RE 10-11: Skill Forwards

Lowetide
September 01 2010 05:07PM

There are 6 slots for 7 skill forwards on the 10-11 Oilers depth chart. Penner, Hemsky, Gagner and Hall are a lock, but the rest of the group is a moving target. It is so fluid we may well be having the same conversation one year from now.

In a very real way, the Oilers could have made life much easier for themselves if they'd chosen Tyler Seguin #1 overall. I'm not arguing the pick (Taylor Hall is a solid #1 overall selection) but we're left with a depth chart deep on both wings and soggy in the middle. In the previous look at reasonable expectations (the foot soldiers) I named Shawn Horcoff and Jordan Eberle among the group that will be asked to play a specific role outside the top 6F and 1PP. I'll list the top 7 candidates for the two offensive lines below, but we should acknowledge that both Horcoff and Eberle could push their way onto the top 6F's at any time before or during the season.

  • LW-C Dustin Penner: I think we should start by talking about the possibility of Penner playing center this coming season. His FO percentage wasn't terrible (48%) compared to the rest of the group and he has had a season over 50% (in fewer sorties). My personal preference would be to keep Penner on LW (he's very effective there) but from a roster point of view it makes sense. Penner is the straw that stirs the drink in the offensive zone, and an absolute giant of a man when he has the puck and a lane. He is the ultimate Coke Machine when he's on his game and an extremely valuable hockey player who creates powerplay after powerplay just by maintaining possession in dangerous areas. It is a pure tragedy that the best hockey of his career is likely to be played deep in the NHL's second division. Reasonable expectations: Outrageous minutes on the PP and a lot of work on the 1line at 5x5. This player is a stud and Renney has shown a willingnness to run those types ragged in the past. 81gp, 35-35-70. Dustin Penner is a big part of this hockey club.
  • RW Ales Hemsky: I believe Ales Hemsky is the best player on the Oilers hockey team. He's a splendid talent, worth the price of admission all by his lonesome. Unlike a more cerebral player (like Sam Gagner, as a for instance) Hemsky is pure reaction, reflex and skill: he was touched by God. He is not a perfect player (turns the puck over at the blueline, needs to shoot more) but he's got game, gumption and will crank it up no matter the opposition. That's a lot to like. Hemsky's injuries are a big concern, especially considering the huge number of games missed this past season. He is the most physical of Edmonton's skill wingers (although Taylor Hall may give him some competion. NOTE: I've listed Brule as a center here) and he is outstanding on the PP. One imagines Hall (or MPS, or Eberle) cashing more of those butter goalmouth chances than Shawn Horcoff has in the past after 83 has delivered a wonderful pass. I think Renney will rely on Hemsky in all situations this season and would be shocked if this player gets less than 4.5 minutes a night on the powerplay. Reasonable expecations: 60gp, 18-48-66 and a steady diet of skilled rookies auditioning for the role of Hemsky's wingman. 
  • C Sam Gagner:  On October 22, the Oilers played Gagner with Penner and Hemsky, with predictable results. Penner was the first star, Hemsky 2nd and the kid third star. The totals for that line: 4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points.
    Dustin Penner: "That would have to be the best game of my career, certainly statistically. The stars lined up for me and my linemates tonight. It feels really good. I don't know the last time I was on a team that bounced back from down as much as we were. That's one of the games where you know the true meaning of momentum." The game highlights are here. Gagner is a cerebral player with a wonderful imagination. His first three NHL seasons have been frustrating for some, but a closer view (Corsi) suggests a steady improvement in terms of moving the puck in the right direction. He's worked very hard over the summer and recently signed a two-year deal that I suggest will be a bargain for the Edmonton organization. Injuries are a concern, but the arrows are strong and positive for Samwise. Reasonable expectations: 80gp, 16-37-53. If they can find a rookie winger to cash his passes--AND they can find a way to use them against the soft parade--Gagner could have a monster season at age 21.
  • L Taylor Hall: Taylor Hall scored 14-32-46 on the PP and 4-1-5 shorthanded last season in the OHL. Doing simple math, that makes his EV number last season 57gp, 22-33-55 (.965). That EV number is exceptional compared to other juniors with similar numbers. Let's use Steven Stamkos (a nice comparable overall) as an example: 61gp, 23-23-46 on the PP (basically the same, Hall played 4 fewer games and had a lot more assists but the same point total); 5-3-8 on the PK and that makes his EV number in his draft year 61gp, 30-21-51 (.836). A lot of numbers, but bottom line is Hall did more damage at EVs than Stamkos and that remains true for several juniors in their draft year (Sam Gagner is another). That EV number is excellent. Hall has swagger and skill and you get the sense that he's going to cut a wide swath as an NHL player. I would only caution that it is unlikely to come all at once: the last 18-year old to score 100 points for Edmonton was Wayne Gretzky for the WHA Oilers. Reasonable expectations: 74gp, 20-20-40 and much better if Renney can fix the PP with Hall an integral part of it.
  • C-R Gilbert Brule: Sometimes when a team is historically bad it is easy for fans to overlook real growth. Last season--in the middle of a monumental clusterbleep season--young Gilbert Brule ripped of the shackles that held him back and kicked out the jams at the NHL level. He's still 5.10 and he's not a complete player, but Brule brings some grit, skill and attitude. Plus he can win faceoffs (or at least he won 52.6% of 274 sorties last year). If Dustin Penner stays at wing, I suspect the top 2 centers on the team with be Sam Gagner and Gilbert Brule. Reasonable expecations: 75gp, 18-22-40. If Brule can deliver another season just like the last one, Oiler fans should start including him on that list of outstanding young players who could be here when the Stanley returns.
  • L Magnus Pääjärvi: I often talk about arrows and how many are pointed up or down. All of the arrows in his quiver are positive: speed to burn, pro experience, he's a shooter on  a team with puckhandlers and he's more physically mature than the other kids. PLUS he played defense as a kid ala Bengt Gustafsson so there might be some awareness of the overall game. I cannot wait to see him in pre-season. Reasonable expectations: 66gp, 12-18-30 and some breathtaking dashes into enemy territory. If he has some element of a two-way game, this guy could be a major part of the club within a couple of seasons. 
  • C-W Andrew Cogliano: I've listed him here because it makes sense that the organization will try him on the skill lines. He has three seasons of NHL experience and should be posting better numbers, but the organization should try him with some skilled men for half a season before sending him away for 10 cents on the dollar. If Cogliano can come to camp and find some chemistry with one or two of the kids, Edmonton`s 4th line might be a "kid line" that gets more minutes on nights when things are clicking. He was on that kid line that went supernova spring 2008. I see him as being more of a winger than center, but it seems he and the organization still hold out hope that he can play the center position. Reasonable expectations: 82gp, 10-20-30 and one final effort to find a role in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers.
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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Wanye
September 01 2010, 05:18PM
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I have a sneaking suspicion one - or possibly multiple - rookies will have a big game in Episode 1 of the 2010-11 season.

This will leading to predictions of Calder Trophies, Rocket Richard Trophies and Hart Trophies littering the mantle at RX1.

The unreasonable expectation begins as soon as game 1 comes to an end, with your ol' pal Wanye Grand Marshalling the parade.

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#2 baggedmilk
September 01 2010, 05:33PM
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Wanye wrote:

I have a sneaking suspicion one - or possibly multiple - rookies will have a big game in Episode 1 of the 2010-11 season.

This will leading to predictions of Calder Trophies, Rocket Richard Trophies and Hart Trophies littering the mantle at RX1.

The unreasonable expectation begins as soon as game 1 comes to an end, with your ol' pal Wanye Grand Marshalling the parade.

I will take this prediction one step further. A 3-0 start will have people believing in a division title, Taylor Hall will be voted 'Rookie of the Year' winning the calder after only 3 games, and subsequently he will marry Taylor Swift.

The Taylor Taylor wedding will be televised on Sportsnet One, and will be the highest rated television event since the invention of television. Gene Principe will say it was a Tailor (Taylor) made match.

The Eskimos will then go on to win more than 2 games, as a result, make the jump to the NFL. Followed by Super Bowl and Grey Cup wins in the same season. Ricky Ray will celebrate by treating himself to a birthday party hosted by Bill Matheson on the Santa Maria in West Edmonton Mall, and an order of honey garlic wings at the Pint. Bill will give blame the looming "Idaho High" for the terrible weather and lack of party guests.

Mike Comrie will make his return to Edmonton as a mayoral write in candidate, and win the popular vote but not the election. Tambellini will back the election results by saying the city was, "looking to go younger."

Oilers Nation will continue to dominate the Interwebs, while jeanshortsandbaggedmilk.com with retain, for the second consecutive year, "37th Best Oilers Site on the Internet" as voted by David Staples. Dan Tencer will continue to look as though he's wearing blush in every single photo.

It has been written...

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#3 Wanye
September 01 2010, 05:46PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

I will take this prediction one step further. A 3-0 start will have people believing in a division title, Taylor Hall will be voted 'Rookie of the Year' winning the calder after only 3 games, and subsequently he will marry Taylor Swift.

The Taylor Taylor wedding will be televised on Sportsnet One, and will be the highest rated television event since the invention of television. Gene Principe will say it was a Tailor (Taylor) made match.

The Eskimos will then go on to win more than 2 games, as a result, make the jump to the NFL. Followed by Super Bowl and Grey Cup wins in the same season. Ricky Ray will celebrate by treating himself to a birthday party hosted by Bill Matheson on the Santa Maria in West Edmonton Mall, and an order of honey garlic wings at the Pint. Bill will give blame the looming "Idaho High" for the terrible weather and lack of party guests.

Mike Comrie will make his return to Edmonton as a mayoral write in candidate, and win the popular vote but not the election. Tambellini will back the election results by saying the city was, "looking to go younger."

Oilers Nation will continue to dominate the Interwebs, while jeanshortsandbaggedmilk.com with retain, for the second consecutive year, "37th Best Oilers Site on the Internet" as voted by David Staples. Dan Tencer will continue to look as though he's wearing blush in every single photo.

It has been written...

It's like you have magical glasses that can see into the future!*

*Not actual future

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#4 C-DOG
September 01 2010, 05:51PM
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I hope Penner never plays centre. He finaly had sucsess playing in his natural position. When carrying the puck he skates with his head down and he does not have the stamina to play a 200' game which elite centres need to have.

You cannot manufacture a #1 centre, you need to draft him.

By the way where did you get the points breakdown for Hall p.p., e.s. and s.h. Any chance you can post what Seguin did, and what about icetime breakdown ( p.p.,s.h. and e.s)

Thanks

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#5 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
September 01 2010, 06:02PM
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Gagner and Brule as our top 2 C's? As much as I like them, Yikes...

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#6 Eric Johnson
September 01 2010, 06:20PM
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Thank you Lowetide for posting another article so we can stop debating ethics on radio.

I love our top 7 are all under 30 by a WIIIIIIDE margin.

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#8 @NateInVegas
September 01 2010, 06:42PM
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Hemsky @ RW1 is the only certainty, nothing else fits.

Hall 26&29=55pts

Penner @ center PP1&PK2 30-30 **play with more edge with rookies**

"the Oilers could have made life much easier for themselves if they'd chosen Tyler Seguin #1"

AMEN!!

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#9 Milli
September 01 2010, 06:45PM
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LT, that was a great read! Isn't it funny how Penners contract does actualy look like a bargain now, just like Klo said it would? I mean, I didn't believe him, but man did he bring it last year! Can't freakin wait for hockey!

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#10 common sense
September 01 2010, 06:49PM
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Not more Tyler vs Taylor. I've had it. We got Taylor and I'm happy with the choice. Can we talk about something else. I beg of you.

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#11 book¡e
September 01 2010, 06:52PM
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common sense wrote:

Not more Tyler vs Taylor. I've had it. We got Taylor and I'm happy with the choice. Can we talk about something else. I beg of you.

Horcoff's Salary? Khabibulin's drinking?

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#12 Adam D
September 01 2010, 07:32PM
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book¡e wrote:

Horcoff's Salary? Khabibulin's drinking?

Now I'm normally not one for gossip, but has anybody heard of this young man named Kovalchuk? Apparently he has put up a few points for a southern team and is now getting a bit big for his britches! Oh me oh my, what a story.

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#13 gr8one
September 01 2010, 07:39PM
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What about Omark?

He definitely fits into the "skill forward category"...do you see him make the club out of camp? A call up later on? A good solid season in OKC with high hopes for next year? Trade bait? A total fizzle?

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#14 Magnus P.I.
September 01 2010, 07:48PM
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I like the idea of moving Penner to a more permanent role at center. He has the size, vision and faceoff skills required to do the job, plus he has experience playing center in the past.

I think Cogliano will have a turnaround season and take a major step forward like Brule did last season, if he plays like he did to end last season he should have a heck of a year in Edmonton in 10-11, assuming Tambi doesn't decide to purge him.

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#15 whatthe?
September 01 2010, 07:59PM
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I miss Rob Schremp.

jj. nice post LT.

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#16 Shadi
September 01 2010, 08:09PM
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@Lowetide

Thank you very much, I had a hard time all year finding the assists and total points e.s. I am assuming they don't keep icetime.

I am not trying to re-open the debate, just a curious fan, but I will say when I was at the draft. I spoke to the entire Windsor org. except Bougner, and their asst coach told me that Hall is best suited on the wing because "he can conserve more energy there than at centre which allows him to focus more on offence". That disapointed me.

By the way Mike Babcock and Scotty Bowman were leaning towards Seguin. Thats what they told me personally.

I do love the fact that Hall wants to be here.A friend told me he's 90% sure he will wear #4, you heard it here first.

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#17 The Real Scuba Steve
September 01 2010, 08:09PM
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I think too much pressure is going to be on Hall this year, he probably break out next year or the year after then sign somewhere else.

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#18 Kinger
September 01 2010, 08:20PM
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I find it interesting how the group-think top-6 forward language that has come out in the last few years, has totally distorted analysis. Whose to say you can't have 3 scoring lines? It is so arbitrary to say top 6, bottom 6. How about the top line, a second line, a third line, and a grinder line. Why you wouldn't want a third line that has skill is I guess a relflection of how over-coached, dumbed down, less skilled and boring NHL hockey has become.

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#19 9 Inches Uncut
September 01 2010, 08:32PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

I think too much pressure is going to be on Hall this year, he probably break out next year or the year after then sign somewhere else.

Excellent work there Scuba Steve.

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#21 RossCreekNation
September 01 2010, 08:48PM
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BREAKING (via Larry Brooks)...

A well placed source reports that the league has informed the Players' Assn. that the league will grandfather the recently submitted Kovalchuk 15-year, $100M contract, Luongo's 12-year, $64M deal that is entering its second season and Hossa's 12-year, $63.3M deal that also is entering its second season into the CBA under the following conditions:
1. That the cap hit on future multi-year contracts will not count any seasons that end with the player over 40 years of age. The cap hit would be calculated on the average of the salary up through age 40 only.
2. That the cap hit on future contracts longer than five years will be calculated under a formula granting additional weight to the five years with the highest salary.

The league has given the PA, which is being directed by Donald Fehr, until Friday at 5 pm to accept these conditions. If the PA refuses, or if negotiations fail to yeild a common ground, the league has informed the PA that:
1. It will reject the Kovalchuk contract.
2. It will move to immediately devoid the Luongo contract.
3. It will move to immediately open proceedings for a formal investigation into the Hossa contract.
The NHL owns sweeping punitive powers against teams and players judged guilty of circumvention under Article 26 of the CBA.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/devils/nhl_gives_players_assn_ultimatum_UEbYgwfB6I4E4y7xGbE1OP

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#22 Wanyes bastard child
September 01 2010, 08:55PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

BREAKING (via Larry Brooks)...

A well placed source reports that the league has informed the Players' Assn. that the league will grandfather the recently submitted Kovalchuk 15-year, $100M contract, Luongo's 12-year, $64M deal that is entering its second season and Hossa's 12-year, $63.3M deal that also is entering its second season into the CBA under the following conditions:
1. That the cap hit on future multi-year contracts will not count any seasons that end with the player over 40 years of age. The cap hit would be calculated on the average of the salary up through age 40 only.
2. That the cap hit on future contracts longer than five years will be calculated under a formula granting additional weight to the five years with the highest salary.

The league has given the PA, which is being directed by Donald Fehr, until Friday at 5 pm to accept these conditions. If the PA refuses, or if negotiations fail to yeild a common ground, the league has informed the PA that:
1. It will reject the Kovalchuk contract.
2. It will move to immediately devoid the Luongo contract.
3. It will move to immediately open proceedings for a formal investigation into the Hossa contract.
The NHL owns sweeping punitive powers against teams and players judged guilty of circumvention under Article 26 of the CBA.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/devils/nhl_gives_players_assn_ultimatum_UEbYgwfB6I4E4y7xGbE1OP

Ballsy

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#24 RossCreekNation
September 01 2010, 09:19PM
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My question is: Why when the "super-smart" management team in Detroit 'invents' these long-term cap-circumventing contracts, everyone applauds, but when "evil" Lou Lamoriello & the Devils sign a deal similar, he's 'that bastard that's trying to ruin hockey'... that's what makes me most sick about this whole ordeal. I don't particularly like the Kovalchuk deal, but to me, IF they approved the others, they approve his... simple as that.

This latest news changes things a bit, and if they void some other contracts as well, then fine (although I don't understand how they can void a contract like Hossa's that is already beginning year 2).

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#25 Ducey
September 01 2010, 09:27PM
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Penner has 45, 47, 37 and 63 points seasons in the NHL. He also had an 83 point season in the AHL.

I wonder whether we might have seen his high water mark last year. I am not saying it is - but there is the possibility (however slight) that last year was the outlier.

I will be anxiously waiting for him to prove last year was not a fluke.

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#26 Petr's Jofa
September 01 2010, 09:27PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

My question is: Why when the "super-smart" management team in Detroit 'invents' these long-term cap-circumventing contracts, everyone applauds, but when "evil" Lou Lamoriello & the Devils sign a deal similar, he's 'that bastard that's trying to ruin hockey'... that's what makes me most sick about this whole ordeal. I don't particularly like the Kovalchuk deal, but to me, IF they approved the others, they approve his... simple as that.

This latest news changes things a bit, and if they void some other contracts as well, then fine (although I don't understand how they can void a contract like Hossa's that is already beginning year 2).

I would suggest that it's a simple fact the line needing to be drawn somewhere.

And by the NHL suggesting that they would void the other contracts means the "they approved the others, they approve his" argument doesn't work anymore.

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#27 Matt Henderson
September 01 2010, 09:37PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

BREAKING (via Larry Brooks)...

A well placed source reports that the league has informed the Players' Assn. that the league will grandfather the recently submitted Kovalchuk 15-year, $100M contract, Luongo's 12-year, $64M deal that is entering its second season and Hossa's 12-year, $63.3M deal that also is entering its second season into the CBA under the following conditions:
1. That the cap hit on future multi-year contracts will not count any seasons that end with the player over 40 years of age. The cap hit would be calculated on the average of the salary up through age 40 only.
2. That the cap hit on future contracts longer than five years will be calculated under a formula granting additional weight to the five years with the highest salary.

The league has given the PA, which is being directed by Donald Fehr, until Friday at 5 pm to accept these conditions. If the PA refuses, or if negotiations fail to yeild a common ground, the league has informed the PA that:
1. It will reject the Kovalchuk contract.
2. It will move to immediately devoid the Luongo contract.
3. It will move to immediately open proceedings for a formal investigation into the Hossa contract.
The NHL owns sweeping punitive powers against teams and players judged guilty of circumvention under Article 26 of the CBA.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/devils/nhl_gives_players_assn_ultimatum_UEbYgwfB6I4E4y7xGbE1OP

You have no idea how happy this made me.

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#28 RossCreekNation
September 01 2010, 09:45PM
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@Petr's Jofa

Right, but you can't just change the rules mid-game with something like this (at least not without NHLPA approval) until the "2012 Armageddon". I don't like these long-term deals either. Hopefully the PA agrees to this (although I'm not so certain they will).

And if the PA doesn't agree, and Luongo gets voided, Detroit still gets away scott-free.

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#29 Arby
September 01 2010, 10:19PM
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Wow. It's a good thing we missed out on hockey for a year so that they could cover all this stuff in their fancy "agreement".

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#30 Racki
September 01 2010, 10:53PM
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I'd be pretty ecstatic if Hall hits 20 goals this year. That would definitely be a good start for our future star.

Also, very much agree on Gagner. I did up a post over on my blog this week about Gagner. My expectations were slightly more optimistic (I predicted 60 points if he plays a full season, with 20 of the points being goals). I actually really hope he gets top line billing, but there definitely is reason to put him between the rookies, as it just seems like they'd have that gel of our previous kid line and then some.. but who knows until the season starts. At any rate, I think where he plays, he'll have a great season and silence those "we need a #1C" critics.

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#31 Butters - Team Larsson
September 01 2010, 11:41PM
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Would there be anything wrong with having, say, 6 top-end wingers with fair to middling centres?

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#32 @NateInVegas
September 02 2010, 06:10AM
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Racki wrote:

I'd be pretty ecstatic if Hall hits 20 goals this year. That would definitely be a good start for our future star.

Also, very much agree on Gagner. I did up a post over on my blog this week about Gagner. My expectations were slightly more optimistic (I predicted 60 points if he plays a full season, with 20 of the points being goals). I actually really hope he gets top line billing, but there definitely is reason to put him between the rookies, as it just seems like they'd have that gel of our previous kid line and then some.. but who knows until the season starts. At any rate, I think where he plays, he'll have a great season and silence those "we need a #1C" critics.

Gagner lacks strength and speed to be a #1

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#33 Petr's Jofa
September 02 2010, 06:38AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Right, but you can't just change the rules mid-game with something like this (at least not without NHLPA approval) until the "2012 Armageddon". I don't like these long-term deals either. Hopefully the PA agrees to this (although I'm not so certain they will).

And if the PA doesn't agree, and Luongo gets voided, Detroit still gets away scott-free.

I want to start off saying this is a Larry Brooks article and he has reported some questionable stuff in the past. I would like to see some other sources before I enter into a panic over what this might mean.

RossCreek, I disagree with two things you said.

1)The commisioner CAN change the rules mid-game to protect the game's intergrety.

According to the NHL Constitution, Article VI, section 6.1: ”6.1 Office of Commissioner, Election and Term of Office The League shall employ a Commissioner selected by the Board of Governors. The Commissioner shall serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the League and is charged with protecting the integrity of the game of professional hockey and preserving public confidence in the League. The Board of Governors shall determine the term of office and compensation of the Commissioner. The Commissioner shall be elected a majority of the Governors present and voting at a League meeting at which a quorum was present when it was convened.“[1]

2) If the PA doesn't agree, Brooks says Luongo contract will be voided but that doesn't mean Detroit will get away scott-free. I have seen other rumours that up top 7 other contracts will be looked into. Luongo is likely an easy one because he hasn't played a game on his new deal yet.

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#34 Travis Dakin
September 02 2010, 06:42AM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

Gagner lacks strength and speed to be a #1

Not that I am in any way comparing the two but If you substitute the name "Gagner" for "Gretzky" you would have a sentence that says EXACTLY what they used to say about the later.

Being a number 1 center on the team does not mean you have to be the best center in the league, just the best center on the team. (Like Horcoff has been for the last 4 years) Which many are saying that, if he isn't now, Gagner will be soon. Therefore he would indeed be a number one center.

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#35 madjam
September 02 2010, 06:58AM
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Kinger wrote:

I find it interesting how the group-think top-6 forward language that has come out in the last few years, has totally distorted analysis. Whose to say you can't have 3 scoring lines? It is so arbitrary to say top 6, bottom 6. How about the top line, a second line, a third line, and a grinder line. Why you wouldn't want a third line that has skill is I guess a relflection of how over-coached, dumbed down, less skilled and boring NHL hockey has become.

Agreed !! The rest of you people seem to assume it will be a 6-6 split . It may be next season you see a 6-6 split , but not this year . It will be a year to assess and develop the top nine forwards . That's our strength ( makes the most sense) this year , and we'll play to a top nine . That's the best way to develop and assess them for next season . Those of you trying to speculate what top 6 will look like should keep that in mind , instead of cutting off the skilled forward position at 6 !

Think top 9 for this season and your reasoning and forward positioning is more in tune with what a lot of others expect . Offense is our strength , we need to play to it , and we'll play to it this season at least !

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#36 madjam
September 02 2010, 07:32AM
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CLARITY !! If you still don't agree or understand i'll put it to you another way you might . They didn't bring this huge influx of young skilled forwards to develop 3 in AHL for starters .

They bought them in to develop together as a group . Why do you not see why the players they let go, and others they did not sign are no longer with the club ? Surprised there is no third line left basically from last season ? Thats because they left it open to develop a big group of youngsters to gain experience together as a group !!

Think top nine people for this season at least .

Plante or Peckham ? Plante likely to be the future over Peckham . I see him as being more a part of growing group than Peckham ,and thus stands an excellent chance being bought up with the young group this season . Maybe both will be in, but i see the future with Plante over Peckham .

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#37 rubbertrout
September 02 2010, 07:50AM
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common sense wrote:

Not more Tyler vs Taylor. I've had it. We got Taylor and I'm happy with the choice. Can we talk about something else. I beg of you.

~Like Horc's contract?~

Seriously, until some games actually start there isn't much else to do other than rehash out old issues.

EDIT: @ Bookie I see you beat me to the punch. Well played Mauer.

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#38 Tracie
September 02 2010, 08:06AM
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I, too, hope that the Oilers go with a top 9 and see what these guys can do. We have alot of young skilled forwards that need ice time. We already don't have high expectations for this year so why not let them play?

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#39 Jerk Store
September 02 2010, 08:12AM
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@Travis Dakin

TD, While I know you stressed the point you were not comparing Gagner / Gretz and I agree with your sentiment that Nate is oversimplifying Gagner's potential a bit, let's go with a more contemporary name as a comparison. Pavel Datsyuk. Coincidentally, both are listed as 5'11" and 191 (I suspect disco shoes may be involved for both). Datysuk came into the the league as a 23 year old after playing a couple of unremarkable years in Russia Division 1. His NHL 3 year numbers: 23 yrs old 35 pts / 70 games 0.5 ppg 24 yrs old 51 pts / 64 games 0.79 ppg 25 yrs old 68 pts / 75 games 0.9 ppg. Looking at Gagner: 18 yrs old 49 pts / 79 games 0.62 ppg 19 yrs old 41 pts / 76 games 0.53 ppg 20 yrs old 41 pts / 68 games 0.60 ppg. Again I am not saying Gagner will score 97 pts in a year as Datysuk did or be as complete a player (Datysuk is very good as his Selke record will attest). However they share similar traits. Both smart, are absolute stickhandling witches, are the same size, and both are not straight out speed demons. One can argue that Gagner is certainly ahead of where PD was at the same stage in their career, has not been surrounded by the same level of talent, and does have an excellent pedigree. Not trying to say he will be an elite center, but certainly it is too early to say he will NOT be. Wow these number thingys are great, what are they called? Stats? Willis watch your back, this is pretty in depth stuff!

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#40 Mouse
September 02 2010, 08:49AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Not that I am in any way comparing the two but If you substitute the name "Gagner" for "Gretzky" you would have a sentence that says EXACTLY what they used to say about the later.

Being a number 1 center on the team does not mean you have to be the best center in the league, just the best center on the team. (Like Horcoff has been for the last 4 years) Which many are saying that, if he isn't now, Gagner will be soon. Therefore he would indeed be a number one center.

I think a better comparable is Marc Savard. And it did take him a a copuple of extra years to grow into the top player he is. Part of that was attitude and commitment that he had to grow up a little to realize, and I think Gagner is more mature than Savard at the same time in his career.

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#41 Mouse
September 02 2010, 08:53AM
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madjam wrote:

Agreed !! The rest of you people seem to assume it will be a 6-6 split . It may be next season you see a 6-6 split , but not this year . It will be a year to assess and develop the top nine forwards . That's our strength ( makes the most sense) this year , and we'll play to a top nine . That's the best way to develop and assess them for next season . Those of you trying to speculate what top 6 will look like should keep that in mind , instead of cutting off the skilled forward position at 6 !

Think top 9 for this season and your reasoning and forward positioning is more in tune with what a lot of others expect . Offense is our strength , we need to play to it , and we'll play to it this season at least !

A top nine is great, but one line still has to be really good defensively, like Chicago's third line of byfuglien, bolland, versteeg. That would be a really good second line on pretty much every team in the NHL. IF you can get good offensive players to shut down the other top line, they will also score a fair margin because top lines aren't usually the best defensely (they don't have to be because they usually have the puck the whole time).

And look where all that skill has landed Chicago this year - they had to trade away pretty much the whole "third" scoring line.

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#42 Dan the Man
September 02 2010, 08:58AM
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Per TSN:

SHARKS SIGN NIEMI TO ONE-YEAR, $2 MILLION CONTRACT

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=332405

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#43 madjam
September 02 2010, 09:21AM
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Oilers not looking to replicate Chicago , Oiler , Detroit or Pittsburg gutting again . The club is being set up to avoid that !! I felt Tams and our players have been pretty consistent how they expect and hope this rebuild is going . Two years down the road we should be set up around our youth program to avoid it , with this years crop and subsequent years newbies .

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#44 Dan the Man
September 02 2010, 09:38AM
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madjam wrote:

Oilers not looking to replicate Chicago , Oiler , Detroit or Pittsburg gutting again . The club is being set up to avoid that !! I felt Tams and our players have been pretty consistent how they expect and hope this rebuild is going . Two years down the road we should be set up around our youth program to avoid it , with this years crop and subsequent years newbies .

So you're saying that the Oilers are trying not to replicate themselves and they would prefer not to be like one of the last 3 Stanley Cup Champions?

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#45 Ender
September 02 2010, 09:45AM
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TSN confirming what RC already told us.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=332412

Still, they're just quoting the Brooks article so I don't know if that counts as confirmation of truth. Just that TSN is comfortable enough with the possibility that they're hanging their credibility on Brooksie.

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#46 Laughing Pug
September 02 2010, 09:54AM
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@C-DOG

Shadi, your 4-hour-free-car-wash-blitz-on-draft-lottery-day bonanza was one of the best things to ever happen to the Oilers as a franchise. Dig deep and find another Oilers related reason to do it again.

Besides, it was good luck.....right?

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#47 bored
September 02 2010, 09:56AM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Right, but you can't just change the rules mid-game with something like this (at least not without NHLPA approval) until the "2012 Armageddon". I don't like these long-term deals either. Hopefully the PA agrees to this (although I'm not so certain they will).

And if the PA doesn't agree, and Luongo gets voided, Detroit still gets away scott-free.

I agree with Jofa.

It's not so much that it's an attack on Lou, but rather he's the one that pushed it a bit too far. You have to remember that this whole concept of cap circumvention involves measuring the motive and intent of a team, which without being the All-Knowing, is quite difficult. So when Hossa signs his deal the league looks at it and says to themselves, 'I know what they're doing, but it's impossible to prove as Hossa could legitimately play to 42 and those numbers could be a solid representation of what he could get paid...but it's really close'.

Now Lou steps in and takes it a step further, leaving the grey territory where the other contracts lived and entering the blatantly obvious. The league now has no choice because the next year's top FA will sign until they're 46 and so on...

So, I think it has to be done. As for changing the rules mid-game, I don't think they are doing that either, they are just enforcing the existing rules late. And there's nothing more annoying in hockey than a late whistle, so I understand where all the frustration is coming from.

I say the league does away with averaging the overall salary to achieve a cap number and just uses actual salaries to count towards the total cap number. This will do away with any circumvention.

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#48 @NateInVegas
September 02 2010, 10:11AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Not that I am in any way comparing the two but If you substitute the name "Gagner" for "Gretzky" you would have a sentence that says EXACTLY what they used to say about the later.

Being a number 1 center on the team does not mean you have to be the best center in the league, just the best center on the team. (Like Horcoff has been for the last 4 years) Which many are saying that, if he isn't now, Gagner will be soon. Therefore he would indeed be a number one center.

Gretzky was one of the strongest players on the puck...

And not many people caught him which makes me believe he was an underrated skater... & shot

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#49 @NateInVegas
September 02 2010, 10:12AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Not that I am in any way comparing the two but If you substitute the name "Gagner" for "Gretzky" you would have a sentence that says EXACTLY what they used to say about the later.

Being a number 1 center on the team does not mean you have to be the best center in the league, just the best center on the team. (Like Horcoff has been for the last 4 years) Which many are saying that, if he isn't now, Gagner will be soon. Therefore he would indeed be a number one center.

Gretzky was one of the strongest players on the puck...

And not many people caught him which makes me believe he was an underrated skater... & shot

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#50 Matt Henderson
September 02 2010, 10:25AM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

Gagner lacks strength and speed to be a #1

*Rolls eyes*

The guy is only now losing that baby fat from his face. Can we agree that it is more than possible that he hasnt peaked physically.

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