Monday, March 10, 2008

But On The Other Hand

Just two days ago I posted about next year. My thought was that the Oilers would be looking at Penner/Torres/Moreau on the LW for the first three lines, unless they packaged Pitkanen for a top six winger and bumped Torres down a slot or moved him out entirely.
I am starting to wonder now if the answer might be at hand already.
I haven't really liked Penner's game for most of this year but we have to assume that he is going nowhere and that next fall he will be lining up with Horcoff and Hemsky once again.
Where my thinking has changed is the second line. The kids have taken charge since Horcoff went down. When 10 went down I figured we were in for a nightmare along the lines of last season's freefall. Instead the team is a ridiculous 11 and 4. Now some of those victories have been is large part to our old friends smoke and mirrors but then again there were plenty of games this fall where the Oilers outchanced and outplayed their opposition and every single mistake they made ended up in their net so fuck those guys.
Back to the kids and a couple of not so young guys. Going over the gamesheets of the past month Fernando Pisani's name is popping up all over the place and of course Glencross, Brodziak and Stortini deserve credit for their play. And while Hemsky has been saddled with either Stoll or Reasoner as his pivot he has produced at just under a PPG pace (5G, 7A), this with a bad wrist as well, remember. Since Horcoff went down here are some more nice numbers to look at:
Gagner 3G 13A
Cogliano 6G 7A
Nilsson 3G 8A
Gilbert 2G 7A
Grebeshkov 1G 6A
That's pretty damn good anyway you cut it. I think it was not more then a week ago I figured Gagner and Cogliano might break forty points, a number I would have been ecstatic with at the beginning of the season. Both are at thirty seven now. Nilsson is at thirty three.
So what I am thinking is this - for quite a while now the thought has been that Cogliano might be slotted in as the third line pivot. The Todd Marchant role, as it were, playing between Moreau and Pisani. Now I know the past month is just one month and its a small sample size but before Lowe goes trading Pitkanen for a top six forward or blowing a wad of cash on Michael Ryder or picking up another dumb contract like the injury prone Parrish, why not go with these kids next year as the second line. Why spend a big wad of cash on a guy like Ryder or Parrish who has his flaws anyhow? Why trade a guy like Pitkanen who may drive a lot of people crazy but still, it must be said, has tremendous upside? Why not give these kids a chance to run with it? Give them the easy minutes when you can, see if they can do what they are doing for longer then a month, see if you can squeeze some numbers out of these guys when they are young and cheap.
Cogliano is the key. 15 goals for a rookie is nothing to sneeze at, especially considering that there were a lot of times this year where he wasn't seeing a lot of the ice. If he can score twenty five or thirty then you had better give him the opportunity to do it.
You go this route and then bump Torres to the third line to play with Pisani and whomever you want to slot in as your pivot. I'd say move Stoll but maybe he is your guy. Maybe you throw in a kid like Pouliot and, no I am not kidding, I think he could succeed with those linemates and in that role. It won't happen though. Or maybe you pick up a guy like Conroy or better yet someone younger.
With Penner and Souray's contracts already weighing this club down they can't be throwing money at another maybe like Michael Ryder and they should be moving a guy who is woefully underperforming like Stoll. Let the kids have a whirl and build a beauty shutdown line with Pisani and Torres. Then you have a fourth line with Moreau, Brodziak, Glencross and Stortini, maybe Pouliot.
Yes? No? Take a nap?


Kish said...


rickibear said...

Injury prone Parrish: Ouch!I will take 195 shots @ 17% (33G)over 60 games by parrish (2.65M) on our first line vs 260 shots @ 10% (26G)over 80 games from Torres (2.25M)

As for weighing down our team Torres, Stoll, Moreau(allways injured) is 6.5M spent on two other forwards.

Penners 19G @ 4.25M, Hemsky 18G @4.1M, Horcoff 21G @ 3.6M and injured. I guess all three of these contracts are weighing us down.

Mr DeBakey said...

Born free,
as free as the wind blows,
as free as the grass grows,
Born free to follow your heart.

MacTavish can't coach kids
You know that

Andy Grabia said...

Going over the gamesheets of the past month Fernando Pisani's name is popping up all over the place

I've noticed that, too, and I think I'm even being objective.

Black Dog said...

rickibear - ok so you have a guy who was averaging a PPG before he got hurt and also is excellent at both ends of the rink and a guy who is playing with a bad wrist and is still averaging nearly a PPG including since Horcoff went down. Without those two guys this team would be dead last. Far gone.

Penner is a waste of money I will grant you that.

And you would take Mark Parrish over any of these guys?? One dimensional, slow, often injured (though not this year) - 15 goals and 13 assists in 60 games for that money - no thanks.

Oilers have to clear some money and I would like Souray or Penner to go but it won't happen.

As for Torres - he's overpaid but he can play that shutdown role on the third line and chip in some offence here and there.

The Oilers already have a ton of money wrapped up in guys who are underperforming - Souray, Penner, Stoll, Torres, Moreau (due to injuries) - at least Torres and Moreau can perform a role that is needed on this team. We don't need Parrish - Stoll, who has had a terrible year, still has more points then him and is a better all round player.

Black Dog said...

Andy - going through the gamesheets over the last month Fernando's name pops up again and agian, especially in the third period

He is scoring a lot of big goals, not surprising because he is so clutch. heh.

doritogrande said...

Our 2-M per year walking time-bomb captain on the 4th line? Is this what we've become? How soon til that contract comes off the books and we can make Hemsky captain?

Oilers Nation said...

Hey Pat,

Just wanted to thank you for adding us to your blogroll, we really appreciate it!

We enjoy reading your blog, and hope you check the Nation as often as you can.

Black Dog said...

dg - only three more years ...

its a shame because I love Moreau but its two seasons now - when he's healthy he's terrific but he is never healthy


oilers nation - I do daily - really enjoy it

rickibear said...

As you have pointed out The only two forwards who have a chance to be moved are Torres and Stoll.

The reason? You will not break up:
Horcoff-Hemsky or Cogliano-Nilsson or Glenx-Brodziak-Storitini. Penner will Slot on LW with either Cogs line or Horc Line. What do you do with pisani whom is showing the 20G-40P 14% shooting % man he can be. From this I think we get our answer. Penner to horc line and Pisani on the RW of cogliano-Nillson (LW) line.

Now we have our captain a physical player capable of 20G if he takes a more offensive role. We will not trade him. Plus he will slot on the LW with a line with Gagner. So we need to find a player to match that line who has a skill they do not have. Moreau Physical presence with corner skill. Gagner great passing with improving cycling skills. We need a goal scorer.

Who can we get for Torres and Stoll in a trade to slot on that line. It is going to be someone with question marks or they will not be available! This is why I thought Parrish.
Can you think of anyone else?

Another option is off load Torres and Stoll and try to get a scorer as an UFA.

Do we interchange Pisani and Moreau with moreau on a line with Cogs and Nilsson. Thus slotting Pisani's scoring potential with Gagner. Then you will need another Physical play maker on that line. Whom would that be?

Other wise we stay status Quo and do what you have suggested.
Its not that I do not think what you say may be true but are there better options for this team.

Black Dog said...

rickibear, I see what you are saying - a couple of things:

- I'm not sure if we can move Torres coming off a knee injury; the reality may be that until the season gets rolling and both he and Moreau prove they are healthy (and Moreau can stay healthy) that neither is movable

- I would prefer to stay out of the UFA market - too much money tied up already and I think (maybe??) we would agree that this team is being set up to succeed/challenge in spring of '10, '11, '12 - paying more big money to someone (unless there is a one year deal out there) when Horcoff, a goaltender and a bunch of kids will all need raises by then - I'd rather not

- I'm not a complete nut when it comes to the whole hard matchup/soft opp stuff but I do think that for next year at least the kids would be best served by bringing them along slowly still; also I think we have seen that this team has a hard time keeping the puck out of their net; having a line that can shut down the other team's best would go a long way towards that goal

- I'm not so much for status quo as for moving things around and redefining some roles - Torres doesn't seem to fill that top six role and neither has Pisani when he has gotten the opportunity - give them a centre, make them the shutdown line and they will get their 15-20 goals anyways, let the kids grow and learn, see if Penner can (will he ever?) earn that contract

if we're going to gamble I'd rather gamble with the kids they have rather then do what the Leafs did this season - playing Tjusty on the fourth line most of the year - guy gained not a thing and burned a year of service

dstaples said...

Pat, I need to talk to you, so could you email me at
David Staples.

Black Dog said...

I feel like I'm getting called into the principal's office.

uni said...

I feel like I'm getting called into the principal's office.

[Insert highly inappropriate 'Dear Penthouse' comment here]

With Nilsson I won't say anything positive about him for fear of casting the dreaded jinx. Ditto Grebeshkov although I didn't like him as much as Nilsson.

Now all we need is for Grebs to call Mikhnov and tell him how wonderful Edmonton is, how the Oiligosphere raves about him [Mikhnov] and that he's wanted and loved by the Oilers. Alexei then takes a break from riping up the Russian Superleague and flys over with significant other to blow the doors off of training camp. Slots in on the 3rd line before being bumped up to the 1st line as our very own 'Frolov'. [Cue highlight reel goals to generic Nightwish song here]

Also after not reading most blogs for the past 3 months due to an insane amount of work, I just spent an hour reading through the BDHS backlog. Good stuff; also BDHS is one sick bastard, but in a good way...I think.

Black Dog said...

Haha, thanks uni ... I think.

No spot for Mikhnov unless they move Penner I think. No spot for Schremp either.

Look at Guy Flaming's top twenty for some pretty damning words about Schremp btw.

uni said...

Yep, I'm indifferent to Shremp, no love of him, and no ill will; if he makes it good on him.

Mikhnov I've always liked, reminds me of Antropov with a harder shot, and less of an awkward stride. Too bad he doesn't seem to have Antropov's attitude about toughing it out.

He made some beauty quotes, like after a tourney when asked about how well he played he said I don't think so, we didn't win. Or the comments on his weakness where he says he has to work harder, go into traffic, drive the net more etc.

I still think he has the chance to be a Frolov type player albeit that is already quite dim and grows dimmer by the day...and we don't need another Dopita.