The Edmonton Oilers End of Camp Roster

Looking at the current contracts and waiver eligibility of the group of players assembled at the Oilers’ training camp, I believe we can say with near certainty (barring a trade or injury) who will be playing with the team to start the season.

Forwards

Let’s start by considering the locks:

  • Shawn Horcoff
  • Dustin Penner
  • Ales Hemsky
  • Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Fernando Pisani
  • Ethan Moreau
  • Sam Gagner
  • Andrew Cogliano
  • Zack Stortini

That’s a list of nine players who will be with the team. I think we can add five more players with a reasonable degree of certainty:

  • Robert Nilsson
  • Mike Comrie
  • Marc Pouliot
  • Gilbert Brule
  • Jean-Francois Jacques

There are very few question marks even with those six players. Robert Nilsson is a leading candidate to be dealt based on skill-set and cap space. Some have suggested Marc Pouliot is as well, but at 6’1” he adds some size to the lineup and can play a defensive role – both skills which are in short supply on this roster. Gilbert Brule would need to clear waivers and given the cost to acquire him (Raffi Torres) and his pedigree I think it’s extremely unlikely that the Oilers would risk it.

In reality, the only player whose spot is in any real danger (with the possible exception of Nilsson) is J-F Jacques, but his numbers (6’4”, 217lbs) and the fact that he would need to clear waivers make it extremely unlikely that he’ll lose his job.

All this means that it’s a good bet that Jordan Eberle will be returned to junior, guys like Potulny, Reddox, Minard and Stone will go back to Springfield, and that Rob Schremp will disappear on the waiver wire or join that foursome in the AHL.

Defense

Again, let’s start by considering the locks:

  • Lubomir Visnovsky
  • Sheldon Souray
  • Tom Gilbert
  • Denis Grebeshkov
  • Steve Staios
  • Ladislav Smid

Some might argue with the inclusion of Staios, but while his contract is hefty and the returns are diminishing I think there’s very, very little chance he ends up anywhere else on opening night. That leaves Jason Strudwick on the bubble, but given that the player with the best chance of passing him (Theo Peckham) was injured to start camp, I’d say he’s pretty safe too.

Goaltenders

Everybody’s a lock here. Nikolai Khabibulin is the team’s designated starter and there isn’t anyone who can challenge him for that role at this point. Meanwhile, Devan Dubnyk can clear wiavers and Jeff Deslauriers can’t. Honestly, Dubnyk probably has as good a shot at any of the guys on the outside of forcing his way on to the roster, since the Oilers need to make a choice on these two before next season, but it remains highly unlikely that he’ll be able to do it out of training camp.

That’s it. The only real mystery that remains is the line combinations.

Oh, and just to forestall the inevitable complaints (why is Hemsky listed third?) the players above are ranked by cap hit.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    @ ScubaSteve:
    I agree that JDD gets the job out of camp this year.
    I just think next year will be different.

    This statement is endorsed by ScubaSteve©

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    It'll be clearer once we see a couple more preseason games, but I think we'll see a rotation based on the opposing team. Since the season opens vs Calgary I see MAP and Nilsson watching the game from there.

  • Hippy

    I think JFJ and Pouliot could be gone. Pouliot does have more size but he doesn't really use it. I think a crash and banger like Brule would be better for our fourth line.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I agree with you about Dubnyk, but I don't think he was that far above JDD to warrant keeping him and losing JDD on the waiver wire for nothing. This year will show if JDD can step up, or if he's a career minor leaguer, and I think Dubnyk will be an NHL starter one day.

  • Hippy

    @ jeanshorts:

    I liked Dubnyk better than JDD last night too, although I don't want to read too much into one game.

    I do think Dubnyk is going to have the better career.

  • Hippy

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    You are missing MacIntyre…And Pouliot is not as safe as one would think.

    Yeah, I should have noted him as joining Schremp on the waiver wire. Given Quinn's publicly stated aversion to one-dimensional tough guys, though I can't imagine he makes the cut.

  • Hippy

    The other thing to think about here is the opening night roster will not be the roster that skates at mid-season. I can see Peckham and JFJ playing their way to regular minutes at the expense of some less interested players.

    I can also see one or 2 of the ssf's (small skilled forwards)playing their way into the press box.

  • Hippy

    Nobody in their right mind can say Shremp is not DEADLY on the PP. You can teach defence easier than offence.

    Pouliot has been given more than a chance to show what he can do with not much success (in my opinon) and Nilsson just can't bring it every night (yesterday as the last example).

    Not a huge Schremp fan but I would rather them give him an honest shot before losing him via waivers.

  • Hippy

    I only watched a few periods of the last 2 games, but from what I saw I'd 100 percent agree that Dubnyk has a solid of a shot as anyone to challenge for the back up spot.
    Again I only saw a small amount of hockey, but from what I saw he looked more comfortable in the net than JDD. Deslaurier looked like he was forcing it a little too much. Hopefully he'll settle down as he gets into a rhythm during the season, but I think it looks good for this team that their number 3 goalie appears to be ready to jump in at any moment if JDD falters.

  • Hippy

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    You are missing MacIntyre

    I would argue that with Stortini and JFJ on the roster, SMac is not needed for the 12 games a year to deal with Boogard and the like. IMO, we don't need a guy to play 6 minutes a game, just because he can fight.

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    And Pouliot is not as safe as one would think.

    I totally agree with this, he would be the guy I would see being bumped, especially based on last night's performance.

  • Hippy

    @ Kung Pow:

    He's pretty close. The only reason I included him is that while he says he's healthy you just never know.

    But it doesn't make much difference; these guys are all almost locks, with Jacques the only guy who should really be worried, I think.

    Then again, Quinn cut Travis Green one year, so maybe I'll be surprised.