Friday, September 30, 2005

"The kid is showing a lot of jam"

Well the Oilers are down to their last cuts, and things come down to deciding between two players with one game left in the preseason. And thanks to some ill-advised one-way contracts, the best players may not make the team.

Cory Cross? BWah! He's already played his way off the team, at least according to most first hand accounts, usually along the lines of:

"Cross was constantly stuck behind the play and he took at least 3 penalties by my count. He's definitely not adapting to the new rules very well... I'm shocked that he some how ended up even on the night. "

Still, barring a trade he'll be on the team Oct. 5 thanks to the new waiver/salary rule in the CBA. Dan Syvret, despite playing beyond his years and outplaying more highly touted prospects in training camp (like Matt Greene) can still be sent down to the minors at no cost to the Oilers. Dan Smith will also be sent down. Take away JJ Hunter and Mike Morrison (unless he's still filling in for a injured Markkanen) and that leaves the roster at 24 players with 1 more to cut for opening night. Rita or Schremp. Lowe was asked about Rita in the Edmonton Sun:

"The kid is showing a lot of jam,'' said general manager Kevin Lowe, who doesn't want to risk losing a player who might finally be coming around.
"We're not hanging in there because he's a first round pick, we're hanging in there because he has ability. The new rules are suited for him.''
Schremp, meanwhile, has been good on the power play, but needs improvement in his five-on-five game. Will lighting it up against juniors make him any better next year?
"The risk and reward is how much does he develop here and how much does he develop in Junior,'' said Lowe. "Does it hurt his confidence to go back to junior? We've been analyzing some trends of players who have gone back to junior.''

I'm thinking they'll go with Rita, one-way contract and all. If the Oilers want to keep Schremp they'll have to make some sort of move because all of the other players are tied up in one way contracts. Even a ten game trial can't work unless someone is moved. All things being equal (Rita has been pretty good in camp), the Oilers won't risk eating salary and the kid will be sent down. Rita has never made the team and always performed below expectations, especially for a first rounder. He's young yet, but he should have never been offered a one way contract by Lowe; for one, Rita could have been sent down to the AHL while the Oilers got a better idea of whether Schremp was ready. Instead, he gets squeezed out, and possibly too soon for the Oilers to make an educated decision.

Here's the lines as they look thus far:

Harvey, Rita, Schremp


Markkanen (Morrison)


mike w said...

Side note: Staios is out with a strained groin but I don't think that changes anything. Also what's up with the strained groins lately? It's a common hockey injury but everyone's getting 'em these days. I don't know where, but I remember some trainer once saying groin injuries were from lack of conditioning. Two years is a long time off, I guess...

Also: I fully expect my little prediction to blow up in my face somehow. I hope it does.

Colby Cosh said...

Keep in mind that the Oilers may not even carry 23 players. There's talk that many teams won't--the Lightning are apparently going with 21. (!) The Sens are down to 23 and the consensus is that they're not finished slashing.

mike w said...

Yeah, Tom Benjamin mentioned a few teams are going to try to get around the cap with bare bones rosters, although Lowe has said a bunch of times that's he carrying 23.

Oh, and thanks for the kind words on your site, Colby. I too hope we don't succumb to weblog fatigue, although it's quite likely since we're all pretty lazy, especially when compared to the ever prolific Battle of Alberta.

Pleasure Motors said...

I really have to say, I think it's a big mistake to send Schremp down this early, even if it means giving up Rita. I think Schremp has proved that he isn't going to learn much of anything in juniors, at least not if he doesn't get his helmet handed to him in the pros for a bit first, to say nothing of the fact that this could build some resentment in him (among the other reasons I outlined in that earlier post). Rita's probably going to be a fourth-liner anyway, so I don't see what we lose by spotting a kid with potential into his spot (I guess, theoretically, Rita is a kid with potential, but shit, how many chances has he had?).

Also, would it kill us to release Cross and maybe even bring in someone else. According to Spector's blog, Murray Baron, Brad Bombardir, Jeff Finley, Boris Mironov, Jason Woolley, and Jason York are all still free agents. None of them are anything special, but could they really be worse than Cross?


sacamano said...

Sadly, it is the Flames half at BoA who has been most prolific - I really need to pick up my socks like you guys have.

K-Lowe mentioned again on Friday in an interview on 1260 that they would carry 23 players.

My guess is that they go with Rita. And I'm comfortable with that call. I really think that the media and Oil fans got seduced by Schremp, but that Rita will have a very solid year.