Forwards – Too many bodies…who goes?

Posted: September 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

Schremp hs I remember watching Jani Rita, Tony Salmelainen and Todd Marchant skate together in camp, I believe it was 2002.  They were fast, skilled, and in general, since I watched as many public sessions of camp as I could, I believed they were the best line on the ice.  (If memory serves me correctly it was the same camp that Jason Smith beat the living snot out of Ryan Smyth.)

I was aghast at the play of Ethan Moreau, and even moreso, my whipping boy of the camp, Dan Cleary.  Cleary was slow, his puck skills were terrible, and he didn’t seem to do much of anything effectively.  Much to my own personal chagrin, when cuts were made, Jani Rita, who I thought made the team with his camp was disposed to the AHL.

Not much of a big deal to your average hockey fan, but to me, a disparage to a player good enough to be on the big club.  How could this be?  He was at the minimum….at the absolute worst better than two or three of the incumbents?  Why are we not playing our best players on the ice?  Who paid off the coach?

Whether it was some fluke or knowing to look in the right place, I soon figured out that you don’t really need much of a camp to decide on opening night roster.  Mostly you need to look on whose agent/or play has garnered a player a one way contract.  I know it may come as a shock to you, but when it comes to forwards, there is one spot available.

On one way contracts and shoo-ins for a spot on the big club for forwards….

Shawn Horcoff
Dustin Penner
Ales Hemsky
Patrick O’Sullivan
Fernando Pisani
Robert Nilsson
Ethan Moreau
Sam Gagner
Mike Comrie
Andrew Cogliano
Marc-Antoine Pouliot
Zack Stortini
Jean-Francois Jacques

All of these forwards have one way contracts.  The only spot that is available would be the one that presently has been suggested that might be occupied by Gilbert Brule.  Could the Oilers manufacture a trade?  Yes.  But not likely.  As much as we as fans think it is easy to call another GM up and move out your excess baggage, there are a scant few deals in the NHL.

I suppose this means one thing.  If Brule or Schremp gets the spot and the other goes on waivers, whoever draws the short straw leaves town.  Even worse…if the team decides that Steve MacIntyre is an important cog on the team, then they could conceivably both find themselves working in another jurisdiction.

I am sure this is disheartening to the Potulnys, Reddoxes and Stones of the world, but if I am looking at the pythagorean theorem, a + b doesn’t equal a job.

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Comments
  1. Gord says:

    I agree with your line of thinking but I have a theory. With eight pre-season games in 13 days that there will be an injury or two. That will give management time to create a trade (to ship out a few excess bodies) in the first month of the season.

  2. […] Hockey ponders who will be dispatched to ease the glut of forwards at Edmonton Oilers’ camp. No easy decisions in Oil country. I […]

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