Simply The Best

Lowetide
June 07 2011 07:37PM

This is Shawn Horcoff before the turn of the century. Although many Oiler fans have been calling for his head since 2007, Horcoff remains the best center in town. Will that change any time soon? 

Shawn Horcoff is the most complete center on the Oilers roster. He faced the toughest opponents, had the best faceoff percentage, was entrusted with the elite calibre rookies. In every demonstrable way, Shawn Horcoff was the leader of the Edmonton Oilers. Again.

Center: 5x5 scoring (points-per-60 minutes)

  1. Sam Gagner 1.91
  2. Shawn Horcoff 1.47
  3. Andrew Cogliano 1.33
  4. Colin Fraser 0.48

Center: Quality of Competition

  1. Shawn Horcoff .057
  2. Andrew Cogliano .022
  3. Sam Gagner -.013
  4. Colin Fraser -.086

Center CorsiRel

  1. Sam Gagner 7.0
  2. Shawn Horcoff 7.0
  3. Andrew Cogliano 2.3
  4. Colin Fraser -9.6

Center: Scoring Chances

  1. Shawn Horcoff 199-186 .517
  2. Andrew Cogliano 290-329 .468
  3. Sam Gagner 271-317 .461
  4. Colin Fraser 90-135 .400

The first three sets of numbers are courtesy Gabriel Desjardins behind the net, the final numbers (scoring chances) are from the brilliant work at C&B.

What does it all mean?

The Oilers have two very young centermen trying to grow up quickly in Gagner and Cogliano. Gags numbers show the offensive ability and a fine CorsiRel, but he faced easy competition and the scoring chance numbers should have been better. Was this a result of his struggles with the two Swedish kids? Don't know. We are reaching a point where even the most stubborn Gagner supporters (me, Zona, a few others) should begin to wonder if he's going to be the player forecast those years ago. I'm still betting on him.

Cogliano is making progress, and I think coach Renney has been helpful in the process. Cogs isn't scoring a lot and his scoring chance totals are about the same as Gagner's but he did it in tougher waters. It's small progress but there's a heartbeat.

Colin Fraser's numbers are disappointing but we also have to remember that the man was playing with some subpar linemates for much of the season. Edmonton's depth forwards were among the worst in the NHL.

This is Gilbert Perreault as a Montreal Junior Canadien, shortly before Buffalo drafted him in 1970. There is no 20-year old Gilbert Perreault in this draft, so the Oilers options for improving center involve the following:

  1. Signing a free agent like Brooks Laich.
  2. Trading for a qualitied veteran center.
  3. Trusting that Gagner-Cogliano can improve this coming season.
  4. Inserting Anton Lander in the mix and hoping for the best.
  5. Allowing the number one overall pick to stick with the big club if he impresses.
  6. Moving Taylor Hall to center full time.
  7. Go crazy and offer the moon for Mike Richards.

I think option six looms large.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
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#1 dawgtoy
June 07 2011, 07:41PM
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(_!_)

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#2 Ender
June 08 2011, 10:51AM
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@Archaeologuy

I can't help but wonder how different Pääjärvi's season might have been if he spent the whole time in the top-6. Make no mistake, I fully understand we had better options at LW and that's why he ended up on the 3rd line. I'm just thinking, though, that the 3rd-line really doesn't lend itself to Magnus' style of play. He was just the least-square peg for that round hole.

In an alternate universe where Pääjärvi spent the year on the second line playing with Horcoff, Gags, and Eberle, do you think we might have seen some very different numbers from him? I do.

I don't want to do that same thing to RNH any more than I want to try and make a center out of a fantastic left winger. That's why I elevate him to the second line, even if it places him slightly out of his depth for a bit. I'd rather see him struggle briefly while adjusting to where he's meant to play naturally than try and teach the kid a whole new skill-set and mentality that I probably don't want him to use for most of his professional career anyway.

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#3 Archaeologuy
June 07 2011, 08:27PM
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How to improve at C? If only the #1 rated player in this year's draft was a Center. That sure would make things easier. Too bad RNH is a...oh, wait, he's a Center.

Gagner was on pace for career year (even while playing with rookies for long stretches) before Jones got a little shanky on the bench, and the Oil will draft a future 1C in RNH. I dont think the Oilers can count on Horcoff to be a difference maker since his FO% and scoring has been trending down, but he's obviously still a useful enough player. Moving forward the answers down the middle will be Gagner and RNH. If that doesnt work out then there is no safety net to fall back on. The eggs are in that basket whether we like it or not.

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#4 Bucknuck
June 08 2011, 09:15AM
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THIS ONE IS FOR ALL YOU CLOWNS SAYING HORCOFF IS USELESS!

Did you read the article? Lowetide just demonstrated that #10 is our best centre.

The point is that in order to win this team needs to ADD skill to the middle. Trading away or burying the captain (our best centre) does not accomplish this. Neither does giving him less TOI.

Wake up.

Gagner has been getting sheltered minutes and still his progress appears to have stalled. Fraser was useless, and Cogliano appears to have become a fourth line defensive centre. Playing these three more would result in MORE LOSSES. Why would anyone suggest that?

Yeah Horc's contract is an overpay. Woop-de-friggin-do. They are nowhere near the cap so that fact is IRRELEVANT at this point.

Yes I meant to shout.

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#5 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 09:39AM
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@Brad

Horcoff doesnt need to be replaced. Cogliano or Fraser needs to be replaced with high end talend so that the Depth Chart moves down.

I see your point about not replacing Khabi, but that's not Khabi's fault. That's a coaching/management thing.

Financially, Khabi's contract doesnt hinder the Oilers. His play does.

Horcoff's play is just fine, for a 2nd/3rd line player with more Defensive responsibilities than Offensive. Look at the numbers Lowetide posted. He is the best faceoff option we've got, he plays against the best opposition, but he cant score at a high enough rate especially considering the breakdown of scoring chances that occur when he's on the ice.

That's classic 2nd or 3rd line centre with enough talent to play against the bigs.

If the coach keeps playing him on the 1st line then that's a whole different problem.

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#6 Ender
June 08 2011, 09:44AM
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@Brad

After reading your first comment in this thread (especially the Souray part) I had basically decided to ignore you as I would any other ignorant troll.

After reading your last post, though, I've changed my opinion a bit. You're obviously not as completely clueless as I first suspected, so now you've graduated to simply 'wrong'. That's cool; we've all been there at some point.

Horcoff is a bad contract. There's no getting around that. Nonetheless, he still has a lot to contribute to this team and his presence helps us more than it hurts us. Assuming, of course, that he's used in a capacity that's appropriate for him; you can't put Taylor Hall in net and then start cussing him out for being a freakin' seive and losing games for us. If Horcoff is kept off the first line, he is better for the Oilers by his presence than by his absence. And he's not going anywhere.

Let's not commit to any more Rapture billboards just yet. Horcoff playing on the team through the rest of his contract does not spell the end-of-the-world for the Oilers. There are other places to cut deadwood before you start looking in Horcoff's direction. One was Souray, by the way, just in case you're wondering.

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#7 SurfacetoAirMissile
June 08 2011, 01:14PM
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Jordan Eberle is up for play of the year on the Oilers Web site and on TSN's web site..... I know what you are thinking....... Duh! Who doesn't know that?

Can you tell me the best move Ebs made in that highlight real?.... I didn't thinks so..... Don't pass it to a wide open "Hands of Stone Horcoff"!!!!!

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#8 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 07 2011, 07:43PM
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What ever happened to Fist or are you a Canuck army under cover?

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#9 @Oilanderp
June 08 2011, 01:16AM
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@Brad

Dearest Troll,

Please read the articles before commenting.

Thanks.

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#10 David S
June 08 2011, 01:24AM
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At the risk of being Captain Obvious, the following ground rule should have been laid out for this thread:

Shawn Horcoff will not be: a) Traded b) Bought out c) "Buried in the minors"

His contract is so bad I doubt even NHL 2011 software would allow a deal.

He's here for the duration. Deal with it.

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#11 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 12:48PM
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David S wrote:

I like to think of it this way.

When would RNH see the light of day in Detroit?

Detroit doesnt select the 1st overall pick in the draft all that often. They dont even have someone from the 1st round half the time. If they did, they would have more players break in when they're 18.

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#12 David S
June 07 2011, 07:42PM
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*Sets up deck chair, cracks beer and fresh bag of Doritos, opens new pack of smokes and settles in.*

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#13 Chris.
June 07 2011, 09:03PM
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Wes Mantooth wrote:

Lowtide said;

The key imo is to find a quality 2-way center who can play multiple roles. Win faceoffs, kill penalties, score 15 goals. He might play some nights on the 3line and other nights on a scoring line and he could move up when injuries happen (and they always happen).

Kyle Brodziak, that kind of guy

I thought we had that guy..his name is Horcoff

Love him, or hate him; you can't deny: this team needs more Horcoffs.

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#14 Quicksilver ballet
June 07 2011, 09:13PM
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David S wrote:

*Sets up deck chair, cracks beer and fresh bag of Doritos, opens new pack of smokes and settles in.*

Here you go David.

The sooner this kid is outta here the better. He'll be taking valuable icetime away from the future of this hockey club, Hall,Gagner,Hopkins and/or Sean Couturier plus whatever happens this summer. There's no denying this Kevin Lowe effort will do much more harm than good in the very near future here, make that in just 2 yrs from now. I'd hesitate even keeping him at half of what he's due over the balance of this contract. One could argue that close to every friggen cent of the money the Oilers made from that 06 playoff run has gone straight into Shawn Horcoffs pockets. Horcoff needs to be gone so those minutes can be utilized by players whom will be part of the future of this club and move forward. Hall and Eberles comments about Horcoff this past year were probably more of a professional courtesy than how they really actually felt i'm sure. Get this poor mans whatever you want to call him as far away from these kids as possible. What's he going to teach them, how to get hurt, or how to slow the game down so he can keep up? We're far better off burying Shawn in the minors and bringing Ryan Smyth back.

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#15 They're $hittie
June 07 2011, 11:54PM
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Gagner was not a number one overall pick like Daigle, so there is no way he is a compareable to him. He is a half season to a season away from getting two hundred points all under the age of 23. There are a lot of first round picks that never get to fifty.

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#16 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 09:24AM
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Brad wrote:

Deal with being a lottery club the next 4 years.

He has a no movement clause. That means no trading and no sending down to OKC. The only option is buyout, and that's not a likely scenario unless he accelerates his decline in play.

And even with the certainty of having Horc on the team until the end of time, there is no certainty that the team will be a lotto club for the length of his contract.

His ice-time has been dropping for a few seasons, much like his production. Over the next 4 seasons we should be seeing Horc fall out of the top 6 and into a depth role. It will be either a Tragedy or a Miracle if that scenario doesnt play out (either the Oil still wont have anyone better or he discovers the fountain of youth).

With 20 million in Cap space, in a world where the Cap only goes up (no matter how many teams are failing to make money), Shawn Horcoff's contract is not hindering the club in any way.

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#17 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 08 2011, 09:48AM
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I am sorry but some of you are so pessimistic that I really can not agree.Yes we may be in last place but our future is much brighter than at least 80% of the clubs in positions below the playoff threshold. Personally I would say all but 2 or 3 max. Why?

(1). Hope really that is 5 reasons but I will list as one. I truly expect at least 4 of those players to be top six. (2).Our really horrible contracts will be gone when those players are ready for some serious help. (3). Yes we only have 2or3 good D-men but improvement is coming. Our prospects are looking good. (4). OK city is a very good thing this will pay off! (5). Do you really think Katz will be satisfied to be the NY islanders. Come on get a little pride. (6). Do you really think that NOTHING has been said about the Habbi or Horc or Souray contracts between Katz AND the management team. I am sure these have each had hours of discussions on the mistakes made and what can be learned from them. Yes there will be more mistakes but if Katz is a decent business man and I truly believe he is then he can tell between BS and truth. I am sure there have been some tough words. (7). SO Calgary had more points and just missed the play offs. Do you really feel that far from them I don't the kids are young they have not and will not accept mediocrity. SO enough all ready. We will be in the play offs in two years three MAX. I really expect to just miss this next year. (8) Oil Change told me a lot of good things. It gave me confidence for the future.

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#18 John Chambers
June 08 2011, 09:48AM
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@Archaeologuy

I really like Cogliano. Maybe we need to move him to the wing, but I think this guy fits in somewhere in the long term. He probably deserves a 2-year contract similar to Ryan Jones.

Just saying this because I think he can turn into a situational player like Malhotra ... albeit as a wing.

There was a long 5 on 3 penalty kill against Vancouver late in the year where Cogliano won a draw, fought to get the puck out, broke up another play, and got the puck out again. It was a positional- and work-ethic gem. A 45-second clip that his agent should carry around on an iPad when he sits down to discuss his client.

Yeah his FO % is terrible, but speed and determination like his is not a commodity.

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#19 D-Man
June 08 2011, 09:57AM
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Brad wrote:

Deal with being a lottery club the next 4 years.

I don't think you're giving Horc enough credit as he's a very good faceoff man and is an excellent defensive centerman... On any team in the NHL, he'd be an okay number #2 center and an excellent #3.. Unfortunately, as the stats show, we don't really have any other options to fall back on.. In short, he's not playing the role he is best suited for..

In regards to being a lottery club... We'll probably be in the realm of a top 5 pick next year. Unless we make some sort of huge splash with a trade and pick up a 'Jeff Carter' or someone like that (which is extremely unlikely) - we won't be finishing any better than 25th overall... As Hall and Ebs improve and our other draft picks like RNH, Marincin, Lander, Pitlick, Hamilton improve - we'll be fighting for a playoff spot in 2012-2013...

Patience is a virtue. Horc is here to stay; and outside of David's comment that he won't be going anywhere - for his leadership and work ethic - that's a good thing...

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#20 Ender
June 08 2011, 10:16AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I agree with you, heck Cogs was my Star last year. I know there is a long standing belief that he is better at C than on the Wing, but with his FO% if he cant adapt to the wing then his days are numbered.

I really thought after years 1 and 2 that we were looking at a guy who could net 20 a year, after the last few seasons I'm doubting that, but why couldnt he play up and down the lineup on the right side?

Honestly, I wonder if Gagner isnt also destined for the Wing if the Oilers can ever find a better player down the middle. Both are better options than Omark at this point and Hemsky's future is up in the air.

If it was up to me. Our depth Chart next year (not counting in trades or FA signings) would be 1) Gagner 2) Horc 3) RNH 4) Cogs.

Gagner and RNH soak up PP time, Horc and Cogs on the PK. Live and Die with Gagner somewhere in the top 2 lines and see if he's up to the task. It will only be a matter of time before RNH takes the top billing (barring bust scenarios), and with Khabi in net next season losing is pre-destined anyway.

Just some musings on a June morning.

Complete agreement except that I exchange Horc for RNH at 2C and 3C repectively. May as well put RNH in the top-6 from Day One since that's where he's going to spend his career and then have the reliable checker on the third-line for shutdown.

I realize that the argument for keeping Horcoff at 2C might be that he's doing a good job feeding and developing the rookie wingers on the second line. Frankly, though, I expect RNH to be able to perform that function equally well; if he can't, I've been grossly mislead as to his abilities. I've also heard nothing about Ryan's defensive play that would give me confidence in sending him out in a traditional 3rd-line checking assignment in the NHL.

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#21 Chris.
June 08 2011, 11:14AM
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John Chambers wrote:

I think a trade with Philly is good out-of-the-box thinking. A smart GM has to take advantage of opportunities - a team over the cap limit pre-supposes a tremendous opportunity.

Prime example - Atlanta fleeced Chicago last year when Chi was up agains the cap for two cornerstones of the Winnipeg franchise - Andrew Ladd and Dustin Buff.

As for a defenseman - not Timmonen, Coburn maybe, Carle maybe as well. I wouldn't want to give up Paajarvi, or Marincin, or even Curtis Hamilton, but perhaps Omark, or Plante, or Teubert, or the 19th overall pick.

Versteeg might also be of interest, but it's been well documented that we're small on the wing. Van Riemsdyk would be worth dealing Plante + the 19th overall for.

Let's trade for Pronger.

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#22 Team Draft Centers
June 08 2011, 11:35AM
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Here's a solution for the long term center problem. This is the draft year of the Center. Let's get at least 2. If you get RNH and then run up and grab Couturier as well, I think we're set up pretty good. Sort out the rest down the line. Too many centers is a good thing. Can always move Cogs to the wing, or Gags for that matter. Good centers don't grow on trees, they're picked at the draft.

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#23 David S
June 08 2011, 11:49AM
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OK look. While RNH is a snappy young JUNIOR player, let's get off this "second-line NHL center" talk. He's gained what, 7 pounds, which should put him just over 170. Unless he's the second coming of Wayne freakin 99, he'll get crushed in the big boys league.

RNH is a decent prospect. That is all. Certainly not rippin' it up like Taylor Hall did. I'd be very disappointed if he got Gagnered™.

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#24 pelhem grenville
June 08 2011, 11:50AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I wont count on him to do it until I get to see him play on a regular basis, but I wont count it out completely either. Fair?

...more than fair...i wanna see him too...i think he surprises us all big time!

one hundred and fist!

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#25 NamelessNed
June 08 2011, 06:40PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Did you know if they trade Omark and draft Larsson, then it won't be HOPE anymore... it will be HELP.

Now does that mean that they need help... or that they are going to help?

Hmmm... pick RNH, just in case.

Or might change that HELP into more ELPH

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#26 pelhem grenville
June 09 2011, 04:54AM
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...and the Boston Bruins have taken a commanding 2 games to 2 lead in the series heading back to the left coast...

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#27 The Goat - Team FIST
June 07 2011, 08:10PM
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Looks like Horc took a FIST upside the head

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#28 Zamboni Driver
June 07 2011, 08:31PM
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To answer the "what does it mean" question...

Wait I know I know!

Shawn "IliftweightswithBatman" Horcoff is your best centre....

The answer is.....Last place two years in a row!

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#29 jr_christ
June 07 2011, 08:48PM
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hot diggity dog

we're finishing last again aren't we?

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#30 Ferg
June 07 2011, 09:20PM
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Are we writing off Bono, errrr.... Brule at center? When he's healthy man that guy can crash and bang, love the way he plays.

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#31 Oilfan00
June 07 2011, 09:44PM
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We can't get rid of Horcoff, yes his contract is bad, however it doesn't matter right now as the Oilers have tons of cap space and he is the best center we have. He is a valuable piece and if we do draft RNH and Gagner he will be a key contributor as the 3rd line C, maybe his last two years of the contract will suck but right now and next year they don't, plus he is the captain and from the sound of how the locker room was this year and how he mentored the kids he is a pretty damn good one, he isnt a number 1 Center or MVP but he is important to this franchise.

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#32 manuel
June 07 2011, 09:57PM
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lol...you know what sam gagner.reminds mi of. Alexandre Daigle.ganger will not get any better. a trade for a pick will do........

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#33 Dog Train
June 07 2011, 10:05PM
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This is why we need to draft a centre first overall. You just simply don't find #1 centers anywhere but in the draft unless you want to pay them 8 million for a hundred years. Gagner is an alright second line guy, Cogliano and Horcoff are solid in a third line role and we have a few kids in the pipeline who have bottom six centre skill sets (Lander, Vande Velde). As for the Gagner and Daigle comparison, Gagner is already better than Daigle. Not saying that he will meet some people's expectations but I do see a useful second line player.

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#34 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 06:19AM
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Peterborough wrote:

I think you are right but the best move would be to keep RNH in junior for another year, no need to start the clock on him just yet that also gives us a buffer between him and the prized three. Give him a year to get bigger and stronger and a year for the rest of the team to get better.

I was against it with Hall and I'm against it with RNH. I believe that all players deserve the right to earn a job out of camp. If RNH is the 5th best option at C when training camp ends then by all means put him back in juniour. It doesnt happen very often that the #1 pick plays another year in JR but if he doesnt earn a spot then thats the way it is.

However, if he does prove to be a better option than Cogliano/Fraser for the 3C spot then puting him in the WHL for contract reasons is a bad way to start off this kids Oiler experience.

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#35 raceguy
June 08 2011, 07:57AM
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Oilers Forever wrote:

I am true Oilers fan, however, I read a report that Edmonton is the Long Island of the North and I started thinking about it and it is true. Edmonton will always be a training ground for high draft picks and will accumulate overpaid washed up veterans (Horcoff). we have a lot of similarities to our brothers in South, they too were a force in eighties and won several stanley cups but unfortunatly it is only a memory now and don't see things changing anytime soon with the current team structure. Frustrating.

???????????????.

If I draw a line from Edmonton straight south I find one cup in Cowtown and one in Anaheim.Your statement makes me think you just rolled out of bed and started typing.We didn't "accumlate" Horcoff.He has been an Oiler since they drafted him.

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#36 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 08 2011, 08:04AM
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Oilers Forever wrote:

I am true Oilers fan, however, I read a report that Edmonton is the Long Island of the North and I started thinking about it and it is true. Edmonton will always be a training ground for high draft picks and will accumulate overpaid washed up veterans (Horcoff). we have a lot of similarities to our brothers in South, they too were a force in eighties and won several stanley cups but unfortunatly it is only a memory now and don't see things changing anytime soon with the current team structure. Frustrating.

I really can not agree at this point when Katz said time to tank he meant build through the draft. Katz said be patient let the kids develop and build slow and steady I am all for it. I have also NEVER heard any one project NY at a serious team of the future and they are already saying this about the present Oil. That is with out this summers #1 and Whatever SMB will draft to add to the pool. Does Lowe make me nervous still yes but this summer and whom we sign will tell me a lot. We are not going to be perpetual bottom feeders HOPE will not allow it. I am cautiously optimistic.

PS ANd we are NOTHING I repeat Nothing like those people south of us I would not trade them spots for all the rice in china. Go to Flames Nation and many of them talk about how we are 3 years ahead of them and how they need to tank. READ before you post please ! PSS CALGARY won 1 Stanley when we were in a serious case Of post traumatic stress syndrome having just traded #99. If that does not happen they would be tied with Vancouver!

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
June 08 2011, 09:02AM
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Have to believe Shaun will be bought out after the 2012-2013 season, by then the Oilers may need that cap space. With only 7 million due over those last two yrs of his deal, i think the Oilers would gladly buy him out at 4.75 and drastically reduce that 5.5 cap hit the last two yrs. The sooner this devastating contract is in the rear view mirror the better.

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#38 Brad
June 08 2011, 09:09AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Dearest Troll,

Please read the articles before commenting.

Thanks.

If I'm a troll then your a blind sheep.

I read the article.

The best way to improve at center is not to play a below average center on the downside of his career 20/60 minutes per game.

Seems pretty obvious.

Its kind of like adding another depth goalie. How much does it matter if Khabby is getting the majority of the starts?

Just to play along though I'm hoping for option 4.

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#39 Brad
June 08 2011, 09:26AM
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"Did you read the article? Lowetide just demonstrated that #10 is our best centre."

Yeah, he demonstrated using btn stats -where the fixed variable is randomness. What a revelation.

If I'm an idiot for not buying into btn numbers then so be it.

Jim Corsi said himself that that the value in btn is judging teams, not individuals.

Horcoff has scored 20 goals only twice in his career.

Horcoff averages less than 30 hits per year (can you say soft).

Horcoff is average at best on draws.

Horcoff is injury prone, and on the downside of his career.

Might as well trade Sam Gagner for Brian Rolston while were at it because "he plays a more complete game".

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#40 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:04AM
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@John Chambers

I agree with you, heck Cogs was my Star last year. I know there is a long standing belief that he is better at C than on the Wing, but with his FO% if he cant adapt to the wing then his days are numbered.

I really thought after years 1 and 2 that we were looking at a guy who could net 20 a year, after the last few seasons I'm doubting that, but why couldnt he play up and down the lineup on the right side?

Honestly, I wonder if Gagner isnt also destined for the Wing if the Oilers can ever find a better player down the middle. Both are better options than Omark at this point and Hemsky's future is up in the air.

If it was up to me. Our depth Chart next year (not counting in trades or FA signings) would be 1) Gagner 2) Horc 3) RNH 4) Cogs.

Gagner and RNH soak up PP time, Horc and Cogs on the PK. Live and Die with Gagner somewhere in the top 2 lines and see if he's up to the task. It will only be a matter of time before RNH takes the top billing (barring bust scenarios), and with Khabi in net next season losing is pre-destined anyway.

Just some musings on a June morning.

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#41 freeze
June 08 2011, 10:12AM
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@John Chambers

I think the contract he gets this year will be interesting and tell us a lot about how management sees him on this team. He surprised me on a number of occasions this this year; mostly with his work ethic and his toughness. He took a ton of punishment and didn't miss one game! Any player on this team that plays multiple full seasons is worth some patience! (IMHO)

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
June 08 2011, 10:13AM
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If Horcoff was a UFA this summer i'd have to think he'd be hard pressed to find a taker at 2 million per yr. Only in Edmonton is he a top 6 forward and that's probably for only one more yr.

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#43 positivebrontefan
June 08 2011, 10:45AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Bold Move, Ender, Bold Move.

I was thinking from the 2C spot Horc can still lineup against better opposition relatively easily. I was also considering the idea of "Sheltering" RNH on the 3rd line, but he isnt a 3rd liner so it might not do him any good down there at all.

I agree, why put a projected first line offensive player in what is traditionally a PK/shutdown position that Horcoff/Cogliano is more suited for. Let the kid play where he is meant to play. with skill players dishing and slicing and dicing other teams third line. I think he may be more protected there anyways due to the fact that if he is one of several skilled players on the ice it will be harder for oppositions to focus on him when there are other offensive weapons to be worried about.

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#44 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:56AM
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@Ender

You have me convinced. Make it so, Number 1.

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#45 Rogue
June 08 2011, 11:04AM
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Horc is the BEST center of a BAD bunch. And yes, have him as 3rd. line center. Gags and RNH as top 2. With Horc on 3rd. line it also means our top 2 lines will not be handicapped with his failing offensive abilities.

Its a "win win" scenario.

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#46 madjam
June 08 2011, 11:33AM
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Horcoff is a player that is reliable in all facets of game , and only his exhorbitant salary makes him appear anything less . He's still our best centerman by quite a stretch , although he is not elite status as his contract seems to imply . Why put him on second or third line, when he is clearly the best we still have for first line at this juncture ?

When/if we get a better centerman than Horcoff ,then maybe they should look at rplaacing him on first line . Special teams he is no slouch at either .

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#47 David S
June 08 2011, 11:38AM
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Ender wrote:

I can't help but wonder how different Pääjärvi's season might have been if he spent the whole time in the top-6. Make no mistake, I fully understand we had better options at LW and that's why he ended up on the 3rd line. I'm just thinking, though, that the 3rd-line really doesn't lend itself to Magnus' style of play. He was just the least-square peg for that round hole.

In an alternate universe where Pääjärvi spent the year on the second line playing with Horcoff, Gags, and Eberle, do you think we might have seen some very different numbers from him? I do.

I don't want to do that same thing to RNH any more than I want to try and make a center out of a fantastic left winger. That's why I elevate him to the second line, even if it places him slightly out of his depth for a bit. I'd rather see him struggle briefly while adjusting to where he's meant to play naturally than try and teach the kid a whole new skill-set and mentality that I probably don't want him to use for most of his professional career anyway.

PRV was adjusting to the North American game for the first part of the season. He was markedly better as the season wore on. Putting him under more pressure by starting him in the top-six would have been a mistake. Kudos to Tom Renney for realizing this.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/6/5/2207661/magnus-paajarvi-yet-another-sign-of-hope

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#48 D-Man
June 08 2011, 11:40AM
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Ender wrote:

I can't help but wonder how different Pääjärvi's season might have been if he spent the whole time in the top-6. Make no mistake, I fully understand we had better options at LW and that's why he ended up on the 3rd line. I'm just thinking, though, that the 3rd-line really doesn't lend itself to Magnus' style of play. He was just the least-square peg for that round hole.

In an alternate universe where Pääjärvi spent the year on the second line playing with Horcoff, Gags, and Eberle, do you think we might have seen some very different numbers from him? I do.

I don't want to do that same thing to RNH any more than I want to try and make a center out of a fantastic left winger. That's why I elevate him to the second line, even if it places him slightly out of his depth for a bit. I'd rather see him struggle briefly while adjusting to where he's meant to play naturally than try and teach the kid a whole new skill-set and mentality that I probably don't want him to use for most of his professional career anyway.

Fair argument - I do agree that if RNH is good enough (and by all accounts, he is) to play in the NHL - he sticks as a center... I just question whether we'd want him to start initially as a 2nd line center... No one can argue his skill set and he's already put on 7 lbs since the end of the season - so one can speculate that he'll be close to being physically ready too... But to put him on a 2nd line - he'll be seeing top caliber NHL players right from the hop. I'd rather 'shelter him' (if that's possible with our lack of depth) initially on our 3rd line with Jones and Omark/Hartikainen to start, and give him some 2nd unit PP time... That takes a lot of the offensive pressure that's going to be heaped on to him to start the season, off... Let him learn how to forecheck and play sound defensive hockey to start.. With his natural offensive talent, the points will come...

We forget that we've protected Gagner for three years... Let Gagner be our number 1 and let's see what happens... Horc has shown to fit naturally between Hall and Ebs - one more year there shouldn't hurt anyone's development..

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#49 John Chambers
June 08 2011, 12:10PM
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David S wrote:

OK look. While RNH is a snappy young JUNIOR player, let's get off this "second-line NHL center" talk. He's gained what, 7 pounds, which should put him just over 170. Unless he's the second coming of Wayne freakin 99, he'll get crushed in the big boys league.

RNH is a decent prospect. That is all. Certainly not rippin' it up like Taylor Hall did. I'd be very disappointed if he got Gagnered™.

& @ Indiana Jones

I agree with Ricky 100%. I see no reason to rush Nugent into the NHL next year. Too young ... he would enter the NHL a full 8 months younger than Hall. I somewhat agree with Arch's logic that anyone should be able to earn a spot, but organizationally you also have to consider a longer-term development plan. Seguin hardly got any ice this year - perhaps he would've been better in the O again.

My lineup at Centre for opening night would be: 1) Horcoff 2) Gagner 3) Tim Connolly, signed as a UFA on a 1-year deal 4) Lander

Cogliano moves to the wing on the 3rd line, Foster is in OKC or waived, and Nugent of course is a Rebel, and plies his trade for Red Deer.

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#50 David S
June 08 2011, 12:20PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I know I'm not a Mathematographer, but RNH had 106 points in his draft year and Hall had 106 points in his draft year. They seemed to have "Ripped it Up" relatively evenly.

106 points in Red Deer.

I dunno man. Maybe its the "seen him good" in me, but I just don't get the sense that RNH is anywhere near the dynamic talent that Hall was. Katz bent over backwards to have Hall and Seguin at his house, whereas nowhere near the same attention seems to have been placed on this year's potential #1. Maybe it's just a weaker draft this year.

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