Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Small Oilers Team Means that These 2 Will Have to Play Big

When the Oilers signed Dustin Penner and Sheldon Souray last off-season, they added some serious beef to the lineup. Souray is a tough customer at 6'4" and well over 220lbs, and Penner is a mountain of a man standing 6'4" tall, but weighing somewhere between 245lbs. and 260lbs. (judging by appearance). One of them is used to putting players on the seats of their pants, the other could pass off as a gentle giant on most nights.

With Souray's history of shoulder problems, the Oilers cannot afford to be paying him well over $5 million a season to have him looking to goon it up. He is too valuable a player on our blueline, and he's the only Oilers d-man that can match brute force with the league's power forwards. He will have to play an effective role of taking the body and getting rough with-out dropping the mitts, except on "special" occasions.

Penner on the other hand could take a lesson from players like Souray, Ethan Moreau, Erik Cole, and even Ladislav Smid in anger mis-management. Most nights it appears as if he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. While his skill and size are already assets to the teams top 3 lines, for Penner to really take the next step forward, he will have to start punishing opposing players when the opportunity arises. Once again, the Oilers don't want a guy like Penner who makes over $4 million annually to scrap with opposing teams heavyweights, but he needs to maximize the tools that he was blessed with.

Hearing Ace of Base on the radio does the trick for me, at that point I'm ready to unleash a hellish fury. What can the Oilers do to get Penner in an ill mood prior to games? That should be at the top of the Oilers management's priorities for this upcomming season. Because if we can have a line-up with Cole, Penner, and Moreau dishing out thunderous hits along with our bruising d-man Souray, we could give Calgary and Vancouver a dose of their own medicine.


RaoulDuke said...

Penner reminds me a lot of John Leclair when he first joined the Flyers. A bit of a sissy for his size, but Lindros showed him how to destroy mofo's along the boards.

I'm hoping if there is any good to come of Erik Cole, he might be able to give Penner that same insight. If he gets all the tools together, Penner will be in the same category as Leclair and Tkachuk of the 90s.

Bryanbryoil said...

Agreed, IMO a big help would be to watch guys like Moreau and Cole in practice and in the games. IMO Penner will get it (at least to a point). I am a huge fan of teh big guys, but he'll need to add that element to fulfill his potential as one of the top young power forwards in the game.