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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#51 VMR
June 08 2011, 08:44AM
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Yo guys he started his post talking about the Islanders, maybe that's the team that was a powerhouse in the 80's that he's talking about.

There are a lot of similarities as he said and a lot to learn. They've been floundering a long time and whats kept them at the bottom was bad drafting and trading away good prospects for nothing or chasing after the whale (Yashin for Chara and Spezza)

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#52 freeze
June 08 2011, 08:49AM
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Philly has some great forwards but we should really try and poach a defenseman.

Although this conversation is moot because Tambo can't pull off a decent trade to make this team better.

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#53 Ender
June 08 2011, 08:51AM
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@Archaeologuy

You're bang on the money with your comments in this thread. Strong props for a strong take.

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#54 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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#55 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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#56 Brad
June 08 2011, 09:12AM
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David S wrote:

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.

Deal with being a lottery club the next 4 years.

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#57 dawgbone
June 08 2011, 09:14AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

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.

According to capgeek to buy him out at the end of 2012-13 it would cost them 2.67 mil in cap space in 2013-14 and 3.67 mil in cap space in 2014-15 and then a further 1.67 mil the following 2 seasons.

Buyouts rarely make much sense.

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#58 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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#59 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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#60 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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#61 Souby
June 08 2011, 09:29AM
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Bucknuck wrote:

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.

Well said man. If the Oil were up against the cap ceiling then Horc's contract becomes a real issue. Is it an overpay?....Yes. Is he the best C we have? Yes. He is a leader on and off of the ice, gives everything he has every night and is well respected around the league.

Personally I think the guy we trade is Gagner. I like the guy but we need to get bigger up the middle so I would like to see them package Gags and a pick(s)/prospect(s) to get a bigger, skilled C. I think they still need to draft RNH as well, but if they improve at C now, they won't feel pressured to rush RNH along. Give him a couple of years to fill out and get more experience and then bring him up.

Just my two cents...

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#62 Brad
June 08 2011, 09:30AM
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"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."

That's like saying Khabby's contract doesn't hinder us in any way.

In reality, as long as he's under contract we're unlikely to replace him.

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#63 Brad
June 08 2011, 09:38AM
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The mods can delete my posts if they want.

Don't want to mess with the hive mentality and forgot to bring my pom poms.

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#64 Bucknuck
June 08 2011, 09:38AM
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@Brad

Yeah, but have you seen anything suggesting Khabibulin is our best Goaltender? Your comparison holds no water.

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#65 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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#66 John Chambers
June 08 2011, 09:42AM
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ItsTheBGB wrote:

Option 5 and 6.

Proposed this on HFboards. Getting flamed hard right now, but LT, what about offering Paajarvi + for Jeff Carter considering Bryzgalov will want north of 5mil making Philly over the cap.

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.

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#67 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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#68 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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#69 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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#70 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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#71 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 08 2011, 10:01AM
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John Chambers wrote:

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.

I give props and Add that for a center to learn to win Faceoffs can take 3-5 years= Patience. His work ethic makes me very willing to keep him around. I also really like his willingness to morph in to what is needed. This kid really wants to be here, he has friends and wants to be part of that future. I think HE thinks there is a future and that is his primary motivation to Morph.

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#72 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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#73 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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#74 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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#75 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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#76 VMR
June 08 2011, 10:21AM
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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

I give props and Add that for a center to learn to win Faceoffs can take 3-5 years= Patience. His work ethic makes me very willing to keep him around. I also really like his willingness to morph in to what is needed. This kid really wants to be here, he has friends and wants to be part of that future. I think HE thinks there is a future and that is his primary motivation to Morph.

Only thing he seems unable to morph into is a better physical player. There were so many times when if he'd just taken the body he could have shut down the opposition but he stuck with positional play and the opponent was able to outwork him and grind it out to generate a scoring chance.

Not sure if he's incapable of that style of play but as things stand it severely limits his defensive abilities.

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#77 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:22AM
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@Ender

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.

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#78 mayorpoop
June 08 2011, 10:28AM
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how do we take RNH and slot him at 3rd line center? we didn't drop hall to bottom six did we? if he does go (and he will) #1 to the oilers then we need play him as the skilled top line player he is (in agreement with ender).

we need to best utilize players at proper positioning and sure enough in the past we didn't have that fortune due to injuires etc...but as we develop a core / nucleus then transforming players into roles needs to occur.

this is why horc needs to be the 3rd line center regardless of contract.

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#79 pelhem grenville
June 08 2011, 10:31AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

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.

"...If that doesn't work out then there is no safety net to fall back on..."

...Anton Lander

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#80 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:32AM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

"...If that doesn't work out then there is no safety net to fall back on..."

...Anton Lander

For the top 6? I havent heard too many projections higher than 3rd line for him.

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#81 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 08 2011, 10:33AM
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VMR wrote:

Only thing he seems unable to morph into is a better physical player. There were so many times when if he'd just taken the body he could have shut down the opposition but he stuck with positional play and the opponent was able to outwork him and grind it out to generate a scoring chance.

Not sure if he's incapable of that style of play but as things stand it severely limits his defensive abilities.

I agree he needs some crust is for sure. Will he get it in the next year or two I don't know but he has changed a lot in the last two years. He seems just so willing and if not able possibly teachable. I know not all situations like this pan out but his speed and all of the above buys him time. I really hope he turns in to a real Defensive jewel that posts a lot of shoties. He could be the best feel good story. I HOPE there for I am an Oiler fan.

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#82 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:35AM
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@mayorpoop

I was thinking a 3rd line like the Nilsson-Cogliano-Gagner 3rd from their rookie year. Not a traditional 3rd line, but one where they could shelter him a little.

It was just a thought. I figured that was more likely to happen than demoting Horc to 3C. This organization has a problem slotting vets where their performance dictates they should.

I'm not anti playing RNH on the 2nd line.

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#83 pelhem grenville
June 08 2011, 10:40AM
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...you're right but once he gets his game honed for the small ice in AHL he'll be playing 3C here and sooner rather than later 2C IMO...i gotta hunch...and if the RNH plays another year in junior...who knows 50/50 jus sayin'

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#84 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:45AM
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@pelhem grenville

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?

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#85 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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#86 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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#87 Archaeologuy
June 08 2011, 10:56AM
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@Ender

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

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#88 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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#89 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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#90 positivebrontefan
June 08 2011, 11:16AM
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LOL!!! You beat me to it!

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#91 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
June 08 2011, 11:17AM
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Rogue wrote:

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.

Do you really think Gags can pull of a #2 Center his numbers seem to suggest otherwise to me. Or do you think that playing with better line mates on #2 will make all the difference as he is more that type of player.

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#92 mayorpoop
June 08 2011, 11:29AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I was thinking a 3rd line like the Nilsson-Cogliano-Gagner 3rd from their rookie year. Not a traditional 3rd line, but one where they could shelter him a little.

It was just a thought. I figured that was more likely to happen than demoting Horc to 3C. This organization has a problem slotting vets where their performance dictates they should.

I'm not anti playing RNH on the 2nd line.

i completely agree about our organizational defencies. i didn't think you were anti-rnh top six i just wanted to express how imo he should be slotted.

it's really a crapshoot, some players need shelter and others flourish ie. hall. i hope that RNH has that same make-up as hall and can flourish.

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#93 D-Man
June 08 2011, 11:29AM
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Chris. wrote:

Let's trade for Pronger.

I've never laughed so hard in my life... Nice!!

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#94 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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#95 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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#96 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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#97 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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#98 David S
June 08 2011, 11:43AM
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As far as Horcoff goes, well I try to stay out of it because it is what it is. But from what I remember last year, he played remarkably well with Eberle and Hall before "the dark times". His major problem isn't that he's inferior so much as he's a walking LTIR waiting to happen.

Albeit overpayed, his contract was written based on those periods when he was healthy. Each successive injury has dragged down his ability to live up to that contract.

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#99 D-Man
June 08 2011, 11:43AM
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Team Draft Centers wrote:

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.

How will we get Couturier though?? He's slotted at about 5 or 6 and NJ is high on him at the #4 pick for what I've read... I'd love to get both - just not sure we have enough 'horses in the stable' to be able to trade up high enough to get him...

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#100 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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