Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Taking a Butter Knife to a Gun Fight

After 32 games, the Oilers have a whopping 6 forwards in double digit scoring. Let's go over the list...

Hemsky 32gp. 10-23-33
Horcoff 32 8-14-22
Cogliano 32 9-8-17
Penner 30 9-6-15
Moreau 32 6-7-13
Nilsson 27 4-6-10

Outside of Hemsky, Cogliano, and Moreau, there isn't a single forward that should be proud of his offensive contributions to date.

Players with obvious skill that are not getting the job done.

Marc Pouliot 32 5-4-9
Erik Cole 32 4-5-9
Brodziak 30 6-2-8
Gagner 29 2-6-8
Pisani 16 2-4-6
D/F Strudwick 27 0-4-4
Schremp 4 0-3-3
Reddox 13 1-1-2
Stortini 20 1-1-2

Pouliot and Brodziak have provided some decent scoring from the bottom 6 given their roles and Schremp made a significant contribution offensively while he was here in his short stay. Gagner and Cole have been nothing short of embarrassing offensively.

While this team may not have a "sniper" what it does have is a boatload of playmakers. Hemsky, Gagner, and Nilsson are all know for their passing ability and Rob Schremp also fits in that mold when he's up with the big club. Hemsky has 23 assists, the other 2 regulars have a grand total of 12! 12 assists in a cumulative 56 games played? It's no wonder why this team isn't scoring, it's secondary playmakers aren't getting the job done.

While the Oilers lack a true sniper, they have players that are shoot first players, and guys that can get into scoring position. Getting into scoring position only matters when you get the puck in scoring position.

Oilers shoot first forwards...

Shawn Horcoff 8 goals
Erik Cole 4 goals
Andrew Cogliano 9 goals
Marc Pouliot 5 goals
Kyle Brodziak 6 goals
Ethan Moreau 6 goals

Pouliot has shown that he knows what to do with the puck when he gets it in scoring position of late, Brodziak has shown nice hands around the net and the knack of roofing pucks in tight, Cogliano has the speed to get anywhere he wants to be on the ice, Moreau is Moreau, and Cole needs to get the puck in stride instead of lugging the damn thing from blueline to blueline and getting the puck knocked off his stick time and time again.

Isn't it common sense to play shooters with passers? Yet our former 3rd line consisted of 3 shoot first players (Moreau-Brodz-Cole), our former 2nd line (Kid line) consisted of our 2 best secondary passing forwards currently in the NHL and as a result Gagner started to look to be a scorer more so than his natural role as a passer.

Gagner became snakebitten as a shooter and instead of producing with assists, he kept trying to be a goal scorer first. This in turn hurt Nilsson's assist totals because Gagner wouldn't cash in on Nilsson's passes and the line slumped.

IMO this team needs a playmaker on each of its top 3 lines. Unless we acquire a legit sniper, there's no sense in playing 2 playmakers together unless one of them can shoot the puck well (Schremp).

We don't have snipers but we must make the most of what we have. This is what I would like to see with this current lineup...

(if it ain't broke, don't fix it)


(speedy ine with a playmaker and 2 shooters)


(2 playmakers, but all 3 players are willing to shoot)


(Physical defensive line)


Jonathan said...

Schremp - Gagner - Pouliot looks a hell of a lot like three playmakers to me. Schremp's got 21 assists to go with 2 goals in the AHL/NHL this year, Sam Gagner's been recording assists 3X as fast as he does goals since he's been playing hockey, and while Pouliot's a good shooter, he's always been praised (in pretty much every scouting report I've ever read) for his excellent passing.

Bryanbryoil said...

If Schremp plays alongside another passer he will look for his shot. He hasn't had that luxury since Nilsson late in '06-07. Pouliot last year ALWAYS looked to shoot first when he was on Schremp's line.

Schremp = Passer and shooter
Gagner = Should be a Passer first
Pouliot = Shooter first

Schremp needs a passer to get his shooting game going. He is not a Smyth clone that scores everything from withing 5 feet of the net. Most of his goals are off of shots from further out.

Pouliot has playmaking skills, but last year and for much of this year (at least since he played with Schremp) he's been looking for his shot more and more. Our last game was a very good indication of how he likes to play the game.