Another weekend is in the books, and that means we’re all looking for ways to distract ourselves on company time. Enter the mailbag. As always, I’ve taken your questions and fired them off to our writers. Now, the questions have been answered and it’s your time to put your feet up and halt all production. If you have a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk.
1) @Baresnake asks – With training camp winding down, and the last cuts being made, who is a player you once thought to be a lock on a team, only to be Rob Schremp’d?
A team or this team? Don’t get the Schremp reference. He was never a lock to make the Oilers. Lots of players over the years have performed well enough at training camps to earn a job on merit but were demoted because of contract and waiver considerations.
Aside from the really high picks, there aren’t a lot of guys who are really locks. On the current roster, Anton Lander is a guy who projected as a likely NHL’er all down the line, and who was really brilliant in the AHL last year. For whatever reason, he can’t seem to do the things he does in the minors in the majors, can’t seem to translate the skill that won him an NHL job (on merit) as a rookie North American. He’s *this* close to getting bounced back to Europe for good.
How long do you have? 🙂 I honestly felt Marc Pouliot would be a player, had a nice skill set and some two-way ability. MacT even talked to him once about playing more of a checking role, but he balked and went his own way. He had the skills, but maybe not the mindset.
None. The locks all will make the team. The closest would be Anton Lander. I thought he had the 13th forward spot locked up, due to the lack of Oilers’ centre depth, but he hasn’t played that well.
No real surprises as far a locks now looking like they will be cut. There are a lot more question marks.
Anton Lander. By all appearances he’s been a solid AHL player so far, and he has really awesome Pirates Of The Caribbean style facial hair, but once again he looks like he hasn’t figured out what it’s going to take for him to make that next step to the NHL. A lot of people much smarter than me are very high on the guy, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever if a homegrown centre could start making an impact on the big club, but it’s starting to feel like he’s a guy who’s destined for a career in the AHL/Europe. YOUR NAME IS RIPE FOR HORRIBLE PUNS ANTON, DO NOT DEPRIVE US OF THIS OPPORTUNITY!!
Every year there is a player that all the fans expect way too much from. Even seeing Jesse Joensuu score 2 goals the other night made some fans feel tingly in the jeans.
2) Aaron Waltman asks – How much weight do you put into a good (or bad) pre-season record?
Virtually nil. The team isn’t dressing NHL players most nights, and the quality of the opposition varies widely from game-to-game.
None. Zero. If you’re getting out shot 50-10 on the final night of preseason with your starting lineup, that’s a worry. But if you’re competitive and go 1-5, I don’t think it matters at all.
None. Most games only involve half of your roster. The final two games are the closest to a full roster, but even that wasn’t the case this year. Eberle, Perron, Pouliot, Schultz, Petry, Ference, Gordon and Hendricks didn’t play on Thursday. Record means nothing for me.
Not a lot for most teams but this Oilers groups needs to feel good about themselves and wins are wins no matter when you get them.
From what I can remember the Oilers have looked pretty great in the pre-season (REMEMBER HOW AMAZING THE DUO OF COMRIE AND O’SULLIVAN WAS GOING TO BE??) for the last 4 or 5 years, and we all know how well those seasons turned out….
I think preseason is much more of a tool to gauge individual players rather than the team as a whole. So all you people who have been freaking the hell out about how garbage the power play has looked these last couple of games, COOL IT!
Very little, most nights there isn’t more than half of your teams actual lineup playing.
Preseason games mean about as much the love letters I send to Katy Perry. No one cares unless you’re directly involved and hopeful for a spot up the middle. See what I did there?
3) Corey Walsh asks – How does being called out by an NHL coach affect a young player like Martin Gernat? Dallas Eakins says he isn’t close to being in shape to play in the NHL, how do you think that will affect him?
If it does anything but motivate Gernat to address the concerns then he has no chance. Put on your big boy pants and do what the organization asks of you.
I think it’s good motivation, and it reinforces the message he was getting from the minor-league coaching staff. He needs to work in those areas if he’s going to be an NHL player, and getting reminded of that in no uncertain terms can’t hurt.
In life you can take criticism and use it as fuel or allow it to erode your confidence. I doubt many players at Gernat’s level find those comments crushing. Eakins wasn’t vicious, he was stating fact. Martin Gernat has most of the tough stuff managed, but there’s work to do. Haul ass, young man. Fuel.
It should motivate him to get stronger. Eakins told him that before he said it publicly, so I wouldn’t say he called him out. Eakins started the answer by saying Gernat had upped his body weight and lowered his body fat, so he put in work, but he has a long ways to go. I don’t understand why telling the truth means being called out. If I was a player I’d want the coach to tell me the truth. What do I need to do to make the NHL?
He will make a change and improve or he won’t and will fall off the depth chart. Dallas is doing that because he cares and wants Gernat to succeed.
All players react to those types of things differently, and ideally you’d like to see Gernat use that as motivation. Eakins would say that to him, and then we’d cut to a highly stylized, 80’s style montage where he’s hitting the gym, eating raw eggs by the carton and running up a snow covered mountain carrying a dead ox carcass on his back. He’d come back to camp next season with 25lbs of muscle added and he’d also be 7 inches taller somehow. He walks into Eakins’ office and a cigarette slowly falls to the floor out of the coach’s now agape mouth. They have some kind of interaction where Eakins tells him he could hardly recognize him and that he’s very proud of him and glad he took the coaches words to heart. As Gernat is leaving he stops, turns around, and thanks Eakins one last time before we freeze frame on him jumping for joy with one fist held high in the air.
Or he’ll just ignore it and go play in the KHL or the Swedish league or something. Could easily go either way.
When it is about conditioning or effort that should be a huge wake up call. No player is made the same, but professionalism and being in tip top physical shape is a requirement. I fear if it’s taken him this long to get it, he may never get it. Hopefully message was delivered and received.
If Gernat gets all butt hurt about Eakins saying he’s not in great shape, than this isn’t a player you’d want in the organization. I would hope he takes it as a wake up call, and motivation to get better.
4) Aidan P. asks – What do you think the 2nd line centre position will look like at the end of the year? Meaning, do you think there will be a trade or that we will ride it out for another year?
No crystal ball here. Will largely depend on how the centres who start the season perform.
I think it hinges on Mark Arcobello. Leon Draisaitl is obviously the guy they plan to have there long-term, and if Arcobello can fill the No. 2/3 slot effectively over 20-odd games I think the team will be patient. If he can’t, I imagine they bring someone in to support Draisaitl.
I believe Leon Draisaitl will show enough during the season to be firmly ensconced as the 2C for the rest of the decade and beyond. The worry is early. By G82 I’d bet he has it handled.
I don’t see the Oilers getting a bonafide 2nd line centre in a trade. I could see them getting a solid 3rd liner, who could moonlight as a 2nd until Draisailt matures, but very few teams have two legit top-six centres, so I doubt the Oilers can acquire one.
This depends on Draisaitl and his ability to quickly adapt to the NHL pace and schedule.
Well as of right now basically the only option we have is an 18 year old with zero NHL experience. And as good as Draisaitl has looked, and as much as I think he’s going to be an absolute monster of a player at some point, HE’S AN 18 YEAR OLD WITH NO NHL EXPERIENCE TASKED WITH IMMEDIATELY BEING PUT INTO A SECOND LINE CENTER ROLE! I mean, I’m a moron and even I think that sounds terrifying and insane.
TL;DR we’re more than likely gonna see a new face on the 2nd line by the year 2015.
I’m just tired of talking about this… won’t it be great when the Oilers are in a position where they only need tweaks and not huge holes to be filled?
5) Peter Franklin asks – Who is your favourite “non-skilled” NHL player of all time?
Frank Musil. He fought for every inch of ice and his level of commitment to training and conditioning was legendary. Had no business making the NHL based on talent but played 797 games.
I loved watching Igor Ulanov when I was a kid. Those late-90’s, early-00’s Oilers teams had a lot of guys without a ton of offensive talent who were easy to like — from the Todd Marchants and Jason Smiths at the top end down to guys like Rem Murray and Scott Ferguson at the bottom — but Ulanov stood out to me because he always seemed solid and when he got an opportunity to finish off a forward, he took it. I’ve always had a soft spot for those guys – Murray Baron in Vancouver was a similar player in some ways (though probably not as talented) and he was fun to watch for much the same reason.
Gaétan Duchesne. He was drafted late, made his team’s first NHL training camp and played a long time as a quality two-way player. He was maybe a little similar to Craig Ramsay, new Oilers coach under Dallas Eakins. Smart player, did good things and you had to watch the game to appreciate his subtle skills. I was saddened to find out about his passing in 2007, but thoroughly enjoyed the way he played the game.
Let me just say that if you play in the NHL you have skill, they just don’t have first line skill. Saying that, my favourite non-elite skilled NHL player would be Bryan Marchment. He played on the edge, often crossed the line, but he also didn’t shy away from standing up for himself.
That is like asking who is the ugliest sports illustrated model of all time. All these guys would dangle you and your whole men’s league team right out of your jocks!
Morinville’s favorite son: Jason Holland.
“Non-skilled” seems like a strange thing to say about a guy that played in the NHL, but I guess I’ll have to go with Jason Smith.