SUN Hockey Pool

Season of discontent

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

Matt Greene: Playing out of position as a top four defenceman for much of the year. Terrible plus-minus. But accepted enormous responsibility for a 23-year-old sophomore on a bad team. (C)

Ladislav Smid: Great poise for a 21-year-old rookie. Shows flashes of being an outstanding defenceman some day. In a situation where some kids might have folded, he didn't. (B)

Shawn Horcoff: Not very good offensively, on a team where nobody was. At minus-22, wasn't very good defensively. Helped the PK into the top 10 and sets good example for young players in professionalism and commitment, but that's not enough. (D)

Raffi Torres: With 15 goals and only minus-7, his numbers weren't as ghastly as some. But had long, long droughts, was prone to the dumb mistake and wasn't nearly as physical as he could have been. (D+)

Joffrey Lupul: People have been trying to make excuses for him all year, but, to his credit, he hasn't. He's been awful and he knows he's been awful. He owned up to it, took the criticism like a man and you have to believe he'll work harder this summer than he ever has in his life. (F)

Jarret Stoll: It's no coincidence that the team collapsed when he got hurt. Missed 31 games and still finished fourth in scoring. (A)

Marty Reasoner: Expectations aren't terribly high for the fourth-line centre, but he might have fallen a little short of them. (C-)

Toby Petersen: Versatile and inexpensive, he doesn't hurt you. But at times it was difficult to see what he did to help. (C-)

Jason Smith: Looked like he was running a day care out there. He's not supposed to be a team's No.1 defenceman. Battled hard, but needs help. (B)

Steve Staios: Played with a bad knee all year. (I) for injured.

Jan Hejda: Another promising defenceman. (C).

Brad Winchester: Wasn't given much of a chance, but he could have been a lot more involved physically. (C-)

Patrick Thoresen: He made the team on the premise of being an offensive threat, then scored only three goals. (F)

Fernando Pisani: Makes more than a third-line, two-way player should. But he earned that contract by getting Edmonton to Game 7 of the final last year. Four goals off last season's total and minus-2, given his ice time over 77 games with this team, is very good. (C+)

J.F. Jacques: It took Zack Stortini five minutes to carve a niche for himself as a fiery, physical, combative fourth-liner. J.F. wouldn't do it in 40 games. (F)

Zack Stortini: The Oilers have been searching for a pot-stirrer like this for years. Needs to back it up a little more, although going with Derek Boogaard separates him from the likes of Matt Cooke. (B)

Petr Sykora: Great start, abysmal finish (seven goals since Christmas). Played hurt,in games that didn't matter. But has to be able to produce when he's not playing with Ales Hemsky. (C-)

Tom Gilbert: If he's this good now, thrust into a terrible situation with no experience, imagine when he has a couple of years under his belt. Best plus-minus on the team over the last 12 games. (B+)

Marc Pouliot: Amateur scouts have him pegged as an offensive guy, which he hasn't been. But minus-1 in 46 games with this team is a good sign. (C)

Ales Hemsky: Flat out fun to watch. Can also be frustrating as heck, with the turnovers and refusal to shoot. He's a rare talent and he makes others around him better (ask Sykora), but there's no such thing as an elite star with 13 goals. (B)

Jussi Markkanen: Got pretty stale watching Roloson pile up the starts. Not terribly reliable at times. (C-)

Dwayne Roloson: Edmonton's most consistent and most valuable player. Had off-nights here and there, as all goalies do, but on a team with many question marks, netminding was never one of them. (B+)

Kevin Lowe, GM: Did he get the highest possible return for Chris Pronger, the best defenceman in hockey at the time? Could he have managed the Ryan Smyth situation better, and did he get the highest possible returns when negotiations fell through? Did he do enough during the season to improve a struggling team? No, no and no. Maybe, in a few years, Lupul, Smid and the kids they get for Smyth will be impact players and we'll come back and amend his grade. Until then: (D)

Craig MacTavish, head coach: You could put Toe Blake behind the bench and give him Scotty Bowman and Jacques Lemaire as assistants and they still couldn't lug this lineup into the Stanley Cup playoffs. But did he get the most out of Torres? Or Lupul? Or Winchester? Or Horcoff? Or Pisani? Or Thoresen. Or Petersen? Too soft on veterans, too hard on young players, when maybe it should have been the other way around. (C-)

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GRADING KEY

A - Star player meeting expectations. Very good player playing above expectations. Average/role player playing well above expectations.

B - Very good player meeting expectations. Average/role player playing above expectations. Star player playing below expectations.

C - Average/role player meeting expectations. Very good player playing below expectations. Star player playing well below expectations.

D - Average/role player playing below expectations. Very good player playing well below expectations. Star player playing badly.

F - Average/role player playing well below expectations. Very good player playing badly. Star player playing horribly.


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