July 07 2010 07:41AM
This is Stan Weir. He is a very important figure in Oilers history, because of his role on the first three Oiler NHL teams. He was a vital part of the group in 79-80, his role began to fade the following season (as detailed by Peter Gzowski in his classic book The Game of Our Lives).
Weir did the difficult work until the gifted kids could take on the chores, and in that way lives forever in Oiler lore.
In the past few days, we've heard Steve Tambellini talk about adding a veteran presence (wanted a C, would settle for a W) and the truth is the club could use both of those player types (a Mike Peca and a Fernando Pisani).
Free agents don't flock to 30th place teams, but they will in future years with the opportunity to play alongside more mature versions of Hall, MPS and Eberle.
In the absence of this free agent signing (unlikely this summer as the quality UFA's slowly sign with other teams) the "Stan Weir" role will probably fall to Shawn Horcoff. He is the most complete player among the forwards (which is not the same as most talented) and he has displayed a willingness to do whatever is asked of him.
He has been to a SCF, he blocked a shot with his face in an important playoff game, he is a leader and he can help show the way. He did not (apparently) associate himself too closely with the veteran group (Souray, Moreau) that has been flushed (or will be flushed).
Horcoff will likely start the season on the top two lines, but as the kids develop (and possibly by next year) the trip down the depth chart will begin (as it did with Weir). By this time next season, Sam Gagner might be the 1C, the top 4 wingers might include Hall, MPS and Eberle, and Shawn Horcoff might be on the checking line.
Fans associate Shawn Horcoff with his massive contract and that's human nature. I do hope the boos give way to cheers at some point, as Horcoff's role on the new Oilers will be the most difficult one on the roster.