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

    BigE57 wrote:

    Something to watch for when guys who like to carry the puck through the neutral zone (Ales) play Calgary.

    I think Phaneuf knows better than to steamroll Hemsky right on top of the Oilers logo. He might be classless, but he'd have to be an idiot to pull something like that.

  • Hippy

    @ Jimmy:

    Hemsky has been a favorite target of theirs for years, his willingness to take the puck in traffic brings some of that on.

    And there is a reason the Flames picked up Brian McGrattan. I'm fully expecting the Alberta to heat up this year and hoping for Souray to one punch Phaneuf or anybody else wearing the Flaming C.

  • Hippy

    The Hit was clean. Was it necessary? It doesnt matter because it is allowed. Phaneuf may be a knuckle dragging clown without a personality, but those hits are amazing. I wish the Oilers had someone who did that with enough regularity to scare opposing forwards. I would be pissed if Phaneuf laid that hit on Hemsky, but its not dirty.

    The only knock against the hit was that it happened in pre-season. Too bad for Okposo. This isnt like the Downie hit on McAmmond where it was obviously a dirty play, it was a legit play.

  • Hippy

    i love my oilers but that hit phanuef layed on that guy was totally clean. Buddy had his head down and was tied up, like some one said earlier 'phanuef could have backed off a bit but why ?' that guy should have had his head up

  • Hippy

    After watching the game tonight I really don't know if pisani or pouliot are a lock any more. I liked stone and think he would replace pisani nicely for a 1/4 of the price and I've always thought pouliot was a waste of skin.
    penner-horcoff-hemsky
    sully-comrie-stone
    cogs-gagner-neilson
    jacques-moreau-stortini

  • Hippy

    hell even get ride of neilson and put brule on that line to free up more cap room. At least brule would go get the puck, and get ride of staois he was invisible tonight, replace him with peckham or plante.

  • Hippy

    please get rid of staios
    chorney didnt look bad either
    o'marra is a big boy id take him over pouliot
    staios sucked
    i think they throw nillson or schremp on the line with sullivan and comrie eventually
    kip is not to be fcuked with he ran over two guys tonight and florida players acted and played on like nothing occured
    staios cant make a right decision for the life of him
    very enjoyable game

  • Hippy

    RossCreek wrote:

    @ Fast Eddie
    Psshh… Please.
    When an overwhelming portion of the MSM considers it clean, when experienced professional hockey minds think its clean, it validates my thoughts. If there was an overwhelming cry that it wasn’t clean, then I would back off. It might not completely change my mind, but I wouldn’t sit here arguing about it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. As Mr. John Short always used to say, everyone has a democratic right to be wrong.
    And what was so offensive about the keep your head statement? It wasn’t in CAPS the way you put it and it wasn’t bolded. Whats your beef?

    the hit itself wasnt overly dirty. contrary to popular belief, he didnt leave his feet or throw an elbow. there was a still frame "impact" shot on the hfboards, and the leap/elbow were after impact (from what i could see)

    regardless, anyone with half a brain knows if you throw that kind of hit in todays NHL, you are going to have to fight, especially in preseason.

    to watch phaneuf make the hit, and start looking around for the people coming at him, and try and skate away, was comical.

    if it was souray who did the same thing, i would say the same thing in regards to him not standing up to what was coming after the hit.

  • Hippy

    OK, one last comment on Phaneuf. For those stating it was clean but he should've fought, did Scott Stevens have to fight after he knocked Lindros senseless? Paul Kariya? Ron Francis? Hey, if I was an Islander player, I'm sure I would of been going after him as well… but does that make it right? Why bust your hand in a preseason tilt with some no name?
    On another note, just like I said it was nice to see Fleury win the game the other night in his return to Calgary, it was nice to see Comrie get the fans back on his side in his return to eTown. Kinda funny to watch the haters transform back into fans like that. Enjoy your crow. I've stated on here even b4 the rumors of him returning that I would've liked to see Calgary land him. Oh well… I guess I have to transform now. F you Mike Comrie. Lol.

  • Hippy

    […] premature as their clairvoyance is, they’re a week late compared to Jonathan Willis, who laid everything out for Quinn and his coaching staff Sept. 17 after the Oilers had played two pre-season games. […]