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Preseason Thoughts

Sep. 25, 2022 at 9:00 p.m.
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I'll be damned if I do an AGM for this team until we're in spitting distance of the Trade Deadline. Too many moving parts and too much uncertainty. Instead, enjoy some of the things bouncing around in my noggin a la the old DVD standby screen. Key takeaways from the 4-0 win over the Jets:

1. I'd be cutting Virtanen tonight if the choice was mine: I don't see a need for this player at the NHL level and I would suspect he's firmly below Griffith, Bourgault, Lavoie, and maybe Tullio on the depth chart. If he wants an AHL-only deal I'd maybe consider redirecting him to Bakersfield but not at the expense of Bourgault's or Lavoie's ice time (in this theoretical universe I would be starting Savoie and Tullio in the ECHL for more minutes instead of depth roles in the AHL). A bad PTO the day it was offered, I saw nothing that justified a contract tonight. Ineffective player and continuing to kick the tires is going to take time away from viewing more promising tweeners.

2. I think Schaefer needs more WHL time. He looked just a hair south of fine in his limited minutes but I don't think he's at speed for this tweener level just yet. Let him get established with the Thunderbirds early and hope they acquire both Bedard and Lambert for a massive run to the Memorial Cup. Likewise, Bourgault probably isn't making the opening night roster off of that performance but he's probably the second-closest prospect to making the bigs. If Hamblin continues to play like that he'll be the next prospect to graduate and far sooner than anyone expected. There are far worse things than having his kind of speed and skill as a fourth-line replacement to Foegele. I'm curious if the center thing sticks at the AHL level. Genuinely thought he was more just a winger.

3. Murray was more crisp than I expected and I want to see another game out of Demers. There's rust there but I think he'd be a nice piece to have in Bakersfield should you need a spare body at a moment's notice. He's not taking Barrie's job anytime soon. If there's money to be moved, it remains that one or two of the forwards are shipped for a poor return.

4. I think Samorukov's career continues overseas. He got into the flow of the game as it went on but I think he's firmly behind the veteran depth options and Niemelainen is no longer in his rearview mirror. I'm substantially less worried about his future in regards to waivers, now I'm more curious if he takes the extra season in the AHL before being pressed into military service. Conversely, I really liked Benson's game and I think there's a real chance he would be claimed on waivers. He looks a step faster and he's continued to evolve that pest role. No idea why a team like Arizona, desperate for actual NHL-calibre talent, would pass on a name like his.

5. The bonafide-NHL forwards on this roster could have had a better night but they weren't awful. I'm considering a blood sacrifice at this point to grant Puljujarvi some finishing touch (I'm waiting to see what he does with one of Connor/Leon first though) and McLeod's passes weren't great. Incredibly annoying as most everything else about their games tonight was pretty good. Kulak and Bouchard were poised, Evan looking like a lot more complete a defender tonight than most showings last year. Love the progress. I have a funny feeling that Pickard ends up a Jet via waivers after such a poor showing late by Big Save Dave. Zero IQ plays continue to plague him. I really liked Skinner through his half of the game. I'm growing more confident in his ability to start 30 games this year.

Feel free to chime in or tell me I'm wrong.
Bobcat205, gary_ and oilersguy liked this.
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