GDB LXIV: A blender against the Wild

Jason Gregor
March 05 2010 11:45AM

It's Friday night; the Oilers are out of the playoffs already and the game in on PPV. That doesn’t seem like a lot of incentive to watch, but many of you will watch because: you bought the PPV package so it’s already paid for, you’ll be at the Pint tipping back a few and the game will be on, or mostly because you want to see the New Guys.

Ryan Whitney will wear #6, Aaron Johnson is #2 and in case you missed Wednesday’s game Ryan Jones has #28.

The defence pairings didn’t look set during practice, but it looks like Whitney will play with Tom Gilbert, while Johnson will play with Theo Peckham and Jason Strudwick was paired up with Taylor Chorney.

Up front Ethan Moreau didn’t skate this morning, and he is doubtful with a sore neck. Pat Quinn fired up the blender this morning for his forward lines.

Penner — Horcoff — Nilsson
Pouliot — Gagner — Jones
Cogliano — Comrie — O’Sullivan
Brule — Potulny — Pisani/Stortini

Whitney is smooth as ice. He skates great, moves the puck well and his lateral movement is exceptional for a big man. No one questions his skill set, but I’m still skeptical about the soft factor. Johnson is on his fifth team since 2004, and you wonder if he is a journeyman or a guy who was on the wrong teams.

He wasn’t going to play much in Chicago with their top-five, and the same can be said about the Flames. These final 19 games he will be given the most ice-time of his career I’d bet, and we’ll see if he can take advantage of it and be a guy they think could be a decent 3rd pairing D-man next season.

Wild on roll

The Wild didn’t make any moves this week, other than shipping Belanger to Washington, but the acquisition of Cam Barker and Guillaume Latendresse earlier this year have panned out. Barker has only played two games, but he has two points, is +5 and is averaging just over 21 minutes a night. Latendresse has 18 goals in 37 games with the Wild and has given them a decent first line threat with Martin Havlat.

The Wild needed a centre to play with those two, but didn’t get one at the deadline. Kyle Brodziak was playing with them, and for the past two games Andrew Ebbett has been in the middle. Neither guy is a first line centre, but Todd Richards has found a way to get production from all of his lines.

The Wild have scored the first goal in nine of their past eleven games and they are 19-6-1 when scoring first. The Wild have played the 2nd most one-goal games in the NHL at 19-11-4, so expect a close affair tonight.

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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 David S
March 05 2010, 10:48PM
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Heavyd wrote:

Agree. And like I said earlier, what about a contract of 3 years. 1st- 2.2 2nd- 2.2 3rd- 1.6

And then maybe some bonuses.

I don't know enough about contracts to throw a number out, but I bet a reasonable offer with some sort of bonus structure for performance would work. Seems he really wants to be here and the more I see of him, the more I can't think of a better guy to teach the young guys what being an Oiler is all about.

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#102 Heavyd
March 05 2010, 10:59PM
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@David S

Would it be another 1 year deal or a longer term. Cause even if you sign him to 3 years he could be a 3rd or 4th liner if he had to be in the 2nd and 3rd year. Cause your first two lines would have all the draft picks that are coming in. So I wouldn't mind it. Also I would try and sign Pisani to a contract this summer aswell.

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#103 David S
March 05 2010, 11:52PM
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Heavyd wrote:

Would it be another 1 year deal or a longer term. Cause even if you sign him to 3 years he could be a 3rd or 4th liner if he had to be in the 2nd and 3rd year. Cause your first two lines would have all the draft picks that are coming in. So I wouldn't mind it. Also I would try and sign Pisani to a contract this summer aswell.

Lets not get carried away. You don't bring in draft picks and throw 'em in the deep end in your first two lines. Hey, I'd be surprised if Eberle played any games here the rest of the year. Mike is a top sixer (well, 4-6 anyways) and I think you'd have to respect that. Its not exactly like he's a grizzled 35 year old with a season or two left (more like 29 this year and in his prime).

Besides, I'd be very surprised if Pisani was here next year as well as Moreau and POS. As much as I don't agree with it, probably Nilsson too. There's gonna be lots of spots open.

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