Expectations: The Forwards

Apr 11, 2010 - Anaheim, California, USA - Edmonton Oilers' right wing Dustin Penner, left, defends against Anaheim Ducks' defenseman Steve Eminger during the second period an NHL Hockey game at Honda Center.

Having already looked at the expectations for Ales Hemsky and the big three rookies, it’s time to look at the projections for the other forwards on this season’s roster.

As with Ales Hemsky, the readers here at Oilers Nation have high expectations for the more established forwards on the roster. The average reader expects career high point totals from Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner, and Gilbert Brule, while Shawn Horcoff is expected to better his three-year average by five points. The expectations for Andrew Cogliano are relatively more modest; he’s the only one of the consensus top-nine expected to be in the range of his three-season average.

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Dustin Penner

  • Reader High: 80 (Fee Logolin, treevojo)
  • Reader Average: 64
  • Reader Low: 48 (mesh)
  • Writer High: 64 (Robin Brownlee)
  • Writer Average: 61
  • Writer Low: 54 (Wanye Gretz)
  • Three Season Average: 49
  • Three Season High: 63

After two years of disappointing scoring totals in Edmonton, Dustin Penner emerged as the offensive leader of the team after Ales Hemsky went down last season, and it appears that almost everyone has been convinced by that rousing performance, as Oilers Nation’s writers expect a slight drop from last season while readers expect a slight uptick.

Sam Gagner

  • Reader High: 75 (LuckyLex, treevojo)
  • Reader Average: 58
  • Reader Low: 42 (Steve Smith)
  • Writer High: 60 (Jason Gregor)
  • Writer Average: 56
  • Writer Low: 51 (Wanye Gretz)
  • Three Season Average: 44
  • Three Season High: 49

Another example of readers and writers being in broad agreement, Sam Gagner is expected by virtually everyone to emerge as more of an offensive leader this season. Gagner has never hit the 50-point mark (he was on pace for 49 last season, but at just (barely) 21 years of age it’s hard to criticize the optimism.

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Shawn Horcoff

  • Reader High: 84 (russ99)
  • Reader Average: 58
  • Reader Low: 36 (Hungoverman)
  • Writer High: 66 (Jason Gregor)
  • Writer Average: 56
  • Writer Low: 42 (Lowetide)
  • Three Season Average: 46
  • Three Season High: 53

Shawn Horcoff was brutal last season, but most appear to have concluded that 2009-10 was a one-off, and are projecting a return to the 55 point range for Horcoff.

Gilbert Brule


  • Reader High: 59 (I’m a Scientist!)
  • Reader Average: 44
  • Reader Low: 33 (Kyle)
  • Writer High: 48 (Robin Brownlee)
  • Writer Average: 42
  • Writer Low: 32 (Jonathan Willis)
  • Three Season Average: 22
  • Three Season High: 37

Given his age, draft pedigree, and the fact that he put up 37 points in 65 games last season while putting in minimal power play time, expectations for Gilbert Brule are high. There is near unanimity that his 2009-10 performance as an Oiler, and not his work as a Blue Jacket or in the AHL, represents his true level of ability.

Andrew Cogliano


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  • Reader High: 60 (Oilcruzer)
  • Reader Average: 39
  • Reader Low: 26 (Hungoverman)
  • Writer High: 43 (Jason Gregor)
  • Writer Average: 37
  • Writer Low: 30 (Lowetide)
  • Three Season Average: 37
  • Three Season High: 45

The final forward on our list, Andrew Cogliano, didn’t make every reader’s list. He’s been trade bait for ages, and his point totals have been on a downward slope since entering the league, so perhaps that isn’t surprising. Among those readers who did list Cogliano, though, most expect him to bounce back from an ugly 2009-10.

  • Zamboni Driver

    I’m guessing treevojo picked the Oilers to score a record 728 goals this season……holy crap

    Being high on a couple of guys is ok, but not all 9.

    ~where’s madjam’s picks?~

  • Zamboni Driver

    Unless Foster, Whitney and Gilbert put up decent numbers to add to offence this season , very few forwards will have banner years . Is it too early to panic about our defence , or lack thereof ? Just don’t see appropriate offensive numbers being put up by our forwards with present defence .

    • Jason Gregor

      Strange stat of the day…The Oilers have seven goals, and a D-man has gotten an assist on every one of them.

      Clearly this trend can’t continue, but so far the production from the backend has been stellar.

  • Teo

    hi there… this is my first post on the Nation… i’ve been following your blog for at least an year, but i was kind of shy to write because i’m in italy and my jetlag is slightly different from yours… i was feeling kind of a shame to write on a post 6 hours later that you wrote it…

    i’m an edmontonian, i was born in edmonton and my love for the oilers will never die.

    going back to the post i really think that all the oilers will be better than anybody thinks (other than treevojo that is “slightly” exaggerated)… and i have a really good feeling for this season.

    we can be this years Colorado if the team keeps humility and it keeps on working as they did during the camp and preseason.

  • Slick

    Hopefully Brule has another career year. He seems like he could be a good role model for the kids on and off the ice. And I can’t help but think he has got more in the tank

  • Teo

    As long as the Oilers keep rolling lines 1-2-3-4 (with 1-2-3 on the PP), there are going to be a lot of guys within the same number of points but no banner years.

    For instance, Dustin Penner is not hitting 80 points without a lot of ES and PP time. He’s a good player but he’s not that good.

    Generally you don’t put up a lot of points without getting a lot of icetime and the Oilers aren’t giving a lot of ice time to anyone.

    The Oilers top 9 forwards have seen between 3:09 and 3:48 of PP TOI so far. All 9 of them fall right within this range. Hemsky has made his hay on the PP for most of his career so I’d expect him to have a career low PPG this season.

    That doesn’t mean he’s playing bad either, it just means he’s not getting the level of icetime he’s used to in scoring situations.

    • Let's Rebuild

      Rolling four lines and giving all three top lines an oppertunity on the PP I think will be more beneficial than increased ice time for a select few. If you know you are only going to get a limited amount of time on the PP then you better learn how to make the most of the time you are given. If anyone complains to Renney that they are not getting enough time then he can just tell them to go out and earn more time. The one power move that Renney has is ice time and he can make it a very valuable commodity that must be earned rather than expected. This reason alone will keep the boys playing hard every game.

      It was noted that both Cogs and Brule lost ice time in the third period of the last game due to poor performances. On Thursday, I’m excited to see how they respond.

      • Let's Rebuild

        I don’t disagree (especially given the intended nature of this season).

        My point was that because of that (and if it continutes), it’s going to be very hard for a guy to put up career highs in points, especially guys like Hemsky & Penner.

        Guys like Gagner, Cogs or Brule could (mostly because their career highs aren’t off huge minutes), but not so much Penner, Horcoff & Hemsky.

    • JW – I wonder if there’s a somewhat simple way to show whether a player’s ice time and point production are as strongly correlated in the final third of the season as in the first third (fresher legs)?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    80 for Penner? I figure around 30-30. It’s really going to be hard for guys like Penner to have career years. With all the kids in this lineup I just don’t see the Penner’s and Hemskys getting a lot more then their career highs.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I am famous!!!!

    Brule will have a career year. Perhaps I was a bit drunk when I said he would get 59 points, but I think he will do well. First goal of the year!

    • D-Man

      Why?? MPS will develop as long as he gets his regular shift and a bit of time on the PP… Being a rookie, development comes with ice time – nothing more or less… Two games isn’t nearly enough time to push the panic button… Renney will eventually mix the lines up too..

      • Chris.

        I’m not in full panic mode after two games… my assessment of Cogliano’s game is over two hundred games long: I’m not sure he’s a real NHL center. The other two prospects are getting the benifit of playing with a real NHL center… tough nuts for MPS I guess.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          Ha-ha, almost sweet payback for us long time Horcoff supports after reading post after post about how Horc should be sent off to whichever sucker will take him and how the riens should be handed over to Cogs.

    • Teo

      27-89-83 & 4-10-14 have both been pretty solid through 2 games. 91-13-67 have been a big step below and it gets worse if Brule doesn’t score his (since he’s been in Edmonton) through the goaltender goal.

      Hemsky’s line has done well in scoring chances to a tune of 11-7 while on the ice together. Horcoff’s line has done pretty good as well going 9-5 as a group. The speedster line is a combined 3-4 as a trio. Low event (at least they aren’t getting killed) but not what you want to see.

      This is also against a pair of pop-gun offenses as well, so we’ll see how they do against some good offensive teams.

      I have a feeling we’ll see 27 move down with 13 & 67 (both have done well playing with Penner), with 91 moving up to play with 89 & 83.

  • DK0

    ~WHAT THE HELL?!?! Another post with bar graphs and numberthings? I’m pretty sure i typed oilers.sawhimgood.com in my browser! If you’re going to post a broad spectrum of analysis and opinions you should really use a better word in the URL. Something bigger, and diverse… you know like a Nation or something. Jeez~