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.

    • Dutchscooter

      Agreed. He was awful. I was chasing my 1yr old, so didn’t watch the whole game but I think that every time I looked back at the game he was getting burned wide. Or taking a penalty.

  • The Hall Way

    The exciting thing about this is the future of this team, if some of these guys continue to improve, wether in the bigs or elsewhere, we are in good shape for years to come

  • Peckham has done a great job at playing himself out of a spot here this year. Not to mention making fans feel a little easier about the possibility of losing him to waivers.

    I imagine there may be fewer teams in line to snatch him off the wire now that we’ve seen more of him this year.

  • rindog

    Can’t both Jones and Reddox make this roster?

    If Omark is going to get sent down (sniff, sniff):

    91 89 83
    4 10 14
    27 13 67
    85 16 46 (33/28)

    6 77
    5 26
    2 43 (45 or 37)

  • jimmycrackcorn

    All I’m saying is Linus Omark needs to make this team, he’s thrived whenever he’s given an opportunity..but I dont think putting a guy with his skill level only on the 3rd and 4th lines is giving him a fair opportunity..the game he was given top six ice time he was the best player on the ice that night…only two ways he does not make this team is..
    1) he gets injured
    2) the coaches and gm’s are biased, all want the golden rock star kids on the team on opening my opinion Omark at THIS point is a better player than Hall, Paajarvi, the long run who knows.

    • With 3 rookies in the lineup, why not keep Omark up and rotate the 4 of them. A guy like Hall, whom you can’t send to the AHL, will probably need a few games to sit in the press box, as will the other two.

      They’d better get him in the last game against Calgary, otherwise why have they kept him up so long?

  • O.C.

    The ox is good north of the red line, but must learn to make and take breakout passes south of the border.

    Jones could fill the antagonizer role, like Tucker or Ricci or Avery (without the baggage).

  • Spartacus

    Eberle and Paajarvi look NHL ready . Omark is very close as well . Hall , i hate to say, does not look like he is NHL ready as yet. Peckham i never expected would be . Others have certainly impressed , while others have not such as Khabby (less than stellar ) and Vandemeer . Should Oilers be playing Hall on another line other than first ? Reddox biggest surprise so far . Giroux starting to make a case as well . Beginning to think Hall might be better off not making club this season .

    • Dutchscooter

      The problem with Hall is where does he go? Certainly not junior. So, he sticks. He’ll figure it out. He’s had flashes, even in last night’s game.

  • LT…

    O’Marra had a shot, a giveaway, 2 takeaways and absolutely killed in the FO circle, winning 9 out of 11. He didn’t get much PK time on a night when it was bountiful, and I’m sure the Coach would have liked to see a checkmark or two in the Hits column.

    However he was very solid and despite being on the ice for 14 minutes was not on for a single Flamer goal.

    • Lowetide

      spOILer: I agree, he’s done some good things. However, there have been hints out of camp that his conditioning is in question (or at least was at the beginning) and in order for him to grab that job he needed to impress early.

      The tough thing for him is that all of the arrows are going the wrong way a season from now: the Oilers will certainly have decided about Cogs at center; Vande Velde will be one year older; Lander may be here to stay, and on it goes.

      Small window of opportunity and he didn’t do enough. Math never felt he was a player, but I thought there might be a role for him. Hey, maybe Renney still sees a role (lord knows they need a faceoff guy).

      But I can’t help but think he needed to do more.

  • I thru this one at JG yesterday & he didn’t think the Ducks would take on the extra money (I also thru this out back in July when I thought the Oil might be able to salvage somthing for Souray…

    Sheldon Souray – 2 yrs, $4.5M salary, $5.4M cap hit.

    Jason Blake – 2 yrs, $3M salary, $4M cap hit.

    Make the swap (I was thinking maybe the Oil snag a 6th rounder or something as well, but Gregor figured the Ducks might want the draft pick for taking on salary – I wouldn’t do that).

    Then put Blake on waivers. If no takers (I’d assume none), then assign him to OKC (or any other AHL team for that matter). Bury him and his $3M instead of Souray and his $4.5M. It save Katz some $$. Perhaps, you even put him on re-entry waivers at some point (maybe ASAP, maybe mid-season or trade deadline when a good chunk of this years salary has disappeared), and see if a team that has suffered injuries might bite at half price. His 2nd year is still probably a sticking point to many teams, but worst case, the Oil save $1.5M & the Ducks get a much better 1-2 punch on the back-end then they currently have.

    I know its not ideal, but at least it gets this situation over with and saves the Oil some real dollars.

    I wouldn’t do this today, but in 4 or 5 days when the roster’s need to be set, if nothing else, why not pull the trigger on this and end this saga?

    • Spartacus

      Is there a more useless waste of time than proposed trades? Seriously RC, how much spare time do you really have? Are you an insomniac and thereby have an extra 8 hours a day to kill?

      If you post this often here at ON, how frickin’ often are you posting at the FN? The place must be wall-papered with your comments.

      • Why don’t you tell me how you really feel, Sean? As a matter of fact, I’m sitting at home waiting for a coughing little girl to wake up & spend the day with. I usually post evenings & weekends. You don’t want me here? Bite me.

        People are looking for solutions to the Souray mess. I proposed one. Not an outlandish Cogliano, Chorney & a 2nd for Eric Staal type, either. Don’t like it, don’t read it… and sure as hell don’t comment on it. What exactly did your post bring to ON?

        • Spartacus

          Alright, alright… I’m a big jerk. I get it.

          I’m not one of these guys who does a bunch of homework on stats and figures to make a post. I’m more of a maker of inappropriate comments at inopportune times. Ya, that’s my wheelhouse.

          I never meant to imply you’re not welcome.


          Edit: And I like that you used my first name; nice personal touch. Cheers.

  • According to Mike Russo, the Canucks have put Shane O’Brien & Darcy Hordichuk on waivers.

    While I like Hordichuk better than MacIntyre, I don’t expect the Oil to do anything there. BUT, wouldn’t O’Brien be a step up from Peckham? methinks. Tambellini should snatch him up & throw Peckham on waivers ASAP. Might not bode well for Petiot, though.

    O’Brien has 1 yr @ $1.6M.

      • And look at their D compared to the Oil’s… quite a difference. I know he’s not anything special, but at least he’s played NHL games with some regularity over the past few years. It seems clear Peckham isn’t ready, and O’Brien brings the physical element that made Peckham attractive in the first place.

  • Hall looked overwhelmed last night. He was getting hit in every possible way along with the other kids. And no response. If you have a guy like ben ondrus in the game last night, he wouldve went after regher after that hit. What kills me is they built the team toughness and got a bunch of scrappers in the summer and no one fought the 1 guy who needs a beating (regher). The only bright side on halls play is the first year crosby broke in the league, he was getting tossed around a bit too but I’m not in any way shape or form comparing hall to crosby

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I agree, the “ox” definitly has made a case for himself this camp and im hoping he’ll make the team, i think last nights fight he was in might have solidified that spot.

    Peckham as much as i like him, is gone, in both games he’s played he sure likes to take stupid penalties, reminds me of captain casper(moreau) in that aspect. Still cant decide who should get the last spot on D between Belle and Petiot,im hoping its Belle just because he’s faster than Petiot IMO.

    Not to sure who played worse last night Khabbyboozin or Gilbert they both handed the game to the flames last night, with the help of some stellar goaltending from Karlson(calgary might have finally found a decent back-up to spell off Kipper(SH*T!)

    All in all tho I thought the Oilers played pretty good last night considering the gaffes of Khabby, Gilbert, and Peckham and the score should have been different if Hemsky buried a few of his 5 good chances he had that Karlson stopped.

  • TFackshatter

    I know that everyone is saying it sounds like the Oilers are going to go with Duby over JD but I don’t understand how. Last year Duby looked terrible except maybe 2 games. Although I understand all Oilers netminders were largely hung out to dry last year, in my mind Deslauriers looked undoubtedly better. This year so far watching Dubnyk play he’s been stumbling around the crease, handling the puck like it’s a grenade, and still letting in at least a soft goal a game. I know it’s only pre-season but you’d think that’d make him more confident out there. He looks unsure of himself. He seems to resort to playing deep in his crease, probably because he is so big, but that’s leaving him really vulnerable to getting sniped upstairs. His puck tracking doesn’t seem to be good enough for his positioning in a lot of situations. Although JD can get a little crazy with diving around making Hasek like desperation saves, he only seems to do it when he has to rather than just giving up on the puck. I like how he never gives up on the play. Not only that but JDD’s best games were better than DD’s best games and JDD has them more consistently than Dubnyk. A lot of people had their minds made up before the season started that the Oil should take Dubnyk but he’d had so many terrible games and so few good ones that I don’t know how you can justify keeping him over JDD or even Gerber for that matter. “Projected potential upside” be damned.

    • Ryan14

      Age, contract status, potential all play a part. Dubnyk is yonger, had a better pedigree, is better technically, has more potential, and he is an RFA at the end of his current contract.
      JD hasn’t shown to be that much better, if any better at all. Both are marginal NHLers today.

  • It’s my belief Steve Tambellini would prefer Belle & Petiot over Peckham.

    1 less solidier from the Kevin Prendergast regime.

    Would you agree purchasing property in the Edmonton area increases the likeliness a player stays here?(Belle&Petiot have)

    I also have a theory on Slovenian born centers which I’ll enlighten everyone with at a later date.

  • Still early to tell if Oilers can have success against Flames playing their game with Hemsky and Horcoff not scoring on glorious chances they had last night . Gagner looked great last night in retrospect . Penner , Brule and Cogs will help in next exhibition game . To many bad penalties we took last night that proved costly . Flames new goalie looks pretty good i might add.

    Our early success will rely on Oilers figuring a way and lineup to beat the Flames early . We don’t want to be giving away every game to them again this season like last .

    Hall , so far , has not looked as good as Gagner did when he first made the team . Hemsky’s lack of goal scoring so far is disheartening .

  • Spartacus

    I always just assumed that Flames Nation would have a glut of commenters like we do here at Oilers Nation, but it’s surprisingly quiet over there. I guess most Flames fans haven’t figured out how to post yet. Give them a few more years, they probably still think this internet thing is just a fad.

    I did watch an awesome video (posted by Jonathan Willis, oddly enough) wherein Michael Peca critiques the play of Jay Bouwmeester. I can’t believe he said that stuff. I like Mike – not much for regular season play, but damn he can bring it in the broadcasters booth.

    I read a comment the other day where the commenter suggested that every Oiler who is interviewed mid-game should state how much they enjoy playing against JBo because he is so soft. I get that joke now, I get it.


  • Lowetide

    Nate: Excellent point in regard to Peckham being part of the KP regime. He no longer has that favored status (which I think all organizations have) of being a draft pick. No necks on the line if Peckham doesn’t make it.

  • Rob...

    Pedigree: A list of ancestors.

    Used correctly it could be used when commenting on Nilsson or Gagner and any expectations due to their lineage.

    My apologies if, in fact, Dubnyk’s great uncle was a superb goaltender in some pro league.

      • Rob...

        I understand how it’s being used. I look at it like a ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ scenario though. Some ‘pro’ used the incorrect word once, and everybody else has decided that they’d rather go along with it than look like the fool trying to correct it. Well, by god, I am that fool. 😉

        If someone wants to say better draft position, then what the hell is wrong with saying ‘better draft position’?

      • Rob...

        If everyone had an attitude like that I’m sure “there” would soon replace “they’re” and “their”, and “to” will be an acceptable substitute for “two” and “too”. Languages may evolve, but standards shouldn’t. You must be like a young co-worker of mine that currently uses the word ‘random’ as a substitute for a tenth of the words in the dictionary.


        Thanks for the Avatar comment. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the ‘tough guys’ and how they didn’t necessarily need to fight to be effective; they could do as much with a few words or a glare. Very few did the glare as well as Messier.

  • Marc


    I noted on your site that Matty said today:

    “The New York Rangers are likely interested in Souray after dumping Wade Redden’s $6.5-million salary, and not just because Doug Risebrough, their pro scout, has seen the Oilers play four straight games.”

    I can only think of two reasons why the Rangers pro scout has watched every Oilers preseason game. One is that they are seriously considering trading for Souray because they don’t think they’ll get him on re-entry waivers and they’re looking for prospects to sweeten the deal.

    The other is that they have their eye on a waiver claim for Peckham/Petiot/Belle (or Jones or JDD I suppose). A quick look at their depth charts has Ryan McDonagh, who has pedigree but zero NHL experience, as the Rangers number 7 D, so a waiver claim of a slightly more experienced D doesn’t seem out of the question.

    • db7db7db7

      Looking into the Rangers, I think there could definitely be a trade there. But, I think it would look more like this: Drury and McDonaugh for Souray and Cogliano. I know Drury is a winger, but it could be worked out. $ wise it seems to make sense for both teams. Note: Drury $7,050,000 for 2 more years.

      Plus, his salary would take the heat off of

      • Marc

        I think something along the lines of White and Eminger for Souray and Peckham or Chorney is more likely. Reading through some of the Rangers blogs it seems that neither White nor Eminger have had particularly good camps and both might be waived. They make about $3.5M combined so Souray would only cost the Rangers $1M in real money (though $2M in cap space) this year.

        Both White and Eminger are UFAs after the season though, whereas Souray has two years left, so I think the Oilers have to give up at least a decent prospect – and I suspect the Rangers would be actually pushing to get a young roster player instead of or in addition to a prospect – to compensate the Rangers for taking that extra year of Souray’s contract.

  • Lowetide

    Rob: Excellent verbal pedigree. 🙂

    Marc: The rumors about NYR have always included Cogliano, so maybe there’s something there too. At this point, I think Souray’s value is an extreme negative, so getting McDonagh might be tough without a sweetener.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    ped·i·gree   /ˈpɛdɪˌgri/ Show Spelled [ped-i-gree]
    Show IPA –noun
    1. an ancestral line; line of descent; lineage; ancestry.
    2. a genealogical table, chart, list, or record, esp. of a purebred animal.
    3. distinguished, excellent, or pure ancestry.
    4. derivation, origin, or history: the pedigree of a word.


    Can we please put this to bed? The term ‘pedigree’ is used to suggest that there is a demonstrable distinction in quality over other players based on past experience.

    Thank you.

  • Marc


    Sorry – I didn’t make myself clear. I think the Rangers scout could indicate that they are thinking about dealing for Souray, as Matty suggests.

    But it could also indicate that they are thinking about upgrading their defensive depth by claiming either Peckham, Petiot or Belle when two of them get waived. Each is more experienced than McDonagh, who isn’t waiver eligible and could start the season with the Connecticut Whale.

    • McDonagh’s biggest strike against him could be his 1.3M contract (coupled with the fact he doesn’t have to clear waivers, as you mentioned). McKenzie has already stated that that may keep him off their roster to start the season if they have a cheaper option.