Beware the Moops

Lowetide
September 29 2011 10:42PM

It's a big weekend for the Oilers bubble boys. Thirty-two names are still in the hat, but this time next week the Oilers 23 man roster will be set. Here's a guideline of things to look for this weekend.

THE BLUE: MAKE IT STOP!

The Oilers "saloon door" blue we've seen over the last few seasons appears ready to go. Ryan Whitney's injury troubles have him a question mark for the beginning of the year and the rest of the group will have to pick up the slack. I'll guess that the opening night roster looks like this (these are NOT the suggested pairings):

  1. Tom Gilbert- he'll play in all situations
  2. Ladislav Smid- big minutes at EVs and PK
  3. Cam Barker- PP minutes and a ton at evens too
  4. Jeff Petry- I don't think this blue is strong enough to hold him back
  5. Andy Sutton- lots of work at evens and monster PK minutes
  6. Theo Peckham- struggled this TC and may be more vulnerable than one would think.
  7. Corey Potter- Oilers 7D are soon top 4D based on injury history.

That means Chorney will have to clear waivers and Fedun is the final cut. I'll guess Whitney starts the season on the IR.

THE FORWARDS: SOME FINE VETERANS ADDED

I think we're going to look back on 11-12 as a season that saw improvement in the forward group, and much of the improvement will come from veterans easing the kids into the big leagues. I think the additions of Smyth & Belanger, along with a healthy Horcoff & Hemsky is absolute gold for the Oilers. The opening night top 14F might go like this:

  1. RNH- He's going to play at least 9, my guess is he plays all year.
  2. Smyth- Mentor role plus miles and miles of savvy play.
  3. Hemsky- If he stays healthy the Oilers should have some real power this season.
  4. Horcoff- Steady veteran has more help this season.
  5. Hall- He could score 30. Or more.
  6. Eberle- Outstanding young player can do a lot of things.
  7. Belanger- A very astute addition.
  8. Paajarvi- Young man has a bright future, but is he a scorer or a 2-way player?
  9. Omark- Fine young playmaker should score more goals this year.
  10. Brule- Has to impact the game and stay healthy.
  11. Jones- Will see big minutes this season on the PK and be counted on for secondary scoring.
  12. Hartikainen- Finn did everything he could do to make this team.
  13. Petrell- I think he won a job 4x5, a helluva feat.
  14. Hordichuk- WIll be counted on heavily to play the enforcer role.

I'll guess that Gagner and Eager start the season on IR, meaning the club will cut Anton Lander, Ryan O'Marra, Josh Green and Ryan Keller.

GOAL: THE ODD COUPLE

The young man and the older gentleman form an unusal duo, and the kicker is that no one is certain of the starter. I suspect the Oilers would like to see Devan Dubnyk earn more playing time over the veteran Khabibulin, who in turn would offer the coach a strong veteran presence for nights when things go off the rails. Kind of a hockey version of Warren Moon-Tom Wilkinson for those who would remember those two players.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Dance numbers. Lots and lots of dance numbers. This weekend, the Oilers will do two things: take a final look at the Chorney's, Fedun's and Lander's while also beginning to figure out their lines and pairings. I imagine we'll see some semblance of the 1 & 2 PP's and the PK 4's. It'll be interesting to check out the TOI over at NHL dot com too.

Coach Renney didn't line match much a year ago (although he keeps saying he did, which is a concern) but those kinds of things we'll have to wait on. The regular season is almost in sight.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Rogue
September 29 2011, 10:52PM
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Fabulous, Intriguing, Standout Ta-tas, did Ann Margaret have. What a Bombshell!!

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#2 Archaeologuy
September 30 2011, 08:04AM
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I will now interrupt this regularly scheduled program for shameless promotion, albeit for a good cause.

Today and today only between 11 and 1 I will be downtown working a booth for charity. It started as an Apprentice style Pizza sale for charity put on by CDI College (where I work), but my team quickly ran out of Pizzas so now its a donation only event. My booth is located on 99st and 102ave at the South End of Churchill Square.

We are supporting the Stollery and 100% of the money we collect goes directly to them. If you're in the downtown area then come on by and say hello, maybe donate something.

If thats not your thing, or Archaeologuy is your most hated commentor at ON, or you just cant right now, then that's fine too.

Now back to your scheduled programming.

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#3 MattL
September 30 2011, 10:35AM
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Talbot17 wrote:

Don't see why Brule is still on the team, they have given him so many chances already. In NHL 12 I traded him for a bag of pucks, 1 week later he's injured. Whoever doesn't have that game get it, its really accurate! =)

4th line w/ Petrell, Jones and Belanger to me would be pretty nice to see this season

Maybe they kept him on the team because they're actually professional hockey team employees and who understand the difference between real life and video games?

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#4 Oilcruzer
September 29 2011, 11:17PM
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Goilers wrote:

And who goes down when 89 and 55 are back?

You've confused this team with the Canucks.

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#5 Aitch
September 30 2011, 04:56AM
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@Drew - Team no more tanking

So... what you're saying is, you were over-Eager to make that pun?

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#6 STIXLER
September 30 2011, 06:43AM
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TLHansum wrote:

Eberle- Outstanding young player can do a little of things.

Eh?

Oh, and you wrote Smith instead of Smyth in the previous paragraph.

Yay Eberle! He can do a little of thigns!

FAIL

Please review "typnng" when critisin haha

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#7 Archaeologuy
September 30 2011, 07:29AM
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@I tried it at home

What makes you think RNH will develop more in a league that poses him no challenges over the NHL?

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#8 a lg dubl dubl
September 30 2011, 07:34AM
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@I tried it at home

Once he's down in red deer he's there for the yr. Personally I think he should stay with the MIGHTY oilers and further his development playing against NHL teams.

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#9 mayorpoop
September 30 2011, 08:31AM
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@Archaeologuy

can i come down and high five you about and RNH and then immediately after argue with you about gagner? lol.

serioulsy tho great work raising money for a great cause. i be busying watching others work and maybe just maybe will do some myself.

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#10 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
September 30 2011, 09:39AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

What makes you think RNH will develop more in a league that poses him no challenges over the NHL?

I agree Archaeologuy When I see RNH with Hall and MPS I see a player who is saying "Finally some one who get's it!!!" It has to be frustrating to be on a line in Red Deer where every one knows on the other team that they can double up on RNH and the other players have not enough skill to kill them with out him. The kid will stay! It also has to be amazing to make a backhanded pass falling down and see Hall deliver the goal. It is a reward for going the extra mile. Hall is going to love the payday RNH will make for him!

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#11 nyoilers
September 30 2011, 10:59AM
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That blue line leaves me wanting more. The forwards will be impaired by a lack of a first pass out of the D-zone. Oil are 3 NHL defencemen away from doing any damage. With that D lineup it will be another tough season in the standings, albeit entertaining.

Fedun will be playing on this team. Not to start but will be a fixture mid season. Book it.

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#12 HOFFFF
September 30 2011, 12:38PM
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MMmmm.....Ann Margrock.

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#13 Archaeologuy
September 30 2011, 03:41PM
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For anyone who was interested, my team raised a shade under 2200 bucks for the Stollery in about an hour and a half. Thanks to everyone who came buy and donated to the Stollery.

The Campus gave us 1 week's notice and across 5 charities we raised a little over 10 thousand dollars.

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#15 Scuba Steve
September 29 2011, 10:56PM
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I think you mean Sutton will have monster PK minutes?

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#17 Rogue
September 29 2011, 10:59PM
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Cant disagree with much LT. Think RNH will remain here. As season wears on, and depending on injuries, decisions may have to be made on Brule, Hemsky, Gagner and maybe Omark. My guess is that three of the four will not be here by the trade deadline.

I thought Peckham had an awful TC so far. Did not look much better than Chorney. He may need a wake up call.

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#18 Drew - Team no more tanking
September 29 2011, 11:05PM
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I'm Eager to point out that you missed a forward!

Edit: Woops, guess I should read the whole article, my bad! Still wish to leave the pun up there however!

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#19 Goilers
September 29 2011, 11:07PM
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And who goes down when 89 and 55 are back?

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#20 bazmagoo
September 29 2011, 11:13PM
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@Drew - Team no more tanking

Nicely done there sir!

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#21 Bleak Winter
September 29 2011, 11:53PM
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@Goilers

Depends on if you mean "goes down" to the minors, or "goes down" with a knee/shoulder/"flu" injury!

I'm willing to bet there's enough injury history (and likely future injury) on this team to keep the IR list well-stocked and the roster under-staffed for most of the year.

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#22 knobby
September 30 2011, 01:07AM
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I think Fedun is much less mistake-prone than Peckman and Petry. He may get sent down but I think Peckman and Petry are more deserving of a stint at OK city.

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#23 stevezie
September 30 2011, 03:16AM
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Peckham sucked at last year's camp too, so I expect he'll get the benefit of the doubt for the first few weeks, especially since we need him so. That said, I haven't seen him play yet. Has he really been that awful?

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#24 pelhem grenville
September 30 2011, 04:01AM
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...progress is paramount in this fan's eyes ...one way for me to see that progress would be for Renney to nail down and stick with the second line of Hall Eberle and the new kid...as a line ...for all times moving forward...let them gel, grow up together and become the 'force' of the team...

i don't believe that threesome needs to be subjected to any sort of blender mentality until and only if the wheels completely fall off and how could that happen with two number ones and a shoulda been top ten pick playing the way they should play...together

between the three of them as a 'fixed' line, barring injury, i want them to carry the team in scoring with 150+ points...

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#25 pelhem grenville
September 30 2011, 04:07AM
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...oh and i always thought Ann-Margret was hotter after the accident...they put her face back together better than ever...the other parts (yikes!) were already there IMO...

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#26 TLHansum
September 30 2011, 05:23AM
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Eberle- Outstanding young player can do a little of things.

Eh?

Oh, and you wrote Smith instead of Smyth in the previous paragraph.

Yay Eberle! He can do a little of thigns!

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#27 Drew - Team no more tanking
September 30 2011, 06:58AM
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STIXLER wrote:

FAIL

Please review "typnng" when critisin haha

lol, two things that go swimmingly together; hockey blog chat boards and proper grammar!

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#28 I tried it at home
September 30 2011, 06:59AM
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My 1.937US cents worth, the overall strategy as far as the forwards go would be better served by having RNH spend a month or two cooling his heels in Red Deer, staying in shape and getting top line minutes in the Dub, such as they are. Before everyone starts screaming about his TC, yes I agree he's great, he's wonderful, chills down my spine etc etc etc. But we not going to win the cup this year, and he's not the only young forward who has to develop, and (Im not 100% on this) would this not help on the flexability of recalling him in case of injury to any centre in the first few weeks. Face it, Oilers get hurt, and he's gonna be here one way or the other, so lets all settle in for the long haul. As for the defence, I thank Stevezie for reminding us that Shaun Belle was actually better then Theo Peckham at camp last year, anyone want to trade them now?

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#29 knee deep in it
September 30 2011, 07:28AM
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I think the final roster is the coach's decision. He has a history with Potter and was not let down this camp.

I think Potter will be on our opening night roster.

Gilbert, Smid, Barker, Peckham, Sutton, Foster. Petry (extra)

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#30 pelhem grenville
September 30 2011, 07:31AM
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I walk amok said... "... having RNH spend a month or two cooling his heels in Red Deer, staying in shape and getting top line minutes in the Dub,..."

...as i understand the rules, RNH gets nine or less games in the NHL's regular season and either stays with the big boys or plays in RedDeer...he can NOT get "recalled" from Junior after he goes down if he does go down...

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#31 michael
September 30 2011, 07:34AM
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At the moment everyone is healthy so to speak. whats the over/underon Hemsky? 20 games before he is out with some sort of injury? If there is anyone on this team who needs to perform for 82 games its him.He is a FA at the end of this year. Not to many free agents get 5 million a year for 20 games a season. Eberle will score more goals than Hemsky or Smyth. I think Eerle gets 30 playing with RNH and Hall.

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#32 dawgbone
September 30 2011, 07:35AM
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I tried it at home wrote:

My 1.937US cents worth, the overall strategy as far as the forwards go would be better served by having RNH spend a month or two cooling his heels in Red Deer, staying in shape and getting top line minutes in the Dub, such as they are. Before everyone starts screaming about his TC, yes I agree he's great, he's wonderful, chills down my spine etc etc etc. But we not going to win the cup this year, and he's not the only young forward who has to develop, and (Im not 100% on this) would this not help on the flexability of recalling him in case of injury to any centre in the first few weeks. Face it, Oilers get hurt, and he's gonna be here one way or the other, so lets all settle in for the long haul. As for the defence, I thank Stevezie for reminding us that Shaun Belle was actually better then Theo Peckham at camp last year, anyone want to trade them now?

Once RNH goes down to the WHL he'll have to stay there until his season is over. You can't recall a player from the CHL except under extreme conditions.

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#35 BlacqueJacque
September 30 2011, 08:33AM
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Aww, please, no Elvis.

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#36 Rick
September 30 2011, 08:33AM
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So if we assume that RNH stays for the season, where does that put the Oilers for total number of contracts now?

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#37 Talbot17
September 30 2011, 08:35AM
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@I tried it at home

RNH cannot be called up after 9 games, he goes to Red Deer and is not elgible for the OKC this year. Hence why they need to decide to keep him or not soon

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#38 Talbot17
September 30 2011, 08:42AM
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I think Potter stays, hes quietly put a good camp together and out of all the blue liners covering around the 5D-7D spot he has been the most consistent.

I think if Lander has his best game yet he might shoot past Brule as a center while Gagner is out. Petrell is staying up, he has been very good for what has been asked of him.

Although it was one game, comparing RNH play in the Coyotes game to prior pre season games he has looked better and more confident and I don't think they will send him down for the year.

LT, who do you feel will be the unsung hero for the Oilers this year on forward and on D as well?

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#39 Bleak Winter
September 30 2011, 08:54AM
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@Archaeologuy

As someone whose 4-year old niece has been using the Stollery for the last 2 years, allow me to express my gratitude to you and your team and to anyone who supports it. The Stollery is amazing and a truly worthwhile cause.

I wish I could make it today to say it in person, but thank you.

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#40 NsxZero
September 30 2011, 09:04AM
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@Archaeologuy

Someone at my workplace at the UofA is doing the exact same thing today helping out a friend. Same team or just a big coincidence?

Either way glad to be supporting the Stollery.

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#41 Archaeologuy
September 30 2011, 09:13AM
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@NsxZero

Bet it's the same friend.

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#43 mayorpoop
September 30 2011, 09:33AM
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Lt,

why do you give the 4th line center spot to brule and not lander? if that is the case how short is rope for brule. my guess would be very.

nice to see harti in the line up tho.

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#45 Talbot17
September 30 2011, 10:13AM
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Don't see why Brule is still on the team, they have given him so many chances already. In NHL 12 I traded him for a bag of pucks, 1 week later he's injured. Whoever doesn't have that game get it, its really accurate! =)

4th line w/ Petrell, Jones and Belanger to me would be pretty nice to see this season

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#46 Talbot17
September 30 2011, 10:47AM
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@MattL

Hilarious, considering the mention of the game is to state the value of Brule during last year with all his issues. But again, your funny.

He takes up a roster spot, too much talent coming up to leave him out there. Again, its an opinion.

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#47 Bleak Winter
September 30 2011, 10:54AM
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Talbot17 wrote:

Don't see why Brule is still on the team, they have given him so many chances already. In NHL 12 I traded him for a bag of pucks, 1 week later he's injured. Whoever doesn't have that game get it, its really accurate! =)

4th line w/ Petrell, Jones and Belanger to me would be pretty nice to see this season

I suspect that given the nature of Brule's maladies, the reasons may be twofold:

a) He's got enough upside that they can give him a bit of rope and be "decent" and/or "human".

b) The way the Smyth trade fell apart when Brule's name was attached leads me to believe their hands are tied in some manner as to the way in which they could potentially get rid of him. Whether he's simply untradeable or if there are CBA restrictions on what you can do with him while he's "injured", I don't know.

They probably do have an exit strategy but it may take time to play out.

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#48 Talbot17
September 30 2011, 10:59AM
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@Bleak Winter

Yeah you probably are onto something there. I have always thought they like his speed too and are trying to utilize his skills, maybe this time arounds a last attempt. I wonder if he gets another injury if the team just keeps him off the roster at that point or not.

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#49 champski
September 30 2011, 11:40AM
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@I tried it at home

Jr. players cannot be recalled once they are sent down.

They have 9 games to make a decision. After that he either stays with the big club (cannot be sent down to the ahl either)or spend sthe year with the rebels and playing in the WJC.

Same thing with Segin last year on the bruins.

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#50 FastOil
September 30 2011, 01:16PM
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They certainly need to clear out the log jams this season. No point having three or four players ready to come up and nowhere to put them. It could mean wasting them instead of getting value.

Proper development means to me that when a player is ready to graduate, he replaces someone in the bigs he's better than - thus the team improves. Or if you need a vet, he goes as part of that trade. If you can't do that, cash him in while value is still there and develop another guy.

For example, next year what do you do with RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger, Lander? Plus Brule, Petrell, etc.. 5 NHLer's at least, 4 spots. We should have 4 NHL'ers and a good prospect to fill in for injury, trade the rest and fill needs elsewhere, or restock the farm with younger players to develop.

I hope they decide who they are going with and get it sorted out by the end of the season. I think we should expect a lot of turnover starting fairly soon.

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