Thursday, July 7, 2011

Change of plan today (but keep the course to Stanley)

I didn't make it out to development camp this morning for a variety of reasons. So I'm going to try again tomorrow and Saturday, but for now, some fodder:

 This is a projection of what the Oilers lines / depth chart might look like around the time we are competing for Stanley. Think of this as being our '14-'15 year or maybe our '15-'16 year. I decided to assume that any player drafted by the Oilers currently in the Oilers system has a great chance of sticking with the team for the next few years if we want them. Players with longer contracts also got a push to likely be here ( see: Ryan Whitney ). By this same standard I decided not to bank on Andy Sutton, Ryan Jones, Cam Barker, Eric Belanger or Ben Eager being there. Give or take trade / free agent signings and releases / future first rounders ( imo ) the Oilers Stanley Cup lineup / depth chart could look like this:

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Hall ( L ) Nugent-Hopkins ( L ) Eberle ( R )

Hartikainen ( L ) Gagner ( R ) Hemsky ( R )

Paajarvi ( L ) Lander ( L ) Omark ( L )

Smyth ( L ) Horcoff ( L ) Pitlick ( R )

Hamilton ( L ) Cogliano ( L ) Abney ( R )

Czerwonka ( L ) Ewanyk ( L )

Rieder ( L )

 Let's talk about the forwards first. Hartikainen moves ahead of Paajarvi because I feel Hartikainen is a bit of a stronger option as a trigger man for Hemsky. The 3rd line has chemistry and is well rounded, but isn't an energy line. Horcoff and Smyth are older at this point and are part of a physical for-checking 4th line, full of decent skaters that can play some hockey. The 4th line can be mixed up with the skaters in the " 5th" and partial "6th" or "7th" units. Cogliano is floating in that area as a somewhat useful player and the rest of the 5th and 6th units are full of young players that will be contending for those 4th line spots and for injury replacement. Weaknesses include a lack of a Darren Mccarty/Matt Cooke/Max Talbot/Brad Marchand/Esa Tikkanen type ( that biggish guy that can skate, hit, take and make a pass, shoot the puck a little, chirp the other team, push and shove and maybe drop the gloves ). Is Czerwonka or Abney that guy? Will Ewanyk be good enough?

Shoots Left Shoots Right
Ryan Whitney Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin Colten Teubert
Theo Peckham Jeremie Blain
Ladislav Smid
Oskar Klefbom
David Musil
Brendon Davidson
Dillon Simpson
Martin Gernat

Now the defensemen. First, I dropped Tom Gilbert. I'd trade him in his contract year. I can't predict who we might trade him for but imo he doesn't fit this teams make up. On the back-end there are WAY more question marks because of the uneven time line for defensemen development. I want to say Marincin deserves a top 4 spot by then. Petry too. Whitney is a top 4 defensemen and at this point we have decent 2's and good 3's but probably not a #1 defensemen. Peckham, Smid and Teubert will be in the mix for bottom 3 but for the rest of our D prospects it's too early to project. I'll error on caution and say they are bubbling under or are at best competing for ice time at that point. The laws of probability state that injury will open the door for some of these prospects and a few will take advantage.  Weaknesses include quality depth from right handed shooters and a Rafalski/Visnovsky/Doughty/Niedermayer/Coffey type ( a top quality skater with elite vision and puck handling skills that can QB the power-play and pot at least 20 goals ).

Devan Dubnyk
Tyler Bunz
Samu Perhonen
Olivier Roy

The goalies look promising but will be pretty young. I think Dubnyk will pan out to be an NHL goalie. I hope even as a number 1 ( maybe even top 15 goalie in the league in his prime ). More would be hoping TOO much for comfort. Bunz's stock has been rising and Roy's lowering. I decided to slot our big new 3rd rounder between them as maybe splitting the starter role for the Barons around that time. Weakness include a lack of a guaranteed stud.

The forwards and goalies look like better bets to be close to what I've suggested here. Once again trade, injury and free agent signings will impact this roster ( obviously ) and future first rounders and other achieving future draft picks haven't been chosen yet but honestly, I like what I'm seeing.

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