait for the inevitable death spiral into the realm of Shawn Horcoff fantasy trades and buyouts.

Thanks alot. ;)

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#139 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 04:17PM
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I'm not talking about other players, I'm talking about Horcoff.

His stats and his play speak for it self. I do not know why you are defending his poor play and comparing him to other players.

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#140 DougWeightProblem
March 12 2010, 04:18PM
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David S wrote:

Thanks Jason for setting off this ~stimulating~ discussion about the merits of Rob "Hockey Jesus" Schremp.

All that's left is to wait for the inevitable death spiral into the realm of Shawn Horcoff fantasy trades and buyouts.

Thanks alot. ;)

Too late. It's begun! Noooooooooooooo!

EDIT: On a sidenote, how could someone (Chris Minard) have the audacity to wear sacred number 39? For shame!

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#141 Chris.
March 12 2010, 04:20PM
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I'm tired of all the Horcoff bashing. It's gotten old.

Horcoff has played big minutes for this club all year against the toughest opposition with a first degree shoulder seperation. He has size, moves well, and aside from Potulny, is the only Oiler forward with a dangerous shot.

Yes... Horcoff, like almost every single other Oiler, has had a bad year.

And Yes..!. Horcoff is overpayed...GET OVER IT! That point has been made ad nausium; besides this team will have $10m in cap space for next season anyway.

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#142 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 12 2010, 04:20PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

I'm not talking about other players, I'm talking about Horcoff.

His stats and his play speak for it self. I do not know why you are defending his poor play and comparing him to other players.

Yes, his stats do speak for themselves. They say you aren't going to replace him for 1.5 - 2 million dollars.

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#143 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 04:24PM
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@Chris.

But bashing Nillson and Schremp hasn't?

Dangerous shot, come on now. Dangerous to the D-man, once Shawn fans on the one-timer.

Did you see the fear in Halaks eye when Horcoff came in on the breakaway? Danger!

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#144 Chris.
March 12 2010, 04:27PM
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@Aleslav Smidsky

You need some fresh material.

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#145 Aleslav Smidsky
March 12 2010, 04:27PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

You say.

I bet if you put Cogs on the 1st line with Hemsky, his numbers would increase significantly. The same way Horcoffs have decreased without Hemsky and the 1st line.

Don't bring up the wack-ass shoulder excuse. If his shoulder was hurt so bad he would have gave up on the season already and went and got it fixed. Its not like he is playing to ensure us a play-off spot.

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#147 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 12 2010, 04:30PM
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Aleslav Smidsky wrote:

You say.

I bet if you put Cogs on the 1st line with Hemsky, his numbers would increase significantly. The same way Horcoffs have decreased without Hemsky and the 1st line.

Don't bring up the wack-ass shoulder excuse. If his shoulder was hurt so bad he would have gave up on the season already and went and got it fixed. Its not like he is playing to ensure us a play-off spot.

Like Gagner/Cole/Penners numbers all went up when they played with Hemsky.

Horc put up as bad or worse of a stretch with Hemsky to start the season as he did after Hemsky went down.

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#148 Matt Henderson
March 12 2010, 04:30PM
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having issues responding to JG

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#149 dunciano
March 12 2010, 04:37PM
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Hustle, wills his way, desire = Omarks game

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#150 dunciano
March 12 2010, 04:41PM
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Ender wrote:

Without youtube, Omark does not enter Oilers conversation.

His stats in first year in KHL get him in

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