I thought he was gonna do it

Well I guess I should write something here about why neither of us have posted since the end of June (or earlier, heres looking at you Jon), but to be honest I've got nothing. Mostly i have to say that I just lost interest. A horrible season like that will do that to even the most diehard fans. And yes, I got a little bit more excited after the draft, and then a little more after the Pitkanen trade, and a little more after the Souray signing, and it kept building until i ended up here. Its taken this long, but I think i'm finally ready to contribute so that all five of you can read what I will probably tell you when I see you again. But now its in writing so I can refer back to it during later arguments as either a reference or proof that I was right one time.

It is the eve of the Oilers season, and I have to say I am more excited then I've been in some time. I sense it from many fans, there is anticipation in the air (to be honest that can be a positive or a negative, depending on your theories for the season to come). Lets look at opening nights line up, with my educated estimate as to line combos:

Penner - Horc - Hemsky
Torres - Stoll - Nilsson

Moreau - Reasoner - Brodziak

Sanderson - Cogliano - Pouliot

Extras: Gagner, Jacques

Obviously some big surprises here. Thoreson gets sent down and Mactavish goes rookie wild. A few things about Gagner; He will likely rotate into the lineup in Horcoff's spot (with Horc pushing everyone down and likely Cogs or Pouliot out), He can play 9 games and get sent back to Junior w/o any repercussions, or he can play 40 games w/o being able to go back to Junior but it won't burn a year of his free agent status so he will be an RFA at the same time as if he went to Junior. So with that, i'm thinking Gagner has 9 games and if he plays well he'll stick, otherwise he's back to London. If he just plays average for the remainder of the season he may only see action in 40 games over the course of the year (at least this is what i'm reading). I think his play does the talking and more than likely the odds are against him.

I also think that if Cogliano plays well he may burn out towards the second half. Hes coming out of college where he played 38 games last season (IIRC) so an 82 game schedule is a little daunting for a small guy like him. We'll see how MacT handles this. I like his line because it has great 2 way play and speed to burn between him and Sanderson.

Another thing to note is our RW depth. As far as proven NHL players on that wing they just don't exist. Could be trouble. But Hemsky has been looking ridiculous so i'm excited to see him in action.

As for Defenceman there are more surprises, and I feel very confident in this list (including what the pairings will be):

Pitkanen - Staios
Souray - Greene

Tarnstrom - Gilbert


So lets start with the biggest "wow", Laddy Smid was sent down. Very surprising. I thought he was a decent defender for his age and pro experience but his camp was very much labelled as average. He was probably a victim of numbers, being only one of 2 defenders on the team who didn't need to go through waivers. Gilbert was the other one, but he clearly outplayed almost every defender on our roster during camp. Another surprise is the play of Greene, who has been called out by MacTavish as a guy they are leaning on this year yet has taken a step back in his level of play. He's been criticized for playing like the game is going too fast for him and taking too many penalties. As one of our only true defensive defenders, I hope this gets ironed out or a trade happens.

Grebeshkov has been labelled a "chaos" defender (hat tip to Lowetide) due to his boom or bust play. Had a very inconsistent camp with really good games and really bad ones. And wow does Souray ever have a shot. Even Jarret Stoll said his shot "was like Ryan Smyth's" compared to Souray's, funny but true.

So nevertheless, interesting days to come. It'll be a roller coaster.


Josh said...

I'll comment that upon watching the news and reading the paper, Cogliano has mentioned he will be playing on a line with Gagner. Cog's faceoff % was attrocious in the preseason so i'm assuming he goes right wing. Interesting to see how they do EV.

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