Who's Leaving?

Lowetide
July 03 2011 08:03AM

With this weekend's additions, the Edmonton Oilers now have 16 forwards for 14 available spots. Someone is leaving town.

Steve Tambellini has made some very nice moves since the entry draft, but there's more work to do. The NHL team has 16 forwards and that's too many. Here's a look at the keepers, the suspects and the possible line combinations. The list goes from most likely to make the roster to least likely.

  1. L Taylor Hall: The franchise has a roster spot secured for the next decade, and the big question here is who will play on his line. If RNH makes the team, I'd expect Hall and Eberle to be the wingers on the ultimate Kid Line. That might not last the pre-season if the line struggles from the pressure, so expect Horcoff to slide into the middle between Hall and Eberle should that happen.
  2. R Jordan Eberle: Led his team in points as a rookie and showed impressive growth over the year (although that first NHL goal will live forever). I believe Eberle's immediate future is tied to Hall's--they were successful linemates a year ago, why mess with success? RNH and Horcoff are the likely centers.
  3. L Magnus Paajarvi: Fleet Swede had a solid rookie season (34 points) and displayed some impressive play away from the puck. Found chem after Christmas with Omark and I think that duo will continue, albeit with a different center than a year ago (Gagner). We've talked about all of the '10 rookie wingers moving to center, and I think MP might be the best candidate. For now, I think the best option for them at center is either newcomer Belanger or Horcoff (should RNH make the team on the Kid Line).
  4. L Ryan Smyth: Huge acquisition for the Oilers. I think Smyth will team up with Hemsky no matter the center, and further believe the first candidate for the role should be Sam Gagner. He has chem with Hemsky and if things roll well that line could either play the tougher minutes or scald the soft parade.
  5. C Shawn Horcoff: Despite age and not possessing the foot speed he had in 2006 spring, Horcoff will once again play an important role on the team. I think there's a strong possibility he gets MP/Omark if Nugent-Hopkins grabs the 1line job. The Oilers could also go with a designated veteran line and reuniting him with Smyth and Hemsky. That's a tough call, though. Still too much youth on the other lines to leave them alone.
  6. R Ales Hemsky: Gifted winger is apparently healthy and ready to roll in 11-12. The Oilers will attempt to sign him and then put him in a position to succeed before shopping 83 at the deadline. My guess is that he's tied to Smyth for the regular season, with center's Gagner and Horcoff getting time between them.
  7. C Sam Gagner: Young center has made progress at the NHL level despite point totals in the low 40's. Very intelligent player who can riff off veterans extremely well, I'd hope coach Renney gives him veteran linemates Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky in an effort to have a 1line that can protect the Kid Line. I don't see Gagner centering MP and Omark again, he never did figure out the two Swedes imo.
  8. C Eric Belanger: An absolute Godsend for this forward group. He can play up and down the lineup and I'd guess that he will do just that over the season. Most likely linemates would be MP/Omark and Eager/Jones on the third unit.
  9. R Linus Omark: I can't think of a line combination that has him playing apart from Paajarvi, so it's a matter of which center they line up with most nights. My guess is that Shawn Horcoff or Eric Belanger and their 2-way skills will be best used between the gifted Swedish wingers.
  10. L Ben Eager: I see lots of people saying he's a 4line crash and banger, but I think Eager may end up playing higher on the depth chart. A designated 2-way line of Belanger-Eager-Jones is possible and he could also play 4line minutes with Cogliano at center and Hordichuk on the wing. I also believe there will be times he'll take a spin with the kids just to keep everyone honest.
  11. R Ryan Jones: I believe Jones will play with Belanger and Eager on the 4line, but could also see times where he's patrolling the 4line with Hordichuk and Cogliano.
  12. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Makes the list this late because there's just no way RNH plays a secondary role. He either makes it as a member of the top 2 skill lines or he's going back. Most believe (as do I) that he's going to get those 9 games to succeed. I think he'll stay. Wingmen options include Hall-Eberle and Smyth-Hemsky. I don't like the RNH-Hemsky fit because Hemsky is all reaction and feel and RNH is all vision and thinking the game. I don't like the match, we'll see.
  13. C Andrew Cogliano: Coach Renney said several times last season that he felt Cogliano was making progress as a two way player. I think Cogs may continue that role, this time with physical Ben Eager and energy guy Ryan Jones on his wings. A secondary possibility would be sliding Cogliano between the two Swedes, but that could be chaotic in the Oilers zone.
  14. R Darcy Hordichuk: I think some may be getting the wrong idea about Hordichuk. I see him as a huge upgrade over Steve MacIntyre as a player, but don't believe he's going to play 80 games and see 6 minutes a night. Hordichuk will enter the season as the 14th man and be utilized in a depth role. That's how I see it, anyway.
  15. L Teemu Hartikainen: He starts TC as the last guy sent out/first call up from my point of view. He could make the big club if one of the incumbents shows up at least than 100% in terms of conditioning, but I can't see a way for him to make it straight up at this time.
  16. R Gilbert Brule: I think his NHL career is at a crossroads. The unfortunate circumstances surrounding the LAK deal for Ryan Smyth made Brule a quesiton mark across the league. I can't imagine an NHL team trading for him now, there's a clear medical reason for the deal to have been turned away. My guess is LTIR until he can get things back together again.

With all of that as a  backdrop, here's how I see the lines breaking down:

  1. Gagner-Smyth-Hemsky
  2. RNH-Hall-Eberle
  3. Horcoff-Paajarvi-Omark
  4. Belanger-Eager-Jones
  5. Extras: Cogliano-Hordichuk
  6. Minors: Hartikainen
  7. LTIR: Brule

WHO'S LEAVING?

One of the centermen, either Cogliano, Gagner or Horcoff. Hopefully the club will acquire a top 4 shutdown defender in the deal. After that, I believe they'll either send down Hartikainen or LTIR Brule to set the roster.

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 TSN 1260.
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#101 Bucknuck
July 03 2011, 12:26PM
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justDOit wrote:

He's listed as a C, at least he was when he played for us 10 yrs ago...

Are we bringing back Sven Butenschon next?

Thanks man. HockeydB had him as a winger and Wiki had him as LW. More reliable sources (like NHL) have him as C.

Is this a signing for the AHL or NHL?

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#102 justDOit
July 03 2011, 12:26PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I think there's a window here because of the cap floor problem. Horcoff is a solid player who has lost a step and the Oilers signing of Belanger might give the team a chance to restructure the center position.

RNH-Gagner-Belanger-Cogliano slots everyone into position and the Oilers would have that cap room moving forward.

I'm not suggesting it is a strong option, but the cap floor situation at least brings into into play long enough for us to ponder it.

Coyotes, Jets, Islanders and Preds have to spend from $9M to $13M just to get to the cap floor, so yes, that's a possibility.

But are they going to give us back a good, responsible center to replace Horc, just for the sake of the cap floor? I think we lose that trade, in a hockey sense, for sure.

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#103 justDOit
July 03 2011, 12:29PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

Thanks man. HockeydB had him as a winger and Wiki had him as LW. More reliable sources (like NHL) have him as C.

Is this a signing for the AHL or NHL?

A 33 yr old center who's played just over 300 games, and has a career point production is 0.25/game, and a career -10.

I'd say AHL, but if those crazy rumours of Horc getting traded, maybe he is depth for the NHL?

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#105 justDOit
July 03 2011, 12:33PM
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For those who can't stand the sight of female flesh, treenasoil is reporting the caps shopping a goalie to the Oil, and that the Sabres/Oilers are talking trade, with Gags/Cogs being named.

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#106 justDOit
July 03 2011, 12:37PM
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Lowetide wrote:

yeah, agreed. But I think you might be willing (if you're ST) because that gets a huge contract off the books. Hall and the group are going to get paid and that isn't too far away.

Also, if the Oilers are as high on Lander as I think they are, going with less experience at center this season might be something they're willing to do.

As a trade for 11-12, I agree it'll hurt.

Could be, but I still think Horc is more important to us this year, especially if RNH makes the team.

We would then have a year or two to get out from under his contract, either with a buyout or a bus-tour salary dump.

Or he could just retire, and his buddy Katz could give him a job with Rexall.

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#107 Dan the Man
July 03 2011, 12:38PM
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horndog77 wrote:

I agree that losing Horcoff would be worse for faceoffs, but most times you have to give something to get something. And I think the Oilers would be smart to have money available to get a premier defensemen to play with all that talent up front.

Horcoff doesn't have much value due to his contract so chances are you aren't getting anything of value in return and the Oilers don't need the capspace right now.

If the Oilers want to unload Horcoffs contract because they think they will need the space when it's time to resign Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi then it's not to going to make the team better right now.

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#108 In the Grease
July 03 2011, 12:49PM
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justDOit wrote:

For those who can't stand the sight of female flesh, treenasoil is reporting the caps shopping a goalie to the Oil, and that the Sabres/Oilers are talking trade, with Gags/Cogs being named.

Caps shopping a goalie doesn't seem to make sense from a financial standpoint - they must already have the cheapest one-two combo in the league for 11-12 with Vokoun at 1.5 mil, and Neuvirth at 1.15 mil ... what would be the thinking here? Holtby is only 21 and is theoretically fine in the AHL next season, especially as insurance if one of the other guys goes down.

Maybe the Caps are pulling some kind of misdirect/ switcheroo on Vokoun, and he'll be playing in Edmonton this season after all? Nefarious...

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#109 justDOit
July 03 2011, 12:52PM
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In the Grease wrote:

Caps shopping a goalie doesn't seem to make sense from a financial standpoint - they must already have the cheapest one-two combo in the league for 11-12 with Vokoun at 1.5 mil, and Neuvirth at 1.15 mil ... what would be the thinking here? Holtby is only 21 and is theoretically fine in the AHL next season, especially as insurance if one of the other guys goes down.

Maybe the Caps are pulling some kind of misdirect/ switcheroo on Vokoun, and he'll be playing in Edmonton this season after all? Nefarious...

Agreed, doesn't make sense for them to still be shopping goalies - unless part of the deal is for the Oilers to take on a big contract as well. Caps are within $500K of the cap ceiling.

She(he) also says that the Rangers have interest in Cogs, but not willing to give anything back. Seems to be in line with my theory of having too many smallish, unrealized forwards isn't a position of strength.

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#110 tHe TeE wHy
July 03 2011, 12:53PM
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I was having numerous adult beverages at joeys patio on Jasper on this great Canada day. All the while Ryan Rishaug was sitting by me yammering on the phone non stop. After over hearing some interesting conversations, and once the liquid courage kicked in a Lil more, I asked him what he thought the almighty oil typhoon would do in terms of moves before camp. In his words, cogs and gags don't fit anymore and most other teams feel the same and are already throwing out feelers for the two. More-so for Gagne tho. He all but guarantees they'll both be headed out for a D-man.

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#111 OilFan
July 03 2011, 12:53PM
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WOW. Is Belanger that much of a upgrade to the CAPTAIN ?

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#113 OilFan
July 03 2011, 12:56PM
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@tHe TeE wHy

IS THIS TRUE ?

"I was having numerous adult beverages "

or maybe you thought it was a "Quasi-celebrity" ?

..............

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#114 justDOit
July 03 2011, 12:58PM
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@tHe TeE wHy

Interesting, but I really think it un-cool to be calling out someone for what their OL looks like. In order for you to walk in someone else's shoes, first you must take off your own.

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#115 Oilcruzer
July 03 2011, 01:03PM
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@tHe TeE wHy

Talking about someone else's partner like that is real low. Hit the edit or leave.

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#116 Dan the Man
July 03 2011, 01:05PM
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tHe TeE wHy wrote:

I was having numerous adult beverages at joeys patio on Jasper on this great Canada day. All the while Ryan Rishaug was sitting by me yammering on the phone non stop. After over hearing some interesting conversations, and once the liquid courage kicked in a Lil more, I asked him what he thought the almighty oil typhoon would do in terms of moves before camp. In his words, cogs and gags don't fit anymore and most other teams feel the same and are already throwing out feelers for the two. More-so for Gagne tho. He all but guarantees they'll both be headed out for a D-man.

Taking personal shots at someone like that is pretty ignorant.

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#118 Duke
July 03 2011, 01:17PM
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tHe TeE wHy

that's one of the most ignorant things i've read on this website

and

can someone tell me what the actual problem is with Brule?

If the guys got personal issues then say that and i'll move on but all these vague comments about his health are weird.

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#119 tHe TeE wHy
July 03 2011, 01:24PM
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I do believe most of what rishaug says. I'm sure he's fairly connected with the goings-on of the oilers. I would much rather see cogs gone than gags, but one by thematic probably isn't gonna be enough to sway a team out of anything significant... Unless of course Dean Lombardi wants to make another deal!!! Come on DL..... One for old time sake!!

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#120 justDOit
July 03 2011, 01:24PM
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Duke wrote:

tHe TeE wHy

that's one of the most ignorant things i've read on this website

and

can someone tell me what the actual problem is with Brule?

If the guys got personal issues then say that and i'll move on but all these vague comments about his health are weird.

re: Brule - I agree. If he really is getting the flu that often, then there are some serious underlying health concerns. If this 'flu' is self induced, then the NHL substance program is in order. Either way, something should be done for this guy!

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#121 justDOit
July 03 2011, 01:28PM
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tHe TeE wHy wrote:

I do believe most of what rishaug says. I'm sure he's fairly connected with the goings-on of the oilers. I would much rather see cogs gone than gags, but one by thematic probably isn't gonna be enough to sway a team out of anything significant... Unless of course Dean Lombardi wants to make another deal!!! Come on DL..... One for old time sake!!

Thanks for apology.

Damned scruples, I had a bunch of good pile-on lines for that!

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#122 tHe TeE wHy
July 03 2011, 01:29PM
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*themselves not thematic.

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#123 OilFan
July 03 2011, 01:46PM
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what holiday ?

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#124 Rogue
July 03 2011, 01:48PM
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As much as I see the value of Horcs as a vet, I would move him. RNH would almost have to remain then. I still would like to see a huge 4th line center down the road.

I too would like to know Brules issues.

Real or imagined.

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#125 OilFan
July 03 2011, 01:52PM
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Gagner won't get us anything in a trade so no real point in trdaing him. As long as the Oilers need a second line center Gagner is cheap and can get you 40-50 point.

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#127 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
July 03 2011, 01:58PM
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@ Arch

Amen Arch, Amen.

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#128 SLURVE
July 03 2011, 02:07PM
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I prefer to keep Cogs over Brule or Gagner. Cogs is versatile- can play wing or center. Played 82 games in the last 3-4 years. He is quick and with soft hands. Can play up and down the lineup. Or keep all and not sure if Hartikainen has a 2-way contract but because of injuries which has been often in the last 3-4 years, they will provide depths.

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#129 justDOit
July 03 2011, 02:13PM
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SLURVE wrote:

I prefer to keep Cogs over Brule or Gagner. Cogs is versatile- can play wing or center. Played 82 games in the last 3-4 years. He is quick and with soft hands. Can play up and down the lineup. Or keep all and not sure if Hartikainen has a 2-way contract but because of injuries which has been often in the last 3-4 years, they will provide depths.

Have to disagree a bit with your assessment of Cog's abilities. For wheels - quick he isn't, but fast he is. His first 3 strides are actually kind of poor, and he has below average turning.

As for his hands, I haven't seen them do much since his rookie campaign.

Gags has better skating (but not as fast as Cogs), hands and vision - which is why other teams are asking about his availability (supposedly). And I'm sure Gagner could adapt to playing a wing without much effort.

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#130 Rockin Rod
July 03 2011, 02:20PM
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The Oil should ship out Cogs this summer for whatever they can get and sign Konopka, we can get him for under a mil, he'll win draws and play tough and be the ideal 4th center. Center position this year should be Horc-Gags-Belanger-Konopka. Give RNH one more year of development in Red Deer and then dump Gagner next summer.

This should be the exit plan for Cogs and Gags, anyone that has watched the Oil for the past four years knows these are fundamentally flawed players.

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#131 OilFan
July 03 2011, 02:22PM
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cogs and gags for Yandle ?

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#132 Sox and Oil
July 03 2011, 02:28PM
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Buffalo makes the most likely dance partner. Cogs + ? for Sekera (RFA). It would be nice to get a RH shot but. Or should Enroth make a better target?

Two things are certain Buff and EDM both need to make at least 1 trade before Oct.

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#133 SurfacetoAirMissile
July 03 2011, 02:33PM
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Whitney, Gilbert, Smid, Sutton, Barker and I am sure Peckham will be signed shortly. I am certain Petry is ready and could split time between the A and NHL which makes seven D-men. Why is everyone ready to trade for another D-man without giving one up in their trade speculation? I thought the name of the game is develop the younger d-men?

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#134 Quicksilver ballet
July 03 2011, 02:39PM
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If anyone is on their way out of here i hope we're just getting picks in return. Have to think Howson would part with next summers first rounder for Hemsky this summer. Horcoff,Gagner to the Islanders in exchange for their first rounder

Am a little surprised Gudbranson isn't signed yet in Florida, thought that would've been one of the first things they'd take care of.

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#135 coco crisp
July 03 2011, 02:48PM
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Still would rather have Mac then this new guy....

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#136 stratedge
July 03 2011, 02:50PM
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If Gags + Cogs could be packaged for anything of true value (top 3 D-man or another better vet centre), I'd be ecstatic. I think it's more likely Gagner has plateaued, than he hasn't. If someone out there is still high on him, pull the trigger.

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#137 gcw_rocks
July 03 2011, 03:30PM
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I can't see RNH starting between Hall and Eberle. They would get killed defensively.

Line 2 will be Hall-Horcoff-Eberle Line 3 will be MPS-Belanger-Omark Line 4 will include eager and jones. That leaves RNH and Gagner fighting for the spot between Smyth and Hemsky.

If Gagner loses that battle and Hemsky re-signs, Gagner is trade bait.

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#138 justDOit
July 03 2011, 03:36PM
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@Dan the Man

Props to DtM! They say it takes a year or two longer to develop by being thrown into the NHL before you're ready - Turris is another example.

If he could have been transitioned on a team with some depth, I'm sure that would have worked out better. Gagner and Turris are both examples of 18 yr olds who weren't ready for the bigs, and were stuck on poor teams. They did send Turris to the AHL after one season, but the damage seems to have been done.

The big question is, how long do you hold out hope? I mean, if JFJ got nine lives, how many do you give a player with talent?

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#139 justDOit
July 03 2011, 03:40PM
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Time for your 3:30 treenasoil update: (s)he says that other teams are licking their chops at Cog's potential offensive upside and could throw an RFA offer sheet at him.

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#140 The Beaker
July 03 2011, 03:41PM
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SurfacetoAirMissile wrote:

I'm not sure why so many want to dump Gagne so early in his career? There is not many players around the league that have so many NHL games under their belt at age 21. I honestly thought he started to play some of his best hockey before he got hurt last year.

I would agree most NHL clubs overvalue their "homegrown" talent. You naturally would like to see your draft picks turn out, it is just human nature. However, the Oilers are rebuilding, so what better time than now to find out what kind of player Gagne can be. The Oil have already invested 4 years of playing time for Gagne in the NHL, I think it would be a crime to wash that all away with a trade to suit their immediate needs.

Probably because Gagne doesnt play on our team, if we traded someone we didn't have on our team for an asset Tambo would be awesome!

Also, after the Penner and Smyth things I don't think Lombardi would be too impressed if we traded one of his players for him.

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#141 SurfacetoAirMissile
July 03 2011, 03:51PM
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The Beaker wrote:

Probably because Gagne doesnt play on our team, if we traded someone we didn't have on our team for an asset Tambo would be awesome!

Also, after the Penner and Smyth things I don't think Lombardi would be too impressed if we traded one of his players for him.

Me fail english? Thats unpossible!

However, I do feel I know more about hockey than I do about spelling.

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#142 Kodiak
July 03 2011, 03:52PM
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SurfacetoAirMissile wrote:

I'm not sure why so many want to dump Gagne so early in his career? There is not many players around the league that have so many NHL games under their belt at age 21. I honestly thought he started to play some of his best hockey before he got hurt last year.

I would agree most NHL clubs overvalue their "homegrown" talent. You naturally would like to see your draft picks turn out, it is just human nature. However, the Oilers are rebuilding, so what better time than now to find out what kind of player Gagne can be. The Oil have already invested 4 years of playing time for Gagne in the NHL, I think it would be a crime to wash that all away with a trade to suit their immediate needs.

They've invested 4 years and seen negligible improvement. The last 4 years he's produced 0.62, 0.54, 0.60 and 0.62PPG.

He doesn't skate well enough to create offense with his speed, he doesn't shoot well enough to consistantly score goals, he's not strong enough on the puck to cycle very well, he's not very strong defensively, and none of these things are likely to change over time. He brings nothing to the table that suggests we will see a substantial increase in production.

If he were to bring a physical presence or a defensive aspect to his game along with his 41 points/season that would be different, but he doesn't.

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#143 The Beaker
July 03 2011, 04:02PM
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@SurfacetoAirMissline

:)

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#144 SurfacetoAirMissile
July 03 2011, 04:04PM
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Kodiak wrote:

They've invested 4 years and seen negligible improvement. The last 4 years he's produced 0.62, 0.54, 0.60 and 0.62PPG.

He doesn't skate well enough to create offense with his speed, he doesn't shoot well enough to consistantly score goals, he's not strong enough on the puck to cycle very well, he's not very strong defensively, and none of these things are likely to change over time. He brings nothing to the table that suggests we will see a substantial increase in production.

If he were to bring a physical presence or a defensive aspect to his game along with his 41 points/season that would be different, but he doesn't.

I absolutely agree we have seen marginal improvement. However, he is only 21 years old... I don't think you can predict how good or great offensivly he can become by the time he is 21. You have to look no further than the Sedin's. First 4 years... 40 pnts a season. Everyone figures they will be average at best. Next four years 50-70 pnts as season..... every on figures them to be good but not elite players.... last couple seasons speak for themselves.

How bad would it look on Vancouver if they gave up on the twins after 4 seasons? There are examples all around the league of players taking time to develop. I honestly think we havn't seen the best out of Gagner yet.... if we have, then this season will go a long way in determining his fate.

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#145 SLURVE
July 03 2011, 04:14PM
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justDOit wrote:

Have to disagree a bit with your assessment of Cog's abilities. For wheels - quick he isn't, but fast he is. His first 3 strides are actually kind of poor, and he has below average turning.

As for his hands, I haven't seen them do much since his rookie campaign.

Gags has better skating (but not as fast as Cogs), hands and vision - which is why other teams are asking about his availability (supposedly). And I'm sure Gagner could adapt to playing a wing without much effort.

I wouldn't say his first 3 strides are poor because he is known for his quick acceleration and going lateral while dangling the puck. Your comparison of the skating ability between Cogs and Gagner should not hold such a priority interms of skill set. Not in this case. It is a question of versatility, cost to re-sign and usefulness in the lineup. Playing on the 3rd or fourth line is a primary checking line for the Oils so you will not see Cogs scoring chances go up as you would with Gagner centering the second line.

Cogs is versatile enough to move up and down the line up. He has not missed a game from all of his 4 years (even when the Oils were dropping like flies). He is a definite upgrade of a Todd Marchant. Gagner will be more expensive to keep (6th pick center overall) and I do not see Gagner being as versatile on the wing or a checking center without the puck. Do you want to re-sign Gags for 3-4 million as a second line that will not give you more than 50 points? We seemed to have an abundance of larger and perhaps more or less equal in skilled center to Gags as in maybe Pitlick, Lander, Hartikainen (wing/center), Vandevelde and Martindale (?) Cogs will not be an expensive re-sign and he would give you depth with certain skill set, speed and versatlity at center or wing on the 2nd,3rd or fourth line. If only he could win faceoffs...

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#146 Kodiak
July 03 2011, 04:36PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

What would a successful season for Gagner look like in your eyes? Please enlighten me because when I see a 21 yr old 2nd line center who you can bank on producing 40-50 pts, I don't see a problem.

He's never hit 50 points so obviously you can't bank on that, and as we've seen zero improvement in his production over the last 4 years I wouldn't count on it changing. The only reason age is a factor is if he's improving or has a skill set that suggests he has the potential to improve. I don't think he does.

He's played more EV strength (and the softest evens) and PP icetime/game than any other center the last couple years so not sure how you can suggest he's put up those numbers as a 2nd line center. Playing 1st line EV and PP minutes I would think he would have to produce 35% more than the 41 points he's put up each of the last three years.

It's also more than just points. His skating and lack of physical strength aren't really conducive to a puck possession game. He's not very good defensively and has no physical element to his game. Heck, if Eric Belanger got Gagner's PP and soft evens he'd probably put up 60.

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#147 Kodiak
July 03 2011, 04:39PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Fortunatly it doesn't take much moe then .62PPG's to qualify as a good second line center.

A slight bump up in production and he will be there.

He led the team in EV icetime and PP time. 1st line minutes to put up marginal 2nd line numbers. He's been protected more than any supposed 2nd line center in the league and been given gravy icetime to put up 40 pts a year.

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#148 Kodiak
July 03 2011, 04:46PM
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SurfacetoAirMissile wrote:

I absolutely agree we have seen marginal improvement. However, he is only 21 years old... I don't think you can predict how good or great offensivly he can become by the time he is 21. You have to look no further than the Sedin's. First 4 years... 40 pnts a season. Everyone figures they will be average at best. Next four years 50-70 pnts as season..... every on figures them to be good but not elite players.... last couple seasons speak for themselves.

How bad would it look on Vancouver if they gave up on the twins after 4 seasons? There are examples all around the league of players taking time to develop. I honestly think we havn't seen the best out of Gagner yet.... if we have, then this season will go a long way in determining his fate.

You compare the Sedin's predraft scouting report to Gagner's and you will see a huge difference. The Sedin's possessed much better skating, shooting and puck control than Gagner, and even though they didn't produce a lot early in their careers you knew the potential was there. That's why you don't give up on players. I don't see Gagner as having a big unrealized potential. I think what you see is what we will get because of his size, average skating and below average shot.

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#149 SurfacetoAirMissile
July 03 2011, 05:07PM
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Kodiak wrote:

You compare the Sedin's predraft scouting report to Gagner's and you will see a huge difference. The Sedin's possessed much better skating, shooting and puck control than Gagner, and even though they didn't produce a lot early in their careers you knew the potential was there. That's why you don't give up on players. I don't see Gagner as having a big unrealized potential. I think what you see is what we will get because of his size, average skating and below average shot.

I certainly can see your point, that being you don't think Gagner will improve on any part of his game at the tender age of 21.... I disagree and believe he has enough up side to at the very least let him play out this season's contract to determine what kind of player he can be and if he fits in line with the Oilers future plans. We can agree to disagree..... we will see in the next few years.

I do completely disagree with your use of predraft scouting reports? Why would you rely on predictions on players before they ever played an NHL game vs. using their first four years of playing in the NHL to determine how good a player will become? Makes no sense..... how many predraft scouting reports predict a player will be a star and they are a bust? ..... too many

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#150 Kodiak
July 03 2011, 05:13PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I get it that you don't like Gagner but this is ridiculous. I think we'd agree that the NHL is not a developmental league but Sam was rushed and had to learn on the job. Now, after playing 4 seasons before he could legally drink in the USA, people like you want to pick apart flaws in his game and throw him to the wayside. Give me a break. Not every player is going to put up 75 points. Sam will be a very productive 2nd line centre for possibly the next 5-10 years. What is wrong with that?

I'm not as convinced as you, and others, that Sam is as bad a skater as you think. Also, Sam has been more willing to get his nose dirty than alot of his teammates over the past couple seasons so I'm not sure how you say he has no physical element to his game. Sure, his stature makes him more prone to take some licks but he doesn't back down and he is willing to stand up for himself.

You've yet to answer my question. What do you expect from him and what do you view as a successful season for him?

I appreciate Gagner was rushed, but using it as an excuse for Gagners production is ridiculous. If his being rushed affected his development well that's too bad, but bottom line is we need production out of our 2nd line center.

I want the Oilers to win the cup. 2nd line centers for the final four teams this year were Kesler at 0.89ppg, Pavelski at 0.89ppg, Lecavalier at 0.83ppg and Bergeron at 0.71ppg. On top of their point production all four of these players are excellent defensively. Gagner will never be this type of player. He doesn't fit the role of a bottom 6 so I just don't see a reason to hold on to him long term.

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