Is There Anybody Out There?

Lowetide
July 10 2011 06:48AM

We're at a point in the free agent season where teams are either set or almost there. A few stragglers will sign, but it's on to arbitration and then we'll see you at camp for most of the league's 30 teams. Do the Edmonton Oilers have any business to finish? Are there any UFA's who could help? 

The Oilers could use a goaltender, either to push the top 3 on the depth chart (Dubnyk, Khabibulin, Danis) or to force young Olivier Roy down to the ECHL (where he could play every night and find the range as a pro). Glenn Hall (in photo) is the best available free agent goalie, but coaxing him out of retirement in the 60's was difficult--by now it would be close to impossible.

Steve Tambellini has some nice options at the position. Ray Emery posted a .926SP for the Anaheim Ducks a year ago after coming back from hip surgery. Emery should be considered a solid gamble for a building team like the Oilers, and reports suggest Emery has matured over these years. At 28 years old, he's certainly young enough to hang around awhile.

On the blue, Scott Hannan remains available and would certainly improve this club's top 4 defensive depth chart. His boxcar numbers aren't anything special but the secondary (read: Desjardins) numbers show someone who can still play. Hannan and Ryan Smyth played together in Colorado for a couple of seasons, perhaps the Oilers can recruit Hannan for the Oilers using a former teammate. There are lots of interesting players, like Jack Hillen (not qualified by the Islanders) but if the Oilers were to line up with a top 4D of Whitney-Hannan, Smid-Gilbert I think we could agree that things are getting much better.

Adding Ray Emery and Scott Hannan would be considered huge moves at this point of the season. They would also advance the cause mightily and give the Oilers an opening night lineup that could look like this:

  • Gagner-Smyth-Hemsky
  • RNH-Hall-Eberle
  • Horcoff-Paajarvi-Omark
  • Belanger-Eager-Jones
  • Whitney-Hannan
  • Smid-Gilbert
  • Peckham-Barker
  • Dubnyk (Emery)

Could that team make a playoff push? 

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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#3 Jonathan Willis
July 10 2011, 10:47AM
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@ bleedingoil:

Please don't link to Hockey Buzz. It isn't a reputable source, as Eklund's accuracy rate is well under 3%.

Also, I did a better job predicting trades using random guesswork than he did with his supposedly "insider" access.

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#4 @Oilanderp
July 10 2011, 11:21AM
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I guess I am the only person in the entire oilogosphere that believes it is still Nicholai's job to lose. Wait! Wait! Wait!

*waves a stick with a helmet on it to check for sniper fire*

This year our defense core is a little better, and I am not one of those who believes Dubnyk will necessarily reveal his superman pajamas and lead the team into the future.

Khabibulin is the most experienced, the veteran, and as such should be given the chance to prove that he can turn his game around. Respect your elders..... but only so far.

The key here is if he doesn't prove he can turn it around, then give Dubnyk a chance, or failing that, Danis. Let experience dictate who gets the first crack, and thereon let play dictate who gets the most recent crack.

Speaking of crack, we don't need Emery the lunatic, just let Khabi continue to mentor Dubnyk, and don't wear him out.

*ducks back behind cover*

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#5 Crash
July 10 2011, 02:22PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

It's so bizzar that you wouldn't want to add a good NHL'er. Why would you want a defense that looks 'fine' when you could have a better one. Also as it sits right now that's still one of the worst defenses in the league... And is an injury to Whitney away from being an absolute disaster again.

It's bizzar that you think Hannan is that good of an nhler....it's bizzar that you think he would make much of a difference....Scott Hannan doesn't guarantee you have a better defense...Scott Hannan doesn't bring what Petry can possibly bring...it's bizzar that Washington would just let him walk if he was that good of an nhler...it's bizzar that if he was that good that he's still unsigned...it's bizzar that you'd want Hannan to take Petry's spot in the lineup...it's bizzar that you think anybody that has a different opinion than you is bizzar.

That the Oilers will still have one of the worst defenses in the league is something we will find out. Petry is another year older, Barker could be gold or a bust, Sutton could make it more difficult for other teams to establish net presence, a healthy Whitney will make a big difference, Peckham is another yr older with a full yr of experience behind him, same with Smid...adding a 32 yr old journeyman defenseman that other teams aren't clamouring over right now guarantees you "NOTHING"

I'm not against improving any area but adding Scott Hannan doesn't improve squat...

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#6 Giggsunited
July 10 2011, 06:52AM
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Fist.........!

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#7 David
July 10 2011, 08:32AM
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Please anyone but Emery. I remember him in Ottawa. He's a primadonna with a bad attitude and he's a lockerroom cancer. Dogging it in practices; trash talking opposing teams; dragging teammates to the seediest night clubs in each city... he would set a really bad example for the young players on the team. His average goaltending does not make up for his off-ice negatives.

Hannan would be a nice pickup, but I'm guessing ST will stand pat after acquiring Barker and Sutton, even if they aren't at Hannan's level.

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#8 EasyOil
July 10 2011, 09:10AM
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Nice thoughts LT, as usual. And thanks for the Floyd reference :) best band ever, imo.

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#9 Crash
July 10 2011, 03:02PM
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Dirty Thing wrote:

Signing Hannan gives us someone more capable of handling minutes once one of our top 4 defensemen goes down. He has more experience than anyone on our blueline and brings a game that isn't exactly duplicated throughout our lineup. He isn't the perfect option but he does his job, and can take pressure of guys like Petry who most likely will go through hot and cold streaks. As far as Journeyman goes he's played 830 games with mostly two teams, before he was traded last year for a top 6 forward in Fleischmann.

Not buying it...not as sold on Hannan as you are...

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#10 Crash
July 10 2011, 03:12PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

As of right now Hannan would be arguable our 2nd best dman, almost certainly our 3rd best and inarguable our 4th best.

Adding Hannan would improve our defense just like adding Belanger improved our depth down the middle.

If you want to be a good team, you add better players, Hannan is better then at least half our defenders.

That's your opinion...I don't think Hannan is as good as you say he is...he's now 32 yrs old, he's one dimensional...I think the Oilers stand a better chance of being better with Petry in the lineup instead of Hannan. Petry would likely be the odd man out with Hannan being in. Petry brings a game Hannan couldn't dream of bringing. Hannan doesn't bring any offense to his game, he's also not a tough guy...he could quite likely be yet another big soft 225 pound defenseman not unlike Gilbert only with no offense to his game.

So no, Hannan would not be our 2nd, 3rd or 4th best d-man.

I agree you make the team better by adding better players...I think one could argue that Hannan isn't better than anyone of the Oilers current top 7 and judging by the number of teams that are lining up to sign him right now I'm guessing you might be overvaluing him.

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#11 Crash
July 10 2011, 03:18PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

"I think one could argue that Hannan isn't better than anyone of the Oilers current top 7"

Wow

What's wow about it OB? Because you believe it to be otherwise?

Why is Hannan still available? If he's that good, why in the hell is he still sitting there for any team to sign? With regards to the Oilers D, is he as good offensively as Whitney, Gilbert, Petry, Barker? Who has more upside, a 25 yr old Barker and Smid or Hannan? Who is tougher, Sutton and Peckham or Hannan? Just what is it that has you clamouring over this guy while he sits waiting for someone to sign him?

Yes I think it could be argued that Hannan brings nothing to the table that would make the Oilers defense better.

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#12 Crash
July 10 2011, 03:53PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

It's "wow" because it's quite possibly the most ridiculous, statment I've ever read here (and that's saying alot). It truly does bring the "homerism" to a whole new level.

Claiming that a guy that played top 4 minutes on the team that let in the least amount of goals in the whole conference.... and had so much faith in their tending that they went out and brought in a new one wouldn't even *make* the worst defense in the leauge.... that was ~bolsterd~ (though I do like the additions) by the addtion of a guy that was bought out by another one of the worst teams in the league and a guy that played the *11th* most minutes per game on a team that let up the 10th most goals in the conference is ... well bizzar.

What's ridiculous about it? It has nothing to do with homerism...I look at what Hannan brings. Tell me why Washington didn't resign him? Tell me what he's going to bring that's going to make things so much better?

You cherry picked one season on a powerhouse team...it's easy to cherry pick numbers from different seasons....how'd he look on a bad Colorado team the year before Matt Duchene was drafted? Have a look at 2008/09 the year Hannan played on a bad team in Colorado...what would you have been saying about him that year if you were a Colorado fan...you would have been front and center with your self proclaimed words of hockey wisdom about him being useless. He played the most minutes per game on that team and was a team worst minus 21. The team was also the worst defensive team in the entire league that season...if the Oilers are still as bad as you say they are is it possible that Hannan could end up a team worst here too? It sure as hell is possible.

As far as the Oilers being the worst defense in the league? This year coming is a different year, this years defense has different personnel. Sutton and Barker are new, Petry would be too. Do you think it's possible the defensive numbers can be better with the addition of that faceoff man this year, by having new personnel on the forward ranks, and by the younger players having another yr of experience to draw on? Maybe they are still going to be the worst, time will tell but Hannan has a past that shows he doesn't necessarily perform to a very high level on bad hockey teams.

The evidence suggests Hannan's not as good as you are making him out to be. Washington doesn't want him back, no one else in the entire league has rushed to get him into their top 4...so what is "WOW" about suggesting that maybe he really wouldn't make things better and that the Oilers would be better served giving Petry actual NHL minutes this year?

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#13 homerer
July 10 2011, 07:12AM
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BY the By what is or has happend(ing) with Khabibulin's legal troubles?

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#14 Woogie
July 10 2011, 07:13AM
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Lowtide, You don't have khabbi in the starting roster if emery gets signed. Where does he go?

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#17 OilBaron
July 10 2011, 07:35AM
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Anyone who watched Emery last year should know he can't move well cross crease after his hip ordeal, he is pretty much done.

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#18 Colin
July 10 2011, 07:39AM
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Lowetide wrote:

OKC.

While I'd like to see it, I don't think "MVP" Khabibulin is going anywhere.

As for playoffs.......

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#19 Archaeologuy
July 10 2011, 07:40AM
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I would love to believe that the Oil are willing to send Khabbi to OKC but I fear it is just a pipedream. He certainly is a hinderance to the Oilers and was bad enough to be demoted from the starting position on the big club to backing up JDD or Gerber in Oklahoma. Still, the Oilers seem Hell bent on tying that anchor around their legs and jumping overboard.

I would be overjoyed with a DD/Emery tandem in Oilerville. If the team could even just wrap its head around the idea of playing the goalie that makes the most stops on a consistent basis I would be happy.

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#20 raceguy
July 10 2011, 07:41AM
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OilBaron wrote:

Anyone who watched Emery last year should know he can't move well cross crease after his hip ordeal, he is pretty much done.

If Emery is "done" with a .926 sv% what are the dozen or more goalies who were worse.DD was what .910 or.912?If Oilers were to sign Emery good chance he would be the starter.

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#21 striker777
July 10 2011, 07:43AM
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Respectfully disagree re: sending Olivier Roy to ECHL. I saw him in the development camp and he looked strong. His latteral movements, reaction, puck control and stick-handling, are all very impressive for somebody that young. He is ready to be Dannis' back up and should see 10 to 15 games in the AHL next season.

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#24 BArmstrong
July 10 2011, 07:47AM
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Hannan would be great. Tough as nails, and plays a hard (and within the rules) brand of hockey. He's the Ryan Smyth version of a stay-at-home d-man. Takes a puck in the mouth, and doesn't miss a shift. Great player and role model for the kids.

LT, what would it take to sign him? At 32 he made 4.5 with Col/Wsh last season. Does he come to Edmonton for less? Won't he want a long term? Does he fit this team at say a 4yr/15mil or 5yr/18mil? I suppose they could sign him to a 5 year deal if the money was right, and wind up with a trade-able asset in 2 years time.

I like the player, but don't think his terms will match the Oils.

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#26 BArmstrong
July 10 2011, 08:01AM
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How's this for a goaltender strategy? Start the season with Khabbi. As soon as one of the other 29 teams has their starter lost to injury either a)offer Khabbi for trade(if Khabbi's start has been solid), or b)send him down to OKC and (oh please, oh please, oh please) pray that the desperate team plucks him from the waiver wire. Publicly curse the opposing GM, and privately breath a sigh of relief.

While I hate to wish injury on anybody - can you imagine if Quick and Bernier went down. I'm laughing too hard to type.

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#27 K
July 10 2011, 08:03AM
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I would love to see an LD hired on to play with Gilbert against the toughs and push Smid to the bottom pairing. If Smid is your third pairing with petry your probably in good shape. Then we would need an RD to play with Whitney, and we would have way to many lefties(sutton and barker). I would rather see hannon here then barker or sutton but as it is I think tambo is gonna sit and wait.

Would love to see an offer sheet to alzner or sekera, even more then hannon. Also both lefties. The only right handed d I can think of that might be available would be Bogosian who would look awsome with Whitney. But again I think tambo believes our d is deep. Which is to bad

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#28 John K
July 10 2011, 08:10AM
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Ray Emery wouldn't be a terrible idea since he would be so cheap. He's got a decent shot to at least perform better than the Estonian wall.

One caveat with Razor Ray is that his 926 was over only 10 games last year. Not a very good sample size.

Martin Gerber was 958 last year. Of course that was over 3 games.

Hannan is on a slow decline, but he can probably still play hockey at a higher level than either Barker or Sutton. If he's had for cheap and a shorter term, it's probably a good step for the team.

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#29 book¡e
July 10 2011, 08:15AM
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LT - If you were GM, what is your strategy in net this year?

I suspect that Tambi's is to focus on development over wins (depending on strategy - the two can go hand in hand). Any goalie he gets needs to be ok with sharing the load with DD with DD getting perhaps 55 games. They also should be a good mentor for DD.

I think this is why they will stick with Khabi for the time being.

Does Emery still fit the mold if development is prioritized over wins?

Is prioritizing development over wins a dumb strategy?

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#30 DoubleJ
July 10 2011, 08:15AM
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Is there not an issue with the number of contracts we have? I would love to add another nhl d-man to the roster, but do we not need to do it through trade just so we could move out some contracts to make room for the new ones?

That's another thing I don't understand with the Oilers or Steve. Why wouldn't you sign a few one year contracts of good solid vets to help teach the young guns and then ship them out for prospects or picks at the deadline? They haven't done this yet during this rebuild. Makes no sense.

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#32 a lg dubl dubl
July 10 2011, 08:44AM
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Interesting read LT, Ive been on the buyout/sent to OKC for Khabby bandwagon since January and I hope the Oilers follow through on my pipedream. Signing a goalie like Emery who's still young enough to push DD for the starting job more so than Khabby IMO, after watching NK reek it up the last 2 yrs should be more than enough proof for the Oiler brass that they shat the bed on that signing and if they really want to push the "rebuild" towards playoff contenders they would send NK packing in some fashion.

What would the chances be if Tamby brought Emery in on a camp tryout? Is it to late to buyout the drunkin wall during camp or just before the season starts?

ST still needs to make some moves trade wise I just hope its not Gagner, or Hemsky.

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#33 speeds
July 10 2011, 09:01AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I expect the Oilers agree with you. The fact that they haven't added another goalie suggests there's a real chance Roy plays a large role in OKC.

There's certainly a chance. They also could, in theory, sign a backup AHL goalie to an AHL deal, and then if there's an injury to one of Dubnyk, Khabibulin, or Danis, just move Roy up from the ECHL starter directly to the AHL starter spot, if the idea is to get Roy into a lot of games this season.

It will be interesting to see what they do next season, with both Roy and Bunz - if they'll run with both in the AHL or place one of them, probably Bunz based on age but performance would matter, in the ECHL. It wouldn't be unprecedented to run with goalies age 20 and 21, but that isn't the way the Oilers have gone the last while.

Of course, a lot of that is circumstance. WSH went with 3 goalies in the NHL this season, ages 22, 22, and 21.

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#34 Dubai Guy
July 10 2011, 09:29AM
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LT:

I am not sure I agree with the Emery idea, but love the Hannan suggestion. I just feel that Khabi is the best option for us right now - but hopefully in the role of a backup. Duby needs a mentor, and although Khabi has passed his prime, he still is one of a few cup winning goalies in the game and can pass on a few tricks and tips to Duby (and any other goalie in the system). We are stuck with his awful contract, but he may still be of value to this young core. Placing Emery in his place may result in more wins, but ultimately, Khabi may (or may not) have an "Adam Oates" effect on Duby. I think its worth keeping him around. Besides, he may have something to prove himself. Here's hoping for a comeback season for Khabi!

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#35 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
July 10 2011, 09:36AM
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I really agree that we do not want Habbi in goal and I suspect that the Oiler management does not want him either. At the same time if you send him to OK-city and hire another goaltender you limit the growth of some one in the system. If you buy out Habbi Oh yeah you can't do that he is over 35. You are in "a fine kettle of fish" the best option may be to just ride him at the NHL level as the back up or what ever # of games needed after Dybnyk takes what he is ready for and have the chips fall were they may. This at least allows the future tenders to get more Ice-time in OK-City and may still get a decent draft pick. It may be the lesser of 35 evils.

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#36 DangerMan
July 10 2011, 09:42AM
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I like the thought of Emery coming in because it gives Khabibulin a real threat of someone who will take his gig. Khabibulin can't win the job by default this year. He has to earn it.

Scott Hannan would be better than nothing, but I am still holding out for hope via trade that a more offensive Dman is coming this way.

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#37 dman09
July 10 2011, 09:43AM
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Well I'll be honest, i don't think Tambo will sign either. I think Defense there are enough options in the AHL that are very close to being NHL ready that signing another Dman will just handcuff the team from getting the young guys NHL experience. I think people need to realize that this year still isn't about making the playoffs, it will be about developing the depth that the organization has in place. If they do make the playoffs that is a bonus.

Goalies are kind of the same situation. They won't make any changes unless they can get rid of Bulin and even if they did I would have to think that Denis would get the call up to the NHL. He is still a fairly young guy and I think the team believes there maybe be a starting goaltender there. Especially with the recent Fin goalie signings I would think that both Bunz and Roy would split the time in OKC.

I think this would result in a big step in the development of a lot of the players and I hope that this is the path Tambo will take.

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#38 toprightcorner
July 10 2011, 09:47AM
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Don't see D-man coming in unless one goes out. You don't trade for Sutton to get his size and have him as your seventh D-man. I would say they will give Barker a chance to be a top 4.

If that fails, then maybe you bring in someone else, if he does well, I could see Gilbert being shopped as he is the only D that is not overly physical and his skills can be matched or surpassed by Barker if he decides he wants to commit himself 100%.

The Oil have added the veteran leadership they need, I don't see a point in signing another player over the age of 30 to start the season.

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#39 Smokey
July 10 2011, 09:47AM
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I bet you could cox Ol Glenn Hall into a Oiler uni, sign his grandson to play with the Oil I bet he come back for reunion tour. Ive seen him over the years at the Grocery Store and McD's in Stony, and hes still got the reflexes of a cat. Get er' done Tambo, get er done...

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#40 Skidplate
July 10 2011, 09:49AM
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@dman09

I like out talent in our young defence, but I do think the AHL is the place for them to gain experience. Who do you consider "close to being NHL ready"?

Oh, and I am sure you meant Danis, not Denis. :)

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#41 werewolf
July 10 2011, 09:51AM
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hi Lowetide i have followed you for quite some time.

One thing edmonton needs to do is get bigger at center and gagner doesnt fit in that group. Hes not a ray whitney or martin st.louis. yes i know there is only 1 player who has more points from his draft year. But I dont think we can invision gagner as a top center and we have enough small players that will make a bigger impact than him

eberle, omark, cogliano, belanger and in the wings hartikanen, vanvelde, lander

we need to trade gagner, smid and cogliano gilbert and maybe a couple of prospects. This makes room for our upcoming stars and maybe we can get anumber 3 or 4 D

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#42 bleedingoil
July 10 2011, 10:14AM
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Check this out........may have to shuffle lines around soon. Maybhemsky only at development camp to show other gm's he is healthy.........

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#43 dman09
July 10 2011, 10:28AM
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Skidplate wrote:

I like out talent in our young defence, but I do think the AHL is the place for them to gain experience. Who do you consider "close to being NHL ready"?

Oh, and I am sure you meant Danis, not Denis. :)

Ya I meant Danis. I think Petry and Tuebert aren't too far, also some of the comments from the training camp sounded like Musil, Fedun,and I think it was Bigos had really good showing so you never know where those guys end up. I'm not saying give them full time NHl positions but being able to call them up for 5 games here and there and then sending them back down to work on a few things isn't bad for their development at all. And you never know Fedun or Petry could steal a spot and you also never know about Chorney or Plante one of them might finally setup and fight for a spot. Lots of options and possibilities. One thing is pretty certain, if you sign another Dman that the only possible way any of them gets any NHL time is if there are injuries.

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#44 etownman
July 10 2011, 10:45AM
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If your going out & getting a player with the skill set of a Barker, which is clearly top 4, then you need to slot him in there. With Whitney back, I would pair him with Gilbert on the top pairing. When Whitney first came to the Oilers he playerd with Gilbert & they were a natural fit & moved the puck quickly up ice. I would pair Barker up with Petry on the second pairing because I think they would compliment each other similar to Whitney & Gilbert. Lot's of size & mobility on the top two pairings. Third pairing would obviously be Peckham & Sutton with Smid fighting for one of those spots. There primary role is on the penalty kill, taking no prisoners in front of the net & ideally playing around 15 to 16 mins. per game.

Roy has proved in a small samplings of games in Springfield (horrible team in front of him)that he can handle AHL competition. I would feel comfortable starting him there with Danis (remember, he's another Quebecer)& have him mentor Roy. I would make sure Roy got to play 25 - 30 games in the AHL & he could also get stints in Stockton for more playing time. Just my thoughts.

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#45 steadypace
July 10 2011, 10:48AM
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Sogning Emery would improve our grit as well!!

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#46 steadypace
July 10 2011, 10:49AM
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Signing

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#48 Horcsky
July 10 2011, 11:06AM
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@etownman

Those pairings would be okay if Barker steps in and immediately plays a responsible defensive game. Otherwise, it could be the Grebeshkov and Gilbert fire drill in the defensive zone all over again.

IMO by stacking the top pairing with Whitney and Gilbert, you have an unbalance D corps. I'd rather split up my two best d-men and see:

Whitney-Barker Gilbert-Peckham Petry-Sutton

Ugh, looking at that lineup, they definitely need another Dman to play with Gilbert.

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#49 Bacon Nachos
July 10 2011, 11:06AM
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i'd really love to see the kid line. but is it wishful thinking? will RNH really make the team, and if so, will he be paired with two sophomores, or perhaps a veteran instead?

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#50 SuntanOil
July 10 2011, 11:08AM
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bleedingoil wrote:

Check this out........may have to shuffle lines around soon. Maybhemsky only at development camp to show other gm's he is healthy.........

D... ... Did you just... ... link to Eklund... as a source? I expect so much better of you BO. I'm speechless. Without speech

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