Fast forward….

Posted: October 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

It appears that the roster for opening day is pretty much set.

Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky
Nilsson-Cogliano-Gagner
Moreau-Pisani-Penner
Pouliot-Brodziak-Stortini
MacIntyre

Much to the chagrin of the Brule and Schremp fans.

Strengths
Speed, skill, scoring

Weaknesses

True shutdown center, faceoffs could be a problem.  Key players are still inexperienced.

What I like about the forward crew is that they are going to score by committee and be a puck possession crew.   I would have liked to see Schremp get his at bats but no one is going to eat Roloson’s salary unless there is something in it for them.  And if a team was inclined to eat a big salary, Khabibulin is a better goaltender than Dwayne Roloson.

So Brule, Schremp will both be in the minors to start the season.  I would have to say that Schremp though is losing his position not to Marc Pouliot or Steve McIntyre, but to Jeff Deslauriers.

The fact that the Oilers were one of the worst five on five scoring teams in the league last year was disconcerting scoring only .86 goals for each goal scored against them at even strength.  Coupled with the 21st ranked powerplay, there is some room for improvement.

Just due to experience and the addition of Eric Cole makes this team a better five on five team.  The team should be closer if not to par on five on five.  The powerplay has numerous options with Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky and the kid line and intermittent use of Penner’s big body on the PP.

Again, looking at the weaknesses, when Horcoff has played three of the final five minutes in a 2-1 game and there is an own zone face off, Kyle Brodziak is your best option.  If I were Marc Pouliot, I would see the writing on the wall and become a faceoff specialist and watch tapes of Doug Jarvis on every off day.  That may be the only way he has a long NHL career.

I am still unsettled with the lines.  If the team could make a deal for a good third line shutdown center while moving out either Penner or Pisani, I think the team would be better off.  Last year the Oilers had three centres in the top 50 face off men in the NHL. (Horcoff, Stoll, and Reasoner.  Maybe that is why MacT wanted Marty back, along with him being great in the room.)  So the Oilers will either find someone within or get killed in the circle consistently.  Hopefully that isn’t a major problem going forward.

Due to lack of time, I am going to give a few general predictions on the forward group.

Hemsky and Horcoff will both flirt with being PPG players.

Cole will lead the team in goals this year.

Robbie Schremp will play 30 games this year and become a regular next season.  He will dominate with Brule in the AHL this year.

Brodziak and Stortini will continue with their chemistry, while Pouliot will struggle at times to fit in.

MacT will eventually give up on the Pisani at center experiment, and may end up moving Pisani to the fourth line.  Pisani, Pouliot, Stortini, with Brodziak moving up between Moreau and Penner.

With that, opening night is October 12….five days till puck drop!!

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