Wednesday, May 23, 2012

UFA Center's - Take your pick!

So for today let's take a look at 5 UFA centremen, the crop this year does not hold the big names that could possibly be available next year but you take what you can get. If you haven't already been following along I have ran through a few positions already and you can get caught up here;
 UFA dmen - who do you sign?   UFA LW'ers - Ryan Smyth you guy?   UFA RW'ers - Semin worth a chance?

The centreman's position is by far and the away the most difficult of the forward slots to play; skill, smarts and toss in a bit of athletic ability and you might have yourself someone who can play the middle.

Ollie Jokinen - Gone are the glory days for stats but Ollie has brought himself back from the brink. At 33 years of age he has done a good job at showing he can still get the job done. Not a first line guy anymore but should still be able to produce secondary scoring on the second unit. With no one in the pipeline in  Calgary, do they get him resigned?

Jarret Stoll - He is certainly doing himself no harm by having a nice playoff. Showing that he still has the wheels to play, Jarret took a bit of a hit this year in the offensive stats category. Being only 29 and possessing the faceoff skills he does I can see many team lining up to take a shot come July 1st.

Paul Gaustad - A monster in terms of size, Paul is another top faceoff man in the league, does not quite have the offensive abilities that others possess but he knows and plays his role well. He might not be one of the first guys to put pen to paper for "Free Agent Frenzy" but he no doubt many team will inquire and he will find himself a spot.

Chris Kelly -  Chris picked a good year to put up 20 goals, add in his 19 assists and you have his best offensive season. Being a 51%+ guy on the button will give GM's around the league something to think about. At 31 he still has years left to contribute so expect him to get some attention.

Zenon Konopka - May not possess the fastest feet in the league but there are two things that he does well that will make GM's consider him. 1 - he is sick on the faceoff dot and 2. He will stand up for his team mates without question. A fourth line role player who understands his place on a team and is always near the top of the list for guys who drop the gloves.

So there you have it, 5 guys to contemplate for the centre ice position. Not your dynamic offensive forces but 5 guys who can play a role and are needed to win that elusive Stanley Cup

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Just a quick shout out to my babygirl, today is her birthday... Have a great day!

Thanks for reading!


Oil_be_Damned said...

Unless the Oilers do something unexpected (a buyout or trade) I think we can expect our centers to be the same as last year.

RNH and Gagner both had excellent arrows this season and should be exceptional top two centers next year (and how can they not with the gifted wingers they are going to play with)

As for Horcroff I think lower minutes will do wonders for him. Gone (should be) are the days where he plays 20+ minutes a game. He will play a more conserved third line punch role. Seeing the top lines and doing heavy PK. I doubt he sees any PP.

As for Belanger. He I think alone controls his fate. If he excepts he is a fourth line center on this team, and embraces this role he will stay and the brass will just count his numbers last year to a series of circumstances. If not he gets traded. Personally if its not Kanopka coming back, I would keep Belanger. He is great at key face offs, had a good pass and clear and smart hockey plays that didn't cost the team (much).

VandeVelde would be my tweener next season. First call up based on injury. Has the body, and the smarts to play a valued fourth line role (he pushes with the body - doesn't hit much... many fans will scream bloody murder because of this). But looked good in his limited showing as a role center last year.

Now IF (and this is a big if) the Oiler brass is stupid enough to buy out Horcroff... there is no one in our system who can replace those minutes. We would have to trade for one of these centers as there isn't a UFA I would trust to fill these minutes.

Tapdog said...

Hey ObD, love the comment. solid look at the group we have here. One thing that is certain, we will always have lots to stay regardless of what the Oilers do.

Thanks again, I wish more people would comment here.