Tuesday, October 16, 2007
One of my biggest beefs with the Oilers over the past few seasons is their failure to have rookies make any sort of impact whatsoever. There are many reasons for this. MacT, like most coaches who like to win games, prefers veterans to greenhorns. In the same vein he likes to bring them along slowly. Play without the puck is important to MacT - not a surprise for the reason just mentioned as well as the fact that Oiler teams of recent vintage are usually in the thick of trying to make the playoffs. Breaking in some kid who may score 45 points but who ends up a minus twenty isn't going to win you many games. And finally there haven't been a lot of rookies worthy of the icetime. So while the Oilers have drafted well this decade (and just prior) most of the rookies have started their careers slowly and built to something - Horcoff, Stoll, Hemsky, Pisani, hopefully Pouliot will someday be included in this list.
Then you look at San Jose - Bernier, Michalek, Vlasic, Clowe, Pavelski - the list goes on and on. San Jose's drafting is to be envied. Look around the league and you see Stastny, Zajac and so on. In Edmonton not much doing.
Until now. Gagner is likely here to stay I would say and Cogliano has been terrific. Gilbert has been decent if not a big impact guy and Brodziak had a nice start too. With Trukhno and Chorney on the horizon and a bunch of other guys who may spit out a player or two - Dubnyk? O'Marra? Schremp or Nilsson? Plante? Nash? it looks like the worm may finally have turned.
It may be against soft opposition. That's fine with me. If Cogliano scores forty points or Gagner does the same it may be time to say that things have changed for the better when it comes to player procurement. I remember when the Oilers picked Cogliano Bob MacKenzie exclaimed that they had picked a gem. Looks like he may have been right.
Lets hope so.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:00 PM