The Pages Of Oilers Jambalaya

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reason's for Optimism / Reason's to Cheer

As our collective playoff hopes fade faster then a January sunset, I just wanted to remind people, that the Oilers do have most of the pieces in place for a solid team. Not all is doom and gloom. There's always a bright side to any situation and here's the Oilers silver lining.

The Forwards

The obvious guys are Hemsky, Penner, Horcoff. Yes, Horc makes too much money for his output, but the fact remains, he can be a big part of a winning team. With the emergence of Pens this year, we finally have a big power forward that we have been looking for since we traded Messier and no I don't think they are the same player, other then the power forward part. And then there's Hemsky, that's self explanatory, the guy has mad skills.

The kids that I like on this team are as follows; Gagner, Brule, Stone, Potulny and Stortini. These guys are keepers for sure. Even though they have had "off" games this year, none have been disappointing. In fact I, like most of you, was pleasantly surprised by the play of Stoney, Potsy and Bru, I just didn't see them playing this well for us. I'm not sure guys like Nilsson, Cogliano or J.F.Jacques will be around next season as they could be included in deals during the off season, although the Oilers do need JFJ's size and willingness to hit. And don't forget that guys like Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, who lit up the WJHC over the last couple weeks, are on their way next year too.

The Defence

Of our top six D-men I would only keep three. The guys I would keep to build around are; Visnovsky, Gilbert and Smid. Yes, I would trade Souray. I love the guy as much as anyone, but if this rebuild is going to be done properly, one of Souray or Visnovsky has to be moved. I choose Souray because he is older (by a month) and I think Lubo brings more to this team besides a booming slapshot, it's like choosing between Coffey and MacInnis in my books. Smid is turning into a great defender and Gilbert is still figuring this league out and not playing too badly doing so. Grebeshkov can bring a return in a trade and Staios or Strudwick have to go, as we only need one 7th D-man. With guys like Taylor Chorney, Theo Peckham, Alex Plante and Jeff Petry coming up, we need to make room on the back end.

The Goalies

I, like most in the hockey world, have no idea what is wrong with Khabibulin's back. What I do know is that Deslauriers has some very respectable numbers after 24 starts this season. His save % is basically on par with Khabbi's and his goals against average is better. JDD is getting some extremely valuable playing time with Khabbi out. I don't know enough about Dubnyk to make any assumptions on how he is doing. He has seen some action, but only after sitting on the bench for weeks on end.  So he has been rusty, so to speak, when he has gotten into a game. He does have a short memory though, as he was able to shake off some poor outings for the Oilers and Falcons during the last couple months. The Oilers have to keep JDD in my mind and try to trade or find some kind of loop hole in the CBA to lose Khabbi's salary from the cap hit, before deciding to trade DD.

Final Thoughts

So as you can see here, there are quite a few reasons to remain optimistic about this team. Sure rebuilds take some time, but the Oilers have many of the right pieces already in place. All they need is a season or two of premium draft picks and its off to the races in Oil Country. So as you sit and watch your Oilers lose more often then not for the rest of this season, cheer the little battles being won and the progression of the younger guys as they will carry the load in the next few years, along with *fingers crossed*, *knock on wood* Taylor Hall.

-Paq Twinn-

1 comment:

  1. Great post Paq.

    My lines after getting rid of MY unwanted players - I'd keep Souray and Visnovsky and turf Gilbert and Grebeshkov:

    Penner Gagner Hemsky
    **** Brule Eberle
    **** Horcoff ****
    Stone Potulny Stortini

    Smid Visnovsky
    Souray *****
    Chorney Peckham


    With going with this lineup - unless losing one of the young goalies, and I'd prefer not to so I'm going with 3 goalies and hope we can trade Khabibulin at some point next season. The salary cap for this team as is is undetermined as a few guys need new contracts.

    But this is a starting point and you have a team with Souray as captain and Visnovsky, Horcoff and Penner as assistant captains. That's better leadership than what we have now. And you need leadership to grow and progress as a team.

    Does Paajarvi-Svensson make the team? What about Linus Omark? The Oilers will need some big guys to fill the holes that are left. Omark and MPS are not those guys.


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