Saturday, September 27, 2008

4 Games in and the Big Picture Up Front is Still a Blur

So much for guys taking the ball and running with it.

At the moment there is still a dog fight for the 12th, 13th, and potentially 14th forward spots.
I believe that Marc Pouliot will get one of them strictly because of his waiver eligibility and because he's always been a sloooooow starter. He will make the team IMO, but I'm not 100% sold that he'll start the year in the top 12.

That leaves 1 spot for sure up for grabs and maybe 2.

So who's left?

Lw/C Rob Schremp
Rw/C Gilbert Brule
Utility forward Liam Reddox
LW/C Ryan Potulny
Lw Slava Trukhno
Lw/Rw Guilliame Lefebvre (the goon)
C/W Tyler Spurgeon
C/W Tim Sestito

Out of this group I see only 4 true contenders. Schremp, Brule, Potulny, and Lefebvre. The rest are either better served to be in the AHL this year, or just not good enough.

Let's take a look at the 4 contenders:

Rob Schremp-Has created opportunities for his linemates and of the 4 is the only player to get on the score sheet with a single assist in 2 games. Schremp's speed and strength are improved as advertised, however he has not grabbed a spot by the throat like he should have. He has played a game that lack confidence and fluidity. If he doesn't take the next step and the others do and he fails to make the team, it's on him.

Gilbert Brule-Brule has shown that he can flat out fly on the ice. He also seems to love letting his shot go. He also doesn't mind taking the body. The problem that I have with Gilbert is that he has well over 100 NHL games of experience to his name. So in theory he should be ahead of some of the players because he's played at the games highest level for much of the past 2 years. However I don't see that. This is a 6th overall pick that we're talking about here. The speed and shot are NHL caliber, no questions asked. However he would make the team in a bottom 6 role. That is fine if that is all that we expect of him. Personally, I see him eventually on our 2nd line with Cogliano giving the opposition absolute fits from 2 speedy little buzz saws. For this reason, I say that he should play in the AHL for much of the year or at least until he shows that he is too good for the league. We'll see how the coaching staff feels about it soon enough.

Ryan Potulny-Unlike Schremp and Brule, Potulny has only had a singular game to his credit this preseason. I was unable to watch the game, but based on a number of differing opinions he played poor to average in that game, and sounds like he is on a level below Brule, Pouliot, and Schremp. I feel that he should get another chance unless the coaches clearly feel like he is far behind the 8 ball.

Guilliame Lefebvre-The lone goon in the group, Lefebvre (like Potulny) has only seen a singular game. However he made his mark by breaking a Florida players snozz in a fight. Lefebvre showed that he has limited hands because of flubbing a few nice chances set up by his linemates in that game, but let's be honest, he wouldn't make the team to score goals. And he certainly proved that he can throw some hellacious left hands in a fight. He could end up making the club as the 13th forward, and if he did and the Oilers carry 3 goalies all 3 of Potulny, Schremp, and Brule could start the year in the minors. That would certainly have Falcons fans in 7th heaven with their best lineup by far since the Oilers became their NHL affiliate.

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