Currently on the roster including the return of injured Josh Green thier will be 21 players next training camp competing for 13 spots. It seems at the moment that at least 11 are a lock with 8 forwards fighting it out for the two remaining positions. At the end of the regular season the line up should look something like this.
Line #1 Green/Zholtok – Weight – Cleary
Line #2 Smyth – Comrie – Carter
Line #3 Moreau – Marchant – Grier
Line #4 Horcoff – Murray – Laraque
Spare – Pittis
However next year you throw in this list of players and things become a lot more crowded.
RW/LW Michel Riesen,
LW Jani Rita,
C Brian Swanson,
RW/C Paul Comrie,
C Jason Chimera,
C Peter Sarno,
LW Tony Salmelainen
Of the remaining six it seems Michel Riesen has the best chance of making the squad since the Oilers have a need for winger with goal scoring ability. Zholtok and Pittis may both be pushed aside by younger players since both are good utility players neither have the ability to command regular duty. Zholtok and Pittis could be both moved for defensive depth or picks and allow Green and Riesen to take thier spots and have the remainder return to Hamilton for a year without hurting the deveopment of the players or the team.
The battles between the players to make the club will be interesting for the media and fans and difficult for the coaches and managment since thier decisions could alter the direction of the organization over the next couple seasons. But everyone involved can take heart that the core of the team will guide the young players along the bumpy road that is a NHL season.