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What to do with the Oilers' forwards - Passed Them By

Goodnight, sweetheart
Well. it's time to go
Goodnight, sweetheart
Well, it's time to go
I hate to leave you, but I really must say
Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight

-- Calvin Carter and James "Pookie" Hudson

Ethan Moreau

#18 / Left Wing / Edmonton Oilers



Sep 22, 1975

2009 - Ethan Moreau 42 4 4 8 -2 38 0 0 1 0 76 5.3


Some players handle age gracefully.  Their roles change, but they remain effective to the end.  Mike Modano, Joe Sakic, Dave Andreychuk were all real NHL players to the end.  Other players reach a certain age and their play falls off of a cliff.  Ethan Moreau is one of those. 

I've been criticized for being far too hard on Ethan Moreau.  I've slammed him for his play and his leadership and I think I've done so in a fair context.  Moreau's game has fallen apart.  He was last effective in 2006.  Age, injury and degradation of his already limited skills have meant that Moreau is ineffective even as a fourth line player now.  This year he's 13/13 in scoring chance differential, last in chances against and leads only Zack Stortini in chances for.  He's 12/13 in Corsi, and 12/13 in relative Corsi.  He's 9/13 in QualComp and 2/13 in QualTeam.  He's 6/13 in offensive zone faceoffs. For those who know about his awful habit of taking key penalties, league-wide he's 367/383 in penalties taken to penalties drawn differential, trailing only Koci, Janssen, Ivanans, Voros, Boogaard, Mayers, Godard, Brashear, Artyukhin, Orr, Peters, Barch and Kotalik.  He takes and draws penalties at around the same rate as the worst of the worst goons in the league.

Moreau makes $2,000,000 a year and he's overpaid by $1,400,000.  Any team in the league can get similar or better numbers out of AHL replacements, and the Oilers have this season in Ryan Potulny.  Moreau should not be an Oiler on July 2nd, 2010.  Steve Tambellini should take whatever he can get for Moreau, even if he has to give a bit, at the trade deadline.  If that's not possible, he should explore a buyout on July 1st.

Fernando Pisani

#34 / Right Wing / Edmonton Oilers



Dec 27, 1976

2009 - Fernando Pisani 7 0 0 0 -2 8 0 0 0 0 5 0.0


This one hurts.  Fernando has been robbed of his last three seasons by a broken ankle and a disease that everyday people struggle to cope with, let alone a highest-level athlete like Pisani.  It hurts because Pisani had turned himself into an even strength outscorer and a penalty-killing demon.  It hurts because all that he brings to a team is exactly what the Oilers have lacked for three years.  It hurts because we remember him at his best, the spring where he could communicate with Joe Sakic's people, and nearly carried the Oilers to a cup. It hurts because Pisani played like a demon last night, but we'll never know if he can maintain that level of play because of his health.  And it hurts because he's an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and that either: a) The Oilers will overpay him for his health status; b) Pisani will be forced to accept a very low contract offer because of health status; or c) the Pisani and the Oilers can't come to an agreement and he will not end his career in Edmonton.

Pisani is making $2,500,000 this year and will need a new contract in July.  Pisani still has game left but a GM can never rely on him  If he were to come back to Edmonton next year for a minimal cost, I don't think anyone would be upset about that.  When healthy, he fits in the middle six that the Oilers lack.  When injured, $800,000 of cap space matters a whole lot less than $2,500,000 and is quite manageable.  Pisani deserves a chance to start and finish his career as an Oiler.