How many Flames will shudder at the name Guillaume Lefebvre after tonight?

As previously reported by OilersNation’s own Jason Gregor, the Edmonton Oilers have claimed Steve MacIntyre off waivers on his way from the Florida Panthers organization to the Rochester Americans. Here’s the catch: if the Oilers assign MacIntyre to Springfield, he would need to clear waivers again, and the Panthers would certainly prefer their summer free agent acquisition pummeling people in Rochester, so they would likely claim him.

All of this means that Guillaume Lefebvre, who has looked the most NHL-ready of the various enforcers the Oilers have tried out in camp, needs to do something more. It seems unlikely that the Oilers would have claimed MacIntyre (who last cleared the five-point mark for the Bay County Blizzard of the CEHL, a team so obscure that Hockeydatabase records only three of its players and couldn’t be bothered to hunt around for the league standings) if they were confident that Lefebvre, a much more talented player, could do the job. (Below, Robin Brownlee describes MacIntyre thusly: There’s NOTHING about MacIntyre that gets him anywhere near the NHL except size and toughness. He’s a palooka. A meathead. Hockey skill doesn’t mean a damn thing — he’s a super-heavyweight who matches up with anybody out there. That’s gold, folks).

In any case, Lefebvre draws into the lineup for tonight’s game against Calgary, playing with Ethan Moreau and Tyler Spurgeon. Andre Roy and Jim Vandermeer will both draw in for the Flames, so I would imagine that Lefebvre and Roy will have fought by the end of the first period. Roy is a pretty legitimate NHL heavyweight, so this should be a good test of Lefebvre’s ability to handle one of the big guns.

If I seem overly interested in this match-up, I have good reason. The player-type that I most dislike in hockey is the “play-four-minutes-a-night tough guy”, the guy who brings nothing whatsoever to the team other than his ability to hurt people. If teams really feel they need enforcers, the guys I want to see in the lineup are players like Georges Laraque, who can handle a regular shift without embarrassing himself. Lefebvre, who recorded 16 goals and 35 points in 66 AHL games in his last year in an NHL system, is much closer to being that player than MacIntyre.

The other side of all of this is that Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp, Gilbert Brule, Jeff Deslauriers and perhaps Ryan Potulny and Mathieu Roy are suddenly competing for two spots instead of three. On the 23-man roster, 20 spots are definitively claimed, leaving three for the players listed above. If one of those spots has been reserved for an enforcer (be it MacIntyre or Lefebvre), than only two spots remain. The players most affected are Pouliot and Deslauriers, both of whom are in the mix, and both of whom need to clear waivers to make it down to Springfield.

If the Oilers decide (as they’ve been hinting since July) to keep Deslauriers, Pouliot needs to beat out all comers for the final role on the team. It’s my personal opinion that he should get it, but he hasn’t run away with the race, and he’s had a ton of chances. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see him claimed on waivers, or shipped out of town for a 4th round pick between now and opening night.

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

  • Hippy

    Though I completely respect the thoughts given.

    The only part I have a tough time dealing with is your lack of respect given to the “play 4 minutes a night tough guy”.

    Everyone has a role on the team and if it means that’s the case so our more skilled players can dangle and do their thing then thats what we need to do. There’s not to many Bob Proberts in the league anymore who can play a regular shift and still protect his teammates.

    We have always loved our tough guys in Oil Country, and I think we would all agree that there have been many nights when Sammy, Marty or Dave Brown played limited minutes in a game, but don’t think for one second they didn’t play an important role that night.

    I dislike the Boogyman in Minny as much as anyone, but for the amount of ice time he actually gets, how much grief has he caused us just knowing he’s there??

    Being the team Heavyweight is the TOUGHEST job on the team, weather he plays 20 minutes or 4 minutes a night he’s still there able and willing!!!

    Thanks for your time.

    GO OIL GO!!!

  • Hippy

    I'm not sure why no-one has asked the question yet, but is Stortini a lock? If a Lefebvre can fight (and win) and put up a point every 8-10 games, isn't he a equal/better option than Zack? That would open another roster spot…

  • Hippy

    Who out there honestly thinks that if we have a goon that can pummel Boogaard that the Boogeyman will actually stop running our players? It’s his job. He’s sent out their to steam role Hemsky and any other player he can catch with their head down. So he fights a guy who can give him a beat down, he did his job and removed our star. I know it’s the wrong message to send but instead of head hunting Boogaard why don’t we target Gaborik or Bouchard? Send the message that if you target our small skilled players, we will target your small skilled players. Do you think Lemaire cares if Boogaard missed 15 games with a broken jaw? It doesn’t make a difference since he is only playing 4 minutes a game anyway. Beating up their goon because he took out our top players does nothing. Send the message that we can sink to their level will open their eyes!

  • Hippy

    "It seems unlikely that the Oilers would have claimed MacIntyre if they were confident that Lefebvre, a much more talented player, could do the job."


    This is the thing everyone has wrong. Claiming MacIntyre off waivers puts them under no obligation to keep him. If, after a game or 2 in the preseason, they don't like him or just like Lefebvre better… they put him back on waivers and Florida take him back.

    Nothing lost.

  • Hippy

    I don't think MacIntyre will be competing for Huggy Bear's job. Stortini can play 10-12 min/game at this point and I don't think MacIntyre or Lefebrve can. Everyone should remember that Stortini is a third round draft pick for a reason (leadership, heart, not bad skill, and coke-machine qualities). That being said here is a quick comparison of Stortini's and lefebvre's numbers

    Lefebvre has better QMJHL numbers:
    GP196, G62, A91, PTS153, PTS/Game0.78, PIM343
    Then Hugy Bear's OHL:
    GP247, G55, A65, PTS120, PTS/Game0.49, PIM746

    And Lefebvre AHL:
    GP290, G50, A55, PTS105, PTS/Game0.36, PIM491
    Then Stortini's AHL:
    GP117, G14, A16, PTS30, PTS/Game0.26, PIM484
    (all stats from Hockey-Reference)

    Those numbers show a stronger offensive game for Lefebvre, while Stortini seems to have more PIM and is more natural inclined to mix it up (if you can say that from stats).

    Also, Huggy Bear's NHL stats:
    GP95, G4, A9, PTS13, PTS/Game0.14, PIM306
    Are close to the same as Lefebvre's:
    GP38, G2, A4, PTS6, PTS/Game0.16, PIM 13
    (if you ignore GP and PIM: the important ones in this conversation)
    Add to this that Lefebvre has played in the Quebec Senior league for the last two years.

    I think Stortini has demonstrated his role on the Oilers (that of a pest whom can fight, rather then a heavy weight) he will not be replaced by Lefebvre, but it seems that MacT/k-lowe/tambo would like more toughness in the PB and sometimes on the ice (either way MacIntyre and lefebvre are competing for one position and stortini has his.

  • Hippy

    Note: We see the annoying triple underlined words in this article that seem to link to some sort of search technology. We didn't do this and we are hard at work on this.

    And by hard at work we mean watching the game and screaming at the internet.

  • Hippy

    Lefebvre was reminding me of when Big George would hem the defence in on the cycle. I thought he was one of the more noticable players last night. The only time him & Roy were on the ice GL draws a penalty.

    Lefebvre is probably a better player than MacI, MacI is more of a Hammer though IMO.

  • Hippy

    Some interesting tidbits here.

    I’m not sure why no-one has asked the question yet, but is Stortini a lock? If a Lefebvre can fight (and win) and put up a point every 8-10 games, isn’t he a equal/better option than Zack? That would open another roster spot…

    MacIntyre, age 28, 0 NHL GP
    Lefebvre, age 27, 38 GP
    Stortini, age 23 (just), 95 GP

    They're literally in different leagues.