Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Oilers Are Loaded With Waiver Eligible Bubble Players

The Oilers will have to make a TON of potentially final decisions next season on a number of Oilers prospects. Let's go through the list of current Oilers players and prospects that could conceivably be lost on waivers next season assuming that all of these players remain Oilers property by then.....

Marc Pouliot
-Our first rounder from '03, Pouliot has played in a number of NHL games and has shown both a nice scoring touch as well as solid playmaking abilities in glimpses in Edmonton, however I have to wonder if other young players up their games and he has yet another slow training camp if he will be on the waiver wire prior to the season.

Rob Schremp-Crappy '08-09 season aside, the kid has skill and his '07-08 season showed just that. If he comes to camp and has another mediocre camp will he be sent down or will the Oilers give him the chance that Pouliot and others have gotten in the past? IMO he needs to come into camp guns blazing to quickly erase the thoughts that his career is on the decline.

Gilbert Brule-Another high profiled waiver eligible player, unlike this season, next season it doesn't matter how many NHL games Brule has played, he will be waiver eligible. Like Schremp he didn't have the best of seasons, but the pedigree and skill is also there with Brule. His lack of size may hurt him, but his speed and the fact that he likes to shoot the puck gives him a real chance.

Liam Reddox
-With a new coach in place, I have to wonder if he sees much NHL ice time in Edmonton next season unless we are lottery bound. I would be much more comfortable losing Reddox to waivers than I would be any of the first 3 players that I have covered to this point. I still maintain that at the time of his call up he was the 4th best Falcons forward behind Schremp, Potulny, and Brule in that order. If the new coach decides to play a more offensive style, Reddox could see a lot of time in Springfield next season. If Buchberger somehow becomes the head coach, expect Reddox to get a similar if not bigger push than the one that he received from MacT.

JF Jacques
-Big, tough, physical, sounds like what Tambo wants and I agree that we could use more of those types up front. However Jacques, like Pouliot has been given time and has shown glimpses but lacks the consistency desired to this point.

Ryan Potulny
-One of the Falcons only bright spots this past season, Potulny has a knack for putting the puck in the net. Like so many of the others above, he has had a solid season in the AHL, but he is also the oldest of the bunch and because of this could have his stats held against him due to his age. Potulny will be 25 in camp and this will probably be his last legit shot an a NHL spot unless another team believes enough in him to claim him if he is sent down.

Ryan Stone-The relatively newly acquired Stone has yet to have a training camp in Edmonton, but his grit, toughness, and skill could mean he could be seen as a slower replacement for Ethan Moreau by the organization. Stone and Jacques would give the Oilers 2 young but gritty and tough wingers.

This doesn't include players like Mathieu Roy (who I expect to not be tendered an offer), Bryan Young, and even a guy like Robert Nilsson who could also be in trouble if he has a poor camp or doesn't fit in with the new coach.

I think that it is inevitable that at least 2 or 3 of these players are swapped for picks or are parts of larger trades. It would be counter productive to lose 2 or more of these players as it would weaken the teams organizational depth as well as their AHL affiliate. I know that it was said last year that training camp could be the most competitive one in some time, this years camp should put that one to shame with players looking to make a good 1st impression with a clean slate that only a new coach can bring.

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