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09-21-2003, 05:15 AM
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Lowetide
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Handicapping the field

Based on Ireland's numbers, there are 29 players left in camp. I thought it might be worthwhile to get everyone's read on what player's chances of making th big club are at this (early) point. I excluded Dallas Anderson, and JF Dufort, who are on the Oilers list and injured, plus Comrie who is locked out.

Players I think will be sent out are in bold.


GOAL

1. Salo-He's in, looked good so far, they'll probably ride him till he drops which is what he likes, imo.
2. Conklin-Locked up the backup slot the day they traded Markkanen.
3. Valiquette didn't even see a game yet, which is probably an indication of his place in the pecking order.


DEFENSE

1. Eric Brewer-I loved that play he made on the Chimera goal, and if he can step up this season the Oilers will have a good chance at the playoffs. Alot riding on him.

2. Steve Staios-Rock solid, 25 minutes a night guy.Once guys have been underrated for a few years, sometimes they get their due. Seems Staios is just on the edge of recognition.

3. Jason Smith-Appears healthy, which is huge. The captain will need to play huge minutes.

4. Alexei Semenov-I put him here because even if he starts on the 3pair there's no way he stays there. Still has several steps forward he can make, but is in the NHL at 22, no small feat for a defenseman.

5. Cory Cross-A three year contract is a very good indicator of what they think of him. imo Cross being on this team has an effect on who else makes it because of his lack of speed.

6. Scott Ferguson-All indicators are that he's the #6 dman, but he's one of those guys who will always sweat training camp. From what we've read, the coaches feel he's made the club.

7. MA Bergeron-Not my choice, that's for damn sure. However, Bergeron has done what he's supposed to, which is help the powerplay, and although he's a maniac on the backline, the Oilers have plenty of guys with calm feet above him on the depth chart. What they DON'T have is a bunch of puck passers.

8. Mikko Luoma I think he's on the outside looking in right now. I read somewhere that he might return to Europe if he doesn't make the team, but both Pisa and Haakana spent time in the AHL getting used to the NA game. Seems to me they could send him out with the idea that he's the first injury callup.

9. Bobby Allen Concussion last night likely means more time in the AHL. Competition is so close that any setback is going to have a major impact.



FORWARDS


1. Ryan Smyth- He'll be on the top line, the only question is where. imo they'll end up playing Mike York on his lw so that they have another faceoff man out there at all times.

2. Mike York-The paper says his wrist is improving, he's hoping to get into 3 or 4 pre-season games. Easily among the 4 best forwards on this club.

3. Brad Isbister-Seems to have tied his carcass to Smyth, which either means he's a genius or the luckiest man alive. Not much doubt he'll start the season on one of the top lines.

4. Ales Hemsky-Was the talk of early camp with his dazzling style, didn't have the finishers playing with him last night and the kid needs to play with high end talent. Looks like he may be a pp point man, which will likely increase his assist total.

5. Radek Dvorak-If they don't play Hemsky on the top line, they'll have to use him on the 2line. Where that puts Dvorak I don't know. Either way, he's one of the Oilers best forwards and will get plenty of ice time.

6. Marty Reasoner-Has had a splendid camp, and could certainly be the 2line center when the season starts. Lost in the Comrie gone/Smyth at center hoopla is that this guy is the de facto faceoff specialist for the Oilers now, which means he's on the ice last minute of the period, game, etc. Big jump in minutes coming his way (13:30 last season).

7. Shawn Horcoff-Although he didn't have a huge game last night, it sounded like he had his chances, and he ended up with a point. Horcoff does things to make himself valuable and should be 2/3 line center.

8. Ethan Moreau-They seem to be using him with Hemsky this fall, which isn't a bad idea. It's likely he'll end up being the 3line LW, but if MacT ends up not having a checking line (not bloody likely) Moreau could see his ice time go up.

9. Jason Chimera-Has all the tools, and should get more minutes than he did last season. I wonder how he'd do on the powerplay.

10. Fernando Pisani-Has been playing on the Smyth line this fall, but seems likely to fall back into a 3rd line checking role by the time the season starts. MacT has mentioned several times they feel he has offensive upside, so you never know.

11. Georges Laraque-Along with Isbister, appears to be the designated mountain in front of the net on the powerplay. This should work.

12. Raffi Torres-One way contract says he'll stay despite not lighting it up so far; big time energy guy and the coaches gush about him whenever they get a chance.

13. Jarret Stoll-I think Stoll wins this job for two reasons: he's the same type of players as his coach, and the uncertainty of his position.

14. Jamie Wright-Biggest camp surprise catches on as an energy winger in the Pittis/Swanson role.

15.Jani Rita I keep hearing that he's improved, but MacT said early on that he needs to learn about playing without the puck and imo he doesn't make this team. I hope I'm wrong.

16. Tony Salmelainen It sounds crazy, but Salmelainen may leap frog Rita at some point this season. Blazing speed.

17. Peter Sarno I think he'll fight it out with Wright for the 14th spot on the team, and if Rita beats out Stoll then Sarno could beat out Wright. They did have him as pp point guy, so if Sarno makes the team he could be more than a 14th man up front.

That's 29. Agree on all of this? Didn't think so.

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