Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hemsky, Lupul and Schremp On The Same Roster

If that doesn't scare you shitless then you are officially a prospect junkie. And Stoll and Torres aren't exactly the kind of guys you want out there against Demitra ... though the latter has taken big strides in this area imo.

In a few years people will look back at this roster and wonder aloud how come they didn't win more games. In the same way that people look back at those New York Islander teams of six or seven years ago (the $16M-ish NYI budget days) ... and see Chara, Luongo, Jokinen, Connolly, Brewer, etc. and wonder why they routinely got their asses kicked back then. The popular answer will be "the coach must have been a drooling moron!", the likely correct answer is "the players with talent were too young to help the team win". Put that same group together now and they would be the foundation for a terrific team, one with serious cap troubles btw. :-).

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the Pronger deal is a terrible trade, just that there is no right now! component. Like there would have been if someone like Gaborik (1 year to UFA), Havlat (1 year to UFA) or Hossa (2 years to UFA?) had been included in another deal that returned less future and more immediate help. On the flip side; Burke obviously thinks that his Anaheim team can win now, and I think that's really unlikely, but whatever.

I think that if the Oilers can stay in a playoff spot up until the trade deadline they should be okay. Hopefully solidly in a playoff position, because new players, especially forwards, usually take a while to adjust to a new team. And I expect that Lowe will leave budget space to make deals at the deadline, and he does have the chips to deal. And the goaltending should be improved, that will help. The Northwest division looks to be even tougher next season though, it won't be easy.

So, my open question:

How the hell does MacTavish coax wins when you have that many forwards who are almost certainly going to be outscored at 5on5, unless they play with veteran linemates that can drag them up a level?

There are only so many soft minutes to go around. And those are the primo scoring minutes, they should be spent wisely, not just gifted to kids to learn the game. Not on a team that seriously plans to contend, anyways.

My own best guess, just the forwards for now:

Smyth-Horcoff-Pisani: Head to head against the other team's best players. Always. Like in the last few months of the 03/04 season. Priority one on every game plan. No farting around by bringing Hemsky or Lupul up their in an effort to mature them faster.

Torres-Stoll-Hemsky: These guys have to step up. I think they all can and will eventually, but odds are that only one of them really will this season. MacTavish will be short on cherry minutes and superior linemates. Time for these young players to start carrying some of the load. It's not enough to just look good, it's time for results, it really is.

Moreau-Schremp-Lupul: The liability line. Moreau babysits. Lots of PP time for the two younger players, 4on4 too, less so for the 5on5. The shifts immediately after Sakic has left the ice, the shifts immediately after a successful PK. If MacTavish does this right, these guys should look good, the measuring stick should be if casual fans like your spouse or the guys around the water cooler think this is the Oilers best line. And it should be surprising to you when somebody like Gregor points out how few 5on5 minutes they played in the last game.

These are the kinds of minutes that allowed guys like Jagr, Selanne, and surprisingly Thornton et al to run up gaudy 5on5 scoring and EV+/- numbers last season. But with this trio we should be happy if they just don't lose the Oilers too many games.

And just to keep life simple, we should all agree in advance to blame their results failures on Ethan. :D

Jacques-Pouliot-Laraque/Mikhnov: MacTavish has to find a way to keep their legs in the game. Sacrificing The Schremp line's 5on5 minutes is a good start. If they have it in them, then training Jacques and Pouliot as PKers would be another good step. You don't need to be good defensively at 5on5 to be a good PKer imo. Just need the basic raw skills and training.

And sign Georges for Chrissakes.


So, what's your cunning plan?

EDIT: I've just read that Reasoner has been signed by the Oilers. A good move imo, they badly needed to be stronger up the middle, especially against stronger and deeper opponents. I assume this bumps Schremp down a notch.


Blogger allan said...

Now that Reasoner is back, I'd take Schremp out of that lineup, and either send him down or add him to the fourth line rotation.

In his place on your third line, I'd sub in Pouliot, and use Reasoner on the fourth line. That way there's a babysitter on both kid-heavy lines to keep the other teams honest 5-on-5. Otherwise, I like your plan. Getting back to that power vs. power first line would make this season a lot easier on my heart.

7/04/2006 12:18 pm  
Anonymous Bling said...

There's no way in hell Robbie Schremp should play on the team next year. Guys like him are the reaon the AHL exists in the first place.

No sense in burning a year of his eligibility so that he can soak up the cherry minutes and anchor Moreau in the red at even strength.

7/04/2006 12:45 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

It would make sense to put Pisani up there in the primo minutes seeing's how he just got paid. And you make an excellent point that of 14-16-83...it's time for some of them to make the leap. Hemsky did it on the PP but now he has to do it at ES. I have no confidence in Stoll considering what he did with soft min in the playoffs last year.

Warning: Stoll might be my new whipping boy;)

In any case here I go with my lineup:

94-10-83: Power vs power again and Hemsky be damned. He'll learn the hard way and the Oilers will be a better team for it.

14-19-34: I'm thinking Marty was 19 no? In any case these guys get the second toughest min and we keep the 14-34 winger combo together. These guys grind the crap out of you.

18-16-15: Lupul's a huge pussy, so is Hemsky sometimes, but Hemsky played tough min last year and finished -5 and Lupul didn't play tough min and finished -13 so Hemsky's most likely further along in the "doesn't need to be shielded" catergory.

JFJ-MAP and hopefully BG: There's a couple of softies on this team so I think we need the big fella back. That's too bad for Mihknov but I'd need him to be a slamdunk before I brought him over. Or else I'd need the team to be steadier in their top nine where he could go on the RW and have a chance to create offense albeit with guys that can look after thier own end.

RS starts in the A for a number of reasons:

1: Lowe was getting wet over him earlier but now he has a new faired haired boy in Lupul who has to get softer min, who's already nearly scored 30 goals in a season, is a GAB and who looks to be pretty much a PP specalist at this point. The only way I'd have put RS on this team was if we needed a PP boost and now 94-83-15 are our PP frontline so to keep RS around would be a waste. Save his service time until we need him. Plus MAP is harder on the puck so that means more O zone pressure from the 4th line which means less own zone time for the 4th line.

If all goes well for the Oilers then Stoll grows up in '07 and come '08 him and Horc handle the tough min and RS and MAP split the 3rd and 4th pivot time though I'll continue to both vow and declare, that's when you know I'm really serious;) that he won't play centre for a MacT club. And with the PussyCat dolls plus Pisani on the right side I'd say RS ends up on the LW eventually.

Finally...I wouldn't say Marty broke the bank so that leaves tonnes of money to bring back Spacek AND peddle MAB somewhere for a dman like Stuart who's playing out his last year and for a team tight to the cap. I can't see all three of Smid-Greene-MAB being here the same time and I can't see either being in the top four.

PP: 15-83-94-6-16

PK: 10-94, 19-34 and 16-18

7/04/2006 2:03 pm  
Anonymous namflashback said...

If MacT was willing to expose Hemsky on the top line in the SCF, it seems unlikely that he is averse to the risk.

I like your line mixes Dennis. Despite your anger from the past several days, it looks like you still care.

I think 14-19-34 can take eat tough minutes and outscore ES. Hopefully the lessons learned playing outrigger to Peca and Pisani have rubbed off.

I know JFJ is a rookie, but what do his stats indicate?

7/04/2006 3:27 pm  
Anonymous Showerhead said...

What I wouldn't give for about an hour of Craig MacTavish's time right now. For a guy who loves his matchups (as most NHL coaches do, I'd suspect) he must have been cringing at the prospect of coaching a team that had no hope in hell of beating a team with more than one good line on it.

It's hilarious to think that Marty's signing could be such a big deal but if MacT goes with Hemsky/Horcoff/Smyth again he's at least got a reasonably effective "second"/"checking" line that can go up against Sakic and not get its balls torn out. Can you place Reasoner on your TOI difficulty chart?

I'm not that worried about the powerplay for some reason. Maybe it's the idea that the umbrella-kids will have to shine somewhere and maybe it's my personal opinion that a half-boards quarterback is more important than a blue-line quarterback... or maybe I'm just crazy because neither of Smith-Staios would ever ideally be forced into those minutes and Bergeron/Greene/Smid are likely to make a ton of mistakes that cost Edmonton the zone. Someone's got to emerge and I'm not thinking that Spacek is our saviour here.

On the PK we've lost 20 and 37 which should hurt at least somewhat. However, one would expect 10, 34, 18, 94, and 19 to do a passable job of things. Maybe there's some credence to those folk who have mentioned McAmmond-ilk players, though I suspect Lowe decides to chance it.

It's hilarious how short sighted Oiler fans are right now though. Peca is apparently a defensive powerhouse with a propensity for timely offensive heroics. However will Horcoff deal with playing difficult minutes?

I've ranted enough - truthfully, these blogs are my only source of hockey output these days as I am away from home and my work computers consider posting at HFBoards criminal in some regard. If there was ever a time for me to start a blog or ask kindly for your permission to post here, now would be it. If you'd like whatever occasional musings I can provide, please let me know.

7/04/2006 3:37 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...

I put this question to Dennis earlier and I think it sums up the trade: What pisses you off more? The return or the fact that they didn't get anything for right now?

Personally, I think that's how you have to split it up. The value is decent - Lupul is NHL tested with a rare skill set despite his current flaws; it's highly likely that Smid is an NHLer for the Oilers in 1-2 yrs and possibly a very good one; and the draft picks round out the value. (Let's be clear on one thing though, that conditional pick is near insulting given what we know about the playoffs. Totally worthless. Anaheim isn't that good and even if they do post an obscene GD next year, it's a long road to the final fraught with uncontrollable dangers.)

Right now though, this deal hurts the team tremendously. The fact that Lowe still has cash and oodles of flexibility isn't that appealing with nothing to spend it on. While I think deadline flexibility is useful it has been way overstated amongst Oiler fans. Basically it's effective for filling out depth but that's about it.

The Reasoner signing is huge because now the Oilers have five forwards they can trust against decent opposition - Smyth, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, and Moreau. Torres and Hemsky could very well be on the cusp as well. If they are, then MacT has a serious top six and like Vic says, a babysitter in Moreau for a 3rd ES TOI line that the casual fans will call the "2nd line."

The other good news is that the Oilers' bottom six is going to have players with the tools to outscore the opposition at ES. Schremp isn't likely to be there anymore IMO, but Stoll, Pouliot, Jacques, and at least one of Torres, Hemsky or Lupul will be down in that bottom six and they can put the puck in the net.

Time will tell if they can muster up the puck possession and offensive zone time to actually make use of those skills.

7/04/2006 4:52 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

I'm beginning to warm up to the return but the fact that it's rebuilding time all over again does piss the fuck out of me...I have to admit it.

And I really don't like rookie dmen unless you're not expecting a lot out of them and they're gonna be 5's and 6's. I'd prefer to let some other org suffer from their mistakes and then pick them up later like we did with Smith and Pronger and to a lesser extent Staios and Spacek.

So the whole thing with Smid is choking the hell out of me.

And NFB...I wouldn't have been so angry if I didn't care. We just came two goals way from winning a Cup, or one instance of Jussi as the backup over Ty;) and now we're back to rebuilding again whether Lowe likes it or not.

Plus no one of any real standing wants to play in Edm.

We're Horcoff being difficult away from being close to back in the tank.

7/04/2006 5:32 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Ah Dennis the sky hasn't yet fallen. Sure there is the possibility that things could get worse, but I suspect we're going to see some exciting hockey one way or another. Our goaltending is much better than last year. On the other hand our scoring will arguably be improved. The defense right now is suspect but trades and free agency might shore that up. Who knows..Matt Greene might learn how to not take penalties and suddenly become a very good defensemen. After all he got hit by a truck and hardly missed a beat, that's always a good quality in a defenseman.

As for Robbie Shremp, I think your being to hard on him. He's an offensive player that could be a solid contributor. I think whether he makes the club or not this year is going to come down to his skating. The knock against him has always been his size and his skating. The new NHL has allowed smaller guys to flourish, its going to be whether he has the footspeed that will be determinative in my opinion.

Lowe is talking about trying to have a team like Buffalo or Carolina with numerous scoring lines so one would think that Shremp has a chance to make the roster. Certainly given that we aren't going to have all-star defense more firepower on the front end is always welcome. Furthermore, given that we aren't dealing with Conklin in net, perhaps we can afford to give up more offensive chances.

7/04/2006 6:40 pm  
Anonymous MikeP said...

Schremp hasn't proven anything yet beyond he has the potential to be a scorer. There's plenty of big guns that come out of the CHL and never do much in the NHL, and Schremp didn't prove he's exactly an offensive dynamo last TC. We'll see what he's like in a few months with another year of growth and hopefully maturing, but til he pots his first RS NHL goal, the jury's still out. Even then.

He should get every chance to make the roster, but I'd use a pencil for his name on the lineup next year, that's for sure.

7/04/2006 8:17 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

the sky isn't falling...but the part that houses defenseman is just about to come crashing down.

Lowe finally made one of this quanity for quality trades last year when he picked off Pronger and now he has to do it again.

Until he does we're all fools to think everything's gonna be a-ok with the d.

RS has proven nothing at ES in the OHL. That's reason enough to worry right there. He should learn how to play pro hockey in the A.

7/04/2006 10:07 pm  
Anonymous the rage said...

I don't think our defence will be as good as last season, but I think problems with defence are better to have than problems with goaltending. I also think that with all the spending that has happened, there are many teams with cap trouble, and very few (other than us) in position to take advantage. We still have options. Is Lowe up to the task? We shall find out.

One point though: Dennis, you have said that Lowe should have made this deal earlier (if he was going to make it at all) to take advatage of UFAs. I'm not sure if being a player on day 1 of the silly season is a good position to be in considering the amount of overpayments being handed out on long term contracts. Right now, there's a lot of gems still left on the market and most teams seem to have shot their load in terms of free agent spending so there should be cheap options. Also, cap-strapped teams will have to trade players for picks/prospects, and that's the type of deal I'm sure you can get behind.

7/04/2006 11:03 pm  
Anonymous oilswell said...

I don't know what to do with the lines. I guess it probably all hinges on how much the forwards stay the same or improve, and on what tactic Lowe uses during the season. I may post something on that if my thoughts coalesce into something useful. There's not enough D signed to even talk about it other than the Lydman deal last year sticks in my mind.

On Lupul, I'd like to see VF do up his ES opp difficulty; if he doesn't, Lupul may even be interesting enough to push me to try it. Lupul was a pretty young guy and had quite a number of very good players score against his team while he was on the ice. I wonder if the guanoriffic line juggling he endured may have done a number on his numbers. He's going to be a long season older and may tolerate some mid level opposition. If not, he may still be able to support a more scoring-in-depth approach. If the depth D really are getting hit hard by the new NHL, a balanced attack might work OK even if you give up some ground on a 94-10-83 line. As Dennis suggests that still leaves some players in Pisani, Reasoner, and perhaps Moreau to solidify other lines. An unspectacular UFA may still be available for that. May mean the end of the line for Laraque though. Me, I wouldn't mind them finding room for him, but I hope he spends the offseason getting lighter, faster, and cheaper.

7/05/2006 12:14 am  
Anonymous oilswell said...

Oh, btw, therage is probably stating the sure bet that the D will be worse than last year. I'd estimate that group was one of the better ones in the NHL...I'm guessing top 5. But the goalies cancelled out that advantage and then some. It's a fair bet that Roloson will soften the blow of the decimated D. Hopefully enough to get them to the playoffs, but I guess we'll see. I think it's been amply demonstrated that a good goalie makes it possible for even quite crummy teams to slide in.

Currently, I'm really wondering how Roloson will stack up against the other goalies in the friggin NW. Kiprusoff, Luongo, Theodore, Fernandez. Right now it's the uncomfortable hoping game: hoping that Theodore doen't come all the way back, and that Vancouver's clearance-bin defence can't handle Luongo's rebounds.

7/05/2006 12:24 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Good post Vic.

As you know I am the eternal optimist - and I think the Oil come out ok this season. Everyone seems to think that every other team in the Northwest has turned into a powerhouse but imo everyone (including the Oil) have taken a slight step back with the exception of Calgary. Everyone loves the Wild but they will be without Mitchell and Kuba. The Avs picked up Leopold but have said goodbye to Tanguay and an admittedly aging Blake. The Canucks have picked up Luongo and Mitchell but have also lost Jovo, Allen, Bertuzzi and likely Carter. So, my thought is that the Oil are weaker but so is every team.

There are a lot of teams already in cap trouble and I think Lowe picks up his defensive help there. Example - the Devils have only 37M in cap space with 7M already wrapped up in Mogilny, Malakhov and McGillis. Throw in contracts to Elias, White, Langenbrunner and Brodeur and they have only @ 20M left with Gomez and Gionta up as RFAs.

They're going to have to move someone. Maybe not a Dman but there's one example.

7/05/2006 8:48 am  
Anonymous namflashback said...

Oh, this isn't a good sign.

LATE HITS: Today is the deadline for Edmonton's restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration. Shawn Horcoff is going that route,

IIRC, if it goes to arbitration the result is a 1 year contract.

I sincerely hope they get a long term done before arbi. You guys have certainly shown me that Horcoff is a far more important player than I had thought.

7/05/2006 9:50 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

I'm in agreement with Allen, bling, Dennis, ect on Schremp. I guess it depends on if this is the beginning of yet another rebuild or not. The signing of Reasoner would seem to indicate that it is not. I suppose we'll have to wait and see what the next few moves look like before we can really judge though.

@Dennis: Ya, of course one or two injuries and the whole thing gets shuffled. But the general idea of using Horcoff to play the tough opposition seems to be something we're all in agreement on.Now that they have Reasoner they could shift to his line with that responsibility depending on the situation.

I suspect you're right on Hemsky. Doesn't seem likely that they'll change tack now. Though in the SCF they did play him with Horcoff and Smyth, they did NOT play him against tough opposition on purpose. Or at least rarely. (By my eye anyways, I haven't checked the numbers).

I think Rod and momentai have already shown this in a thread on LT's blog, but at 5on5 Hemsky was -5 and Lupul was -4. For Joffrey a wacky number of empty net goals against, and shorthanded ones too.

Hate to judge a player by one game, but I remember really following him closely in an AHL game in 03/04 (Cincinnati) and the guy looks like a young Brett Hull by the style of play. He drifts away looking for the shot. One of those guys that you barely notice all game and then he has a great scoring chance. (Penner was dominant on the boards in that game, bastard is huge, I remember I checked on hockeydb the next day to see what the deal was ... when I saw that he was mid-20s I thought his chance had probably passed him by. Nice to see him make the show with the Ducks. Gotta like the guys that perservere :-) )

7/05/2006 10:37 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Lupul at evens: EV+35, EV-39, 919 EVminutes, (13 opp) [more opposition: GF/hr 2.71 GA/hr 2.63]

Once Marchant arrived he played the vast majority of his 5on5 minutes with him.

At a quick glance it looks like he played a bit with Pahlsson near the end of the year. By the numbers Sami played the toughest minutes for that team, just like we saw in the playoffs (I kept thinking 26 was Marchant btw ... which probably would have made more sense).

As Stauffer said the other day, he didn't seem to get much 5 on 3 powerplay time. Which probably means that his one-timer isn't any hell, at least in Carlyle's opinion. (Damn, does Stauffer ever know a lot about this kid, I think he played summer league with him and/or knows his family and agent or something)

His AHL numbers are below the PPG line, though that Cincy team may just be the most conservative, passive, tedious squad to ever lace up skates. In the game I saw they beat the runners 1-0. Which is pretty reflective of the number of scoring chances. That team only scored 206 goals and only allowed a paltry 182.

In short: He's 22 years old right now, he's going to score a lot of goals in this league for sure. And he's got a ways to go before he becomes a complete player imo. If ever.

7/05/2006 10:59 am  
Blogger Steven said...

Just a quick note Vic, Stauffer does in fact know his family and the kid. He's one of his biggest fans which is why he loves the deal. In any case Lupul reminds me of Anson Carter... not a damn good thing by any stretch of the imagination. Hopefully I'm wrong... in fact I better be wrong... either that or Smid turns out to be Lidstrom in the next few years :)

7/05/2006 11:24 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Well, Carter is still a useful guy in the right role. I see the comparison, but saying Lupul at 22 years old is like Carter at 26 years old would be fairer I think. And when they are that early in their development there is still plenty of time for their game to fill in. Or so I think (hope).

In a couple or three years this trade is going be looking damn good for the Oilers I suspect. But in the short term ... not so much.

7/05/2006 11:36 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


I dunno, I think that's a good thing. Arbitration is a fair process, and we know that Horcoff will be back in the fold for sure. And we know that he's in for a huge raise based on Olli Jokinen's and Justin Williams' deals. Both of those players also played the toughest minutes of any forward on their team this past season, and put up results. Strong comaprables.

Whether Horcoff filed for a one year settlement or a two year setllement ... I dunno. But I would suspect a one year. And I would guess that lowe will try to work out a multi-year agreement.

7/05/2006 11:44 am  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/05/2006 11:44 am  
Blogger Steven said...


Yah I might be a little harsh there. But the fact that we got him back for Pronger hurts imo. Having another liability at 5on5 is not something we needed (as noted by your post).

I agree this trade will help us in the future... but how many times have I heard that in the past 10 years that a trade will help us in the future?
Frustrates me that I keep hearing that even now in the Cap World.

7/05/2006 12:09 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


Me too. I mean Lupul could be the next Mike Bossy or he could be the next Alex Selivanov. Most likely somewhere in between, hopefully nearer the left on that scale. :-) In any case probably a good gamble. But like you, I'm tired of this dealing for the future stuff. Jesus, why not grab a year of Hossa or Havlat and something less in terms of future worth? It was a long haul up to this new CBA, I'd rather that Lowe was living in the freaking moment a bit more.

7/05/2006 1:08 pm  
Blogger Asiaoil said...

Smyth Horcoff Hemsky - young Ales grew a pair in the playoffs and he scored a lot of big goals. We need him to do more with the ES minutes this year and I think he can

Torres Reasoner Pisani - the #2 line can also be thrown out against anyone and play tough minutes. I like the way Torres grew into this role in the playoffs

Moreau Stoll Lupul - the liability line as you said with Moreau babysitting and Stoll/Lupul getting the soft minutes

Mcaamond MAP Mikhnov - I really dont care about the leftovers on the 4th line but MAP can swittch up with Reasoner as the season goes on if he shows the ability to do so.

Honestly I think Stoll is trade-bait in the biggest way right now and rightly so. MAP could take his place on the liability line and Shremp could take MAP's place on the 4th line and I honestly dont think we would miss Stoll's production much aside form his faceoff skills. We pumped this kids value up massively this year and it may be prodent to cash him in given all the young centers in the org

7/05/2006 8:24 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...


I'm cool with you starting threads on this blog. I assume that the other guys are too, I'm sure they'll say something if they aren't.

Just send one of us a working email address, or post it on this thread, and we'll set you up.

7/06/2006 3:05 am  
Anonymous Showerhead said...

I sent this to the address under your profile Vic, but here it is as well...


Thanks for the opportunity!

7/06/2006 1:11 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...




Just kidding. Is Dawgbone hanging around here too? He should sign on as well. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned.

7/07/2006 12:20 am  

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