By Darryl Dobbs
Things look pretty bleak for the Edmonton Oilers this season and with the Anaheim Ducks owning their first-round pick in 2008 (likely a Top 3 selection), next year may not be any better. However, judging by the performance of the kids in training camp, it will certainly be fun to watch this group grow together as a team. It looks as if the name of the game will be ‘offense’.
enthusiasts will not mind that in the least.
From Andrew Cogliano to Zach Stortini, here’s a breakdown of how the Edmonton prospects are doing, along with speculation and odds of sticking this season.
Future third-line power forward is having a very strong camp and showing a surprising touch around the net. His four points in three games are tempered by his minus-3 rating. There is too much competition up the middle for Brodziak to make the team this year and he will likely be one of the final cuts. Odds: 40-1
The diminutive speedster started slowly but has impressed more and more with every game and now leads the team in preseason scoring with five points in three games. He will compete with Gagner and Schremp for the first-line center job (Jarret Stoll will be on the second line and Shawn Horcoff will be third line, it looks like). Cogliano has the inside track here and he will at minimum play nine games this season (the maximum he can play without his contract kicking in). Odds: 3-2
Probably Edmonton’s best prospect and he, along with Nilsson and Cogliano, has been one of the best performers in camp. He has really clicked with Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner and could possibly get a nine-game audition to start the season, but it is doubtful that he will stick as an 18-year-old. Odds: 7-1
He’s ready and his camp has been decent, but competition is fierce. The Oilers already have a pile of offensive rearguards. It does not look good. Odds: 20-1
The best offensive rearguard in the preseason, Grebeshkov has two points in three games. He will almost certainly stick. Odds: He’s in.
His play has not overly impressed and has even been lackluster at times. With the competition in camp, Jacques will need to become more noticeable or more prospects will step over him on the depth-chart ladder. Odds: 60-1
By all accounts, Nilsson has been a great addition on the second line, clicking with Raffi Torres and Stoll. He’ll be on the team this year and should produce in the 40- to 50-point range, with upside. Odds: He’s in.
A likely third-liner in the future, the responsible, two-way player is coming off off-season knee surgery and his start in camp has been somewhat slow. He needs a couple of seasons in the AHL. Odds: 60-1
He’s third on the team in shots and he played 47 games for the Oilers last season. He has that going for him and he has not really looked out of place. He will likely stick, but it is looking more and more as if he may not have a future as a scoring line standout in the NHL. Odds: 3-2
Not bad, but not great. Schremp will likely need another season in the AHL to hone his defensive game. We all know he has the moves, but there is no way he gets on the team ahead of Cogliano or Gagner. He, too, is recovering from offseason knee surgery and the team is taking it slow with him. He will be a late-season call up. Odds: 40-1
The tough guy has had a strong camp and has even provided some offense. The loss of Fernando Pisani (ulcerative colitis) opens up a spot on the right side that Stortini will likely fill. Odds: 2-1
It hasn’t shown on the scoreboard, but the Norwegian has played a wonderful game in all the other areas of the game. He’ll likely make a fine third or fourth line addition to this team. Odds: 2-1
It was thought that he was a few years away yet, but his camp has been a good one and he has even chipped in three points. He’s competing for a left wing spot with Jacques and Thoresen (and Pouliot has seen some time there), so he’s in tough. This year. Odds: 10-1
Don’t forget to pick up Dobber’s Fantasy Guide at http://www.dobberhockey.com - just $9.95 to rule your pool!