Friday, September 18, 2009

Cuts and Guys on the Margins

Yesterday the Oilers made 13 cuts to their training camp roster, most of which were were completely unsurprising. Philippe Cornet was sent back to his team in the QMJHL and a bunch of other guys who are overwhelmingly likely not to ever play a game in Edmonton were also cut. Let's face it, if you're cut this early in training camp and have a 2 as the first digit in the age column, you're not in the organization's long term plans. Which brings me to Andrew Perugini and Cody Wild, two players that have received some positive attention in some quarters.

Perugini's situation isn't all that bad really. He was never drafted and outplayed Bryan Pitton last year in the ECHL and at this point is probably slotted as the fourth best goalie in the system. I don't think his being cut really changes that. The fact is that Khabibulin is the #1 guy and that there are four other goalies in two seperate battles that the Oilers need to continue looking at. Dubnyk and Deslauriers are in a fight for the back-up goaltender position in the NHL while Kurtis Mucha and Aaron Sorochan are battling for what will likely end up being one contract. Perugini's battle will be at the AHL camp where he, Mucha/Sorochan and Pitton battle for AHL and ECHL playing time. Perugini's cut looks more like circumstance than anything else as there was really no reason to keep him around and the Oilers were carrying more goalies than they'd probably like.

Cody Wild on the other hand looks to be in real trouble. There's no practical reason for him to be cut instead of any of the other defenders and it looks like this cut was probably "performance-based," i.e., he's been passed by a whole bunch of guys. Defenders still in camp that weren't in the NHL last year include Theo Peckham, Dean Arsene, Jake Taylor, Taylor Chorney, Bryan Young, Johan Motin and Alex Plante which would puts Wild behind 7 guys likely starting the year in the minors which means it's quite likely that Wild will have a tough time staying in the lineup at the AHL level. Although some of the numbers have shown that Wild actually outperformed some of these guys last year (Young, Chorney) he wasn't able to impress any of the coaches last year. Maybe his superiors are weirded out by the vow of poverty he took at Providence.

With regard to the guys who might actually play for the Oilers this year I think it's worth remembering an interview that Rob Daum did at the end of July on the Pipeline Show. He mentioned a few players as guys he thought had a decent chance at winning a job in training camp:

"Ryan Potulny... Ryan Stone... Gilbert Brule... those are the three guys that jump out at me at this point in time, and of course you have to throw Robbie Schremp into that mix as well..."

It's good to remember that the only two coaches that know some of the players already are Kelly Buchberger and Rob Daum. If one of those two guys are on your side it likely bodes well for your ability to make a positive impression. It wouldn't surprise me if Potulny, Stone and Brule were brought to the attention of the new coaches at the start of training camp as guys to watch. Given the nature of training camp (it's short) that kind of extra attention can be a big help. Plus, any impression you make has some hutzpah behind it. As opposed to, "Wow, that Stone looked good tonight, but it's just one game..." it's, "Wow, that Stone looked good tonight and Rob said he played well in the past..." Daum probably also let them know to always mention Rob Schremp in a semi-positive light to avoid being asked about him in a follow-up.

Tonight the Oilers will be taking on the Panthers and Ryan Stone has another chance to impress. I'm pulling for him.

No comments: