Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rating the kids, Halloween-style

With the news that Robert Nilsson (pictured) has been recalled from the 'Topes after a 4GP, 2G, 2A, +4 line (the Oil also sent JF Jacques back down, if you can believe it; we should start a pool for how many games Jacques can go without registering a point), and the end of the first month of NHL play upon us, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at all the kids we're using to round out this NHL roster.

Now, since I can't think of any other metric to rate them, I've decided to this by what kind of costume they should be wearing whilst trick-or-treating tonight (what, you don't think Sam Gagner will be hitting the pavement in Riverbend with eggs and a pillowcase?). Let's hope this goes better than it's gone in my head.

Andrew Cogliano: Jesus

Schremp has no claim on this nickname any more. By pretty much any metric on which you want to judge Cogliano, he's having an incredible year. Third in team scoring and third in overall rookie scoring with 3G, 5A, including two (!!) shorthanders. According to Desjardins, he's playing against league-average competition 5v5, with decidedly less than league-average linemates, and he's still a plus player. I said after the first game that if we put him with Hemsky, he' be a Calder candidate; he's playing with Sanderson and Pouliot, and he's still a Calder candidate, although at this point he's still a semi-distant third to Toews and Kane (not that that's a mark against him). Unlike Jesus, I love you, Andrew Cogliano.

Sam Gagner: Gandalf the Wizard

He'll probably need to get himself another shootout move before too long, but Gagner has likewise been pretty much unreal in the first month. He's most definitely playing some easy minutes, but hey, he's 18, and he's exploiting them: fourth on the team in scoring (1G, 7A, fourth in the league for rookie scoring, too) is absolutely nothing to sneeze at, no matter where you're playing. And a go-to guy on the shootout isn't a bad trick to have, either.

Tom Gilbert: The Brain (from TV's Pinky and the Brain)

Not only does this possibly allow Denis Grebeshkov to dress as Pinky ("Say Tom, what are we going to do tonight?" "The same thing we do every night, Grebby: try to take over the Oilers top-pairing defenceman roles!"), it speaks to just how smart a player Gilbert is. He just pretty much never makes bad decisions, and is basically playing the way we hoped Smid would play last year. His pinches/rushes are excellent, defensive coverage sound and he seems perfectly capable on special teams (not that we've seen very much of him on the PP, though I can't entirely figure out why). He's one point behind Tobias Enstrom and Steve Wagner for the lead in scoring for rookie defenceman, and he'll probably only get better when Pitkanen and Souray return; I for one would like to see how a Souray-Gilbert pairing looks, as it would (hopefully) keep Souray from moving the puck and Gilbert's quickness could overcome Souray's lack of same.

Patrick Thoresen: Jessica Alba

He looks so, so good (9pts, +6 in 10 games for the Falcons) and yet we know we will never have him (at least not this year). Why did we send him down? Sure, his upside probably isn't as high as some, but we couldn't use a high-energy, tight-checking winger flying like a holy terror up and down the wing most nights? Good luck on winning the AHL scoring crown, pal (if Toby Peterson doesn't beat you to it, that is).

Kyle Brodziak: The Cure for Ulcerative Colitis

In what will likely be his first full season, Brodziak is basically the St Paul version of Fernando Pisani. He's playing minutes as hard as any Oilers forward, killing penalties and keeping his head above water while doing so; 5 points in 12 games is a pretty Pisani-like level of production, too. I have no idea where Brodziak would be on this team if Fernando and Moreau had started the year healthy, but he's earned hisself a spot, pretty much no questions asked. I very much doubt he'll ever be a top-six player, but he's earning a place in the long line of essentially perfect Oiler third-liners.

Robert Nilsson: A Mummy

A little boring, sure, but I think Nilsson can come back from being sent down and be a legitimate second-line player here, if he doesn't get wrapped up (zing!) by MacT's disdain for players of his ilk. I thought his getting sent down in the first place was a little unfair: he seemed to be creating chances fairly regularly, it seemed, but Stoll was ice cold and Torres was on the useless part of his streak cycle, and neither of them was going to be sent away. Hopefully he can find some chemistry with one of the other kids (Penner-Gagner-Nilsson second line, maybe?) and stick around, because it'd be nice if he could get 40-50 points this year.

Ladislav Smid: Lauren Pronger

I don't think Smid has played all that poorly, or anything, it'd just be a nice reminder of what's left of the original Pronger deal. I'd be really happy if Smid could start playing like Gilbert, but that might be a year off.

Denis Grebeshkov: Boris Mironov (or Pinky)

A friend of mine suggested the comparison to me over the weekend, and I almost laughed Pilsner through my nose. Bobo is probably kind of a high ceiling for Grebeshkov to be aiming at (man, what does that say?), but the coaching staff have been playing him like our favourite top-pairing Russian defender, and the results have been sort-of the same: occasionally brilliant offensive plays followed up by tremendously stupid defensive plays. He's not getting torched too bad, considering he's essentially playing on our top pairing with Gilbert right now, but hopefull the return of Pitkanen and Souray will bump him down the depth chart, and he can use soft minutes to improve on his one assist and -5.

JF Jacques: A Zero

53 career games: 0 points. This has got to be a record, at least for a forward. He occasionally looks good when he starts throwing his weight around, but more often than not he looks invisible through the first half of the game and spends the last half sitting on the wrong end of a short bench. I assume he'll keep getting chances until we find some other young Coke Machine winger to not live up to expectations, but at this point even 10 points in 40 games would be considered overperforming.

Marc Pouliot: A Salvador Dali painting

Because, seriously, what the fuck? I have no idea what changed over the off-season, but Pouliot has gone from a reliable player during the dark ages to someone who has frequently looked entirely out of place in the NHL this year. He's playing an average of nine fairly easy minutes a game, and getting entirely lit up: 6.38 5v5 goals against/60 minutes, worst on the team with the exception of Rob Schremp, who's played 5 less games. Perhaps more disturbing, though, is the fact that his goals for/60 minutes is 0: the Edmonton Oilers have not scored an even-strength goal while Marc Pouliot has been on the ice. The only other players who can claim the same? Schremp and Zack Stortini. Probably time for a trip back to the AHL.

Rob Schremp: An old glove

He's actually doing fairly well in the AHL (9 pts in 8 games, +2), but barring a trade that sends out one of our established centres (and that doesn't include him in the package), it seems like Schremp has pretty much been passed every way he could be on the organizational depth chart. At 18, Gagner can already outscore him in easy minutes, Schremp will pretty much never be able to play the kind of minutes Cogs already can, and he's just flat-out never going to be a bottom-six kind of guy like Brodziak, Thoresen or (maybe) Pouliot, unless the Oil go to some kind of PP/shootout specialist set-up. It's mostly just been a mixture of bad breaks for Schremp and kids playing above expectations, but he still looks awfully tossed aside these days.


mike w said...

Jesus Christ. For ersatz bloggers like ourselves, with trademark infrequent posts, what are the odds of both of us posting at the EXACT SAME TIME?

Talk about blowing your load.

Sorry, dude. I should have noticed.

HBomb said...

At this point, I would like to nominate the following for a creative Oilogosphere nickname for young #13.

Everyone calls him "Cogs" for short? Well, I vote we go old-school Jetsons and christen him Cogswell. After all, all seems well when one watches him play, right?

Cogswell and Samwise....sounds like a law firm or something.

Both are a hell of a lot better than the nickname that MacT used for Tommy Gun last night (credit to OGM at Oilfans for that one)....Gibby? What the fuck is that?

Pleasure Motors said...

Jesus Christ. For ersatz bloggers like ourselves, with trademark infrequent posts, what are the odds of both of us posting at the EXACT SAME TIME?

Talk about blowing your load.

We will not post anything again for a week, I almost guarantee it.

Sorry, dude. I should have noticed.

Hardly your fault: I started writing this in the afternoon and took my sweet time finishing it. Besides, if I cared that much, I'd just adjust the time stamp to make mine go on top. You prick.

Anyway, back to radio silence...

Andy Grabia said...

How can he be Gandalf AND Master Samwise? WTF? That throws the whole metaphor off, PM. Did he pull himself out of the shrubbery in the Shire? I don't fucking think so. Thanks for ruining my night. Next you are gonna call him Radagast the Brown. Pfft. I'm outta here.

Pleasure Motors said...

The idea is that it's a Halloween costume, Grabia: Samwise Ganger dresses up as Gandalf.

Andy Grabia said...

I was goofing, PM. Though I doubt the Istari would call their robes a "costume."

Anonymous said...

Great blog (my favourite Oilers site), but do you think you could avoid equating a hockey player with the Son of God? it's disrespectful. Even if you're not religious, show some respect. Otherwise, great blog.

allan said...


Recent historical evidence suggests that He could hardly even skate.

Eyeris said...


Also, the Jesus moniker is already taken by another sports star. Didn't you read the New York Times? Apparently, Steve Nash's nickname is now "Canadian Jesus." He has gone beyond being the Jesus of his team or his game.

Pleasure Motors said...

do you think you could avoid equating a hockey player with the Son of God?

Sorry, I'll go back to only equating myself with the Son of God.

LittleFury said...

Why should Jesus get special treatment over hobbits and wizards?

Doogie said...

Hey, if a gay alcoholic can dress up as Jesus* for a movie, anyone can!

* - Yes, I know. Just go with it.