Sunday, July 27, 2008
The last two summers the Oilers had to worry about a lack of actual NHL players on their roster going to camp. Laddy Smid in the second pair on the back end two years ago. Rookies and castoffs scattered everywhere last season.
Things are looking up and if things work out for the Oilers then a playoff spot may be in the offing next spring. They will need Calgary and Colorado to take a step back, which seems possible, and they will need the kids to take another step forward.
The problem for the Oilers (its a nice problem to have) is that they have a whack of kids and kids are kids. They're learning on the job and that is going to cost the Oilers points in the standings.
In the last thread Riversq wondered whether Horcoff and Hemsky would be deployed in a power vs. power role and who amongst the Oilers' D would be sent out for defensive zone draws.
The problem for the Oilers remains that they are still inexperienced. Will MacT send Horcoff out when Iginla is on the ice? Likely, seeing as the pivot for the Pisani line will be Brodziak or Pouliot or Cogliano. A nice trio to be sure but any of them would get eaten alive by Datsyuk or Thornton, even with Pisani and Cole on their wings. They are not ready yet.
As for the D its going to be Gilbert and Grebs getting a ton of minutes, at least to start the season, I would say. Its going to cost them games but this year is about next year. Souray and Staios are going to get some of those defensive zone draws but watch for the kids to get the lion's share.
This team is built for runs in 2010, 2011 and 2012. They are not there yet.
Posted by Black Dog at 8:50 AM