Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/22/13
Over the last week I've taken a look at who will be the Oilers fourth line centre and which players are likely to grab the last couple of spots on defence. I find it a little strange that there are so few jobs up for grabs on a team that honestly wasn't very good last season but for better or worse that's the way it is. Looking at the tweets and some of the stories coming out of training camp so far I think there might be one other job that is being contested at camp this season and that's the job of the Oilers tough guy a role that will be filled by either Mike Brown or Ben Eager. Before I go too far here I feel that I should make it clear that I have not suddenly changed my feelings on the value of enforcers. I still think they're useless in every way and I will go buy a beer or use the opportunity to skip the bathroom line every time a staged fight happens at an Oilers game this season. But my personal feeling aside it is a roster spot that is potentially up for grabs and one that depending who gets it might tell us a little something about the type of team Dallas Eakins wants to put on the ice. In the battle for this job the inside track almost certainly belongs to Brown right now. Brown was acquired by the Oilers last season in a trade for a fourth round pick. Brown played in 23 game for the Oilers following the trade recording one goal to go along with 53 penalty minutes. Included in those 53 penalty minutes were seven fighting majors a total which amazingly constitutes more than half of the Oilers fighting majors last season a remarkable accomplishment for a player who dressed for just less than half of the team's games. If it's not already clear Mike Brown is not a hockey player. But if you look at any roster prediction for the Oilers and you'll see him occupying either a spot on the fourth line or listed as a spare forward; either way he's getting pain NHL money to play hockey. Going into training camp I assumed this would be the case as well and really had no intention of writing this post because I didn't see any way Brown wouldn't be here and that meant Eager would simply pick up where he finished off last season playing in Oklahoma City. Nothing more to talk about. But a couple of things have happened since then that make me think that Brown might not be the forgone roster choice that we all thought he was. The first was Eager's arrival at camp. As noted by several members of Edmonton's MSM Eager came to camp about 15lbs lighter than he had in previous years. (It's interesting that being in shape is a story but being overweight isn't.) Now I don't know that conditioning was an issue for Eager in the past but if this is a sign that he's in better shape than previous years it could certainly help him get in good with Eakins who is borderline nuts when it comes to fitness.
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