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Monday, September 26, 2011

Early Observations pt2

Only a few more games left in pre-season and early observations and others forms of hockey entertainment will be over. As I was writing, 12 more cuts came to the line-up and more will be sure to follow Wednesday morning. I was impressed with some of the defensive work we saw from Taylor Fedun and Corey Potter (will cover those two in 'Early Observations pt3'). Always nice to beat Calgary, even if it is only pre-season. Just something about bragging rights for Alberta isn't it? I won't be covering every player just some of those who have had questions on them.

Early Observations:

Devan Dubnyk

At this point, people are starting to become believers of Devan. He has worked extremely hard over the years to get his game to where it is currently at. I remember watching Pete Peters working with him on positioning back in the rookie camp held in Leduc a few years ago. Each camp, each step, Devan has risen to the occasion. Looking at how he finished last year and how he has started the pre-season, all signs are looking good in Devan's favour. His rebound control and positioning has looked quite sound to this point. For sure he will be the opening night starter. (You would think anyway)

Lennart Petrell
Lennart is a interesting player with what he brings to the table. If Gagner is unable to start the year, I see Lennart making the opening night roster with him and Hordichuk interchangeable, as the 13th forward. That would mean Brule would be centering the fourth line. Should Gagner be ready to go, chances are, he will be moved to wing on the fourth line and interchangeable with Hordichuk. Lennart has proven with pre-season competition to be good on the penalty kill and a strong forechecker. I am concerned about his lack of control with his body. When flying on the ice, he looks like all arms and feet are flying but not lots of control. That could spell problems with a stronger opponent then he has seen in pre-season to date. I also have noticed he will take himself sometimes out of position to make the hit on the boards. Again, that can be a risky measure with this player. I like him, like his fight and passion, just concerned if he will be able to maintain his effort as the regular season comes around.

Anton Lander

Anton has done well in the time he has played in games, but the competition is starting to toughen up. Sure he had a bad give away last game, but it happens to the best of players. the next game will be even  a better test of his development and growth. This will most likely make me a public enemy of Oiler fans, however I really do think as good as Lander has been to this point, he will be sent down to OKC. There are a few area's Lander could use time to work on. Coming from another country and jumping full-time into the NHL with limited ice time may not be in the best interest of Anton at this time. Sure he can play 9 minutes a night on the fourth line in a shutdown, or energy role. Is that better for him then 1st or 2nd line action in OKC with more skilled wingers and playing 18 minutes a night? Even without Gagner in the lineup, I truly do think he will get a short stint down in the AHL. Don't worry Lander fans, when Anton returns to the Oilers lineup, I do not see him going back down again. On the other hand, if your a OKC Baron fan, this is exciting news. Can't see Brule being sent down through waivers so this is probably a contract situation he is being thrown into as well.


Kirill Tulupov
As I was getting ready to share my observation on Kirill Tulupov, the roster was trimmed and he was assigned to OKC. I was thinking he may get one more pre-season game in before they decided if they were going to hang on to him for the organization or not. Obviously, that game was not needed and they will be continuing his tryout down in OKC. I thought I would still post my observations on him as he very well, could be a potential call up if our defence resembles a M.A.S.H unit, as it has in years past. While on occasion Kirill can get himself out of position by going for the big hit, I do believe his game can be altered some with a little coaching. He comes across as a player just wanting a chance on the blueline and in the Oilers organization there are many opportunities. I like this move myself and with Marincin being returned to the WHL, another contract spot opens up for Tulupov. He will have more training camp time in OKC to prove to the Oilers they should hold onto him.

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