The Quarter Poll Part II. Five Players Who've Met Colorado Before.

We did a quick study of five players and how they've been as productive Oilers in our first edition of the quarter poll rankings yesterday. All five of those players have played all 21 Oiler games to start the season.

In this edition, we'll look at Oilers who have had a good record thus far against the Avalanche, who not coincidentally the Oilers face Wednesday on TSN.

Unfortunately, doing an examination in this way actually led me down a difficult path of deciding which five Oilers to examine as Edmonton has only scored 5 goals in the two contests against the Avs. In the first meeting, the Oilers were shut-out 3-0 and the second meeting saw the Oilers actually play a solid road game winning 5-3.

That said, I think I've come up with five viable candidates.

Thinking back, it was the first time I really noticed the effectiveness of Ryan Potulny in situations I'd never seen from him before. Potulny didn't have much time in the NHL with the Oilers under MacTavish, but when he did, it was always that fourth line, shut-down and grinder type role. I'm not so sure that role suits the type of player Potulny is.

In the last Oiler game against the Avalanche, Potulny was given some time in different situations and he capitalized. He played over 12 minutes (a lot for a call up), had two points, a powerplay goal, and was an even plus/minus on the night. Pretty good.

Since then, Potulny has been steady for the Oilers in what has to be considered a temporary position. He's only plus/minus -2 in a string of Oiler losses and he's been part of line combinations that have been good energy guys for the Oilers. He's not going to be your great offensive weapon, nor your #1 shut-down guy, but all around, he's been ok.

Ryan Potulny -- B-

I called Potulny's stop temporary because I think the one player of the two who made the leap at that time and might stick is Liam Reddox. Since coming up to the team, he's been full throttle and Quinn has to like that.

Reddox doesn't have a lot to show points wise for his efforts, but a few scoring chances and powerplay goals for the Oilers have come thanks to the hustle Reddox has provided. A real bonus since his arrival, is his averaging 3 hits per game -- an average higher than anyone on the team outside of JF Jacques who at one time was in the top three in the NHL in terms of hitting.

Reddox has killed penalties for the Oilers, he's crashed the net and he took a nasty hit that would have knocked a lot of other NHL'ers out for some serious time, yet he kept on truckin'.

Liam Reddox -- B+

Mike Comrie got a goal in the last contest versus the Avs, and ironically enough, it was the last game in which he's scored this season. Let's hope he can repeat his performance on Wednesday.

Mike Comrie is hard to assess thanks to his fight with the flu and the complications it's had with his asthma. Since going down with the flu, Comrie just hasn't been the same and his last few games haven't been at all an indication of what Oiler fans should expect.

When Comrie first came to Edmonton, he had a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. He started strong, was a point a game player for a while, a great faceoff guy when the team needed one, and did other little things well. This after he led all NHL players in pre-season with 10 points.

Lately, Comrie's been in and out of action and when he's in, he's been slow and weaker than usual which tells us he's still not healthy.

Should Comrie get healthy, I think he'll start to pick things up, which in turn might help a player like O'Sullivan. The Oilers need it, as does Comrie still playing for a better contract. Should things not turn around, Edmonton fans can turn just as quickly as they cheer you when you get 4 points in one night and start a fight.

Mike Comrie -- C+

As of late, Lubomir Visnovsky has played well. The last game against the Avs, Visnovsky wasn't so hot, but this season, that's been a rarity as Lubomir has been the best all-around defenseman by far for the Oilers this season.

With 13 points in 19 games, a respectable plus/minus +3 and the quarter back for a ton of Edmonton's limited offense, Visnovsky has been terrific and was greatly missed in the two games for which he wasn't in the lineup.

It's no surprise as the Oilers nose-dived last season after Visnovsky went down with a shoulder injury. One he's done well to recover from.

When Visnovsky chooses to shoot he's doing so at the right time in the right situation with a cannon. It's led to a fantastic 17.2% shooting percentage, but he's been responsible for some of Edmonton's prettiest goals of the season too.

Lubomir Visnovksy -- A

Finally, Nikolai Khabibulin who made 34 saves in Edmonton's last trip to Colorado and 31 saves in their first meeting, did what he's done all season -- keep the Oilers close in a lot of games. You can't ask for much more from your goaltender.

Khabibulin came to Edmonton in a smoke cloud of controversy. He's old, he's signed long-term and he's being paid $15 million over that time. So far, he's also made Tambellini look good, which is no small feat considering how still full of holes this Oilers roster is.

If not for Khabibulin, the Oilers would be well below a .500 hockey club. Sure, he's had moments like opening night against the Flames, but he quickly picked himself back up and has been tremendous for the Oilers as of late.

The problem for Khabibulin, isn't Khabibulin. It's the rest of the team that can't score to help him, or the defense that can't get the puck out of the zone to relieve pressure.

We're starting to see more games where the Oilers are actually out-shooting their opponents, so hopefully that bodes well for Khabibulin, who despite his good play, has a pretty bad record to show for it.

Nikolai Khabibulin -- B +


Post a Comment

More To Read