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Oskar Osala's chances this year?

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08-04-2009, 09:00 AM
  #1
Flambergius
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Oskar Osala's chances this year?

Hi!

I was checking out some upcoming Finns for the next season and it struck me that Osala might have some pretty decent opportunities this season. Now, I know very little about the Caps and am going by the listed positions and stats, so I might wrong. But it does seem to me that behind Ovechkin and Semin there's a perfectly winnable left wing spot with pretty decent ice-time. Osala would be about 5th LW on the depth chart going into the camp/pre-season, but his top-end projection would be that he's able to advance and take over the third LW spot during the first half of the season. A more modest outcome for Osala would be a fourth line LW for most of the season. Not making the team as a regular by mid-season would be a disappointment.

Am I anywhere near being realistic?

One of the reasons I'm thinking about this is that there aren't that many 6-4, 220lbs third-line forwards available for Finland and all of them will be invited to the Olympic team. :-)

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08-04-2009, 09:03 AM
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Backstrom #19
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Semin plays RW now-a-days...Ovechkin, Fleischman, Laich, and Bourque are probably all ahead of Osala on the depth chart. Osala will most likely spend another year in Hershey.

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08-04-2009, 09:04 AM
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Drake1588
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The team braintrust has indicated that it is very high on Osala, but there is a depth issue. A player like Chris Bourque, who like Osala also just won a Calder Cup, has been maturing for a longer period in the minors and is probably ready for the NHL in a bottom six role next season. The Capitals lost two forwards in Fedorov and Kozlov, but also just signed top six players in Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison. So there are few new holes. Bourque is a good bet to take Brashear's roster spot.

I think Osala's chances to make the club out of camp are not strong, but he is likely to be one of the very first potential callups during the season whenever a winger goes down with injury. In the meantime, he can continue to work on his overall game in Hershey.

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08-04-2009, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drake1588 View Post
The team braintrust has indicated that it is very high on Osala, but there is a depth issue. A player like Chris Bourque, who like Osala also just won a Calder Cup, has been maturing for a longer period in the minors and is probably ready for the NHL in a bottom six role next season. The Capitals lost two forwards in Fedorov and Kozlov, but also just signed top six players in Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison. So there are few new holes. Bourque is a good bet to take Brashear's roster spot.

I think Osala's chances to make the club out of camp are not strong, but he is likely to be one of the very first potential callups during the season whenever a winger goes down with injury. In the meantime, he can continue to work on his overall game in Hershey.
Pretty much sums it up. Only way I see hime getting semi-regular minutes would be for Nyls & Fehr / Flash / Bourque to be packaged in a trade creating a spot. Or simply having Fehr not produce. As Drake eluded to .... GMGM and Ted are very high on Osala ... quick shot, and a physical winger .... as you said .... 6'4 wingers with hands are few and far between.

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08-04-2009, 09:22 AM
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I am not sure that Osala is the first call up. Seemed to me pretty clear that Boudreau prefers AHL veterans to NHL prospects for injury replacements. Is that going to be different this season?

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08-04-2009, 09:24 AM
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strungout
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Well...it depends on who the call up is replacing, I'd think.

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08-04-2009, 09:27 AM
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Drake1588
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Rather than the idea that any player is a first callup, I think the team looks at callups in a very situational manner. It's not simply that they call up a defenseman if one goes down, and a forward if a forward is injured. It depends what hole has been created. If it's a sniper, a top six playmaker, center or winger, utility mucker, grinder, or a penalty killer, that will have an effect on the types of players that McPhee/Boudreau seek from Hershey.

It's going to have to be a second/third-line type. Osala is a good bet if someone like a Fleischmann, Fehr, Bradley, Bourque, or even a Semin or Knuble does down. If it's a center, it's probably Aucoin. If it's a penalty killer, someone else might get the call.

EDIT: I was typing this as strungout posted, but that is basically it.

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08-04-2009, 09:46 AM
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I will say this...if Flash happens to run into Yonkman somewhere this offseason...I won't complain when Osala takes his spot in training camp.

Ovie - Backstrom - Knuble
Osala - Morrison - Semin
Laich - Steckel - Clark
Bourque - Gordon - Bradley

Maybe flip Laich/Osala...but yeah. He hasn't proved anything at the NHL level yet...but I have hopes in terms of his game translating to the NHL. Not to mention he scores goals with the Bears that the Caps are going to be looking for...goals in front and in close. Sticking him on a line with a skilled center and a crafty winger is just a perfect use of his skills down low (hence the Osala - Perreault - Bouchard line working so well to start the season last year). I didn't expect him to have such a good start in the AHL...so his stock is rising in my eyes. I should have bought low.

So barring an unforeseen Fleischmann broken collar bone...he'll start in Hershey and get call ups as a left winger is needed.

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08-04-2009, 11:19 AM
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Dont forget about Jay Beagle. While he didnt get alot of ice time, he got to play several games games last season due to injures - even most of the Pitt series after Fehr went down. More than I expected. While I definately think Osala is more talented, I do think Beagle add to his competition due to his experience - at least on the bottom six where Oskar will likely start out playing.

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08-04-2009, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefensiveForward View Post
Dont forget about Jay Beagle. While he didnt get alot of ice time, he got to play several games games last season due to injures - even most of the Pitt series after Fehr went down. More than I expected. While I definately think Osala is more talented, I do think Beagle add to his competition due to his experience - at least on the bottom six where Oskar will likely start out playing.
A willingness to fight will help him here. Beagle, Bruess maybe, Pinner maybe, Finley maybe, etc. All guys who have some fighting in their repertoire (or will this season most likely), and that'll likely help them move up the ladder for spot duty given the Caps' downgrade in that area this season.

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08-04-2009, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by brs03 View Post
A willingness to fight will help him here. Beagle, Bruess maybe, Pinner maybe, Finley maybe, etc. All guys who have some fighting in their repertoire (or will this season most likely), and that'll likely help them move up the ladder for spot duty given the Caps' downgrade in that area this season.
I agree that Beagle is in the mix during camp competition and for call-ups, but he's not getting called up as a fighter, even if he is willing to drop the gloves. Yes, Beagle had the fight with Downie in preseason and yes, he did well in his fights this past season (including the one against Piskula), but that's not his role and I don't expect that to be the case in the NHL either. He'll fight if necessary, but called up for that purpose I doubt it. (and yes, I know you wrote willingness to fight)

Pinizzotto is a pest/agitator (not a fighter) and has helped his cause as a hockey player by continuing to improve, taking fewer stupid and bad-timed penalties, and developing his PK skills.

I'm guessing Bruess is going to be more in the pest/agitator role over a fighter, too.

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08-04-2009, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sk84fun_dc View Post
Pinizzotto is a pest/agitator (not a fighter)
I chuckled.


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08-04-2009, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sk84fun_dc View Post
I agree that Beagle is in the mix during camp competition and for call-ups, but he's not getting called up as a fighter, even if he is willing to drop the gloves. Yes, Beagle had the fight with Downie in preseason and yes, he did well in his fights this past season (including the one against Piskula), but that's not his role and I don't expect that to be the case in the NHL either. He'll fight if necessary, but called up for that purpose I doubt it. (and yes, I know you wrote willingness to fight)

Pinizzotto is a pest/agitator (not a fighter) and has helped his cause as a hockey player by continuing to improve, taking fewer stupid and bad-timed penalties, and developing his PK skills.

I'm guessing Bruess is going to be more in the pest/agitator role over a fighter, too.
Certainly. None of them are fighters, but all of them fight, and that adds value to them as callups for the 4th line (or similar).

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08-04-2009, 11:48 AM
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I chuckled.

I'm missing something

Oh, and fwiw, Osala scored number of goals from the faceoff circles out both on transition and after setting up in the zone. It should help him in Hershey that Mink is no longer with the team in terms playing in front of the net on the PP and playing time in general on the PP (OT: It was quite a sight last season the times when Woods/French would put Mink and Osala out there together on the PP, two towers standing in front of the goalie.) As noted, there aren't any obvious spots, but if he continues to improve he's going to be given a longer look. For all the positives of the Calder Cup win, the negative is the short offseason for recovery and training.

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08-04-2009, 11:51 AM
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Certainly. None of them are fighters, but all of them fight, and that adds value to them as callups for the 4th line (or similar).
I'm trying to recall Pinizzotto in a fight while playing in a regular season game for Hershey, plenty of scrums often of his making, sometimes from after the whistle stuff and sometimes from a well-timed big hit, but a true one on one fight is not coming to mind right now.

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08-04-2009, 11:53 AM
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strungout
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Originally Posted by sk84fun_dc View Post
I'm missing something
No...not really. He's just...so not a fighter. I don't think he's ever been in one...thinking about it.

Edit: See you just added the same thing.

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08-04-2009, 12:02 PM
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Probably will be in the AHL majority or half of the year.

I hope he doesn't return to Finland or something, though.

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08-04-2009, 12:04 PM
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No...not really. He's just...so not a fighter. I don't think he's ever been in one...thinking about it.

Edit: See you just added the same thing.
ah, see I did miss your point, now I get it and yes, we agree.

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08-04-2009, 12:51 PM
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would love to see Osala on the roster with Knuble, which may only happen next year (perhaps this year for a brief injury callup) - if he were smart, he would watch & soak up as much from big Mike as possible, since i imagine Osala's goals in the NHL will be scored around the blue paint.

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08-04-2009, 12:59 PM
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I chuckled.

I lol'ed too. I honestly think most AHL aren't stupid enough to fight Pinner. Granted, he also takes care of most of his business on the boards and ice.

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08-04-2009, 01:01 PM
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would love to see Osala on the roster with Knuble, which may only happen next year (perhaps this year for a brief injury callup) - if he were smart, he would watch & soak up as much from big Mike as possible, since i imagine Osala's goals in the NHL will be scored around the blue paint.
That is what I am hoping happens as well. Not only during training camp but also spot duty during the regular season even if it's just to get some real time mentoring from a vet with a similar game.

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08-04-2009, 01:21 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xw1jgAEJx0

pinner vs. todd perry


Last edited by tmoran77: 08-04-2009 at 01:22 PM. Reason: tried to post video directly
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08-04-2009, 01:32 PM
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sk84fun_dc
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Well, there you go, he had one last season (note: I didn't watch the youtube). I had a recollection of a fight while with the Stingrays, but couldn't recall the specifics of that one either, per hockeyfights he had 2 while with the Stingrays. Nothing changes, IMO, Pinizzotto isn't a fighter, he's a pest/agitator.

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08-05-2009, 11:26 AM
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Giroux signing with the Bears will make Osala's road to the NHL a little tougher for this season. Great for the Caps to have the depth, though.

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08-05-2009, 11:29 AM
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strungout
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Giroux signing with the Bears will make Osala's road to then NHL a little tougher for this season. Great for the Caps to have the depth, though.
Well...as of right now...appears to the an AHL only deal...so the Caps would have to pull a Bryan Helmer and sign Giroux mid season in order to call him up. Not out of the questions obviously...but with the SPC total being in the upper 40's...might make some differences.

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