Monday, September 15, 2008

Will the Oilers Become Pioneers in the New NHL?

The Oilers appeared to have been looking in a different direction in the '05 draft. they went for speed and skill and didn't care about size. However including that draft, or top 3 picks averaged about 5'10" tall. Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner, and now Jordan Eberle complete a trio of sub 6 feet tall forwards that have skill and at least decent speed.

Why would this lead to a team becoming a pioneer? Well, because along with those 3 smallish forwards, the Oilers also have other sub 6 footers (we'll call them smallfoots). The list includes Robert Nilsson, Rob Schremp, and the recently acquired Gilbert Brule. That is a whopping SIX forwards that are under six feet tall.

So what you ask? Well, from where I sit all 6 could have careers with the Oilers, 3 have cemented their spots already, 2 more could as early as this season, and the last could also with-in the next few years.

So could the Oilers roll with a team that has as many smallfoots at forward as they do 6 feet plus forwards? Sure, why the heck not! Of course it will provide the team with some disadvantages, but it will also have its advantages.

Disadvantages:
1) Battling down low. While guys like Brule, Cogliano, and potentially Gagner and Eberle could become solid in this area, they'll still have a difficult time dealing with bigger players down low.

2) We wouldn't intimidate a pee wee team, let alone an NHL team

Advantages:
1) How will opposing teams with slower d-men and big lumbering forwards keep pace with these shifty little water bugs out there for 60 minutes a night?

2) You won't have to worry about skill if a player goes down, as this would be one of the mosthighly skilled forward corps in the league, and that's without factoring in guys like Hemsky, Horcoff, and Penner.

3) Excitement, every shift these guys would get the paying customers at Rexall standing. It'd be almost as much sitting and standing as Sunday Mass.

This is only 1/2 of the equation, the other 1/2 is our puck moving defensive core. Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Visnovsky, Chorney, Wild, Petry, Bisaillon, and to a lesser extent Smid and Peckham.

A d-corps that will have this kind of puck moving ability could surely work in combination with a speedy and skillful forward unit.

Of course you'll always need some beef on the blue-line and young Theo Peckham will provide that as well as some solid first passes out of the zone, and Smid could do the same.

So what is BBO proposing?

Bare with me...

A 3 line scoring team with 1 true checking line and 4 offensive defensemen.


Yes, I'm cereal, I'm not talking about manbearpig here, I really think that this could be the way to go. Let's take a look-see at what this line-up would look like.

Penner-Gagner-Hemsky
Nilsson-Schremp-Eberle
Cogliano-Horcoff-Brule
Moreau/Jacques-Brodziak/Pouliot-Pisani/Goon

Grebeshkov-Gilbert
Peckham-Visnovski
Smid-Chorney
Wild

Gone would be Staios and Souray to clear the way and cap space for the youth, and gone would be the old model of building a winner. This is a team that would have the most skill that has worn the oil drop at any one time since the dynasty Oilers of the 80's and '90.

A combination of shrewd drafting and solid player acquisitions has this team on the verge of being able to go in a number of different directions.

Innovative, going with the teams strengths, or off my rocker? You decide.

2 comments:

DAVE said...

Interesting article and a good read, keep up the good work, it isn't going un-noticed.

Bryanbryoil said...

Thanks Dave, I often times have differing ideas than the majority of fans. I take pride in being able to think outside of the box.