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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Early Observations pt3

Tonight is another big night for some players still in the Oilers rotation. It's another opportunity to showcase and show management and coach's what you can offer. There is very little wiggle room up front. As much as some want to say there is lots of play for forward positional movement, it's limited. A lot still depends on Gagner's injury status and Eager's injury status as well. If those two are ready to go, you maybe have one position you can flex with. Outside of that, it's the blueline where the audition for a roster spot is. Whitney is looking more and more like a scratch for the opening night roster, so that opens up another opportunity for one of the players originally slated to head to OKC to open up the regular season. Let's continue to look at a few more players and how they have fared up to this point in pre-season.

Taylor Fedun

Taylor has been a impressive player up to this point. As has been pointed out by many of the MSM and bloggers alike, Fedun has caught many by surprise and if you were asking me, I think he has taken management and coaching by surprise as well. at the 2011 Summer development camp, Taylor did not look really impressive. His skating was average at best and his effort level appeared to be less then impressive. His passing was crisp but on the other hand, it was a development camp. Obviously Taylor took the skills he was learning and worked on them. It was like a light bulb went off or something. I was one of those 'wait and see' guys who thought his game would falter as the competition increased. That actually has looked the opposite. Granted, he has made a few errors along the way, but with a offensive puck mover you will always have some errors you have to live with. Visnovsky was a prime example of that. Many forget, there were not many games where he was error free and did not cough up the puck at least once in a game. On the other hand, you knew with every rush up the ice and sweet crisp pass, tape to tape, there was a scoring opportunity for someone.

While it is still likely Fedun will be sent down to OKC soon, I do think he has shown enough to management and coach's that should they need a puck mover, he is only a call away. I would think he will get one last game in here before heading down to the AHL. If he remains for more then one game? Well, doesn't take much to add 1+1. It would mean, he is being considered for a opening night spot. At this stage of his development, I would think they want to give him more playing time and see if he can keep this up consistently.

Corey Potter

It has taken me some time to warm up to this player, but I have to say, Potter looks good. Rather then go look for some cast off from another team on waivers or sign some older veteran who no one is signing, I say give Corey his shot. He's a big boy, plays the body well, not bad wingspan. OK skater and is decent at moving the puck up the ice. My apologies to Lowetide for doubting this player. Lowetide has been high on Potter (sounds funny huh?) for some time and I now see why.

I would expect that Corey will get in at least 2 of the last 3 games in exhibition, if they are serious about keeping him up with the Oilers. I can easily see Potter and Sutton working in as the 6th defenceman on any given night. The opening night roster could end up looking like this.....


Of course this would mean that Chorney would be heading through waiver wires to get to OKC. If Chorney stays, most likely Potter heads to OKC and is first defenceman called up. If Whitney does not start the year, I would think they will want Petry up with the Oilers for his puck moving skills. The blueline may not look real strong in Edmonton, but take a look down in OKC and things start looking up.

Antti Tyrvainen

How can you not like this guy? I saw some video's on him from Finland, read articles, saw stats and was more concerned with how many penalty minutes he was getting. I was under the impression he was a 'wannabe' hockey player. This guy has impressed me to date. Not only can he get around the ice, but he can check well, handle the puck not bad, knows how to pass and even has a decent shot. Plays tough on the forecheck and backcheck. Depending on injury to bottom line, would be a dependable player to call upon. OKC is going to love this guy.

Gilbert Brule

Brule is a real difficult player to gauge. His injuries over the year's have constantly set him back. No one can question his drive, his passion or will. He is tough, willing to play wherever you slot him into your line-up and won't make waves if sitting in the press box. He has a lot to prove this year. He is playing for a contract next year, has been pushed down the line-up (or should we say passed by other player's?) and was traded and not traded in the same day. Unfortunately, his pre-season has not started on a positive note. He has made some bad errors at bad times and still seems to be struggling with the puck. He will be in tough, however he has Tom RenneyTencer show that Brule would be given some time to work and get his game together. Reading between the lines tell's me, Brule WILL be with the Oilers opening night. If he is in the press box or on the bench will depend totally on Brule.

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