Category: training camp


horcoff

With the Oilers’ announcement that the new assistant captains were Eberle, Hall and Schultz, there effectively was a “changing of the guard” happening.

For many years the Oilers have looked to Smyth, Horcoff and Hemsky to do the heavy lifting on this team. Smyth has gone and returned. Horcoff and Hemsky have been serving this team as veterans since the summer of 2006. Hemsky and Horcoff have both seen their fair share of injuries and together with Smyth they probably aren’t the same players they used to be. But nonetheless, they have been the “go to guys” on this team for many years.

But not for much longer.

Since the 2006-07 season the Oilers have been in transition to a younger, faster team. With this rebuilding phase comes its own aches and pains and besides the high draft picks that come with the process there is also a drawn-out growth process where team has to learn how to play team defense and learn how to win again.

It is because of that I don’t see this as a slight on Hemsky, Smyth or Whitney.

These wily veterans may have given up their letters, and – eventually – so will Horcoff and his “C.”

But that’s not today or any time this season.

Rather, it is a call to duty and a challenger presented to the next wave of Oilers. These are the guys who have been the wonder kids for a few years now and Ralph Krueger is saying to them, it’s time to stop talking about the potential of the future, but rather, time to start seeing some results. Schultz is a sign that the team will value a return to team defense. Hall and Eberle represent the two biggest contracts on this team starting next year and with the letter comes the responsibility of being the impact players on the team.

It’s not too soon to do this, as some might think.

It’s about time, I would say.

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P.S. It was hilarious to read some of the criticisms and comments of hockey fans from outside of Edmonton. Apparently some people didn’t realize the assistant captain’s “A” had gone to Nick Schultz and not Justin Schultz.

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Oilers Have Something to Prove

visnovsky09as

It’s been a long off-season and I can’t wait to see what the healthy Oilers squad can do.

There’s a lot of cynicism online as to the inactivity of the Oilers GM, and to a certain extent I share some of their views (specifically when it comes to the Center position). But in the end, a lot of players are due for their chance to show the Oilers what they can do.

The only bass ackwards thing about it is that it seems they’ve been handed the job without even having to tryout.

Why have training camp if Pouliot and Brule are slotted in for those positions?

Competition is the only way to push players to perform.

We need an established checking center.

Antonius's amazing photoshopping.

Antonius's amazing photoshopping

Jean-Francois Jacques is a 6.04, 220 pound forward who had the ability to dominate the game… until he got to the NHL.  In the QMJHL he had 179 points and 385 PIM in 261 games (0.69PPG).  In the AHL he has 102 points and 265 PIM in 146 games (0.70 PPG compared to Schremps 0.80 PPG status).  When it comes to the big show, JFJ has a abysmal 1 goal in 60 games so far. How come Jacques has such a double identity when it comes to the NHL?

For the Oilers, developing big guys has been hard for them, which resulted in the Penner offer sheet 2 years ago. Brad Winchester and Brad Isbister were 2 guys that were touted as the next power forward solution for the Oilers.  Isbister is off playing in the Swiss A league and Winchester is  alternatively playing for the St. Louis Blues and their farm team.   Winchester has 0.54 PPG  in the AHL currently and a steady drop to 0.11 PPG in the NHL.  Isbister had a career average of 0.41 PPG in the NHL.  Winchester developed through the Oilers system and developed below expectations.  Isbister came from Phoenix and a world juniors and declined steadily throughout his career.

Jacques is the next of kin for internal development of the power forward for the Edmonton Oilers.  This upcoming season for the Oilers could be his breakout year.  According to his Desjardins numbers, Jacques should score at a 12-14-26 rate over a 82 game season. Up till this time I believe he could do that and more.  I think Jacques in 2 years could easily surpass Moreau on the LW depth chart.

However there are 2 things that I thought could be holding Jacques back during his time in the NHL : MacT or Confidence Issues. Now that MacT is gone, that only leaves Jacques confidence as a problem.  So the question is, Is JF Jacques ready to go all in this season or is he gonna fold?

The Task At Hand

Tyler Spurgeon getting dumped
Tyler Spurgeon getting dumped

The Oilers have are markedly lacking veteran presence on the bottom 2 lines but Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani are the old men on this forward corps. And then there’s always the multitalented Zack Stortini. This means the Oilers will be relying heavily on a lot of new horses to pull the defensive load.

I thought Tyler Spurgeon was a good bet until the Oilers let him go. So out of Brule and Pouliot, who do you think has a good chance of replacing Brodziak?

Now, which Oiler prospect do you think will be able to fill this role competently?

Do we even have one that can do it?

Tell us what you think!

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