Breaking Down Where Comrie Will Play.

It is being reported by Robin Brownlee over at, that the Edmonton Oilers are mere days away from publicly announcing the signing of one Mike Comrie. The rumors have been circulating for about a week or two, but based on a 15 minute conversation Brownlee had with Mike Comrie, Brownlee is convinced he knows all he needs to, that this is as good as done.

While Mike Comrie is a good player and has more NHL experience than most of the similarly small forwards on the Oilers roster ie. Nilsson, Cogliano, Gagner, O'Sullivan and others who may have a chance to crack the NHL this year, where he plays on this roster is anyones guess. Here are a few possible scenarios:

Option 1


The Upside

The first line has some proven NHL experience on it. Granted, Comrie is a stretch on the first line thanks to his last couple years of offensive production, but he's more offensively wired than anything else and his two-way and defensive style isn't exactly why the Oilers would be adding him. Keeping him close to Horcoff does for Comrie what is does for Hemsky -- gives an offensive skilled forward a chance to think more offensively with a defensively smart Horcoff on the line. Comrie can bounce back from his 27 points in 63 games of last season and is/was the only 30 goal scorer the Oilers would have, so it makes sense to put him in a position to contribute offensively and make him a real bargain at $1.3 million per year.

The Downside

Putting Comrie on the first line moves Penner, O'Sullivan or Cogliano (all potential 1st line LW) down the depth chart. It means both of the first two lines are extremely small in terms of size and physical play, so they can expect to be pushed around a lot.

Option 2


The Upside

Your first line played well last year when kept together and the numbers have shown that when Penner, Horcs and Hemmer find chemistry, they can be very hard to play against, providing very good offensive numbers for each other. The second line is smaller, but more well rounded. I can't back it up, but I have a feeling Comrie and Gagner would click and are very interchangeable. I think Gagner gets significantly better at faceoffs this year and both players have a tendency to think pass first which works great for O'Sullivan who likes to shoot. The other option for me would be switching Nilsson and Comrie, just to get the passing ability of Nilsson on the same line as the shoot happy O'Sullivan.

The Downside

The lines are still small size wise and your second line as is looks weak to win important faceoffs and battles for the puck. Sure both Comrie and Gagner are the type of players who will fight just enough to let players know they're willing to drop em if need be, but overall their game is not physical and they'll absolutely need to out skill whatever line they are up against.

Option 3


The Upside

While I think this is the weakest combination of the many possibles out there, but can see it as one that is given a look by the coaching staff. This third line is more physical and solves some of the glaring holes the Oilers had going into camp like a bigger and tougher bottom six. In fact the bottom six is terrific in terms of what they can contribute if they play the body along with be as offensively talented as we know they can be.

The Downside

The top six is small, weak and for the most part unproven. I think if O'Sullivan gets off to a good start, one similar to his point totals in LA, he's got a chance to pot 35 goals with Comrie and Hemsky as his feeders all year. That said, we've seen how inconsistent the "kid" line can be. Sure they're all a year further along and when they played well when lined together in the past were the reason the Oilers almost snuck into the playoffs in 2007, but that's a big if.

All in all, there are a lot more combinations out there and the above mentioned are just a few making the rounds in discussion. What do you suggest?

I for one think, that if Brownlee is correct and this signing is announced, that action is coming in terms of adding size. This is just too many smaller forwards on one team and a real opening to exit out a couple of smaller players, picks or prospects to land a more gritty style forward. Sure an argument can be made, that this is the same type of team that took Buffalo deep into the playoffs a few years back, only to get hampered by injuries down the stretch; but that more proves my point than anything.

This team will get beat on, night in and out physically and Stortini, Moreau, MacIntyre, Staois and Souray can only fight so many times without taking bad penalties before it hurts the team and the core of the lineup. The Oilers needs at least one forward who can help offensively, but is more about taking the body and freeing up space.

I'm not against Comrie, I just hope it leads to other action before opening night.


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