Edmonton Oilers depth chart: June 2013

Jonathan Willis
June 05 2013 09:36AM

If we were to draw up what the Oilers look like right now, before the draft and free agency and the trades of summer, what would it look like? What would represent “mission accomplished” for the Oilers’ brain trust?

As It Stands

The following depth charts are meant only to give an idea of depth at each position, not to mimic line combinations. An asterisk indicates a defenceman who can play either side, UFA and RFA indicate that a player’s contract expires this summer, while BO has nothing to do with a lack of deodorant and everything to do with the player being a possible candidate for a compliance buyout.

Forwards

Defence

Projection

This is where things get a little more interesting. I have axed what strike me as the likely names at each position, and indicated positions that need to be addressed over the summer in red.

Forwards

The changes here include the following:

Unrestricted free agents Lennart Petrell, Jerred Smithson, Ryan Jones, Chris VandeVelde, Tanner House and Darcy Hordichuk are all released. Restricted free agent Antti Tyrvainen have also been let go. Eric Belanger is the subject of a compliance buyout. Ales Hemsky is assumed to have been traded elsewhere.

Retained are restricted free agents Magnus Paajarvi, Sam Gagner, Teemu Hartikainen, Philippe Cornet and Mark Arcobello. Buyout candidates Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff are both retained for the major league roster, while Ben Eager remains buried in the minor leagues.

There were a number of coin flip calls made here. Jerred Smithson is a viable candidate for the fifth centre slot on the NHL roster, though I have indicated him walking. Philippe Cornet is a player who may not be re-signed to a deal with an NHL component; I have kept him in the scenario above on the basis of age (23) and a strong second half but it’s entirely possible the Oilers send him down the line or sign him to an AHL-only deal (and if they choose to do so, that will be completely understandable).

Assuming no trades other than Hemsky, the Oilers have four slots to fill on the major league roster. The bottom three should be easy to fill via free agency; a second line winger in a power forward mould is the toughest of these to fill. Additionally, the Oklahoma City Barons employed a pair of veteran forwards (Josh Green and Jonathan Cheechoo) on AHL-only contracts; it seems sensible to assume that the Oilers will want at least one veteran forward with an NHL deal to help mentor and also to serve as a recall option should the need arise (while Anton Lander is a fine first call-up option, injury or uneven performance could rob the Oilers of recallable depth in a hurry).

Total contract count: 28.

Defence

Unrestricted free agents Ryan Whitney, Mark Fistric, Nikolai Khabibulin, Yann Danis and Garrett Stafford are all released. Restricted free agents Theo Peckham, Colten Teubert, Alex Plante and Niko Hovinen have also been let go.

The sole remaining free agent in this scenario is restricted free agent Taylor Fedun.

Again, I’ve exercised some discretion here. Mark Fistric and Corey Potter are both fine candidates for the six/seven role, but Potter is under contract at a cheap price-point while Fistric seems to be looking for significant dollars in a weak free agent market; hence I’ve opted to keep Potter. Yann Danis is a legitimate candidate for the number three role but is coming off a difficult season; presumably the Oilers would prefer a European free agent with more potential in that slot. Colten Teubert may yet be retained, but given his struggles to crack the Barons’ defence of late and the incoming class, he seems a good bet for departure. I should also note that RFA’s like Peckham and Teubert may have enough value for a trade at the draft.

The Oilers have three slots to fill on the depth chart above. They need to add a top-four defenceman, ideally a top-pairing defenceman, and that’s going to be very difficult indeed. Additionally, they need to overhaul their goaltending behind Devan Dubnyk. Finally, at the AHL level they have a good group of young defenders that are also legitimate recall candidates (I count Klefbom, Fedun and Marincin) so they may not need another defenceman on a two-way deal, but it seems likely that a veteran on an AHL contract could be brought in to stabilize a young defence corps. Both current UFA Garrett Stafford and Randy Jones (on an AHL contract) might fit the bill there.

Total contract count: 19, meaning that at all positions the Oilers would have used 47 of the 50 slots they have on their reserve list. 

Recently around the Nation Network

There are lots of interesting names on Justin Azevedo's Eastern Conference Compliance Buyout Candidates, including veteran Albertan Scottie Upshall:

Upshall was signed after a 34-point season, so it's unlikely Dale Tallon had any thoughts that he'd be an "offensive" contributor. Even so, the 10 points he's put up in Florida since signing there suggests to me that his tenure in Sunrise may be ending. Add to that his less-than-stellar underlying numbers and the Panthers' need for a top-9 roster spot and I don't see a way he isn't a UFA come July 5th.

Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Devolution
June 05 2013, 10:45PM
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Pucker - B class wrote:

It's probably been said before but I got to say, I sure like that 'Last Game' Oiler score much more that what we had last off-season!!

Me too, especially since we had to look at it for 8 months!

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#102 Devolution
June 05 2013, 10:58PM
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DSF wrote:

So, you're suggesting giving up a 1st and a 3rd for a player who was picked 54th overall 7 years ago?

What difference does his draft pedigree make now? The player from 7 years ago isn't going to suit up for you, the current player is...

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#103 GVBlackhawk
June 05 2013, 11:02PM
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DSF wrote:

So, you're suggesting giving up a 1st and a 3rd for a player who was picked 54th overall 7 years ago?

Yes that is exactly what I am suggesting.

Shea Weber was picked 49th overall 10 years ago. Would you suggest that affects his trade value? How about Zdeno Chara?

What does a veteran player's draft position have to do with the price of rice in China?

He is a very effective player regardless of when he was taken in a draft seven years ago. I think that he would put up great numbers between Yakupov and Gagner (or similar).

And he's 6'4", 215 lbs....your favorite stat.

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#106 GVBlackhawk
June 06 2013, 12:14AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I honestly don't like the Oilers pursuing RFA offer sheets. The draft picks are less of an issue than the dollar figure a team needs to go to. With the Oilers having an abundance of RFA's coming up, I don't know that they can afford to a) blow their salary structure and b) invite reprisal offer sheets.

I'm not sure that RFA offer sheets would necessarily blow up the Oilers' salary structure. For example, if they have budgeted $5.5M for a 1D or 2D, it would make perfect sense to offer sheet Alex Pietrangelo for 6 years $33M. The same would apply to any position on the team. If the contract fits the budget of the specific position, then offer away.

Regarding reprisal offer sheets, there is no established track record of general managers engaging in this type of conduct. In addition, any unsigned RFA is subject to an offer sheet from any of the other 29 teams -- you cannot be worried about teams making reprisal offers. Lastly, a team like the St. Louis Blues (or a dozen other teams) would have difficulty engaging in the type of financial cat-and-mouse that reprisal offer sheets would result in.

The RFA offer sheet should be considered another weapon in the arsenal of a team who needs to make substantial improvements to the roster.

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#107 TV6
June 06 2013, 05:41AM
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@Jonathan Willis

I think there are some very poignant points in this blog, yet what GM on earth (other than the Finn in Ohio) would EVER trade Hemsky for Umberger..?

That is not "bold", that is just mismanagement on an EPIC level of fail.

I really do think MacT is going to do a great job with his new gig, but if he made that trade, he'd have a can tied to his ass so fast & be shown the door before the ink dried after the trade call.

There is a lot of guessing to be made regarding what the Oil are going to do moving forward this summer, but that swap is NOT amongst ANY of them.

No Chance, No How, No Way...

x6

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#108 NewAgeSys
June 06 2013, 07:45AM
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David S wrote:

~REALLY curious to see what NewAgeSys has to say about this.~

I might have to post in multiple 300 word chapters to give a legitimate answer,ha ha ha.

I think we all need to decide why we think the season was bobbled last year,it wasnt a total loss,in fact we were for a brief moment exactly where we had hoped to be,in the playoff picture.

If in this asessment we identify specific players or positions in general as an challenging issue then we can look to make adjustments that way.If we find systemic causes catalysing challenges then possibly we would view player valuations differently and would need to make an anticipatory estimation of system adjustments BEFORE we make those player valuations that are so critical to us.

There is such an incredible seperation between perspectives on causality of last years breakdown that there is a need to find a group consensus before we move on to make constructive progress.

Then the line managment needs to be addressed,and this can be catalysed based on differing perspectives,one being Intuitive and one being Statistical,the optimal one being balanced.A clear choice must be made here on which perspective to embrace..

eg. Intuitive----I would put Hemsky on the 3rd line as a zone entry specialist,to keep the puck pressure on and the puck in the opponents zone from the midrange of my powerbase,to control game momentum better,I believe this stength here is critical,we need scoring from that line and we also need toughness,the best way to do that is to have a one dimensional zone entry and scoring threat like Hemmer carrying all of the offense and his good sized linemates focusing on busting him free every shift.We dont need to surround him with balanced offensive men,because of his intangibles,this means his linemates can focus on grit and we lose no offensive prescence.

eg. Statistical----I would put Hemsky on the second line to add offense through his goal scoring ability,I would expect him to play a balanced game and pass the puck to his linemates consistantly over the game spreading the offensive threat out amongst three men,this means more defensive responsibility for hemmer because he will have the puck a lot less.I would need Hemsky to both score goals and pass the puck in a balanced way and would surround him with some real offensive talent to recieve his passes he consistantly makes.

I hope this makes sense,now we can face the reality from a balanced perspective that hemsky doesnt fit on the second line unless he is surrounded by huge men who can take and hold the front of the net every shift,because Hemmer will pass the puck to those exact areas all game long for them,but if he doesnt have that support we will see a repeat of last years inconsistancy.In any other dynamic Hemsky cannot optimise his elite NHL level skills.He is ELITE and must be valuated and utilised based on this,few men are NHL

See we need to optimise hemskys skillset as a zone entry specialist first then as a goal scorer second and as a disher third.Hemmers method of gaining the o-zone is NHL elite,but it is restrictive,hence the need for specific linemates,this will give great results if done right.From the 3rd he can take it in as he always does,then he can shoot as he likes to do on the way in and then he can make that predictable pass to the middle front as he always does,as we see he can consistantly provide a specific dynamic and this means he is a catalyst,we just need Smyth and Horcs who are not small to be where Hemmer needs them in specific roles they can easily handle,Hemmer can do the skating and save their old legs and we will have a Playoff caliber 3rd line.

Statisticlly anyone would put Hemmer on the 2nd line,and smash you with stats if you argued,but as you can see that may be the wrong spot for him.

So much to say,so little time and space,i feel like i am playing against the trap man.

I gotta stop here there is a rumor going around that the Nation is going to start charging me a penny a word on everything over 300 words.Unless Katz catches the Tab I will likely be bankrupt by Midnight tonight,ha ha ha ha.

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#109 RexLibris
June 06 2013, 08:02AM
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DSF wrote:

Hemsky at $5m is a liability, not an asset.

The same way that Brian Campbell at $7 million over a longer term was a liability?

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#110 NewAgeSys
June 06 2013, 08:15AM
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For the record,I wouldnt trade hemsky,he cannot be replaced,his consistant zone entry capability is critical to any team,we just need to put him in a position to be optimised for what he is ,not try to teach him to be what we ant optimally.

Very few men are worth that trouble,and some coaches would get rid of a man like that on principal alone,not me,I want to win and Hemsky can take me there if he does what i ask him.Ask him if he is comfortable in a 3rd line role,if he isnt promote him away.we need honesty and a 100% buyin.

Knowing how Hemsky plays he will likely still get his goal numbers from that line which is what we need from him and the line position most,he will be the centerpiece and the focus,playing against lesser opponents he should actually feast over 82 games,possibly being a season difference maker.

We cant trade him,as it is we need a zone entry specialist for the 4th line,we cant afford to lose our most lethal one.He IS our most lethal one,he just doesnt fit dynamiclly on the first two lines,this is how deep our talent base is now.This is the evidence we are going in the right direction,if hemmer can see this he will put put for us,he needs to see he will have more IMPACT on winning games from the 3rd line ,he wont need as many touches to score from there.

We have MPS,Hall,Hemsky as entry threats.We can mix and match them on lines as long as we MAINTAIN their positions in the line dynamic,if we move Hemmer to the 1st line against a specific team we need to manage the line around him or we lose value.Hemsky is pure speed and has an NHL reputation that is feared,elite NHL speed,Hall is top end speed and a middle threat that can spread the offensive pressure entering the o-zone who is gaining respect,MPS is top end speed with a big body who can force the defense to adjust to him he can target d-men and break them down and is defensive minded,these are our options and what they can do best for us.

How we manage them in the pecking order 1-2-3rd linewise doesnt matter as long as it is done in a manner that optimises their skillset at all times recognising that they all have a priority job as a zone entry specialist and this means we can work around other aspects of their games and accept specific tactical imbalances.

In a nutshell we need to be prepared to move entire lines with their dynamic integrity and managment tactics intact to prepare for specific teams,not just mix up our lines overall.This means building them around specific entry threats if we can.With Hemmer we can do that.I dont think I see another zone entry threat in the rest of the organisation that matches the three we have now,and we NEED one more.we cant afford to move Hemsky,not if we want to win games.it can take years to find a legitimate zone entry threat,we paid dearly for Hemmer and worked around him for years then we got lucky to get hall and EXTREMELY lucky MPS is a naturally gifted skater as a bigger man.But after that the well has run dry,keep Hemmer.

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#111 DieHard
June 06 2013, 09:12AM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

I'm not sure that RFA offer sheets would necessarily blow up the Oilers' salary structure. For example, if they have budgeted $5.5M for a 1D or 2D, it would make perfect sense to offer sheet Alex Pietrangelo for 6 years $33M. The same would apply to any position on the team. If the contract fits the budget of the specific position, then offer away.

Regarding reprisal offer sheets, there is no established track record of general managers engaging in this type of conduct. In addition, any unsigned RFA is subject to an offer sheet from any of the other 29 teams -- you cannot be worried about teams making reprisal offers. Lastly, a team like the St. Louis Blues (or a dozen other teams) would have difficulty engaging in the type of financial cat-and-mouse that reprisal offer sheets would result in.

The RFA offer sheet should be considered another weapon in the arsenal of a team who needs to make substantial improvements to the roster.

I agree. An "RFA offer sheet" should be considered an essential weapon for "non-destination" NHL teams.

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#112 vetinari
June 06 2013, 09:26AM
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Somewhat off topic but still of interest-- will NewAgeSystem eventually transition into MiddleAgeSystem and then finally into OldAgeSystem?

As for using offer sheets, when you've been out of the playoffs for 7 years, I think you definitely should not give up the high picks unless it is for a "missing piece" type of player that will propel you over the hump and into the playoffs for the next few years-- and we're suffering on multiple fronts, so now should not be the time to use it.

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#113 nuge2nail
June 06 2013, 10:21AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

I live in Calgary and I Love The Oilers. I don't post as much because I was tired of hearing the same intelligent fans talk about the fact we need two big mobile puck moving dman and better goaltending.

I hope this is obvious to everyone. We need to turn a goaltending weakness into a strength.

For years I watched a mediocre below average flames Team compete for a playoff spot, why... Because Kipper provided exceptional goaltending - he kept them in almost every game. This is the type of goaltending we need.

Buy out Horcoff, and spend some of the money on Halak. Go after Hiller, hell trade for Luongo and make Gillis eat some of the salary and Send Horcoff the other way? You address leadership an create a worst case scenario by bringing in a proven number one and create an asset in Dubnyk to shore Up the Defense.

I am posting because I now have hope in management, I believe macT is a smart man, and he will bring in a top guy to create a top tandem in the NHL.

No longer will I have to hear from flames Fans- "you guys need a goalie" - thanks tips.

Question: Do the oilers have an additional 8 mil in cap space because of the way the new cba is written and how elc bonuses no longer count against cap?

I've read this a few different places, would love to get my head around the cap situation and what we can expect... We could get Vanek for our #7, but that's a comment for another blog

I hope we keep the #7 pick and somehow get Monahan. Hence initializing the ripple Effect- YR1: Horcoff is bought out, money is spent on a quality goalie. YR2: Monahan develops into a top two guy, Gagner is traded for a young top 4 defenseman.

If the draft goes McKinnon, Jones, Drouin, Barkov, Nichuskin, Monahan - I seriously consider trading the pick for a Vanek type player(huge lw, 35 goal guy) or a Edler type Defenseman(young top 3). If one of those players slide- we hit the jackpot.

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#114 NewAgeSys
June 06 2013, 11:34AM
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Smokey wrote:

I think the nation should give NAS a guest article blog spot for a coupledays to see what his writing potential is. Or maybe an interview on Nationradio to see if he actual talks like he writes. Its a morbid curiosity of mine.

In all honesty natioradio should do an interactive round table with some of big blogs on here. Get er done Lowetide.

Then take NAS to the hockey draft with credentials to conduct interviews with players. Could you imagine?

@Smokey.

Those are some pretty forward thinking ideas,what happened did you trip over your shoelaces?Ha ha ha,just kidding.I was saving that one for Mac-T,dammit.

That is Moma2s NewAge Hockey System,not NAS.

Hey I know it is hard to understand the concepts I post and the way that I construct those posts contextually.So here is a way to understand why I take so much time and effort to create such unique posts.

I am an Intuit and I am a visual thinker,I actually see the things I think about in a 3-D fully interactive picture/video.This is why I cannot be beaten reading and reacting to hockey dynamic actions,not ever,by any coach walking the face of the Planet.I see my thoughts and recognise dynamic templates like you recognise faces and just as fast.Trying to process as fast as an Intuit if you arent one is like bringing a butter knife to a gun fight,you dont have a snowballs chance in hades.

I am trying to break down a video in my thoughts for you into words,it is a challenge for me because I am going from my way which is the optimal short way to the longest way imaginable to me to get across my message to as many people as I can.Most of you think how I post is the long way,and you ask for the short version,not grasping the idea that without giving you a way to understand my optimal methods or "see"what I see,I cannot teach you the real "short version",you need to be able to visualise some of the concepts to stick with me and that means you need to read more words to form those conceptualised thoughts,there is no other way to set the dynamic template.Then you will be able to use an entirely new way of learning and see what a real "short version"is all about,ha ha ha.

Please watch this and think about the methods that are being used and the results that are being achieved,focus on the catalyst of this entire process,the dynamic catalyst that creates the optimal environmet for this optimal performance to happen,Then think about the Oilers and what they want to be,and apply this thought to the NewAge Hockey System and everything you have ever read about it.

Go to Youtube and put in JACOB BARNETT AT TEDXTEEN , please watch this and try to understand that I was born exactly like Jacob,except I became the Competative Athletic version of him,but cerebrally we are identical,and we are far from alone.And if you know Mac-T by chance tell him to watch the video and then read up on the NHS.I swear to god i will not post more than 100 words again if this post is left unedited.If you learn my motives and the potential results,maybe the Juice will become worth the Squeeze.

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#115 GVBlackhawk
June 06 2013, 01:21PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

Oiler Domination To Follow

I live in Calgary and I Love The Oilers. I don't post as much because I was tired of hearing the same intelligent fans talk about the fact we need two big mobile puck moving dman and better goaltending.

I hope this is obvious to everyone. We need to turn a goaltending weakness into a strength.

For years I watched a mediocre below average flames Team compete for a playoff spot, why... Because Kipper provided exceptional goaltending - he kept them in almost every game. This is the type of goaltending we need.

Buy out Horcoff, and spend some of the money on Halak. Go after Hiller, hell trade for Luongo and make Gillis eat some of the salary and Send Horcoff the other way? You address leadership an create a worst case scenario by bringing in a proven number one and create an asset in Dubnyk to shore Up the Defense.

I am posting because I now have hope in management, I believe macT is a smart man, and he will bring in a top guy to create a top tandem in the NHL.

No longer will I have to hear from flames Fans- "you guys need a goalie" - thanks tips.

Question: Do the oilers have an additional 8 mil in cap space because of the way the new cba is written and how elc bonuses no longer count against cap?

I've read this a few different places, would love to get my head around the cap situation and what we can expect... We could get Vanek for our #7, but that's a comment for another blog

I hope we keep the #7 pick and somehow get Monahan. Hence initializing the ripple Effect- YR1: Horcoff is bought out, money is spent on a quality goalie. YR2: Monahan develops into a top two guy, Gagner is traded for a young top 4 defenseman.

If the draft goes McKinnon, Jones, Drouin, Barkov, Nichuskin, Monahan - I seriously consider trading the pick for a Vanek type player(huge lw, 35 goal guy) or a Edler type Defenseman(young top 3). If one of those players slide- we hit the jackpot.

Halak is not an upgrade on Dubnyk. Did you check out his numbers from last season? They are awful.

Re: ELC's, only 50% of bonus money counts toward the cap. The base salary for ELC's was maxed at $900K. For next season, the max base salary for ELC's is $925K.

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#116 albertabeef
June 06 2013, 01:44PM
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@NewAgeSys

"I hope this makes sense...." Nothing you say makes sense.

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#117 NewAgeSys
June 06 2013, 02:01PM
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albertabeef wrote:

"I hope this makes sense...." Nothing you say makes sense.

What are you looking for peer reinforcement?

Watch the video and try to stay focused for more than the ten seconds it took you to tap out that post.You have been Twitterized.

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#118 Dave
June 06 2013, 03:36PM
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I would like to give Ryan Jones another chance. He was fine before his injury.

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#119 NewAgeSys
June 06 2013, 05:48PM
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Dave wrote:

I would like to give Ryan Jones another chance. He was fine before his injury.

I agree,he can score from all 4 lines as he has shown in the past.The eye injury slowed down his grit but he wasnt a middleweight fighter anyways,just a pressure guy with good speed and hands.If he can return to that and the coaches see him as part of the offense they want to see on the 4th line with move up potential,then he is the man.

Jones can also pressure the 3rd line a bit with his scoring ability if the line slows down.

He has decent size and speed and can play a high pressure style with offense,whats not to like?

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#120 TDSM31
June 06 2013, 08:30PM
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albertabeef wrote:

"I hope this makes sense...." Nothing you say makes sense.

I think NewAgeSys is actually Gary Busey...

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#121 NewAgeSys
June 06 2013, 11:16PM
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@TDSM31

@TDSM31

Or you and albertabeef are long lost brothers from the same mother.

There is the comprehension challenge you do share,in the spirit of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum.

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