The Two Mikes...

As has now been reported on numerous sites, Mike Sillinger has been added to the Edmonton Oilers management crew as a mentor in the junior ranks.

“We are very excited to have Mike fill such an important role with us,” said Tambellini. “We know his experience of 1,000-plus NHL games will benefit our younger players and the development of their careers.”

There are going to be arguments on both sides for this move. Sillinger has no management experience on his resume. The only real professional coaching he's done is as a teammate to some hundred or so NHL players over the 11 teams in which he played in the NHL. That's a pretty good start.

As one reader on another forum put it and to which I agree, the Oilers are trying to develop a core with strong character and dedication. Mike has both of these qualities. Add to that his extensive career, his exposure to multiple teams with different playing styles, coaching philosophies and two way style of play over his long career and Sillinger should help in assessing players at both ends of the rink which is a valuable asset. Others have also pointed out his talent in the face-off circle which is an obvious weakness within the organization.

That leads us to another Mike, whose faceoff % is not quite as glowing. 37% in Ottawa last year and 41% in NYI. 46% the year before and you start to get an idea of the pattern that goes on.

I bring this up because Mike Comrie to Edmonton rumors just don't seem to be slowing down and I'm not sure why. If the contract term and numbers are as low as they say, then perhaps there is not a whole lot to lose, but whatever possessed the Oilers to even consider a player that offers the same if not less than a good five other forwards on the Oilers roster right now is beyond me. I'm guessing this has more to do with the Comrie camp calling Edmonton, than the other way around.

Regardless, the Oilers will struggle in the faceoff dot this year and Comrie doesn't address that need. That said, here's what I can see coming...

Comrie signs for 1 yr at $1.3 million, which provides the following advantages:

a) he has a bit more of a proven record than some of our current similar style forwards, but at less the cost.
b) he's been around longer with relationships to players the Oilers might have interest in aquiring (perhaps Dany Heatley)
c) he's looking to prove himself over this coming year to earn a better contract next season

The dominos:

One of the other forwards are traded possibly along with picks for grit or a bonafide 3rd line centre. I envision the former as I think the Oilers truly believe they have internally someone who can fill the 3rd line role. Names to look for might be Cheechoo out of San Jose, Ryan Johnson out of Vancouver, or even a player like Tomas Holmstrom out of Detroit.

We thought the summer was interesting before. We'll have lots more to talk about if both Mike's become a part of the Oilers in some way, shape or form.


Let me add a name that might be a similar situation - Ray Whitney. Whitney was in the Oilers' camp in almost the same situation as Comrie - in a bit of a funk career-wise. The Oilers had him in camp at a reduced salary and let him go away, and look at the player he has become. In my mind, they could be similar players. If Comrie can be almost as good as Whitney has turned out to be, the Oilers have a bit of a diamond in the rough.

September 4, 2009 at 6:55 AM comment-delete

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