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01-17-2013, 10:59 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Replace Gagner with a capable, strong top 6 center who can play physical, chip in offense and shut down the opposing best player and this team will look worlds better.
I have been thinking for the last couple of seasons and even moreso after RNH was drafted that #2C is the biggest hole that needs to be filled.

The problem with Gagner isn't that he's a bad player, it's that he's incapable of lining up against big, strong centers and competing so Horcoff is thrust into a role where he's being counted on as the shutdown center and it has killed this team against teams like the Kings, Blues and Coyotes. Teams with size and strength down the middle who play a system that slows down the Oilers skill and grinds them down so that they are unable to retrieve the puck and start transition the other way. It exposes the Oilers as a one dimensional team that is only capable of playing a fast, transition game and that goes back to the lack of strength up the middle.

I don't know who the solution is at #2C (O'Rielly perhaps? Bolland?) but i do know that as long as Horcoff is counted on as the tough minutes guy, this team will always struggle in a grind out, playoff type of game.
So basically, toughness is important to have but i think having forwards capable of playing a 2 way game and being able to succeed at different paces is more important.

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