It's easy to underestimate the value of Shawn Horcoff.

Not always wise, but easy.

Because the guy makes too much money, right? Way too much. And he isn't really a first-line centre, right? Not with those point totals. That's generally the extent of the argument.

So the Edmonton Oilers crest Horcoff wears proudly might as well be a bull's-eye for all the direct hits he takes even when playing well, and particularly when he isn't. The offensive numbers he puts up don't mesh with those on his paycheque and never will.

But there is value way beyond the goals and assists, even beyond his obvious prowess as a penalty killer, faceoff man and two-way player. Oilers fans found that out yet again this week, when Horcoff came back with a bang from a bout with bronchitis that cost him two games and apparently brought Ales Hemsky and Nikolai Khabibulin with him, giving the Oilers a potent top line and impenetrable starting goalie again. Oh yeah, and a fourth line that would bang and crash and create momentum, too.