Break It Down! – Forwards (2011/12 Edition)

By , September 9, 2011 8:28 am

I really really hope we re-sign him


Since we have been getting just hammered under all this Oilers news, I figure I’ll try and sneak this years edition of break it down in and hope that people see it. Plus it looks as though the GM has finished making moves for the summer and I’m leaving for europe for a month right away.

Again, much like I did last year, I am going to do a series of posts discussing the team and how I think they will do in the coming year. Reading musts is Lowetide and his breakdown of each player, and big props to Behind the Net and Capgeek for all of my stats/salary info.

Oilers are looking to be a young team again this year, however the GM pulled his head out of his ass just long enough to add some players up front that I feel might help us out in the long run. So long as we sacrifice whatever the hell we need to in order to fix the injury problems that plague this team.

Anyways, here are the forwards:
L/C/R
Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky (how fucking beautiful does that look!)
Hall/Gagner/Eberle
Paajarvi/Belanger/Omark
Jones/One of the kid center’s/Eager/Hordichuk

We have a line again that can go power vs power. And win (I’ll assume that Smyth has lost a step or two, but Hemsky is awesome) that match up most nights. The Hall/Eberle line should be able to be run out against weaker opposition, however I’m thinking that other coaches will try to match against this line more often than not.

He got a fucking 3rd line center! Sweet jesus, an actual NHL player.

Fourth line is still a bit of the crap shoot, but much better than we’ve seen the last few years. I bet Tambellini will see the Nuge make the team, but I figure with the re-signing of O’Marra he’ll get some cracks at it too. Maybe this Lander kid we hear about.

Strengths

Hemsky. Still awesome, now with two robot shoulders.

Hall and Eberle sure were pretty special last year…and I think that they pull of good sophomore years as well.

From the lineup posted above, it looks like we can have 3 lines, that when firing on all cylinders, can push the pace of the game and just out skate other teams. I like it.

Weaknesses

This is copied from last years:
“We are a young team. There will be blown assignments, lots of time spent in our own zone and lots of goals scored against us. Lots. And those rookie slumps are going to hurt us harder than most teams.”

Still applies.

Still don’t have a dedicated checking line, but if Smyth/Horcoff/Hemsky can saw off against the other teams power line we should survive.

Could Use

For the most part I am pretty happy with this forward group. Wouldn’t mind seeing some of the skill traded away (just not my favorite players) for some size/skill combo, but for the most part pretty happy with the lineup.

And upgrade the 4th line. I’m not a really big fan of many of those players.

Finally

I’m thinking we miss the playoffs this year. Not because of the forward group really, but that said I like what I see with this group. More goals and less against.

14 Responses to “Break It Down! – Forwards (2011/12 Edition)”

  1. Racki says:

    I don’t mind the lines, although I agree on the 4th line being lacking. I’m anxious to see Hordi and Eager “protect” the players though, as they’ve promised.

    However, I think I would rather see Horcoff and Gagner swap lines. I’d also like to think of the Hall/Horcoff/Eberle and Smyth/Gagner/Hemsky lines as a 1a/1b kinda deal too. The Smyth line would get a bit more defensive zone starts though, despite Gagner being on the dot. But I think Gagner isn’t quite there to carry the young kids on his line, whereas Horcoff already showed the chemistry there. In addition, I think playing with Smyth and Hemsky could go a LONG way in giving Gagner that confidence to take him to the next level.

  2. Irfo says:

    Racki:
    I don’t mind the lines, although I agree on the 4th line being lacking. I’m anxious to see Hordi and Eager “protect” the players though, as they’ve promised.

    However, I think I would rather see Horcoff and Gagner swap lines. I’d also like to think of the Hall/Horcoff/Eberle and Smyth/Gagner/Hemsky lines as a 1a/1b kinda deal too. The Smyth line would get a bit more defensive zone starts though, despite Gagner being on the dot. But I think Gagner isn’t quite there to carry the young kids on his line, whereas Horcoff already showed the chemistry there. In addition, I think playing with Smyth and Hemsky could go a LONG way in giving Gagner that confidence to take him to the next level.

    +1

  3. Mr.Majestyk says:

    From the interviews with Ben Eager and the players that have played with him, he might be a better player than fans are willing to give him credit for. Last year Ryan Jones broke out and people couldn’t help but end up liking the way he plays despite being scratched early in the season. I’d like to see Ben Eager as more than a 4th liner if he plays to it.

    Ultimately I like the forward group but I mostly like that guys playing on any line after the first could move up. If players aren’t playing well i’d like see those players with less ice time and the players playing well should get more. So we all have Belanger as a 3rd line center but if Gagner isn’t getting it done offensively, drop him down and give Belanger or someone else a chance. Players should earn their icetime.

  4. chucker says:

    Brule could be that fourth line guy. I think Lander starts in the A and RNH…who knows. Maybe a Seguin type of introduction until some things get sorted. I still think we are very weak on the back end and defensive play will need to be the focus to learn how to win.

    Goal could be scary too. I really wish we signed a Babrovsky or a reasonable facsimile. Khabbi is not bouncing back. I have lost my faith in him completely. Pass the crow wings please.

    The thing I LOVE, is that we are now a skill and sandpaper team. That should make things easier.

  5. NorwegianOiler says:

    Nice review. I just wonder if the forwards can save us from our depleted and largely insufficient defensive corps (and ‘tending). I don’t think they can. No playoffs, some fun, but mostly growing impatience.

  6. hemmerlady says:

    Still don’t like Gags at centre. I’ve been driving the “go easy on Gags” bandwagon for some time, but I have to say I don’t think it’s going to work if we keep him at centre.

    NorwegianOiler:
    Nice review. I just wonder if the forwards can save us from our depleted and largely insufficient defensive corps (and ‘tending). I don’t think they can. No playoffs, some fun, but mostly growing impatience.

    exactly. Totally agree. I would be ecstatic if we slid into 8th in the West but not gonna happen. Unless Tambi makes some killer moves to help us on D and G. Not holding my breath.

  7. chucker says:

    I get the feeling there will be a trade during or after camp. Maybe it is just me hoping our D and goal are so obviously needing upgrades that there is no need for further evaluation…

    I think a good topic would be regarding the rebuilding and how most GMs that start thevrebuild are notbthe ones who finish it and bring the team to the next level of success in most cases. Pittsburgh and Chucago being the two most obvious examples.

  8. Mr.Majestyk says:

    Bryan Murray was the GM in Anaheim before Bryan Burke won a cup and took all the credit for it despite the fact that Chris Pronger practically fell into his lap. Burke went on to leave the Ducks in a mess after trading Andy McDonald to St.Louis for Doug Weight and overpaying Bertuzzi who he then bought out the next year.

    Bryan Murray has another rebuild in Ottawa, can he do what he did in Anaheim?

  9. chucker says:

    Well they have a good system and they did draft very well recently. Sean Couturier will be a good replacement for Fisher in a year or two and I am certain he will play this year. As for the rest, they likely have six or seven new faces. I think he can. He built up Detroit too.

  10. Racki says:

    Sean Couturier went to Philly.. Ottawa got Mika Zibenajad

  11. oilinblood says:

    good review.
    i compare everything to last year.

    did we upgrade from last year? yes, in all positions.

    forward ranks fraser, cogs, and brule are likely all out, especially with brule’s gf tweeting every ten minutes about how happy they both were to get out of edmonton —little did she know they only wanted to buy him out. smyth is in along with a re-signed and proven jones and a magnus that now knows the league.
    one additional benefit to this year is not just the fact magnum hall and ebs have put in a year, its the fact we have some chemistry already proven. smyth might not score penners 35-40 but he will be far more reliable and help on both special teams. there will be no question marks on whether smyth will work with hemsky…smyth crashes the net and gets in traffic…that is pretty much all he needs to do for hemsky.
    belanger and hordichuk will be guaranteed upgrades, unlike the failed fraser experiment – which was brought about by coglianos failure at centre.
    if sam gagnerr cant become a real centre with hemmer and smyth … he gets traded. i think gags will have a great year and give the brass some tough decisions heading into the big 3′s renewal season.

    defense. vandy, foster and struds are gone. the fighting side of those players is taken over by hordi and eager.. then you have andy sutton. sutton is one of those strange anomolys. He always seems to play on crappy teams, seems to have the speed and agility of a sloth, yet he always has great plus minus. ive never figured it out. reminds me of a Mr MACOUN from back in the day but even bigger.
    we lost a right shot and dint replace it. if we replace the shot with a rookie we will have those growing pains on the backend again (teubert or petry). I always liked barker in his junior days and i dont see how you can just lose that talent. peckham had a great year last year and says his workout program finally “clicked” this summer and hes in the best shape….yadda yadda.

    Goaltending. well khabi sucked last year, and quite a bit the year before (hello gift give-away in his first game as an oiler). I dont see this year possibly getting worse. dubs is no all star but he can get the job done and khabi can be an expensive bench warmer. hopefully he asked for a trade during the summer when the comic edmonton sun pathetically followed him to jail to take pictures. god i can only hope.

    penner fraser cogs brule mac < smyth hordichuk belanger eager
    foster vandy struds —=— sutton
    khabi dubs —-< dubs khabi

    less unknowns this year. despite the learning curve, this was a good team last year when khabi was crappin the bed but hemmer and whit were healthy to bail them out. the kids hadnt even caught fire yet.

    f* thn… playoffs are definently possible if we quit breaking records in man games lost.

  12. john says:

    Vegas odds I heard have the Oilers as somewhere @ 40:1 to make the playoffs which is higher than they’ve been rated for a at least a couple seasons I think? They even listed the Oil as more favoured than the Flamers haha! I believe the Oilers will be icing the most competent & potentially competitive team this season than we have seen in at least the last four years which is something to be excited about. Of course like N.O., myself, & a few others like to point out whenever we get the chance; goaltending & defence could be our Achilles Heel once again. I like most of the defensive changes which appear to be an upgrade for us but comparing it to the top 5 or 8 teams in the Western Conference our Dcorp is still left wanting. Goaltending depending on what is rattling through Khabbi’s head these days, as well as whether or not Dubbie is ready to take another step could be a complete crap shoot I suspect.

  13. Racki says:

    While Dubnyk wasn’t without flaw, I think playing him more alone will give us several more points. Can we make the playoffs? Doubtful… but I’d love to put down $50 at those odds!

  14. chucker says:

    Racki:
    Sean Couturier went to Philly.. Ottawa got Mika Zibenajad

    My memory is total crap these days. :(

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