Beware the Moops

It’s a big weekend for the Oilers bubble boys. Thirty-two names are still in the hat, but this time next week the Oilers 23 man roster will be set. Here’s a guideline of things to look for this weekend.


The Oilers "saloon door" blue we’ve seen over the last few seasons appears ready to go. Ryan Whitney’s injury troubles have him a question mark for the beginning of the year and the rest of the group will have to pick up the slack. I’ll guess that the opening night roster looks like this (these are NOT the suggested pairings):

  1. Tom Gilbert- he’ll play in all situations
  2. Ladislav Smid- big minutes at EVs and PK
  3. Cam Barker- PP minutes and a ton at evens too
  4. Jeff Petry- I don’t think this blue is strong enough to hold him back
  5. Andy Sutton- lots of work at evens and monster PK minutes
  6. Theo Peckham- struggled this TC and may be more vulnerable than one would think.
  7. Corey Potter- Oilers 7D are soon top 4D based on injury history.

That means Chorney will have to clear waivers and Fedun is the final cut. I’ll guess Whitney starts the season on the IR.


I think we’re going to look back on 11-12 as a season that saw improvement in the forward group, and much of the improvement will come from veterans easing the kids into the big leagues. I think the additions of Smyth & Belanger, along with a healthy Horcoff & Hemsky is absolute gold for the Oilers. The opening night top 14F might go like this:

  1. RNH- He’s going to play at least 9, my guess is he plays all year.
  2. Smyth- Mentor role plus miles and miles of savvy play.
  3. Hemsky- If he stays healthy the Oilers should have some real power this season.
  4. Horcoff- Steady veteran has more help this season.
  5. Hall- He could score 30. Or more.
  6. Eberle- Outstanding young player can do a lot of things.
  7. Belanger- A very astute addition.
  8. Paajarvi- Young man has a bright future, but is he a scorer or a 2-way player?
  9. Omark- Fine young playmaker should score more goals this year.
  10. Brule- Has to impact the game and stay healthy.
  11. Jones- Will see big minutes this season on the PK and be counted on for secondary scoring.
  12. Hartikainen- Finn did everything he could do to make this team.
  13. Petrell- I think he won a job 4×5, a helluva feat.
  14. Hordichuk- WIll be counted on heavily to play the enforcer role.

I’ll guess that Gagner and Eager start the season on IR, meaning the club will cut Anton Lander, Ryan O’Marra, Josh Green and Ryan Keller.


The young man and the older gentleman form an unusal duo, and the kicker is that no one is certain of the starter. I suspect the Oilers would like to see Devan Dubnyk earn more playing time over the veteran Khabibulin, who in turn would offer the coach a strong veteran presence for nights when things go off the rails. Kind of a hockey version of Warren Moon-Tom Wilkinson for those who would remember those two players.


Dance numbers. Lots and lots of dance numbers. This weekend, the Oilers will do two things: take a final look at the Chorney’s, Fedun’s and Lander’s while also beginning to figure out their lines and pairings. I imagine we’ll see some semblance of the 1 & 2 PP’s and the PK 4’s. It’ll be interesting to check out the TOI over at NHL dot com too.

Coach Renney didn’t line match much a year ago (although he keeps saying he did, which is a concern) but those kinds of things we’ll have to wait on. The regular season is almost in sight.

  • Rogue

    Cant disagree with much LT. Think RNH will remain here. As season wears on, and depending on injuries, decisions may have to be made on Brule, Hemsky, Gagner and maybe Omark. My guess is that three of the four will not be here by the trade deadline.

    I thought Peckham had an awful TC so far. Did not look much better than Chorney. He may need a wake up call.

  • Drew - Team no more tanking

    I’m Eager to point out that you missed a forward!

    Edit: Woops, guess I should read the whole article, my bad! Still wish to leave the pun up there however!

    • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

      Depends on if you mean “goes down” to the minors, or “goes down” with a knee/shoulder/”flu” injury!

      I’m willing to bet there’s enough injury history (and likely future injury) on this team to keep the IR list well-stocked and the roster under-staffed for most of the year.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I think Fedun is much less mistake-prone than Peckman and Petry. He may get sent down but I think Peckman and Petry are more deserving of a stint at OK city.

  • stevezie

    Peckham sucked at last year’s camp too, so I expect he’ll get the benefit of the doubt for the first few weeks, especially since we need him so. That said, I haven’t seen him play yet. Has he really been that awful?

  • paul wodehouse

    …progress is paramount in this fan’s eyes …one way for me to see that progress would be for Renney to nail down and stick with the second line of Hall Eberle and the new kid…as a line …for all times moving forward…let them gel, grow up together and become the ‘force’ of the team…

    i don’t believe that threesome needs to be subjected to any sort of blender mentality until and only if the wheels completely fall off and how could that happen with two number ones and a shoulda been top ten pick playing the way they should play…together

    between the three of them as a ‘fixed’ line, barring injury, i want them to carry the team in scoring with 150+ points…

  • paul wodehouse

    …oh and i always thought Ann-Margret was hotter after the accident…they put her face back together better than ever…the other parts (yikes!) were already there IMO…

  • paul wodehouse

    Eberle- Outstanding young player can do a little of things.


    Oh, and you wrote Smith instead of Smyth in the previous paragraph.

    Yay Eberle! He can do a little of thigns!

  • I tried it at home

    My 1.937US cents worth, the overall strategy as far as the forwards go would be better served by having RNH spend a month or two cooling his heels in Red Deer, staying in shape and getting top line minutes in the Dub, such as they are. Before everyone starts screaming about his TC, yes I agree he’s great, he’s wonderful, chills down my spine etc etc etc. But we not going to win the cup this year, and he’s not the only young forward who has to develop, and (Im not 100% on this) would this not help on the flexability of recalling him in case of injury to any centre in the first few weeks. Face it, Oilers get hurt, and he’s gonna be here one way or the other, so lets all settle in for the long haul. As for the defence, I thank Stevezie for reminding us that Shaun Belle was actually better then Theo Peckham at camp last year, anyone want to trade them now?

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        I agree Archaeologuy When I see RNH with Hall and MPS I see a player who is saying “Finally some one who get’s it!!!” It has to be frustrating to be on a line in Red Deer where every one knows on the other team that they can double up on RNH and the other players have not enough skill to kill them with out him. The kid will stay! It also has to be amazing to make a backhanded pass falling down and see Hall deliver the goal. It is a reward for going the extra mile. Hall is going to love the payday RNH will make for him!

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Once he’s down in red deer he’s there for the yr. Personally I think he should stay with the MIGHTY oilers and further his development playing against NHL teams.

    • paul wodehouse

      Once RNH goes down to the WHL he’ll have to stay there until his season is over. You can’t recall a player from the CHL except under extreme conditions.

    • NsxZero

      Jr. players cannot be recalled once they are sent down.

      They have 9 games to make a decision. After that he either stays with the big club (cannot be sent down to the ahl either)or spend sthe year with the rebels and playing in the WJC.

      Same thing with Segin last year on the bruins.

  • knee deep in it

    I think the final roster is the coach’s decision. He has a history with Potter and was not let down this camp.

    I think Potter will be on our opening night roster.

    Gilbert, Smid, Barker, Peckham, Sutton, Foster. Petry (extra)

  • paul wodehouse

    I walk amok said…
    “… having RNH spend a month or two cooling his heels in Red Deer, staying in shape and getting top line minutes in the Dub,…”

    …as i understand the rules, RNH gets nine or less games in the NHL’s regular season and either stays with the big boys or plays in RedDeer…he can NOT get “recalled” from Junior after he goes down if he does go down…

  • paul wodehouse

    At the moment everyone is healthy so to speak. whats the over/underon Hemsky? 20 games before he is out with some sort of injury? If there is anyone on this team who needs to perform for 82 games its him.He is a FA at the end of this year. Not to many free agents get 5 million a year for 20 games a season. Eberle will score more goals than Hemsky or Smyth. I think Eerle gets 30 playing with RNH and Hall.

  • Lowetide

    We’ve discussed this before, but my own opinion is that if he’s ready then keep him. Sending a kid back when he can play at speed doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, if he can play in the NHL this year then the game will slow down for him at some point and make him a better player.

    He’s still developing in all kinds of areas, and learning the NHL game at this age–and with his complete skill set–his potential boggles the mind. Don’t put him in a position to fail, but also don’t lose a development year.

  • I will now interrupt this regularly scheduled program for shameless promotion, albeit for a good cause.

    Today and today only between 11 and 1 I will be downtown working a booth for charity. It started as an Apprentice style Pizza sale for charity put on by CDI College (where I work), but my team quickly ran out of Pizzas so now its a donation only event. My booth is located on 99st and 102ave at the South End of Churchill Square.

    We are supporting the Stollery and 100% of the money we collect goes directly to them. If you’re in the downtown area then come on by and say hello, maybe donate something.

    If thats not your thing, or Archaeologuy is your most hated commentor at ON, or you just cant right now, then that’s fine too.

    Now back to your scheduled programming.

  • Talbot17

    I think Potter stays, hes quietly put a good camp together and out of all the blue liners covering around the 5D-7D spot he has been the most consistent.

    I think if Lander has his best game yet he might shoot past Brule as a center while Gagner is out. Petrell is staying up, he has been very good for what has been asked of him.

    Although it was one game, comparing RNH play in the Coyotes game to prior pre season games he has looked better and more confident and I don’t think they will send him down for the year.

    LT, who do you feel will be the unsung hero for the Oilers this year on forward and on D as well?

    • Lowetide

      Petry will surprise imo, I think he’ll be firmly ensconced in the top 6 this season.

      Up front, Petrell has an excellent chance and I think Belanger will be a huge part of the team.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate


    why do you give the 4th line center spot to brule and not lander? if that is the case how short is rope for brule. my guess would be very.

    nice to see harti in the line up tho.

    • Lowetide

      Mayor: Yeah, I think the first sign of struggles or God forbid injury will be difficult for Brule to survive. imo last season did a lot of damage for his career, as the coach–who has 14 forwards and needs 12 every night–never wants a player whose injury timeline for a return is unknown.

  • Talbot17

    Don’t see why Brule is still on the team, they have given him so many chances already. In NHL 12 I traded him for a bag of pucks, 1 week later he’s injured. Whoever doesn’t have that game get it, its really accurate! =)

    4th line w/ Petrell, Jones and Belanger to me would be pretty nice to see this season

      • Talbot17

        Hilarious, considering the mention of the game is to state the value of Brule during last year with all his issues. But again, your funny.

        He takes up a roster spot, too much talent coming up to leave him out there. Again, its an opinion.

    • Talbot17

      I suspect that given the nature of Brule’s maladies, the reasons may be twofold:

      a) He’s got enough upside that they can give him a bit of rope and be “decent” and/or “human”.

      b) The way the Smyth trade fell apart when Brule’s name was attached leads me to believe their hands are tied in some manner as to the way in which they could potentially get rid of him. Whether he’s simply untradeable or if there are CBA restrictions on what you can do with him while he’s “injured”, I don’t know.

      They probably do have an exit strategy but it may take time to play out.

      • Talbot17

        Yeah you probably are onto something there. I have always thought they like his speed too and are trying to utilize his skills, maybe this time arounds a last attempt. I wonder if he gets another injury if the team just keeps him off the roster at that point or not.

  • nyoilers

    That blue line leaves me wanting more. The forwards will be impaired by a lack of a first pass out of the D-zone. Oil are 3 NHL defencemen away from doing any damage. With that D lineup it will be another tough season in the standings, albeit entertaining.

    Fedun will be playing on this team. Not to start but will be a fixture mid season. Book it.

    • BArmstrong

      I was 16 when 52 Pick UP starring Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret was released. Then 45, she immediately became my guilty pleasure – made Madonna look like a… well, a cheap $lut.

      Brule will be just fine. My guess is he has a break out year, puts up a point a game before getting injured in late February, and then signs a 6 year, $33m deal a la Horcoff:)

  • nyoilers

    They certainly need to clear out the log jams this season. No point having three or four players ready to come up and nowhere to put them. It could mean wasting them instead of getting value.

    Proper development means to me that when a player is ready to graduate, he replaces someone in the bigs he’s better than – thus the team improves. Or if you need a vet, he goes as part of that trade. If you can’t do that, cash him in while value is still there and develop another guy.

    For example, next year what do you do with RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger, Lander? Plus Brule, Petrell, etc.. 5 NHLer’s at least, 4 spots. We should have 4 NHL’ers and a good prospect to fill in for injury, trade the rest and fill needs elsewhere, or restock the farm with younger players to develop.

    I hope they decide who they are going with and get it sorted out by the end of the season. I think we should expect a lot of turnover starting fairly soon.

  • For anyone who was interested, my team raised a shade under 2200 bucks for the Stollery in about an hour and a half. Thanks to everyone who came buy and donated to the Stollery.

    The Campus gave us 1 week’s notice and across 5 charities we raised a little over 10 thousand dollars.