Sunday, September 20, 2009

Roster Cuts and Tonight's Performances

Before tonight's game against the Islanders the Oilers made six cuts to their training camp roster, sending Johan Motin, Viacheslav Trukhno, Geoff Paukovich, Colin McDonald and Charles Linglet to Springfield and releasing the guy that came to camp as a favour to Lubomir Visnovsky. None of these cuts come as any surprise and the real story is who wasn't cut. Guys like Jake Taylor, Bryan Young, Ryan O'Marra and Kip Brennan all have to be smiling huge. None of them played tonight so there's no real reason to stick around and yet none of them is on a flight south. It's got to feel good.

As for the game tonight, the Oilers looked pretty poor on the whole but there were a couple of positive performances as well.

Who helped himself? I think Eberle did for sure. Especially in the first two periods he was demonstrating some good vision in the offensive zone and never looked overmatched by the pace of play. He still hasn't faced anything close to a full team of NHL players and if it were up to me he'd be heading back to junior but he certainly helped his cause with tonight's performance. The other group who played well was the Comrie-O'Sullivan-Stone line for a third straight game. Every game Stone gets alongside those two is one more game with two guys that are locks to make the team. If the team were picked today I really do think that Ryan Stone might not only make the top 14F but would even be in the lineup on opening night. That would be a tremendous accomplishment and I must admit that I'm cheering for him.

Who hurt himself? Certainly Dubnyk didn't have his best game. Although Quinn said the battle for 2G isn't over in his press conference I'd think Dubnyk would need to prove he's clearly better in order to win the job. Tonight's performance makes the liklihood of that a distant bell. Although I like the guy, Ryan Potulny didn't stand out and, given his status as "challenger" rather than incumbent he really needed to. Same goes for Minard. Those two are in the same boat as Rob Schremp in that they probably had a real shot a spot with a particularly strong camp and, at least in the games, haven't done a whole lot.

One other note is on the subject of Fernando Pisani. Jim Matheson wrote an article today suggesting that Pisani may be in danger of losing his job. Now, Pisani wasn't particularly good tonight and was pretty dreadful earlier in the pre-season but, as one of the few established NHL veterans and consistently good PK options I'd have to think that his job is pretty much guaranteed. Anything else would be foolish and if there's one thing that Oiler management has proven it's that they're not foo... uh oh.


Black Dog said...

Ha ha, nice ending.

I think Matheson is throwing stuff at the wall here though. One second Matheson is saying that he's in danger and then he's saying that Quinn says Pisani shouldn't lose any sleep over it.

Stone had another good game, eh?

If Pisani is a lock and I still say he has to be that leaves four spots - Jacques, Pouliot, Stone and ?? Brule? Nilsson? Eberle?

Certainly more interesting than I thought it would be.

Scott Reynolds said...

Stone did play well again but it's hard to tell how much of it is O'Sullivan and Comrie and how much is Stone. Dude probably feels like he hit the jackpot getting put with those two guys.

If Stone keeps it up I think Nilsson may hit waivers and spend the whole year on the farm or get bought out. If they buy him out they actually get a small cap credit next year and they'll need it with some pretty important guys coming up for raises. That's what I'd do to be honest. Buy the sucker out if he clears waivers. I mean, who really wants to pay a guy two million bucks on the farm and the last thing we need is to call him up halfway through the year only for someone to claim him on re-entry and pay him a million bucks to play elsewhere next season.

Eberle needs to go back to junior. It's just stupidity to keep him up.

I haven't liked Brule so far but the optics of him getting claimed on waivers would be terrible. I think he's pretty much a lock.

So yeah, that's my four for now, Jacques, Pouliot, Stone and Brule. Oh yeah, plus Brennan minus Pisani :)

Black Dog said...

Nice point on Nilsson.

The optics for management are poor poor poor.

They move Pronger, Smyth and Torres and in return (never mind the picks) they have Smid, Lupul who they moved after a year and Nilsson and Brule who are life and death to make the club.

Bad bad bad. If those picks don't pan out .....

Scott Reynolds said...

Yeah. It looks awful all together. I admit that I didn't like the Pronger deal, absolutely loathed the Smyth deal and actually didn't mind the Torres deal at all. I think it helps that Tambellini can distance himself from all three moves and talk about doing what's right for the team now. He could probably even defend the Nilsson and Torres moves which are the most likely to be raised.

With Nilsson they have an explanation at the ready though so they shouldn't take too much particular heat: "Well, we structured his contract thus and so just in case he didn't pan out... Cap space is so important and we'll have extra next year..."

With Torres it's about being honest. I mean, it was a clear salary dump at the time and it's quite possible that they didn't think Torres had a good attitude. They got a shot at Brule in the process and he didn't work out. No big deal.