IF YOU’RE ASKING: MY 23-MAN ROSTER

The Edmonton Oilers will make their last major roster cut Monday and don’t have to name their 23-man roster until later in the week, but just about everybody has already taken a crack at spelling out what they think coach Tom Renney’s team will look like when the season begins against the Calgary Flames Thursday.

My turn.

The list I’ve come up with isn’t necessarily what I think the Oilers roster should be, it’s what I think the roster will be. If the list was what I think it should be, then Nikolai Khabibulin wouldn’t be here in the first place, but I digress. The Oilers finished the pre-season at 4-2 after back-to-back losses to the Flames, including a 1-0 defeat in Cowtown Sunday.

They’ve still got 32 players for 23 spots, but that number is really 31 because forward J.F. Jacques will start the season on injured reserve. That’ll mean eight cuts, although it’s entirely possible somebody else might pull a hammy or turn up with a sore back and stick around town beyond opening night.

Anyway, here goes . . .

THE FORWARDS

Gilbert Brule

Andrew Cogliano

Jordan Eberle

Colin Fraser

Sam Gagner

Taylor Hall

Ales Hemsky

Shawn Horcoff

Ryan Jones

Steve MacIntyre

Magnus Paajarvi

Dustin Penner

Liam Reddox

Zack Stortini

— Versatile and underrated Liam Reddox flat-out willed his way onto the roster with his balls-out, gloves-off performance in a 5-1 loss to the Flames. He’s also a very handy guy to have around because he kills penalties and can fill-in almost anywhere in a pinch. I think of Reddox as updated and speedier version of Rem Murray.

— Hall, Paajarvi and Eberle get in because the advertising campaign and new billboards are already planned, and because it makes sense, in the opinion of management, that the Big Three starts at square one of this rebuild together. How ready they are, especially Hall, will be a matter of debate for months.

 — Linus Omark deserved a better crack at a job in the top nine than what he got. The skilled Swede doesn’t fit with the grinders at the bottom of the roster and he can’t ride shotgun for the kids, so he’ll get a ticket to OKC and dominate in the AHL and bide his time untl the phone rings.

THE DEFENCE

 

Kurtis Foster

Tom Gilbert

Ryan Whitney

Ladislav Smid

Jim Vandermeer

Jason Strudwick

Theo Peckham

— Renney tipped his hand on Peckham after Sunday’s loss when he suggested that Theo continues to play well. Pardon? I’m not so sure about that, although he was more of a factor on Sunday. With the Oilers apparently fearing somebody will pluck Peckham off waivers, he’ll stick.

— Unheralded journeyman Richard Petiot gets the pipe here.  I think Petiot showed better and did more during camp and pre-season than Peckham or Shawn Belle, who saw limited duty because of a sore hand. He jumped several spots up the depth chart, but he was coming from a long way back.

— Gilbert didn’t do much for me in pre-season, especially when he didn’t play alongside Whitney, but it goes without saying that doesn’t matter and he’ll be in Renney’s first pairing when the puck drops Thursday.

THE GOALTENDERS

Nikolai Khabibulin

Devan Dubnyk

— Khabibulin delivered about what was expected after 11 months out of action after his back surgery. He was pretty good in his first start, all things considered, but no better than OK overall. Khabibulin’s contract guarantees he’ll be the go-to guy until he gets hurt again.

— Jeff Deslauriers best shot at staying ahead of Dubnyk in the pecking order came and went in 48 apperances last season and he didn’t seize the opportunity. Dubnyk came in ahead of Deslauriers in the minds of the decision-makers and on the depth chart and he stayed there.

THE LETTER

Once the cuts are dispensed with, it only makes sense the Oilers will unveil Horcoff as their captain and name his assistants before the Flames come calling. My guess is that’ll come Tuesday.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Crash

    I am an Oilers fan since 1983. Shame on you Oilers for the last cuts that you made! Omark will come back to bite you in the ass yet. He is going to have the last laugh. To bad!

    • DimebagDave

      By bite us in the ass do you mean he’ll light it up in the A and learn to play without the puck, then get recalled and be a much more productive player for us?

        • Dan the Man

          How come if Detroit sends a guy down they are being patient and it’s seen as an excellent opportunity to develop a player.

          When the Oilers do it it’s “mistreating” a player.

          • VMR

            I think maybe it has to do with the players that get chosen over certain other players.

            Does Detroit send down good players in favour of guys that don’t show as well or that aren’t as good???

            I don’t know the answer because I don’t watch Detroits training camps, but it is something to think about.

          • Dan the Man

            I don’t follow other teams camps as closely as the Oilers but I’d be willing to bet that this kind of thing happens every year with many other teams.

            If Omark had made this team then it would have been at the expense of Paajarvi, Hall or Eberle. How upset would people be then?

          • positivebrontefan

            The only way to trade Cogs is to play him and once that happens hopefully they can slide Brule over to center and bring up Omark.

            One other thing we need to remember is that we do not want to finish ninth in the west. We want playoffs or last. This ain’t going to happen overnight. Look at Pittsburgh, Chicago, it still hasn’t happened for Washington…

            Just my two cents.

  • I would be interested to hear the reason why the Oilers are sending Omark down? I can’t imagine them being disappointed with his TC?

    Even when put into a role that is not suited for him, he seemed to play very well.

    The one game that he did get to play in the top 6, he did exactly what he was supposed to do…produce!

    The whole thing just seems a little weird.

    • What good is playing 8 min. a night on the 4th line or sitting in the pressbox gonna do Omark (or the Oilers)? Send him down to the A to play 1st line minutes & produce. If he goes down with the right attitude & does that, he’ll be back sooner than later… and possibly ready to make more of an impact.

  • Chris.

    @ Crash:

    Cynical? Negative? Really? Am I out of line thinking it’s a bad idea to carry three tenders on the roster? Very few management teams have nearly a full NHL season to watch their goalie prospects in NHL action… if Steve still can’t decide between JDD and DD after years and years of development, several camps, and nearly a full NHL season… well… I have a right to poke fun at his indecision. Make the cut already.

    Souray will probably be loaned out to another AHL affiliate ala Nylander… so I’m betting Steve is moving forward with 3 below average goalies. I don’t get it.

    (Or he’s taking another 48 hours to really asess the situation as per my original tongue-in-cheek post)

    • Crash

      Yes, cynical, negative and continually bitching and moaning. I noticed that you are one of those who already have it all figured out, just how bad everything is and how bad the team is going to be this year, and how terrible the future is, etc, etc.

      In a year when the team has been gutted and the move is toward rebuild I don’t see the point of whining about every single move that is made.

      You’re likely right, Souray probably will be loaned out ala Nylander. But the Oilers still have some time to try to rid themselves of the problem. There are other teams that could be making overtures about him. I figure there must be some sort of conversations going on or Souray would already be down. If the Oilers move him down now then all of those conversations end.

      You seem very impatient for someone who knows this is a rebuild. All the teams are evaluating right now and have decisions to make and possibly holes to fill. Do you think it’s possible there are any trade talks going on in the league or decisions around who to waive, who to release, who to sign, who to trade, going on?

      Is it possible the Oilers might be working on a trade involving a goaltender? Or possibly they want to wait to ensure Khabby is for sure 100% healed from back surgery before sending a goaltender to waivers? Maybe it’s possible that Khabby will have to go down on a conditioning stint for a couple of weeks. He hasn’t played much in the last year.

      I think it’s more than likely they have decided on one of JDD or DD. The odd man out may be of interest to some teams…maybe, maybe not. Maybe trade talk is going on.

      Why don’t you just sit back and see what happens instead of going off on the Oilers endlessly.

      And who says that these 3 goaltenders are all below average goaltenders? You? David S? How about we wait and see, maybe let DD play some games in the league before we brand him below average? It’s a rebuild, what could it hurt? What I don’t get is how so many think everyone else’s cast offs are somehow above average and must pick ups and our young guys are below average and just junk.

      Have mistakes been made over the last 4 years. Yes, there have been. That’s why the Oilers were dead last. All teams make mistakes. Why don’t you just wait and see how things turn out over the next couple of years?

  • DimebagDave

    Red Ox cut, three headed monster…again, Omark out works half the squad and gets cut…

    Just when you think maybe…just maybe “management” might get it right they show their old, oblivious stripes.

    If this is a deliberate dive, embarrassing. If it’s not: even more embarrassing.

    Christ, they make it hard to cheer for this team. I feel for the players.

    • VMR

      Omark played in what two exhibition games? How can anybody be surprised he was sent down? How is sending Reddox and Omark down a deliberate dive? Did anybody expect those two to turn this team into a Stanley cup champion?

      Seriously?

        • VMR

          Do the addition of Omark and Reddox to the roster change that? I dont think so, why not let Omark develop in the minors and add a bit of size to the lineup to try and protect the young guys we are trying to develop here.

          I think these are pretty marginal decisions being made here and not really worth getting excited about. People are overreacting given that this is a learning season and not one where we are supposed to challenge for a playoff spot. You can always call Omark back up if you want later and there’s a pretty good chance Reddox will make it through waivers.

          • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

            see my comment after this.

            And then leave the straw men behind.

            At any rate the fact remains:

            This team finished last.

            Dead last.

            This is not a cabal of genius men making the decisions here.

      • DimebagDave

        That is th point guys have been trying to make. Why wasn’t Omark given a better look? He played really well in the role that he was given.

        I don’t think anyone believes that Reddox or Omark would make this team a cup contender, but you can’t fault people for wondering why they aren’t on the roster instead of some other guys?

      • DimebagDave

        What I do see is a team stuck in a morass of politics and ass covering.

        No, Reddox and Omark do not make a SC championship team, but they did show better than those they were cut in favor of.

        I get it that we have to keep hall for optics, but don’t try to sell me the garbage that he looks NHL ready. And sure, Reddox is a 4 line guy but he has a work ethic I thought Mr. Personality wanted to instill in this team. Omark busted his chops in his “two showings”. These guys WANT to play here, another of Diddler’s prerequisites.

        I’ve watched this team become a serious laughing stock and the way the little guys are being handled is a joke.

        Just my two cents and worth maybe a little less.

        The Oilers, after all, aren’t exactly a meritocracy.

        • VMR

          Whats the best way to develop each of these players?

          Hall back in junior? Not likely.

          Omark in the pressbox most nights or getting a few minutes on the 4th line? Again not likely.

          I agree that maybe Reddox could have stuck around but I’m not going to argue with management about the need to add size to the lineup which they are trying to do with Jacques/Jones.

          • Why argue with this last place management team, indeed.

            Looks like they know what they’re doing.

            Dealt great with Souray, signed Khabibulin to the best goalie contract in the league, and it goes on and on to the point of ridiculous.

            Great point. Why argue with this stellar room of brainiacs?

            I don’t trust them to manage their way out of a a paper bag much less develop youth properly.

            And why not Hall back in junior?

            Why not MP in the AHL? Can’t he be called up if he’s blowing the doors off the joint? Can’t Hall go and utterly dominate junior?

            Maybe the Oilers could give his team some cash compensation to release him to the AHL.

            There are a lot of alternatives that make sense.

            They’re just not sexy.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        No doubt, classic Oiler fan chicken little responses.

        When outside factors are in play (home grown/contracts) the new guy needs to drastically outplay the incumbent. That’s just the way it works people.

  • Yeah its disapointing buts that the business side of Hockey, its out of our power. I really hope Omark understands that and goes to OKC and just plays as hard as he did in TC. He needs to understand its not a matter of if, its a matter of when he’ll be wearing Oiler silks. Judging his interview he seems very disapointed for which he should be. But I’m not sure I dig his attitude, he needs to suck it up and play where he’s told to play.

  • VMR

    A little too much love and anguish over bubble players. O’Brien got waived, Grabner is also available. Either of those players may garner more interest than Petiot and Reddox (though O’B’s contract is a little high). If you put your GM hat on though who gives you more upside Grabner or Reddox. Those are just a couple examples and more decent players will hit the wire in the next 48 hours

  • Hey how about some positive news!! We finally get to watch Hall, Ebs, and MPS play this Weekend home opener! The new season is here!! Lets quit bickering over who did and didnt get cut. It is what it is

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What happened to the confidence that was abundant earlier last week? It should be interesting to see Taylors progress between now and Christmas, of the three crown jewels i’m expecting the least out of Taylor this season. I just hope he can hold his own (physically)at the NHL level. If you’re going to get hit Taylor, let’em taste some of that Easton stick of yours.

  • S.Tambellini

    Wow. All this outrage over the 4th line winger and number 8 defenseman on the 30th place team in the league. With the Oilers weak defensive unit and the fact that we have 3 rookies in the forward lineup, it is quite possible that you are arguing about the 2 worst players in the NHL.

    But hey, beats working.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    This decision is not based on Omarks performance. It is based on vengeance! Last year they wanted him to go to AHL but he went to Russia and this is K. Love’s payback!

  • Chris.

    @ Crash:

    Yes, cynical, negative and continually bitching and moaning. I noticed that you are one of those who already have it all figured out, just how bad everything is and how bad the team is going to be this year, and how terrible the future is, etc, etc.

    You are way out of line.

    Overall I’ve been pretty positive this offseason. Yes, this morning after the cuts were announced , I’ve been upset at the prospect of heading into the season with three tenders… but other then that I dare you to provide some examples of me “moaning” about how “terrible the future is”, “or how bad this team is going to be.”

    Do you have me confused with someone else.?.. Having a bad day, maybe? HMMM? You’re normally better than this.

    • Crash

      Maybe it’s just been more lately….I apologize if I’m mistaken. I guess I do get tired of those that just continually complain about the same thing over and over and over. Especially those things that simply haven’t come to fruition just yet.

      As far as me having a bad day. Other than it being Monday it hasn’t been too bad 🙂

      • Chris.

        I’m looking through the rolls this pre-season trying to see where I came off all negative… the ONLY bitching I’ve done is at the prospect of starting the season with three somewhat marginal tenders (At the expence of Reddox who skated his ass off) Other than that all I’ve done is defend the decision by managemnt to have a true enforcer, commented about how I like Renny; gushed at Paajarvi (and to a lesser extent Eberle); gently asserted that the three rookies were penciled (not penned) into the linup; made referrence to the improved jump in Horcoff’s game; laughed at the declining Flames, and predicted a much more entertaining season…

        I did say that Dellow had an interesting asset managemnt argument… though I never said I agreed with automatically holding Paajarvi (my Star) back… I guess it’s fair to say that Tambellini is following more of a Chicago rebuild model as opposed to a Detroit model by fast tracking the youth… I’m more patient; but so what? There was no hate. I’m eager to see the kids too.

        So, Crash… Where is all the complaining? True, Management is my goat… but only because I couldn’t feel right about picking any player likely to make the roster. I don’t get it.

        • Crash

          Like I said, I apologize if I mistook you for some of the others….I think it was the goaltender and management subject…it wasn’t so much you as it was the subject.

          I get it that many people don’t like our goaltending or management even to the point that they really go off the deep end for things as simple as cutting Liam Reddox and Petiot. But the critiquing that is done of even the smallest of moves or the never ending calling down of a goaltender who for all accounts isn’t really looking all that bad, and hasn’t really had his shot yet seems to be just a bit much.

          I guess I am more the guy who is taking the wait and see approach. I agree with you having many positive thoughts and good constructive points on your criticisms as well.

          I do recall you shooting down some people earlier who thought the Oilers might have a shot at a playoff spot but that’s no biggie. Just your opinion vs. theirs.

          So I take back my accusation that you are a constant negative…I admit to being wrong (not the first time), won’t be the last.

          Each time I see another post slamming any moves the Oilers brass make (just because it’s Oilers brass) or someone slamming the not yet disproven goaltending it just rubs me the wrong way. Usually I don’t respond unless it’s directed my way but I’ve found myself responding to the endless complaining and negativity more and more lately.

          Sorry once again for lumping you into that group.

          And I really am not having a bad day…especially now that it’s home time.

          • Chris.

            Lowetide is putting together a list of quality players set to hit the waiver wire from around the NHL. I guess one can be hopeful that Souray will be loaned out, one of JDD or DD will finally be placed on waivers, and Tambellini will exercise his right to first choice and grab someone all shiney and new to make everyone forget all about Omark and Reddox. Fun times.

          • Chris.

            How do you know this about Lowetide putting together this list? Are you an insider of sorts, lol? Or did I miss a post?

            I have this feeling the Oilers won’t be active on the waiver wire front.

            Have you noticed the venom on the latest post about Omark? It floors me that people get this way.

  • positivebrontefan

    Lots of talk about the future of Cogliano as a oiler , what about Penner , is this not the final year of his 4 year deal ? Would he re sign here , and if so , what’s he worth.