ROSTER REVIEW

Jason Gregor
April 18 2010 10:03PM

A week has passed since the Oilers finished their worst season ever. I know statistically they had more points than the 1993 team, but there was no shootouts then, so let’s not argue semantics. This season sucked worse than any other, plain and simple.

So let’s now look ahead to next season. If I had asked these questions last week I think most of you would have said something to the effect of "unload all of these mother *&(&(*)@ piece of &*)*(@ players and take the management with them"

While that might have been valid, we know it isn’t realistic. In the short term the Oilers need to look at the next steps of what amounts to a complete overhaul of the team.

The Summer of Steve officially began last Wednesday when Tambellini said he wouldn’t put up with whiny, selfish, non-courageous and anti-Edmonton players. It’s one thing to say it, now we need to see him implement this new found outlook. I don’t expect him to call me this summer to ask for my advice, but I’m sure the OilersNation is saved on his browser so here’s what I think the Oilers will do this off-season.

(Note: Steve feel free to call or text me if I’m way off-base, you have my number.)

Many of you would love to buy out 19 players, four coaches, eight scouts and all the managers; hell someone even emailed me stating it’s time Paul Lorieau gets the boot, but we know Tambellini can’t gut the entire team in one five-month span. Here’s what the Oilers will do, okay should do, this summer.

GOALTENDING

 

Many think Nikolai Khabibulin was a brutal signing last summer, and coupled with his back surgery and drunk driving charge, it looks even worse, but buying him out would cripple the team even more, so the only option is to stick with him for the time being.

The real question here is who do you keep as the back up, Jeff Deslauriers or Devan Dubnyk?

Neither has proven they can be a consistent NHL goalie, but both have shown they can win a game by themselves. Deslauriers is more athletic, Dubnyk is more technical and that’s why I’d go with Dubnyk. He’s a bit younger and Deslauriers will probably fetch you more in a trade. Not a lot more, but maybe a 4th or 5th rounder instead of just losing him to the waiver wire in October.

Tambellini could wait and hope that every team will have two goalies they like coming out of training camp and Deslauriers might slide through waivers, but I don’t see that happening. Tambellini’s best option is to move him during the summer and get a mid to late round pick in return.

OUT OF THE GATE: Khabibulin and Dubnyk

DEFENCE

Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney and Ladislav Smid are obvious keepers at this point, but after that it gets difficult to think you will return. Taylor Chorney needs to get stronger and another half-season in the AHL won’t hurt him. Theo Peckham is close, but if he is here he is a number six at best. Tambellini will try to get a number four D-man in return for Sheldon Souray and if he gets one that doesn’t come with a $4 million cap hit, he’ll be happy.

The tough decision will be deciding on who they keep between Jason Strudwick and Aaron Johnson. If it was just an on ice decision they’d go with Johnson, but Strudwick is much respected and in tune with the younger players, and they need a veteran like that for at least one more year. Ideally Strudwick would only play around 40 games, but his value will come more in the dressing room than on the ice. Anyone who doesn’t think that element (professionalism) is necessary for this team moving forward hasn’t been paying attention.

OUT OF THE GATE: I see Smid, Whitney, Gilbert, Strudwick and Peckham returning for sure along with a stay-at-home defenceman from the Souray deal. Then Tambellini will try to bring in a number five and if he can’t they might have to settle for Johnson for one year.

CENTRE

Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner are locks to return, but they other positions will be debated heavily. If management chooses Tyler Seguin (which I think they will) he rounds out the top three and that leaves Marc Pouliot and Ryan Potulny to battle for the 4th line spot. Or does it? The Oilers could use a 4th line centre with some intensity, but I still think still need one of Potulny or Pouliot, just not both.

Even if they draft Taylor Hall, they still shouldn’t keep both. They need more of an identity in their bottom six, and having Potulny and Pouliot doesn’t solve that. Potulny had a great start, and no one saw him scoring 15 goals, but his play dipped drastically in the final 30 games and I don’t see him matching those goal totals, because he won’t get close to the same amount of PP time. The Oilers can’t keep both moving forward, because they are essentially the same player. Pouliot skates better, Potulny finishes better, but neither is overly physical, but Pouliot has learned to at least use his size to rub the odd guy off the puck.

Tambellini chose Pouliot over Brodziak last year, but he can’t make the same mistake this season. I’d keep Potulny and move Pouliot at the draft.

OUT OF THE GATE: Horcoff, Gagner, Seguin, Potulny and veteran UFA signing.

WINGERS

 

Trading Ales Hemsky for the 2nd pick is a pipe dream for Oiler fans, and while I’m not convinced Hemsky will be here long-term, he’ll be here next September. Dustin Penner is a no-brainer to return and Gilbert Brule is the other winger I’d keep on a supposed scoring line. After those three it gets really interesting.

If the Oilers surprise me (not that it would be bad to select Hall, I just don’t think they will at this point) and take Hall then the decision is easy. But since I don’t think he’ll be here, they still need another scorer and the options look to be one of Jordan Eberle, MPS, Andrew Cogliano, Linus Omark, Robert Nilsson, Jaromir Jagr or other.

You’ll notice I didn’t even mention Patrick O’Sullivan, because I don’t see any way he returns to Edmonton. They will either trade him or buy him out. They’d keep Nilsson over him at this point. It might cause uproar in the Oil-blogosphere, but Eberle is not a lock to make this team coming out of camp. If he earns it they will find a spot for him, but if he is just average in the preseason, they won’t hesitate to give him 40 games in the AHL to hone is game.

There is no way the Oilers want to rush any of their top offensive prospects next season, despite the barrage of hate mail they will receive from over-zealous fans wearing Eberle jerseys next season. MPS and Omark are the most difficult to gauge at this point. Many feel both are ready to play next year, but there is only room for one of them to start the season. Omark has committed to playing in North America next season, while as of today there is no guarantee MPS will choose the AHL over the SEL.

I threw in Jagr because I’m still not 100% sold that this team will go completely with youth, and the allure of Jagr teaching showing their young offensive guys some tricks-of-the-trade might be too much for Tambellini and company to resist. My head tells me no, but like that annoying buddy who buys you two shots at last call, sometimes guys make impulsive decisions that seem good at the time but ultimately don’t pan out. I think Jagr coming here is about a 30/70 chance. Prove me wrong Steve. Nilsson just doesn’t fit in moving forward, and while buy outs aren't the best option all the time, in this case it probably makes sense.

I don’t see Andrew Cogliano playing here next season. No one has told me this flat out, but when Pat Quinn was talking about players worrying about who they play with, Cogliano’s name popped into my head. Cogliano could easily become a 20-25 goal scorer with another organization, and that’s why he has value on the trade market, but they have too many small, soft, supposedly-skilled forwards and someone has to go. Cogliano will be that guy, and I think they’ll address their lack of size by sending Cogliano packing.

GRIT, ATTITUDE, GRIT and NASTINESS

The Oilers biggest void is an identity in their bottom six forwards. For the past four years they haven’t had enough guys willing to be puck-hounds every shift, and that’s exactly what they need. Until the young talent, becomes proven scoring talent the Oilers need their bottom four wingers to make life difficult for the opposition. The problem is these types of wingers are a rarity so realistically Tambellini might only be able to nab one this summer.

Zach Stortini is limited in his game, but his game has slowly improved over the years, he’ll continue that over the summer. If he could gain even a quarter step of foot speed he’d be able to finish more hits and make life harder on opposing D-men. He knows his role and is under contract for another year.

J.F Jacques led the Oilers in hits, 158, despite playing only 49 games. His back is a question mark, but he proved this season that he finally understands the need to be physical every game. He skates well for a big-man, and if he can stay healthy he could morph into a 3rd liner. Of course that is a big if, and that’s why they will need another forward who can fill in for Jacques when he misses the odd game. Tambellini has to find some depth amongst his physical wingers.

The Oilers had a measly three players with 100+ hits, which is why they rarely had the puck in the offensive zone for any extended period of time. Once they lost it, they didn’t have the ability to get it back via a check.

Many, including Ethan Moreau, thought the captain would be gone at the trade deadline, but that didn’t happen and his strong finish could see him start the year in Edmonton . Moreau was humbled at the deadline when no one was willing to trade for him, and he seemed to find the game that made him effective for the previous ten seasons in Edmonton . Moreau can only be effective playing one way; Tenacious. If he doesn’t play with emotion then he looks like he did for the first 60 games this year; Horrendous.

Three months ago I would have said there was no way he’d be here in September, but now I think you’ll see him start the season in Edmonton .

Ryan Jones and Ryan Stone will battle for one of the two extra forward spots. There isn’t room for both and they are essentially the same type of player. Both will come to camp, but only one will survive. The wild card in this equation is Mike Comrie.

Comrie wants to play here next year, and only Dustin Penner averaged more goals per game than Comrie last year. His competitive fire is what would make him valuable next season. This roster will have at least three and maybe four small, skilled forwards who could learn a lot from how Comrie plays. He goes to the tough areas to score goals, he doesn’t shy away and he stands up for himself. His biggest asset might be that he has proven he can produce with limited minutes.

He doesn’t need to play 18 minutes a night to score 20 goals. His presence would also push the young guys to produce; otherwise he might take their spot for a game here or there. His versatility, experience and reasonable salary should have him back in Oiler silks next season.

The debate will also rage on during the summer about Potulny and Pouliot. If I am making the call I would take the guy who blew through every single expectation he had going into the season registering15 goals and 17 assists for 32 in 64 games over a guy who has had four years to prove he wants to stay on this roster and has done little in this regard. 

But that's just me.

OUT OF THE GATE: Hemsky, Penner, Brule, Stortini, Moreau, Jacques, Eberle, Stone, Comrie and off-season UFA signing.

NET SUM GAME

If you are skipping to the end of this murder mystery novel all this means Sheldon Souray, Robert Nilsson, Patrick O’Sullivan, Fernando Pisani, Aaron Johnson and Andrew Cogliano won’t be back.

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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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#1 Hemmertime
April 18 2010, 10:26PM
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I say keep Comrie, same salary range for 1 year. Stone over Jones

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#2 common sense
April 18 2010, 10:26PM
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JF Jacques has to be let go. Anyone with that kind of back history is gonna have back problems in the future.

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#3 DangerMan
April 18 2010, 10:42PM
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I have Souary, O'Sullivan, Nilsson and Cogliano gone. I think Moreau will be gone too, only because thats the way he wants it to be. If thats the case then I think you have to keep Pisani for veteran presence. Stone should by rights be back in the AHL, he hasnt shown anything to stay, other than he has some grit.

I think Johnson will stay as well. I don't know if the Oilers will be able to find a better bargain than him.

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#4 VK63
April 18 2010, 10:51PM
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U have Seguin making this team next fall? Why?

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#5 Nate Full of Hate
April 18 2010, 11:08PM
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VK63 wrote:

U have Seguin making this team next fall? Why?

#1 Overall players don't go back to JR.

Plymouth loses a ton of players as well...

He should play at the WJHC..

And he'll make the team because he's good on faceoffs ..

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 18 2010, 11:12PM
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@ I'd like to see this team aquire some proper depth leaving Johnson as the 7th dman and Strudwick as the 14th forward/8th dman for when the the inevetible injuries occure.

Common Tambo, lets hit 50% turnover. You've already moved half the starting defense, lets get 6 new bodies up front too.

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#7 TheGunnShow
April 18 2010, 11:13PM
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That is the worst chin I've ever seen. I can still see it when I shut my eyes.

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#8 Jimmer
April 18 2010, 11:38PM
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@ Gregor

Do you feel that Gagner would have been better off playing a year or two in the AHL and then come up and play with us rather than starting out on the big club?

I for one believe that 1st rounders coming out of the CHL are more ready to contribute at the NHL level than ever before. The coaching staffs on most CHL clubs have one or more recently retired NHL players. Most of these CHL teams are coaching physical, high tempo hockey.

I think MPS (who played with men in the Swedish Elite League), Seguin/Hall and Eberle would be better off with our coaching staff that includes a proven CHL coach in Tom Renney, and a recent World Junior coach in Pat Quinn.

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#9 Robin Brownlee
April 18 2010, 11:57PM
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Somebody call EMS because I've fallen down the stairs (the ones that start at the Hotel MacDonald and go all the way into the river valley) and hit my head.

I think I just read that Strudwick keeps his job ahead of Johnson. That either means my brain is bleeding or there isn't a single defenceman on the planet who is available and willing to play for $600,000.

And I thought our poll said that most people here think LA will beat Vancouver in the first round. Help me. I must be slipping into a coma . . . nevermind, it's too late and I must be near death because I think I saw Jagr's name come up again.

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#10 David S
April 19 2010, 12:26AM
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Seriously. JFJ? Does he need more assessment or what? I'd rather have Strudwick in there over him.

I'm gonna have to carry an airline puke bag with me to the games if Moreau starts next year.

Oh, and Comrie for Captain.

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#11 OilCrazy
April 19 2010, 12:26AM
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I'm still on the Hall train, however if they pick Seguin, which is what they'll likely do, here's how I see things shaking up:

Penner - Gagner - Hemsky

Brule - Seguin - Eberle

Moreau - Horcoff - Comrie

Stone - Potulny - Stortini

Whitney - Gilbert

Smid - Rozsival (obtained from NYR for Souray)

Peckham - Johnson

Strudwick

Khabibulin

Dubnyk

They'll trade Moreau at the deadline next year when he'll actually be a true playoff rental, as he'll be a UFA after next season.

We also will have to take salary back when we trade Souray, the Rangers could use Souray's shot, and Rozsival and Smid would give the Oil an all Czech 2nd pairing behind the USA top pairing.

Comrie will be re-signed over Pisani as a 3rd line sparkplug who can move up to the top 2 lines WHEN an injury happens early next year.

Petry will also be called up mid-season to fill in WHEN one of our D-men also gets injured.

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#12 Big Dave Semenko
April 19 2010, 12:53AM
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Love the game play photos!

I'd pick Jones over Stone, if he has a good training camp, based on speed alone.

Jacques brings it physically, when healthy, which isn't saying a lot. I'd move him for picks at the draft. I'd maybe package Jacques and Pouliot for a solid, energy type player and a pick.

I'd make an effort to keep Johnson as he impressed me during his time. And I would definitely keep him above Strudwick. If Strudwick is such a benefit in the room, make him a defensive coach.

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#13 mouthbreather
April 19 2010, 01:46AM
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Those pics are gold! Is Gregor in one of them? Wood sticks, CCM tacks! Jofa lid! Classic.

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#14 E-Mac
April 19 2010, 01:54AM
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Carey Price - starting goalie.

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#15 Ei8HTYSE7EN
April 19 2010, 03:40AM
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There is no way we can be letting Aaron Johnson go, the guy brought it every night for us.

It would be a mistake to let that guy go. Plus it must really piss off Calgary fans that he is doing so good here.

An invisible player that comes here and plays well, damn that's something new for us. It's usually always the other way around.

It also puts a smile on my face knowing that Staios is no longer apart of this team in the trade for this guy.

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#16 Pajamah
April 19 2010, 07:25AM
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I'd love to see the team add 2-3 veterans for depth, a la Phoenix Coyotes, than make too much room for every single top flight prospect we have

provided Eberle earns it, it should be him and Hall/Seguin who get the chance next season. MPS and Omark are making big boy money already, no need to rush

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#17 GSC
April 19 2010, 08:05AM
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Keep Comrie for another year on the cheap, couldn't hurt considering this team isn't going to compete for a playoff spot. He'll give you 15-20 goals and show the little guys how to play with some grit and purpose in the offensive zone. It's also a nice PR move considering the animosity between the two sides when they parted before. The fact that he'd re-sign in Edmonton helps to refute Souray's comments.

I'd keep Jones in the lineup, good skater who has more upside to his game than Stone or Jacques...but I'd keep all three on the roster if possible, that answers Gregor's concerns as to depth amongst the bottom six. All three of these players bring Quinn's crust night-in and night-out, but need to remain healthy (esp. #22). I agree that POS should be bought out or traded. Probably ditto for Nilsson, he's so damned inconsistent.

Pouliot or Potulny is damned if you do, damned if you don't. I'm inclined to agree with Gregor that Pots is the safer bet considering he vastly exceeded expectations last season whereas Pouls has failed time and time again to hold a roster spot. One is just as ineffective on faceoffs as the other and both are cheap RFAs, so it really doesn't matter which one stays. I bet the Oilers are more inclined to keep Pouls since Tambi openly admitted that they believed Marc would be their checking centre, not to mention he's a former 1st rounder. Either way, it doesn't really matter. I'd pick Potulny, but I bet the Oilers keep Pouliot.

As for the defence, I guess keeping Struds on board for the sh*tshow will only help the rebuild effort (this is to help this team continue to lose). I'd also keep Johnson for another year or so, he's a solid 5/6 DMan. Chorney definitely needs more time in the A and Peckham can split time with Struds. We'll see if Souray can be moved this summer, something tells me his remarks about possibility returning next year has some legs (they may not be able to move him for something worth while). Just my opinion.

I'd keep Deslauriers over Dubnyk, I think DD would clear waivers and could benefit from more time in OKC.

I'm sure I'd be keeping too many bodies around when it comes to making a lineup, so I won't even bother throwing out speculative lines...a lot of it would depend on the futures of #12, #16, #18, #19, #78, and #91. The only givens next season are as follows:

Penner, Hemsky, Seguin/Hall, Gagner, Brule, Horcoff, Stortini, Whitney, Gilbert, Smid, Khabibulin...the rest is up in the air.

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#18 EricOG
April 19 2010, 08:05AM
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I read on some of the other blogs that MPS and his father (who happens to be his agent) where interested in coming over this year but that they have not heard from the Oilers. That's another player to consider. Hope it does'nt turn into this year's glenX.

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#19 BUCK75
April 19 2010, 08:24AM
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An interesting tidbit for the Taylor Hall bandwagon. From Coming down the pipe, Jeff Skinner is out scoring Taylor Hall in the Kitchner/Windsor Series. Windsor is up 2-0 & Skinner has 4 goals to Hall's 1.

http://thepipelineshow.blogspot.com/2010/04/skin-to-win.html

I am in the keep Comrie camp. He is cheap & has learned to play a different style of game. Gritty & opportunistic. Name him captain too.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 19 2010, 08:32AM
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EricOG wrote:

I read on some of the other blogs that MPS and his father (who happens to be his agent) where interested in coming over this year but that they have not heard from the Oilers. That's another player to consider. Hope it does'nt turn into this year's glenX.

Call it a hunch, but I've got a funny feeling they don't just let MSP walk away .... at least for 7 years

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I'm kinda lost on this thread. I knew we had midgets for players, but I thought DD and JDD were big goalies.

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Jason Gregor wrote:

Because I doubt they send him back to junior. He starts the season here, and if in the first nine games he plays he looks overwhelmed then they will have to decide to keep him or send him back.

AHL is not an option for him, so he's either in Edmonton or Plymouth. You can't compare him to Eberle or other first rounders, because none were the 1st pick overall. He is a better talent than all the other first rounders in recent years. The first nine games will decide if he stays all year, but I can't see any way he doesn't start the season here. Same with Hall.

I agree with you I just don't see us sending whoever we take down. I think I'm going to make a list because there is quite a few people saying if we draft Seguin he should go back to Junior, i'd be curious to see how the story changes over the next year.

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#25 Sammy D
April 19 2010, 08:47AM
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Paul Lorieau? He's the only one who brought it to the rink every night...

And for making all of us come together for one brief moment when he 'sang' that anthem. That video still gives me chills...

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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Call it a hunch, but I've got a funny feeling they don't just let MSP walk away .... at least for 7 years

It's interesting with all the talk of communication breakdown, you would think that someone from the Oilers would be talking to their top pick from a year ago on a steady basis. Something like once every month or two.

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#27 Ender
April 19 2010, 08:57AM
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With the Oilers being short on bottom-six type forwards, I wonder if Liam Reddox is invited to camp and if has a shot to play himself onto the roster if he does well there. While I realize that he had a less-than-stellar year in Springfield this season and that will certainly be counted against him, he has still shown the ability to be tenacious when he needs to be.

Skill-wise, I won't argue that there are better options. Still, if Tambellini is serious about this whole 'wants to bleed orange and blue every day of their damn life' idea, Reddox might be his guy. I haven't seen too many players that look like they want to be here as much as the Ginger.

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@Ender

There really is nothing to lose by having him at least attend camp. Even if he ends up playing or Oklahoma, we need depth players like him.

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#29 Ender
April 19 2010, 09:23AM
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Wow. You learn something new every day. While this may not come as a shock to some of you keeners out there, I have to admit it slipped by me . . .

Alexandre Daigle was an Edmonton Oiler.

I kid you not. A pretty short stay, granted; on January 29, 1999, we picked him up from Philly and then traded him again the same day to the Lightning. That might have been back before the days where no-trade clauses were popular, so if you didn't want to play here maybe you had to tell the coach and the GM to get bent on your introductory phone call. Whatever the reason, Edmonton fans never had much of a chance to get their Daigle jerseys dirty.

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#30 Ducey
April 19 2010, 09:35AM
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Gregor,

You old bias against Pouliot is coming out again. No way Potulny should get a spot ahead of him. The math says it all.

Pouliot had 14pts in 35 G. Of those, 1 was on the PP. Therefore even strength, Pou averaged .371 PP/G. He did that against mid range competition but with the 3rd worst teammates (-.350) of any Oiler. He had 34 hits and was -4. Using the Desjardins 5x5 rating he was 4th best (.86) on the team after Hemsky, Penner, Smid.

Potulny had 32 pts in 64 G. 10pts were on the PP. Even strength he was .343 PP/G. He faced the same level of competition as Pou but with a lot better teammates. He had 41 hits and was -21. Desjardins had him at -.67 which was in the lower third, below Nilsson (-.44), and Struds (-.43).

If you are looking for a 4th line C, Poliout gives you more points even strength, more hits, better defence, and all with lousy teammates.

Potulny is more of a 2/3 liner who can chip in on the PP. He is not suited for a fourth line role and doesn't play very good D. He doesn't have a place on this team.

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#31 Archaeologuy
April 19 2010, 09:36AM
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Comrie out and Cogliano in, unless he's part of a trade that actually brings in another young player.

Comrie has much more offensive consistency, but Cogliano is about 7 years his juniour. It's a youth movement, stick with youth.

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#32 In Hall We Trust
April 19 2010, 09:39AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Im glad im not the only one who thinks Johnson beats out Strudwick for a roster spot.

Why can't both stay ?

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#33 In Hall We Trust
April 19 2010, 09:40AM
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Id like to see Comrie back to teach guys like Gagner, Brule and Eberle how to play gritty depsite their size.

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Archaeologuy wrote:

Comrie out and Cogliano in, unless he's part of a trade that actually brings in another young player.

Comrie has much more offensive consistency, but Cogliano is about 7 years his juniour. It's a youth movement, stick with youth.

Bring them both back and make guys fight for spots. I hate to come into camp with everyone already pencilled in.

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#35 Crash
April 19 2010, 09:56AM
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My two cents...I'm ok with bringing back Comrie even though he represents another small forward.

If I have to keep one of Pouliot and Potulny I keep Pouliot because I think he makes a better bottom six player than Potulny...Nilsson goes along with POS, Moreau, Pisani, Souray and Stone.

If Cogliano is to be traded then I hope we get some healthy size and grit to play in our bottom six...and

Next year:

Hall/Gagner/Hemsky

Penner/Brule or Cogliano/Eberle

Bottom six made up of:

Horcoff, Comrie, Pouliot, Stortini, JFJ, Jones, UFA (ie: Colby Armstrong), Brule or player acquired in Cogs deal (ie: somebody tough and mean)

Defense:

Whitney/Gilbert

Smid/UFA (ie: Hamhuis)

Peckham/Souray trade acquisition

Strudwick, Johnson, Petry, Chorney

If the Oilers get Svensson signed he might be in the mix....

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#36 madjam
April 19 2010, 10:13AM
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Oilers might be wise to do some asset management and turn the tide by not letting players like Souray and Hemsky get away from organization during the transition stage . They are not going to get much of their value back in return for starters . Time for management to mend fences and learn how to keep assets here rather than the fallout of letting them exit with a sour taste in their mouths . I think that management finally realizes this trend has to end ,and they must do a far better job of enticing still valuable assets to stay here . I'd like to see Moreau , Souray and Hemsky all be part of core of transitioning team simply because any replacing of them would most likely be far worse than keeping them here over next two seasons . Souray is valuable and a needed talent to shore up a rather porous and not overly physical or skilled defence ! I have Svensson , Hall and i believe Sequin already pencilled into starting roster despite their NHL shortcomings . On defence I have at least one of Plante or Petry making next years squad . You can talk about the other AHL'ers already up here that quite frankly are not solid NHL'ers , nor probably will be in the near future . I'd rather see them excite the fan base with the rookies that look like they are going to be very good long term NHL'ers much faster than the fillins we have now that are not thrilling anybody to be honest, nor have much ability . I might even add Eberle if he can buck the trend of slower dimiutive forwards not being able to handle NHL level speed and physicality .

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#37 Racki
April 19 2010, 10:14AM
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Oh god.. I soooo hope you're wrong about Moreau. Sorry, but 20-ish games down the stretch of showing up doesn't do anything for me. Where was he the other 60+ games? If he is untradeable, I'd buy him out. A buyout for him actually isn't that bad at all. Cap hit of 0.667M for the next two years.

I know it may sound unlikely they will move/dump their captain, but I think it is what is best for the team. Of course, I also don't see what goes on in the dressing room.

As far as D-man, consider me disappointed that we'd keep Strudwick over Johnson, but your argument for that is a very good one, and something us regular fans don't see/think about. I always liked Jason Strudwick the person, even though the player is questionable. Also, I got a glimmer of hope when I read "the stay at home defenseman we get for Souray". God, I've been begging for an upgrade there since Gator was moved. Tambellini missed opportunities while trying to reel in Heatley. Hopefully he doesn't screw that one up again.

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#38 OilFan
April 19 2010, 10:17AM
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Strudwick over Johnson ? Comrie over Cogs? Any reasoning ? Comrie is so slow he is always a step behind his team mates.No to Jagr please. Gagner needs to start improving his game, I haven't seen much change since his rookie year. JDD has to go, keep Doobie instead.

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#39 JimmyCarson#12
April 19 2010, 10:28AM
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OilFan wrote:

Strudwick over Johnson ? Comrie over Cogs? Any reasoning ? Comrie is so slow he is always a step behind his team mates.No to Jagr please. Gagner needs to start improving his game, I haven't seen much change since his rookie year. JDD has to go, keep Doobie instead.

I would agree that keeping Johnson makes sense but Comrie was able to produce with limited ice. and remember it's not Comrie over Cogliano. In reality it is Comrie + whatever they get in return for Cogliano over Cogliano. The oilers have holes to fill and Cogliano is one of the few guys that may have value in the market.

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#40 Victor
April 19 2010, 10:31AM
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Gregor, Why are you so certain about the Oilers drafting Seguin? Are the Oilers leaking information to this effect?

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#41 madjam
April 19 2010, 10:40AM
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I still have Gags and Cogs as part of team moving forward over Brule , and with new talent coming up i don't see Brule cracking a top or bottom six position . Cogs is going to have to be a bottom six like Marchant panned out to be . Left wing has only one top six player in Penner , while rest are all valuable fourth liners to be honest . R.wing same problem with Hemsky being only half decent talent, followed by a massive influx of diminutive somewhat soft Right Side talent . Center we Horcoff and not much else . We need Hall for wing as much as we need Sequin for center - we need them both as next seasons draft is unlikely to present a top pick as good as either will be . Use next years No.1 draft pick as enticement to land the second pick in this years draft . If the price is right and much to Brownlee's chagrin , Jagr and his Czech buddy he is so high on bringing with him to the NHL would still be an asset in transitioning team and filling some of the glaring needs we need now have ( size and experience )to move forward and develop our emerging talented youth ! Even Tambo recognizes it , so thats a plus and an option they may still persue .

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#45 Crash
April 19 2010, 10:49AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Not leaking at all. Just the impression I get when talking with the scouts. There is still two months to go and things could change, but I sense they are leaning towards Seguin. Not based on right now, but based on where his game will be in the two or three years.

Judging by how quickly these scouts change their minds and draft lists from just October to April in the same year how in the heck can they tell what the player will be like in 2 or 3 yrs ala Jason Bonsignore/Steve Kelly?

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#46 I'm a Scientist!
April 19 2010, 10:50AM
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I think there is a major misunderstanding here. Are we not talking about the Oilers managment? The EXACT same Oilers management that has done squat the last couple of years? Here is how I see our lines at the begining of the season:

Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky Brule - Gagner - Nilsson Moreau - Pouliot - Pisani Stortini - Potulny - Cogliano

They will also have POS on reserve, Souray will still be here and all three goalies will stick around.

Book it.

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#47 Team Hall
April 19 2010, 10:51AM
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Agreed Brownlee,

A team with Strudwick on it is not good enough. Way better options out there. Nice guy, good leadership, bleeds goals. End of story. Also, not too happy with the early and stubborn decision to draft Seguin before we even make it to the Combine. When did the Oilers hire Barry Fraser back? Was I sleeping?

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#50 madjam
April 19 2010, 11:00AM
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Next years ghost team in no particular order fighting for top three lines : Svensson , Hall, Sequin , Penner , Horcoff , Jagr and his Czech buddy , Hemsky , and Gags. Three of those go to forming a third line combo. Cogs probably anchoring a fourth line with Moreau and a wealth of others to provide grit and defence . Surely a lot better and exciting than the Journals Matheson is putting forward , and one designed to develop youth around over next two seasons . The value of keeping a happy and productive Souray here should be immense for the gutted defence we currently have . Time will tell if Khabby can shoreup the goaltending - as i'm not sold on the other two .

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