Darth Gerber & Sweet, Sweet Victory

The Oilers win 4-1.  That is all.

Except that it’s not all, if you catch my drift.

MVP!

Sticking with the title of this post, some fun stats lines – not to be taken too seriously, given the number of games involved, but fun all the same:

  • Martin Gerber: 2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, 0.950 SV%
  • Devan Dubnyk: 1-2-3, 3.24 GAA, 0.911 SV%
  • Nikolai Khabibulin: 4-10-1, 4.07 GAA, 0.879 SV%

Martin Gerber’s been fantastic since being recalled and I couldn’t be happier for him.  Jim Matheson wrote a nice piece on the veteran in the Journal a couple of days ago, and to go from breaking his neck in the KHL to a couple of NHL victories has to feel pretty nice.  I know it’s probably not in the best interests of the Oilers organization, but I hope that Gerber’s strong play means that he gets some attention from other clubs when the Oilers eventually try to return him to the minors.

No World Juniors For Paajarvi

Another subheading, another link to a Jim Matheson piece.  This time, he’s quoting Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who says that Magnus Paajarvi will be staying with the Oilers for the World Juniors.  Given that Sam Gagner wasn’t sent away when he struggled as an 18-year old rookie this isn’t an especially surprising development.  It would have been nice to see Paajarvi cruise over players his own age, but given that he’s getting minutes at the NHL level, there isn’t much to complain about here.

That said, I wouldn’t have complained if they had sent him off and let us look at one of those players tearing up the AHL.

World Juniors For Other Oilers Prospects

But while Paajarvi won’t be going, a couple of other Oiler picks might be.  News broke earlier today that Olivier Roy and Curtis Hamilton had been invited to the Canadian camp (by none other than Kevin Prendergast, who has found a new job), and I’d expect both players to be competing for Canada when the tournament rolls around in December.

Roy is the oldest goaltender invited to the camp, and entering this season had a decent shot at being the starter, but despite a good year he’ll have his work cut out to even make the team.  Calvin Pickard (11-6-6, 0.930 SV%) and Mark Visentin (10-4-3, 0.912 SV%) are both higher draft picks, and have had strong starts to their seasons, but the most interesting player to follow is probably Sharks prospect J.P. Anderson.  Anderson was undrafted this past season after a middling OHL run, but the Sharks opted to sign him and it’s a move that looks like it might pay off.  Currently, Anderson is sitting pretty with a 16-2 record and 0.920 SV% in the OHL.

Meanwhile, I haven’t talked much about Curtis Hamilton’s season.  I liked the pick this summer, and put together a comprehensive report on him over at Copper & Blue where I summed him up thusly:

Hamilton’s a gamble. His scouting report points to a well-rounded player, his pre-injury numbers suggest he could be a high-end guy, and his size makes him extra attractive for the Oilers. On the other hand, his injury situation is a serious one and makes it difficult to get an accurate read on where he’s at relative to the rest of his draft class.

Hamilton has been spectacular.  25 games into the season, he leads the Saskatoon Blades in goals (15), points (36), plus/minus (+27) and has basically been everything that anyone could have imagined he would be.  Those injuries in his draft year dropped his stock a bunch, and I really think the Oilers got a steal.  Prendergast talks about using him in a bottom-six role if he makes the team, but with no returning forwards and his season to date, it’s possible that Hamilton could steal more of the spotlight.  Even if he doesn’t, he’s on the right track as a prospect.

Back To The NHL

One more set of fun stats lines before I close off this article:

  • Gilbert Brule, first 19 games: 2G – 1A – 3PTS, -9
  • Gilbert Brule, last three games: 2G – 1A – 3PTS, +2
  • Andrew Cogliano, first 20 games: 1G – 3A – 4PTS, -11
  • Andrew Cogliano, last three games: 2G – 1A – 3PTS, +2

With any luck, this isn’t a temporary anomaly but a sign that these two players are waking from their early season doldrums.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their return to life coincides with the arrival of Dustin Penner on their line; both players have performed markedly better over the last year and a bit when the big man is on the wing.

    • Zed

      Possibly.

      I think Gerber will have to have an out of body experience tomorrow for that to happen.

      Once Khabibulin is back from his injury, Gerber will go back to the AHL and get to belly ache with Deslauriers and Omark on how unfair Oiler mangagement is and the Oilers can go back to their losing ways.

      Just as planned.

  • Zed

    As much as I have ripped Penner for being a bum he has really turned it on ever since being put with Brule and Cogs. Think maybe it is because he knows that he cant just rely on the skill on Hemsky to get him points but now that he plays with Cogs and Brule he some what hustles on plays and is becoming a little bit of a pr!ck. I still think Penner could be much more dominant but his play with these two have made me start to jump back on the bandwagon.

  • Zed

    What’s this ? Oilers playing .600 hockey over last 5 games . Do you smell playoffs around the corner ? Might have to forget top ten draft pick , yet ? Then who would we try and draft ?

    • Dan the Man

      I should know better than to directly reply to you, as its like staring directly at an eclipse, except for my brain and not my eyes, but I digress.

      How insane are you that you can go from one week standing on the steps of the Legislature screaming “The Oilers are falling, the Oilers are falling” repeatedly muttering the word “diminutive” under your breath, to thinking we’re all of a sudden a playoff team.

      Somebody, post the youtube link to the speech in Billy Madison about “being dumber for having heard that”.

      • Ryan14

        If they lose tomorrow, who do you think will be leading the trade every player over 21 chant amongst the masses?

        On a positive note, he actually made a sentence that didn’t result in the microsoft paperclip self destructing.

  • Bucknuck

    If Gerber is winning the Oilers games and Dubnyk is winning the Oilers games, then why would they start playing Khabibulin. He is not the better of the three in my opinion. Don’t play him. I don’t care that he is overpaid and the Oilers MVP according to some moron.

    Play the guys that are winning you hockey games. The fans deserve it.

      • Zed

        The Oilers should not want to win. They still suck!

        They do have flashes of brilliance which is a good sign but I’m all for them losing to every single team in the league…. except Calgary.

        Next year my tune will change because of the talent in the system should be one year less suck + one more high draft pick.

        This year only, I can live with the losses.

  • Bucknuck

    I’ve been a season ticket holder since ’96 and I’ll take wins over another high draft pick. I hate the fact I haven’t had a playoff game since ’06. And anyone who thinks getting top 5 picks consistently is the way to build contenders just because it worked for the Hawks and the Pens – pick up Al Schracen’s book Why the Leafs Suck.

    Sure you build a core of young players, but in the cap world, you end up like the Hawks. Win, you’re in! Play Gerber dammit.

  • Chris.

    I bet they do play Gerber in Montreal…

    If he fails, the Oilers successfully kill a feel good story and devalue an asset.

    If he succeeds, they create a three headed goalie monster/ controversy in the crease.

    Either way: it’s a chance to further f#ck things up. Oilerslogic.

    • Horcsky

      Since they are probably going to split the double header between Dubs and Gerber, I’d play Gerber in Montreal since he’s game-ready from playing the last little bit. Win or lose, play Dubs in T.O. on thursday, and then keep rolling out Dubs ’til Khabby gets back (assuming they will play Khabby as the #1 when he gets back). It seems like a plan that makes sense to me.

  • I think we can all agree that Gerber is now a stormtrooper, no longer a darth.
    This is a nice problem to have, pushes and insulates Doobie for now.
    Penner drives the bus on his line, he draws all the flies, so the little guys can do their thing. Lets keep him next year, could always trade him by the trade deadline of his last year for a first round pick if he wont re-sign by then.

  • Dan the Man

    Isn’t Gerber in the position he’s in (AHL goalie after spending last season in Europe) because he has a history of playing well for short periods of time and then sucking for long periods of time?

    Don’t be fooled by Darth Gerber.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Sometimes my comments are up and sometimes they are down , just like Oiler hockey . I like to pull your chains at times and therefore put many comments in question form to challenge the reader . Example : How real is it that Oilers are looking to raid the KHL for talent ? Grebs on his way back ? Oilers working on a deal with Nashville for rights to Radulov ? Some fine Russian talent worth drafting high this year ? Are Omark and Reddox being bypassed for callup because of size, for others more like O’Marra ? Plante seems like a natural callup , but no matter how bad things seem to get on defence they don’t seem to want to bring him up ? Still think he’s better than Peckham by quite a bit .