Sunday, October 02, 2011

I Like Plaid

So today the Oilers made their final cuts until the injury situation susses itself out.

Going to OKC - Keller, Green, O'Marra, Brule all have to clear waivers and likely will. Hartikainen also gets sent out.

With Smid apparently out a month there are presently a half dozen healthy D:

Tom Gilbert - apparently will play 45 minutes a night or perhaps, like Brad McCrimmon did in the Memorial Cup Final, perhaps he will just play the entire game. No wonder he's a little cantankerous these days.

Andy Sutton - as big as a house and about as mobile, he may be the second best defenceman on the club right now. Which is terrifying.

Theo Peckham - love the way Theo plays but I think he's a bottom pairing guy right now and maybe for always

Jeff Petry - a guy who looked to be on the bubble early in camp he got better as it wore on, ideally he would be paired with Whitney I think, he's going to have his tough moments but a vet would help him immensely

Cam Barker - he looked pretty poor in preseason and likely he is going to be a top four guy by default, I didn't mind the signing, its only money, but I also thought he probably wasn't going to pan out. He's definitely going to get his chance though.

Corey Potter - veteran tweener hasn't looked too bad, with all of the injuries he may stick around for a while

So to fill the seventh spot there are four options. Whitney may be ready. I think he may be making progress as most reports are that he may be good for opening night. He can't be far away if they are saying that I would guess. Chorney tweaked his knee. He may be the seventh if he's okay to go and even if both he and Whitney are ready he may stick at Potter's expense. The other two options - picking up a quality guy via trade (next summer I expect this) or picking up filler on the waiver wire.

We knew the blue was the problem with this club. If Whitney is ready then he and Gilbert may be able to make things work (I've liked Gilbert's preseason) with whatever partners get sent their way. But then again maybe not. Too thin in any case.


Injuries also playing a part up front with Eager and Gagner out. Presently there are thirteen forwards ready to go. I would think that Eager may be ready for opening day although that's nothing but a hunch.

Horcov - the dirty Russian looks a little quicker. Really really hope he stays healthy and has a very good year.

Belanger - great signing, he will help

Ted - the kid is going to get his nine games and probably will be up for the season, imo. Sometimes he looks like a kid and sometimes he shows flashes of what he may be. I think he may have an impact on the PP immediately. Did about as much as he could in preseason.

Lander - a bit of a surprise in that I figured they might keep the plug O'Marra in his place so he could get the big minutes in OKC. When Gagner comes back he will get sent down but he'll be back and likely may take Gagner's job within the year, Sam will be the bait for that Dman they need. Struggled at times and was very very good at others. Another keeper.

Hall - no worries here

Paajarvi - he looks more confident and I like seeing him on the PK

Smyth - great to have him back

Hordichuk - his presence didn't deter Duco from going after Hall in the preseason, he's not the worst player ever to play for the Oilers but really a bit pointless I think.

Petrell - Zona (I think it was) described him as Thoresen without offence which I thought was impossible (and I love Thoresen). Anyhow here's exactly the type of guy the Oilers need - great on the PK, hustles, hard on the puck, a good fourth liner. A nice story and a feather in management's cap.

Hemsky - I hope they sign him. That is all.

Eberle - kid looked terrific in camp for the most part

Omark - if they move Hemsky he's going to get a big opportunity I think. He gets overlooked but he has skill and balls, I couldn't understand folks who felt he might not make the team.

Jones - A lot of folks I really respect hated that Hartikainen got cut and Jones is still here but I don't mind it. Teemu will get big minutes in OKC and as soon as a top nine guy goes down he'll be up and likely for good once they move Ales. I don't think Jones is blocking him. As for 'fan favourite' Ryan Jones well he hasn't clue anywhere but around the opposing net but he always has had that. I doubt he scores 18 again but he'll score some, he always has. I don't mind his contract other than to me its another sign that management is not too bright but of course you might argue that they are throwing fans a bone and they won't even look at him when the contract is up and they have better players around.

Anyhow that's my thoughts on Teemu, I'm not too concerned about it and I actually think its less of an affront than the Omark move a year ago. Hartikainen is a beauty but none of the top nine wingers (Hall, Paajarvi, Smyth, Hemsky, Eberle, Omark) should lose their job to him. He'll be back soon.

The only possible surprise amongst the cuts is Brule and that's mostly because he has a big ticket (how do Tambellini and Lowe explain all of the money Katz has spent on guys in the minors anyhow? Jesus.) - the kid sounds like a terrific guy but he was awful last year and worse this preseason. Throw in the medical issues and its no surprise. Too bad for the kid. Doug MacLean ruined him.

I like the forwards a lot. They are green but Smyth and Belanger are going to help a lot and the kids are really something. And Petrell and Eager I think will help somewhat as well.

The blue is shitty and the goaltending is iffy unless Dubnyk is the real deal. So ... its going to be one more long year and then one presumes some of the forwards get moved to shore up the blue.


Anonymous said...

Petrell is Thoreson with offence, not without. Saw the kid play a couple times live, and he's got some moves and a nice shot, which is one area where Thor always fell short.

Alice said...

I caught the 2nd and 3rd Saturday and have to say I was impressed with Potter - calm, takes the extra second to get a guy in the clear instead of just 'firing it up the glass'. He's got the poise, now he has a little window to show if he's got the chops to sustain that.

Unknown said...

Not sure I agree with the common wisdom that "Doug McLean" ruined Brule by playing him as an 18 year old. Gilbert simply has a soft toolbox, all the skill, feet & hands, hits but not the sharpest knife. If he can survive until say 28 he could become an excellent defensive forward ala Cleary.

Black Dog said...

Unknown - I don't think Brule can pull a Cleary, as you said its smarts with him, not try. He's got skill but he's all over the place.

I think he was rushed, he suffered some pretty massive injuries which set his development back and probably affected his confidence.

Alice - lets hope so, I know LT was saying that the guy might be a keeper when they signed him, maybe he just needs that shot.

anon - thing is Thoresen has produced everywhere but the NHL (and I remember he actually had a nice start playing with Hemsky and Sykora iirc). Buddy has been putting up nice numbers in Russia.

I don't think Petrell has done much offensively even in Finland.

No biggie, that's not why he's here anyway.

Kish said...

All great points, but what really stood out: the nickname Ted for RNH. I'm not sure if I just haven't been paying attention (likely), but this is the best one out there, no?

Black Dog said...

I think so Kish. I've been calling him that for a while now, spOILer also, not sure which of us (if either) can take credit for it, if at all.

Short and sweet and no 'y' at the end of it. Perfect.

Bruce said...

Hartikainen is a beauty but none of the top nine wingers (Hall, Paajarvi, Smyth, Hemsky, Eberle, Omark) should lose their job to him.

Bingo. The top nine is where Harski is destined to help this team, not the fourth line. Let him take some big minutes in OKC while the plugs like Jones and Eager play fourth line minutes here.