Sunday, January 27, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
As the Oilers and Caps battle it out in The Doughty Bowl tonight, trading goals while Oilers D fall one by one (just turned on CHED and the first thing I hear "Another bad giveaway by Grebeshkov"), my thoughts turn to next year.
What, we don't have our first round pick this year? Wha!?
Interesting listening to MacT's pregame podcast where he confirms a couple of things for us dummies - they're going to play the kids and Dick Tarnstrom is going to be traded. Oh yeah and they're going to play the kids.
Now the Oilers have been hanging around and considering what MacT has had to work with its been a reasonable year. What is also becoming clearer is where things are going, meaning more of the same I would say. Lets take a look shall we?
Goal - Mathieu Garon is going to be given a chance to run with the starting job. If he can prove by this time next year that he can handle it then they will extend him as a starter. And with the Caps just scoring from behind the goalline you can see why Roloson is likely going nowhere, as much as Oiler fans would like Lowe to shed that contract. If this was the last year of his contract then some team would pick him up for insurance, sure, but nobody has the room to suck up 4 million of cap space next year for a backup goalie. I don't think Lowe is going to make any big moves this summer anyways. He has to sign Pitkanen and Gilbert but other then that there are no big raises to hand out. In other words they can eat Roli's contract for one more year. Maybe they waive him and give JDD a chance but he's on the books next year somehow.
D - The last two years have seen the Oilers shake things out and I really think this summer nothing is going on unless they have made decisions on Smid and Grebeshkov. There are no kids coming up from Springfield next fall. It will be the following season where we might see guys like Chorney or Peckham begin to make a push. So out of the nine Dmen who started the season we know that Tarnstrom is gone and Roy, as well as Rourke, are the injury callups. Pitkanen and Gilbert are the top pairing and having two guys under 25 to play that role - that's damn good and Lowe should be commended (although nobody expected this from Gilbert, lets be honest, certainly not this soon). Souray and Staios are the second pair and that's fine now. Greene is being groomed to move up the chart and replace Staios. So, its between Smid and Grebeshkov for that sixth spot and a future with the Oilers between now and April of 2009. Loser is gone and the winner might be too unless one of these two shows some bit of sense sometime soon.
Forwards - Here is where we may see some interesting battles next season. The Oilers presently have a pretty good number one line in Penner, Horcoff and Hemsky with the latter two justthisclose to being PPG producers and Penner exceeding expectations and looking really good. Then you have your old pros in Moreau and Pisani flanking Cogliano. Torres is going nowhere, even if they want to move him, until he shows he is recovered from his injury, just as Stoll was going nowhere last summer. As for Stoll, I think he returns. He may be tradebait soon but they have to make sure that they can extend Horcoff and that Cogliano and Gagner can play before they move one of their two guys who can play centre in the NHL (no offence to Marty Reasoner).
So as mentioned in my last post the Oilers need someone else to play in the top nine and here is where it gets interesting. Will it be Nilsson? Will it be Gagner? Will it be Rob Schremp, who I think has earned his shot for next season? Or will they go with the Anaheim model from a couple of years back, having two lines to grind it out, one big line and then a line with a couple of kids (a la Getzlaf and Perry) and a vet who get soft minutes and learn the ropes. It looks like Pouliot and Jacques have played themselves out of the organization. My guess is that Nilsson is running out of time.
I'm also thinking its going to be another long year next.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I can't believe I just said that.
Before the All Star break the Oilers have three more games on this homestand - Phoenix, LA and Calgary. Then a five game road trip through the Southeast division. The possibility of a good run is there, enough of a run to give Lowe the excuse to become a buyer in February.
A few good things have happened.
Garon has established himself as the starter, at least shortterm. He is giving the Oilers good to great goaltending
Souray and Staios have teamed up to form a good second pair. Souray's offence isn't there but by all accounts he has performed pretty well in his own end. With two legitimate pairs now the Oilers back end actually looks decent. Ideally Greene's return will send Smid back to Springfield and when Tarnstrom gets over his sciatica (what, is he pregnant?!) the Oilers would have a nice third pair as well.
Up front is where the problem lies and Torres' loss makes things more difficult. Presently the Oilers have a legitimate top line. The return of Moreau and Pisani has given them a second good line and has revived Cogliano.
They're still short up front. Stoll seems to be coming around a bit and Reasoner seems to be doing alright lately. If Torres were healthy there would at least be a legitimate NHL line but he's not.
So I have two words: Ladislav Nagy.
UFA after this season. Playing for the one team that is definitely out of it, the Kings. A plus (!?) somehow and some reasonable production, likely against soft opposition but that is what he'd be getting with the Oilers.
Pry him loose now and you add some more juice to the PP and a legitimate player on the second line. He, Stoll and take your pick - Reasoner, Brodziak or Thoresen to do the dirty work or Rowbert or Gagner for a little more skill.
Not sure about what he would cost but why the hell not?
Also a good read in the Globe today as Maki takes a look at EIG. He's no Terry Jones but I'd recommend a look at it. Now!