Oilers 2008-2009 Roster: Many New Faces, Few Open Spots

David PonichContributor IAugust 28, 2008

The Oilers have made a tremendous number of additions to their roster this off-season with only a minimal amount of players leaving. Some of the new faces joining the Oilers this season will be the likes of Ryan Potulny, Jason Strudwick, Lubomir Visnovsky, Gilburt Brule, and Erik Cole.

Now that is five names not to mention a few rookies coming into training camp this year like Taylor Chorey, Rob Schremp, and Jordan Eberle. With only four big names leaving the team this year, that does not leave many spots available. It is obvious to all that players like Lubomir Visnovsky and Erik Cole already have a guaranteed roster spot so now its time to decide who stays and who goes.

On the defensive end, there are six spots available. Now five of these are guaranteed to be given away to Tom Gilbert, Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Ladislav Smid, and Steve Staios. That leaves one spot for names like Taylor Chorney, Dennis Grebeshkov, Jason Strudwick, Mathieu Roy, and perhaps a few others.

In my opinion for now Dennis Grebeshkov will be getting this job unless Taylor or Jason show something fantastic in training camp because Mathieu and others are not developed enough to have a regular spot in the NHL. However, this is the Oilers and we could very well see many cases of injury throughout the season, giving these guys many chances to play at the NHL level.

In addition, there are twelve offensive spots available. Most likely about 10 of these spots are taken by players like Erik Cole, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Ethan Moreau, Dustin Penner, Kyle Brodziak, and Fernando Pisani. Now one of those two spots is on thin ice with Zach Stortini.

Its up to the coaching staff to decide if they need Stortini around or if they think that some of the other Oilers have enough Grit in them. So, leaving two spots open for now, who will fill them? Players like Ryan Potulny, Gilbert Brule, Rob Schremp, Marc Pouliot, and a few others have some NHL experience under their belts.

However, all of them have most definitely under achieved in the last year. Personally, I most definitely could see the spot going to Jordan Eberle if he comes into training camp with the right stuff. He needs to notice the pace of NHL and fast. Quite like how Sam Gagner performed last year.

As for the last I spot, i believe it should remain with Zach Stortini. No other Oilers let alone most of the NHLers have an attitude like Zach Stortini. He's what the Oilers need at the start of the season before they start to get pushed around again.

The only position remaining is goaltending. While everyone in Edmonton pretty well knows the starting job will be given to Mathieu Garon, it is the backup position that everyone is talking about. Lets face it. Dwayne Roloson is getting much too old to perform at a pace needed by the Oilers.

The backup position will most likely be given to Jeff Deslauriers. It is now his time to shine in the NHL. I doubt he will be given a large amount of games. Garon can handle probably handle 70 maybe even 75 games this year. This leaves around 30 to Deslauriers and for a limited time, Dwayne Roloson.