Oilers cut roster by 15

The Oilers announced some cuts to their training camp roster yesterday afternoon. The players sent out weren’t terribly surprising, but some of those remaining with the team were. First, the departed:

F – Hans Benson

F – Justin Chwedoruk

F – Jordan Eberle

F – Garet Hunt

F – Bryan Lerg

F – Colin McDonald

F – Sean McMorrow

F – Ryan O’Marra

F – Geoff Paukovich

D – Sebastien Bisaillon

D – Josef Hrabal

D – Jake Taylor

D – Cody Wild

D – Bryan Young

G – Andrew Perugini

A lot of these players can be happy with their performances, or at the very least don’t need to be disappointed. Andrew Perugini earned a contract (the report that he had signed a deal was refuted by Sarnia’s GM a day later, but it’s now been made official), albeit a two-way minor league deal rather than an NHL Entry-Level pact. Geoff Paukovich scored 26 points and had a -21 rating in the ECHL last year, so making it to the second round of cuts was something of an achievement, while long-shots like Taylor, Benson, Chwedoruk, Hunt and McMorrow did well to survive the first cut as well.

Jordan Eberle showed well in his first professional camp and earned some praise from Craig MacTavish:

“Definite blue-chipper. I’ve liked everything I’ve seen about his game. We, as coaches, talk extensively to the scouts about drafting guys who have hockey sense. The big, strong skater who can’t think his way around the ice is a dinosaur in today’s game … There’s a real transition to get guys who can think the game and he’s shown me an elite ability to do that. He’s a smaller player but he’s not that far away.”

Dark-horse candidates to make the team, such as Hrabal, Lerg, McDonald and O’Marra are probably extremely disappointed right now, but all are call-up candidates for later in the year, provided that they can show some strong play at the AHL level. Josef Hrabal was injured in camp, while Ryan O’Marra lost 10 pounds to illness, so for those players in particular this cut can’t be too surprising.

Eliminating roster players from last year, NHL veterans acquired through trade, and the injured, we get the following list of NHL hopefuls:

F – Gilbert Brule

F – Stephane Goulet

F – Adam Huxley

F – Guillaume Lefebvre?

F – Ryan Potulny

F – Marc Pouliot

F – Liam Reddox

F – Rob Schremp

F – Tim Sestito

F – Tyler Spurgeon

F – Viacheslav Trukhno

D – Taylor Chorney

D – Theo Peckham

D – Alex Plante

D – Matheiu Roy

D – Jason Strudwick

G – Jeff Deslauriers

G – Devan Dubnyk

We can further divide thee guys into categories:

Won’t Make the Cut

Stephane Goulet, Adam Huxley, Tim Sestito, Tyler Spurgeon, Taylor Chorney, Alex Plante and Devan Dubnyk all fit into this category. Plante will probably stay in camp until either the season starts or the Calgary Hitmen are nice enough to trade him somewhere else in the WHL. For some reason, Adam Huxley is still with the team, but he’s spent the last four years as an ECHL-level enforcer and may end up there again. As for the rest (Goulet, Sestito, Spurgeon, Chorney, Dubnyk), staying this late says nice things about what the organization thinks of them, but they really don’t have a shot at cracking the roster.

Almost Certainly Won’t Make the Cut

Guillaume Lefebvre, Liam Reddox, Viacheslav Trukhno and Theo Peckham fit into this category. Lefebvre stalled what seemed like an almost certain relegation to the minors with some inspired play against Florida the other night, even prompting Craig MacTavish to make some favourable comments:

“I know who he is now, after seeing that. It was pretty impressive. He handled the puck well, he can skate and he knows when to get involved. And when he drops the gloves he knows what he’s doing. He’s worked his way into the mix somewhere.”

Reddox and Peckham both had cameo appearances last season after strong AHL campaigns. Peckham is certainly in the Oilers future, while Reddox may eventually work his way into a bottom-six role.

Viacheslav Trukhno had a disappointing debut as a professional last season, but the 2005 4th round pick has looked excellent in camp (with some bloggers even saying that he’s now ahead of Rob Schremp). He can use this coming season as a springboard to NHL duty in 2008-09.

In the Mix

After counting all of the veterans on the Oilers this season, four spots on the 23-man roster remain. In my opinion, the contenders stack up like this:

  1. Marc Pouliot – waiver eligible
  2. Gilbert Brule
  3. Jason Strudwick – waiver eligible
  4. Jeff Deslauriers – waiver eligible
  5. Rob Schremp
  6. Ryan Potulny – waiver eligible
  7. Mathieu Roy – waiver eligible

If I’d done that same list at the start of camp, Rob Schremp would have ranked 3rd, and Gilbert Brule 5th. It isn’t that Schremp hasn’t shown up for the exhibition matches, but right now Gilbert Brule seems like a natural fit on the 4th line; far more so than Schremp.


The Oilers just announced the assignment of Stephane Goulet to Springfield as I was writing this. After a year split between the AHL and the ECHL, he needs a solid season in Springfield if he’s going to stay in the organization.

—Jonathan Willis is the force behind Copper and Blue, and a frequent contributor of OilersNation.

  • Hippy

    Although Brule's style of play is a good fit for the 4th I think he is destined for the minors. He was drafted as a scorer and the Oilers will farm him out and hope he finds that offensive touch again.

    Pouliot is on the team, and I really think to start the year they are going to keep Schremp. Even if it is just a token reward for working on everything they asked him to I really think he will start the year there.

    That is my two meaning less cents.

  • Hippy

    This Perugini fellow can't be very good if all he warrants is a minor league deal. He shouldn't be considered a prospect at all.

    Also, Schremp is a waste of skin. He will be in the DEL by next season.

  • Hippy

    Tim S: I can't see Schremp being given a token reward (staying up with the big club) if it means exposing a good player we want to keep on waivers.
    If either Roy or Potulney have a stronger remaining preseason then him, Schremp will be sent down, rather losing one of those two for nothing (unless management thinks they will both get through waivers- both ways- since we may need to recall them after schremp's token trip with the big boys is done)

  • Hippy

    B.C.B- I think to this point Schremp has out preformed Potulny, and Roy has turned into the 8th dman and I think the team would do well to get his contract off the books.

    Having said that obviously if Potulny outplays Schremp in the last couple of games he will get the spot. But I really think that even if the play was equal they would keep Schremp to reward a player who has put in his time with the organization.

  • Hippy

    Lowe has stated that they'll give Schremp a long look. From what I saw at Indy this summer, his reputed new-found dedication to off-season training and his continued photo ops at Oilers functions, it looks like he's really trying to fit it (or suck up – you choose).

    Having said that, from what I saw on continuously rebuffering webcasts and one televised game, Brule was mentioned way more often by the 'casters. It looked like he was far more willing to do whatever it took to make the team when things really mattered, while I barely heard of Schremp.

    If I were the betting type, I'd lay a cool hundie on Brule ending up on the squad over Schremp.

  • Hippy

    Tim S: of what I saw (not much) and listen (630CHED) Roy played better then Schremp: I understand that they play different positions but if Roy is taken off waivers and there was an injury then we would bring Peckham up to sit in the pressbox (bad for his development).

    Potulny most likely will (and so far proved he should be) be sent down to the AHL: but agian wouldn't it be bad assest management for The Brass (klowe+Tambs) to get rid of Syvert for a player we lose on the waiver wire. Why are rewarding off season training: it should have its own rewards, your play is better.

    We need to not let the mass of prospects slip through our fingers: either trade the ones we don't want or play them where we can- don't give them up for nothing and watch them play for a rival.

  • Hippy

    This Perugini fellow can’t be very good if all he warrants is a minor league deal. He shouldn’t be considered a prospect at all.

    Also, Schremp is a waste of skin. He will be in the DEL by next season.

    And here I thought being a difference maker was a key point in identifying decent prospects.

    To date: Perugini is a very good junior goalie who NHL scouts obviously feel doesn't have much of a ceiling. Personally, I disagree, but I'm not dogmatic about it because time will tell and he hasn't done a thing as a pro yet.

    As for Schremp, he was a top-ten scorer at the AHL level at what, 22? It's just a touch early to call him a bust.