This is Trail, BC's Shawn Horcoff. My favourite Oiler.
Shawn Horcoff comes across as a great teammate in this article. Truly an ambassador for the youth on this team. Seems like a player who wants to remain an Oiler; despite the fact the Oilers were trying to replace him with a 35 year old Michael Nylander this past summer, and despite the fact the Oilers were publicly questioning his offensive skills at training camp, using Gagner and Cogliano on the top line. His hockey skills are also vastly under-appreciated by a large number of Oiler fans. Shawn Horcoff recently spoke of the Oilers recent success and how he's dealt with it.
"This would have been a lot of worse if they weren't playing as well as they are," Horcoff said. "On the flip side, you know how exciting big games are, that's what you live for."
"But I haven't missed many of the games. It's tougher for me not to watch. I know some guys just can't stand it, and I have tried not watching, but that doesn't work for me," he continued. "I need to know what's going on.
"I have to be at home, and I have a certain seat I sit on I even try and have the kids in bed because I just want to focus on the game. I am still emotionally attached. I feel like a big part of the team even though I'm not on the ice playing."
There are several options for Lowe:
a) Extend Horcoff for a short term (3 years). Here, the Oilers would have to compensate Horcoff for the lower security. Range: 5.75-6.25M/year.
b) Extend Horcoff for a bit longer (4-7 years). Gives the player long term security. The Oilers would be bearing the risk of injury in the 1 year period prior to the extension begin date. Range: 4.5-5.75M. Inverse relationship between salary and number of years.
c) Do nothing this summer. Shawn Horcoff has another year of his contract remaining. Take a wait and see approach to see how Horcoff rebounds to his pre-surgery state. This possibility also requires the Oilers to bear some risk - should Horcoff perform to the level comparable to last season, his market value will rise as opposed to his market value today. This strategy may eerily follow the footprints of the Ryan Smyth saga - a player playing his way out of an Oiler uniform after the team couldn't settle on an agreement.
d) Fully go prepared into the season with no intention of re-signing Horcoff. Here, you are under the impression that Gagner can handle 20 minutes/night and you will find a cheaper/better replacement for Horcoff in the UFA market in the summer of 2009. This option is so idiotic, I'm not going to waste further time on it.
I'm not really concerned about giving Horcoff a long term contract. He has a strong character, in which you know he will be giving a full effort 82 games + playoffs. He is also one of the fittest NHLers who had up to this point in his career, excluding this season, remained flawlessly healthy. This may be attributed to his strong dedication to off-season training, as this excerpt reads:
Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff has foregone summer vacations for the last four years to take part in Goodman's workouts. He is starting to challenge Chris Chelios for the circuit-training title.
You wonder if his strong dedication/commitment to the game rubbed off in a good way to fellow linemate, Ales Hemsky.
Today's Journal Article sheds some light on Hemsky's recent changes in the off-season:
This was also the first year Hemsky made a commitment to an off-season training program that revolved around hockey specific workouts rather than his usual soccer and roller hockey sessions. The result was a stronger, more explosive player.
WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO?
I was clearly in the (b) camp early on. The shoulder injury at least provokes some question as to whether Lowe should wait until say, November, before extending Horcoff [option (c)]. It will be interesting to see whether Lowe sticks to his original publicly displayed plan of getting Horcoff extended this summer.
Does the shoulder surgery change anything? Should it?
What would YOU do, if you were in Lowe's shoes?