Job Market 2 (Beware the Ginger)

A dozen days ago we looked at the Oilers depth chart and made some bets. These 12 days later, how many of those bets look like they’ll pay off? How many are still up in the air? How many have gone south? 

The answers may surprise you.  

Lets begin by listing the "sure things" to see if there has been any movement there:

  1. Nikolai Khabibulin: Playing, but looks rusty.
  2. Tom Gilbert: Healthy and effective.
  3. Ryan Whitney: Looks good. Calm feet.
  4. Kurtis Foster: Some chaos, some strong offensive play.
  5. Ladislav Smid: He’s had a nice camp.
  6. Jim Vandermeer: Tough individual, big hitter.
  7. Dustin Penner: Quality veteran looks faster.
  8. Ales Hemsky: Mr. Excitement.
  9. Sam Gagner: Faster, stronger.
  10. Shawn Horcoff: Looks like a new man.
  11. Taylor Hall: Ridiculous skill. Very young.
  12. Gilbert Brule: Solid offensive player.
  13. Andrew Cogliano: Fast as lightning.
  14. Ryan Jones: Injuries have placed his spot in jeopardy.
  15. Colin Fraser: Hasn’t played especially well.
  16. Zack Stortini: Solid camp.
  17. Steve MacIntyre: He’s done the job required with aplomb.

Of the 17 "safe" jobs there’s just one that looks wonky. Ryan Jones got a late start, and that allowed Liam Reddox a window of opportunity. The ginger is certainly in the conversation. Here are my original 6 "bubble" winners:

  1. Devan Dubnyk: Appears to have the inside track on the 2G job.
  2. Jason Strudwick: Veteran has delivered and his job looks safe.
  3. Theo Peckham: Chaos reigns and his job is in doubt.
  4. Magnus Pääjärvi: Has delivered an outstanding performance.
  5. Jordan Eberle: Impressive young player solidified his position.
  6. Ryan O’Marra: Hasn’t done enough to win the day despite outstanding opportunity.

I count Peckham as being the disappointment here. His skills are a perfect match for the team’s needs at the 5-7D position, he has some things going for him (waiver eligible) and yet he’s lost ground over these 12 days. O’Marra’s position on this list was perhaps untenable, but I felt his skills (faceoffs, penalty kill) would give him an enormous advantage over the competition.

However, early reports from TC had his conditioning as a point of interest, and I don’t think he’s delivered enough to hold on to that job. Both players in bold have to be considered disappointments at this point in time.

Now for the contenders and how they’ve fared: 

  1. Jeff Deslauriers: Has been outplayed by Dubnyk.
  2. Martin Gerber: Sent down after an impressive TC. He could be back.
  3. Olivier Roy: Sent down early, as expected.
  4. Shawn Belle: Has played well enough to be in the conversation.
  5. Taylor Chorney: Sent down 10 days into camp. He needs time in the minors.
  6. Alex Plante: Had a solid camp, the organization seems pleased with his progress.
  7. Jeff Petry: Impressed many, he’s moving up the depth chart.
  8. Richard Petiot: A very pleasant surprise, he has a strong chance.
  9. Johan Motin: Cut one week into camp, he’s at the end of the prospect list at the pro level.
  10. Linus Omark: An impressive camp has him in the mix.
  11. Alex Giroux: Caught fire later in camp, has a very slight chance of making the roster.
  12. Liam Reddox: All out effort every shift. Why would we be surprised? 
  13. Brad Moran: Sent down early (7 days in).
  14. Greg Stewart: Was among the early cuts.
  15. Ben Ondrus: A strong performance has him in the mix.
  16. Chris Vande Velde: Young man has impressed with wide range of skills.
  17. Teemu Hartikainen: Sent down early, he has talent.
  18. Tyler Pitlick: The early talk of TC, he’ll be back to stay in the next couple of years.
  19. Cameron Abney: Did some nice things before being sent back to junior.

A quick note on Colin McDonald: I didn’t list him because he had no chance to make the team. He did however play very well and I think he might get a call sometime this season.

Assuming JF Jacques begins the season on the IR, we’re down to four battles:

  1. Dubnyk versus JDD: It looks like the big man has won the day.
  2. Peckham fighting Belle and Petiot: I think Petiot may win this contest.
  3. Ryan Jones versus Liam Reddox: I don’t know how they send Reddox away.
  4. O’Marra versus the world: I really felt O’Marra would have the advantage here. He can PK, win faceoffs and if he spends some nights in the pressbox it wouldn’t hurt his development (as it might with someone new to the pro game, like Vande Velde). However, Omark, Giroux, Ondrus and Vande Velde are all in the mix here, and the question is no longer "what center can win the extra job" its about spending the last roster spot on an energy forward. The loser of the Jones/Reddox match could also grab this job.

I wonder if Peckham and O’Marra will ever get another chance like this one. Arriving in training camp with a team in dire need of your skill set and without a lot of competition. At a time in your career when you could catch on and have a nice run if things break right. Remember a few years ago when Kyle Brodziak arrived in camp and pushed aside all the first rounders (Schremp, Pouliot, etc)? 

Well it looks like Liam Reddox is doing the exact same thing. "Undersized ginger eats everyone’s lunch" wasn’t the headline expected, but its the story this morning.

  • SquidRx

    I think that a move of Cogliano with Souray opens up a spot for Omark on the team.
    I agree with consensus here that The Ginger Ox has proved he should stay with the team. I don’t share the love for Belle though. I know he has had an abbreviated audition, but I didn’t think he looked that good in the game I a saw. I think Petiot has a leg up on both Belle and Peckham. Actually he has both legs, an arm, and 3/4 of pectoral muscle up on Peckham.
    I also agree with some voices that Hall hasn’t played overly well, but holy road runner Batman, is that kid quick. There is no point in sending him back to junior. He stays and he will get better. He doesn’t seem to lack a work ethic.

  • Lowetide

    With regard to Hordichuk and O’Brien (now on waivers from Van, apparently), I think the Oilers should consider Hordichuk. Seriously.

    Hordichuk takes too many penalties but he can play some and that makes him a better option for 14F.

    Obrien has some coverage issues and is a ding dong when it comes to penalties, and he’s a 1.6M cap hit.

    • Lowetide

      LT, I completely agree with picking up Hordichuk off the waiver wire. Think about it people; who would you rather have as your 14F/tough guy, Hordichuk or S-Mac?

      If you chose the latter, well then… *facepalm*

  • Jmask5

    I would say 4 guys have made things tough on management.

    1.Liam Reddox
    2.Richard Petiot
    3.Linus Omark
    4.Chris Vande Velde

    2 Guys had a chance and ruined it.

    1. Pekham
    2. Omarra

    The problem is the 4 guys who have made a case for themselves don’t really fit the need of the team. In a perfect world Omarra and Pekham would have seized their opportunity.

    Also Jones and Fraser have been pretty lackluster to say the least.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    what if the oilers claimed Hordichuk on waivers and then put Stortini on waivers, THAT my friends would be fan-freakin-tastic. We would have Hordichuk and Smac protecting the rook’s, Stortini couldn’t fight his wasy out of a wet paper bag with a hole in it!

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      i would love to see you stand toe to toe with him on the ice…

      unless of course you are suggesting you rank somewhere below a “wet paper bag with a hole in it”

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Yeah! And neither can Colin Fraser, so let’s see if we can replace him with Colton Orr, and maybe replace Gilbert Brule (who also can’t fight) with Derek Boogard, whose cap hit is about the same. *Then* maybe we’ll be a playoff team (though we might still need to unload Hemsky, since he seems a little soft).

    • Lowetide

      Nice strawman, old man – switching the subject to Stortini’s ability to play hockey, as if that’s somehow relevant in evaluating whether he should be on our hockey team.

  • Jmask5

    I’m starting to wonder about this protecting the Rookies crap. I mean both Paajarvi and Hall got hit hard yesterday and no one did anything. Even though we had a pretty tough lineup.

  • Wow! I’m no Oiler fan & I am a FORMER Stortini basher, but dude has improved immensely since his 1st year – as a fighter AND as a hockey player. I like Hordichuk & think he can play a bit better than Smac, but I wouldn’t get rid of Zack for Hordichuk & I doubt the Oil would take Hordichuk over Smac.

    @Robin

    Do you think the Oil take a shot at O’Brien? He’s better than Peckham, no? And he brings the toughness element they were hoping Peckham would supply.

  • Crackenbury

    Lots of crying over 1 pre-season loss. I was at the game, thought they played reasonably well until the 3rd period. Peckham didn’t impress me very much though. I like the size of our defense this year. It should pay dividends as the season progresses.

    The guy I want to see more of is Giroux. He really stood out in the previous game and I like his size down the middle. It will be interesting to see him compete against an actual NHL lineup tomorrow, if he gets a chance.

    Our overall size on the top three lines is still a concern. Last night might have Renney thinking the same thing.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Sure Stortini has come along way since his first yr I will give him that, but my qoute of “couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag with a hole in it” was for the fact that even though he might have “won” some of the fights he was in by hugging them til they fell to the ice, he sure as hell couldn’t keep the other teams from running our star players into the boards. My whole point was if the Oilers bring in Hordichuk they bring him in to do the job Stortini does right now and can fight better than Zack.IMO Id rather have the likes of Smac, and Hordichuk running around letting thier fists do the talking instead of thier mouths(Stortini)

    Yes Im not a fan of “huggy bear” on the ice never have never will be*

    *and yes ill stand toe to toe with Zack and tell him the same thing that he stinks as a hockey player

    Just wanted to rectify what i wrote earlier

  • Rob...

    Have you noticed how Omark got a fare chance against Flames and was able to prove himself and scored 3 goals and an assist. Oh wait it was another Swede and another game and Omark only played 1 game in preseason! This is a FARE CHANCE?

    • Shapeman

      Are you living a day ahead of us? Can I borrow your time machine?

      *edit* although now that I re-read it I see how you were trying to make a point about this game not the next *edit*

      also to the post above saying Drury is a winger he is not, he is a center and very good in the draw at that

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      Wow, Rob is going to ~looooove~ this post.

      On a serious note, Stortini is a legitmate 4th liner on this club and many others. There is NO way Hordichuk could/would take his place. If memory serves me correctly Storts was on the good side of the +/- line last year.

      If and when injuries strike (or when things go south), I can see Renney giving Storts a bigger role including some PK time.

  • Marc

    Word on the street down South from an organization insider is that Reddox has done more than impress the OilersNation. Columbus and Minny are very interested and hoping that the Oil waives him. Apparently there is some concern that the Leafs might grab him (unlikely IMO). It looks like Reddox has won himself an NHL job this year, Oilers or elsewhere. Good for him, he deserves it.

    Also, NYI and NYR have apparently both scouted solid bottom pairing defensemen with “upside potential” on the Oilers roster and are looking forward to the waiver wire, although my source did not know which blueliner they had in mind. Peckham I would assume based on the description.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    If we are being honest, Belle and Petiot should look better than Peckham at this stage of thier careers.

    That being said, if the name of the game is developing players, why on earth would you keep either of those 2 over Peckham?

  • Eddie Shore

    Shane O’Brien not only makes too much money but he is fat. Last year in the playoffs the enitre Chicago bench was on him because of this. I will throw up all over myself if we put a claim in for him.

  • I get the hate directed at Shane O’Brien. He’s by no means a d-man that any good team should have at that price. Hence, the reason the Canucks waived him.

    Having said that, has anyone seen the D-corps the Oil have? They have the cap room. It’s a 1 yr commitment at that price. I’m sure SOB is coming to the realization that this could be it… his career could be flashing before his eyes. I don’t see the harm in the Oil putting in a claim. Word is, the Rangers or Isles may… that could eliminate either of them from considering Souray (not comparing the 2 skill-sets, just that adding an NHL d-man may satisfy their appetite for looking at Souray, who is obviously better, but also more $$).

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Ya, I really don’t get why so many people have trouble with this concept . The only person that should care what he makes on a one year deal is Katz.

        I guess we’re all bargin hunters at heart ;o

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      Of course, what on earth do we need the million in cap space for this year?

      It’s not about collecting the best contracts, it’s about building the best you can for 58 million.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Pass on SOB, imo not really better than Peckham, and more expensive. Hordichuk over Mac is an upgrade though. Not sure the pricetag, but he can play a bit.

  • Lowetide

    I remember good ole Hordi dissing Stortini as huggy bear when Storts was starting out. I don’t care if you’re god’s gift to hockey fighting which I don’t think Hordi is but that kind of disrespectful mouthing off doesn’t make good standing in my books and now mr. veteran Hordi is waived. Bye bye birdi hordi and see you later…