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"This page is all about the Edmonton Oilers"
Boyle, AB • Canada • 40 Years Old • Male
It was a good start for the Oilers last night, with a pre-season win over the Calgary Flames. Patrick O’Sullivan scored twice for Edmonton, and Shawn Horcoff added an empty-net goal to seal the deal. Oiler fans will be thrilled to see O’Sullivan contribute, as he didn’t look comfortable last season in Edmonton. Playing with Horcoff and Hemsky this year could bring out the best in him.

Followers of the Oilers training camp will note that there is a significant battle going on for four of the roster forward positions. While nine forwards seem to have a lock on making the team, as many as eleven players are battling for the final four positions. The following in an analysis of the team, as Training Camp currently sits.

Forwards – Based on 13 Forwards starting with the team.

Definitely In (9): Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Ethan Moreau, Fernando Pisani, Patrick O’Sullivan, Mike Comrie

On The Bubble (11): Robert Nilsson, Jordan Eberle, Zack Stortini, Robbie Schremp, Gilbert Brule, Liam Reddox, Marc Pouliot, JF Jacques, Steve MacIntyre, Chris Minard, Ryan Potulny

Synopsis – Both Brule and Schremp have two-way deals, so they will more than likely start the season with Springfield. Robert Nilsson has thus far impressed at camp, and he bulked up adding 12 pounds of muscle in the off-season. Storini brings size and grit, with some scoring ability, so it is safe to assume he’ll be with the club beginning the season.

Assuming Nilsson and Stortini make the team, the Oilers have at most two open roster spots. While who makes it is anyone’s guess at this point, the Oilers forward squad is overall small compared to other NHL teams. Players like Jacques, MacIntyre and Brule may have an advantage for this reason.

Projected forward lines once the season begins:

O’Sullivan – Horcoff – Hemsky
Penner – Gagner – Comrie
Nilsson – Cogliano – Pisani
Moreau – Brule – Stortini

Eberle will be returned to the WHL. While he looked great at the rookie camp, he has struggled at main camp. Schremp, Reddox, Jacques, Minard, Pouliot and Potulny will all be sent to the AHL. MacIntyre could start with the team as their enforcer and 13th forward, because the Oilers will need his size and fists at some point. The Oilers will try to deal Schremp, Jacques and Pouliot before sending them down, as all could be considered failed draft picks that could benefit from a fresh start elsewhere. I must admit I feel for Schremp; under the right circumstances and with an honest opportunity he could become a decent scorer.

Defense – Based on 7 Defensemen starting with the team.

Definitely In (7): Sheldon Souray, Lubo Visnovsky, Laddy Smid, Steve Staios, Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov, Jason Strudwick

On the Bubble: No one. This being said, Visnovsky is still not 100% healthy from last season, and Theo Peckham, who might be the eighth defenseman on the team, is dealing with an ankle injury. Taylor Chorney might see ice time in Edmonton due to the injuries.

Goaltenders – Based on 2 starting with the team.

Definitely In (2): Nikolai Khabibulin, Jeff DesLauriers

Conclusion: Edmonton will have limited cap room if the roster turns out as suggested above. That being said, there would only be enough room for a rental player come trade deadline time, and not enough to add someone immediately. The Oilers have depth on defense that might result in a forward being added – However, the forward lines as they currently sit all have potential. Penner and Nilsson worked hard in the off season to get into shape, and Comrie’s addition adds offense. All four forward lines are capable of scoring goals, and few NHL teams can say that.

O’Sullivan loves to shoot the puck, so he might have a great season playing with Horcoff and Hemsky. If Penner plays with a little anger in his game, he’ll open up ice for Comire and Gagner to dangle with the puck. Players from the second and third line are fairly interchangeable, as Nilsson can play all forward positions, and Cogliano and Gagner will be tried on the wings if pucks aren’t going in. Look for Penner to get power play time this season, trying to fill the role Ryan Smyth once had, sitting in front of the goaltender, banging in garbage rebound goals.

On defense, the Oilers have one of the most mobile squads in the league. If a defenseman is traded before the season begins, I’d like to see Staios be the player who is moved. At $2.7mil cap hit, he is an expensive #5 d-man, and is starting to show his age. Alex Plante has thus far impressed in camp, and could be the surprise this season. He could move up the depth chart ahead of Chorney or Peckham, and find himself playing for the Oilers if someone gets moved. It’s hard to say how bad the injuries to Peckham or Visnovsky are, and if they will miss playing time once the season begins.

The least concerning position at this point is in goal, as the Oilers know exactly what they are getting in The Bulin Wall. Oiler fans haven’t seen a goalie on their team this good since Cujo was in his prime.

The overall sense of the players right now is one of confidence and optimism. The Oilers just might surprise some teams this year, as they seem to have balance and depth that few teams can match. However, the Oilers are young and somewhat bipolar. One early losing streak could snowball and kill the whole season.
Filed Under:   Oilers  
September 16, 2009 2:12 PM ET | Delete
Both Brule and Schremp have to clear waivers, so that will be something to look at. Brule needs to beat out Pouilot and Schremp needs to beat on someone in the top 9. I think it is safe to say Stortini is in, after ready the Journal I won't be suprsied if Mac is dealt. Truth be told I wouldn't mind losing guys on waivers this year. We have too many bodies and right now even if someone has an amazing camp they might not make the team because they don't have to clear waivers.
September 16, 2009 3:00 PM ET | Delete
I dont think schremp will make the team either time to move on and let that die. Eberle I agree will play in the WHL this season, I mean why not give him another year to develop in junior and give him a look next year
September 16, 2009 3:03 PM ET | Delete
Staios would be nice to move cause I agree his cap hit is too high for what he brings, Plante would be a nice suprise to see make the team. I think that either him Chorney or Peckman are good candidates to make the jump this year. And they may have to if management decides to move a d man.
September 16, 2009 3:05 PM ET | Delete
and as always Poulit should start looking for employement in the the KHL!!!!
September 16, 2009 3:07 PM ET | Delete
A 2-way contract means that a player does not have to clear waivers. Brule is definitely on a 2 way so he will not have to clear waivers to go to Springfield.
September 16, 2009 3:11 PM ET | Delete
I'd hate to see Staios go (from a leadership/veteran presence), but his cap hit is pretty hight. I'd prefer to see him get moved around the trade deadline if the Oilers aren't in a playoff spot/hunt. I think with Peckham and Plante coming, we'll be able to replace some of the toughness lost when Greene was dealt. I'd hate to see Schremp go to another team and score 30 goals, though...
September 16, 2009 3:24 PM ET | Delete
Polar. 2-way contracts no longer have any bearing on waivers, it's just a salary thing between the ahl and nhl. NHLSCAP explains this in detail. Waivers are now based on age and games played.
September 16, 2009 4:03 PM ET | Delete
What about Stone? I thought he looked pretty good last night. Or is there something I don't know? I haven't really been following the prospects. Thanks.
September 16, 2009 4:12 PM ET | Delete
If Tambo could get a cold case of beer for Staios he should do it. I'd even take a warm case of beer for him. Cause lets face it we have to many over paid players and getting younger cheaper players is what the doctor ordered.
September 16, 2009 4:25 PM ET | Delete
Ryan78 is bang on, it all dependes on games played and your age!!! Staios can go I have been saything that for awhile and so can Pisani. I really think Schremp should make the team and Brule for that matter. Cogs, Brule, and Schremp would be a sick line IMO. We need to deal or put some players on waivers and give some guys an honest shot. Did anyones see Schremps sick pass to Gilbert last night. He looks way better!!!
September 16, 2009 4:47 PM ET | Delete
Hopefully the best guys make the team this year and guys like Pisani or Staios are sent down if they aren't one of the best 23 men come Oct 6th. Schremp was always miscast in the last 6 years. Hopefully he gets a chance to show us his game. If the Oilers wanted a grinder why not draft one? Instead of turning a scorer into one. There's a Reddox around every corner and only so many Schremps. You don't buy a race horse to plow fields do you? Unless your Craig Mac Tavish. Idiot.
September 16, 2009 5:03 PM ET | Delete
I agree with al3535 that the best guys should make the team. Only problem I have is sending Pisani and Staios down. As much as I hate their contracts, they are veteran players that bring something to the game. If healthy Pisani is on your PK and probably a 20G scorer. Staios may be getting worse by the year, but he too is a PK guy and right now we might not have a replacement for him.
September 16, 2009 5:08 PM ET | Delete
@ Al/LB, Common guys Schremp and Brule have done very little at the AHL level... but they are better then proven NHL vets.
September 16, 2009 5:11 PM ET | Delete
It's an interesting idea to send Pisani and Staois down. It would free up contract space - I believe Staois would be picked up, but Pisani due to health history, wouldn't. A bit of a disgraceful way to treat players but business is business.
September 16, 2009 5:15 PM ET | Delete
@ Max, now what on earth would be the point of having 5 million in free cap space be at this point?
September 16, 2009 5:18 PM ET | Delete
I will give you a hint: It rhymes with Phil Kessel.
September 16, 2009 5:22 PM ET | Delete
You think: A he'd sign here. B you'd be willing to give up Cogs or multiple 1st rounders for him?
September 16, 2009 5:24 PM ET | Delete
The Bruins have no cap room. Rumor is they want two first round picks and a second for Kessel. The Oilers have a number of prospects like Jeff Petry and Riley Nash that would not go against their cap. I could see Petry, a first and a second being offered if the Oilers had cap room.
September 16, 2009 5:25 PM ET | Delete
As for signing him, if the Oil had $5mil to offer, they would offer it to him. Rumor is he wants $6mil per, which is ridiculous. No one would be able to sign him for that. But at $5mil, he'd dance with Edmonton.
September 16, 2009 5:28 PM ET | Delete
The problem with Kessel is what do you do next year when cogs and gags are up? It's one thing when we were going to trade some salary for Heatley, but to just add a player via picks and prospects isn't the best idea right now. Also from what I gather edmonton has zero interest in Kessel. Put cogs on line 1 or 2 and the PP and he will be a 30 goal man this year. The guy got 19 playing with a puckhog
September 16, 2009 5:30 PM ET | Delete
"As for signing him, if the Oil had $5mil to offer, they would offer it to him" Pretty big assumption.
September 16, 2009 5:31 PM ET | Delete
I think you are right ryan. I think if the Oilers look at making any deals, it would be to add Brandon Dubinsky because he can win face-offs. The cap room would be nice more to have if the Oilers look playoff bound and want to make a push with some rental players.
September 16, 2009 5:35 PM ET | Delete
Cap space is pro-rated. 1.5ish in space would allow you to add almost any player in the league at the deadline (assuming no warm bodies are going the other way). Other then the 1/1,000,000 odds of landing Kessel, their isn't any reason to waive vetrans.
September 16, 2009 5:36 PM ET | Delete
The Bruins would offer Kessel $5mil per if they could. I could see the Oilers do it if Phil signed something like a 6 year deal. That being said, so far the team has had a great camp, and certain players (Nilsson, Penner, Schremp) are making an effort to improve their game. Trades might not be needed.
September 16, 2009 5:37 PM ET | Delete
Ah Zombie, you are so contrary to everything I write. Keep up the good work - I like the debate.
September 16, 2009 5:47 PM ET | Delete
I apologize but you make a pile of illogical/contradictory points.
September 16, 2009 5:52 PM ET | Delete
Schremp will not make the team unless he can do something 5on5. Which he has not done yet.
September 16, 2009 6:02 PM ET | Delete
I could say the same about you, Zombie. Most of the stuff you say is utter rubbish. Like the comment about cap space. Look at Oilers spending last season...They ate up $1.5mil easily during the year bringing people up and down, before using injured reserve.
September 16, 2009 6:31 PM ET | Delete
You don't lose legit NHL talent because you "might" need the space a few months from now.
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