Tangled Up In Blue

Lowetide
October 10 2011 10:00AM

The Oilers defense performed well enough last night to secure an OT win in G1 of the 11-12 season. Plenty of chaos and things to work on, but overall the 6 showed grit, shot blocking ability, strength along the boards and did a good job of staying in lanes. Down in OKC, there was a lot of blood on the tracks. Opening night for the Oilers at the pro level exposed a distinct lack of depth along the blue. Who knew? Everyone.

 

Jeff Petry had a solid game last night in Edmonton, but he was badly missed by the Barons. In losing 7-0 in their opening night, OKC ran the following tandems most of the night:

  • Bryan Helmer-Ryan Lowery
  • Alex Plante-Colten Teubert
  • Johan Motin-Kirill Tulupov

Helmer/Lowery finished the night -2, Plante/Teubert -1 and Motin/Tulupov even. Plante had 7 pims and it looks like much of the night was spent penalty killing for the Barons.

There's very little experience on the Barons defense currently, and the experience that is there is somewhat aged. Here's a breakdown of last night's defense by age and pro experience:

  • Helmer: 39 years old; 146 NHL games; 1024 AHL games
  • Plante: 22 years old; 7 NHL games; 122 AHL games.
  • Motin: 21 year old; 1 NHL game; 89 AHL games; 14 ECHL games.
  • Teubert: 21 years old; 0 NHL games- 59 AHL games; 18 ECHL games.
  • Lowery: 23 years old; last night was his pro debut after 4 NCAA seasons.
  • Tulupov: 23 years old; last night was his NA pro debut.

There's no one in the heart of their career, no Corey Potter or Jeff Woywitka. The Oilers have to address defense soon, which could mean sending Potter down or risking waivers on Chorney. Or it could mean a minor league trade.

The Oilers are trying to develop Colten Teubert, Alex Plante and others while also developing a plethora of young forwards in OKC. The blueline and improved performance in OKC have been issues for some time: both Robin Brownlee and Jonathan Willis have written on it at ON and Bob Stauffer recently tweeted the following:

  • The Oilers are a bit thin at both NHL and AHL levels. Moving an AHL depth forward for an AHL D may be doable.

After last night, I think the Oilers might want to upgrade "doable" to "imminent." A quality pro defender capable of helping this team--in exchange for a forward--seems a likely transaction for the Barons this week.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#51 Shane
October 10 2011, 10:46PM
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Has Horcoff lost a step or what? Wow! He looks like an old man out there. I think we are seeing the most expensive 4th line/second unit PK hunched over and laboring around the ice. I guess for the next 2 years that's OK, cause we are not too concerned about paying these young stars. 3 years from now he will be a problem. By the way where can Gagner play on this team? RNH- 1rst line centre, Belanger 2nd line center, Lander 3rd line center, and old man Horc #4. that is the way this team should look this year. Find a team that will give a 3-4 d-man for Gagner and another depth forward and let the good times roll.

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#52 Wax Man Riley
October 10 2011, 10:54PM
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@Shane

Where did I hear a rumor that Horc should be moved to the wing....?...

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#53 Wax Man Riley
October 10 2011, 10:56PM
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Or...

Trade Omark. For the good of both of us. He can get top 6 minutes, and we can free up a top 6 forward spot and get something in return.

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#54 mike
October 10 2011, 11:24PM
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Hi Lowetide..i wonder if many people get the bob dylan reference?..I love it!

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#55 Douche Nietzsche
October 11 2011, 02:11AM
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Hall, Hemsky and Hopkins is our 1st line and I believe it will be for most of the season.

Once Gagner comes back from his injury, he should be moved to the wing. Belanger between Gagner and Eberle would make for a good line in my opinion.

It is only a matter of time/games before the 3Swedes are a line.

Leaving Horcoff on the 4th with Smyth and Jones.

;-')

Now to watch Patty Duke and Peter Fonda guest star in the latest episode of Hawaii Five-0 "Mea Makamae".

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#56 chartleys
October 11 2011, 04:29AM
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RE Omark:

Stop trading him. Plz. I do not want the answer to the question being Craig Millar and Barry Moore.

depth in OKC is going to have to be bandaided with AHL contract.

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#57 Charlie Huddy
October 11 2011, 05:21AM
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I'm confused... Where did the boobies go?

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#58 Jon
October 11 2011, 07:09AM
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When all healthy, the OKC defence looks like this:

Potter-Chorney Helmer-Lowery Teubert-Plante Tulupov

Is that really a weak defence? Two experienced vets, one experienced prospect, two first round picks, and one rookie in your top six. Basically, only Lowery hasn't had experience playing top four minutes at the AHL level, the other 5 defenceman all have, and at least 3 of them having played top pairing. That is not a weak AHL defensive core.

Be patient, there is no need for changes to our AHL D.

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#59 Lochenzo
October 11 2011, 09:50AM
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Maybe OKC needs a puckmoving Dman. A guy who can skate and pass the puck out of the defensive zone. Dave Manson was a good Edmonton Dman, but played his best with Norm MacIver, a guy that could get the puck out of the zone for this pairing.

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#60 Shane
October 11 2011, 10:06AM
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I can't see the Oilers moving Horc to the wing, who is he going to replace? Hall- Hemsky, Smyth-Eberle, PRV-Omark, Jones- Eager/Hordichuk et al. Omark and Jones would be the only wingers that he might be a better complete player than, however Omark is better offensively and his line mates (the other Sweds are more than capable of covering defensively). As far as Jones he is a 4th line winger, bangs and crashes. I doubt the Oilers are going to put their captain on the 4th line and move him to the wing. Can't get any lower on the depth chart than to lose your position and fall to 4th line.

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#62 madjam
October 11 2011, 10:30AM
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We could use a booming shot from the point and another good rushing defenceman . Since Souray and Visnovsky are not with us , i suggest we pool our resources for Shea Weber and forget about other weakling defencemen . Horc is Horc just way overpaid for what he can still bring to club . Smyth another aging overpaid addition but still useable . Depth,size and toughness is now in system and just needs to develop swiftly . If present youth produce swiftly , then we have a good shot at playoff run this season despite obvious flaws in lineup .

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#63 FastOil
October 11 2011, 10:32AM
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I don't like Chorney for the Oilers, but see this as a waste of an asset.

If he's good enough to not clear waivers, he has some value. I feel like this is poor planning and asset management.

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#64 CanaDave
October 11 2011, 11:23AM
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I'd hope that Oilers management had a pretty good idea that Chorney would be claimed when they put him on waivers. Maybe they did so to be able to take on an extra contract in a trade sooner or later but with the Oilers having been so high on acquiring draft picks in the last 2 seasons, you'd think they would have just moved Chorney out for a 5th or 6th round pick. Not that I think trading a 2nd round pick for a 6th round pick is a move in the right direction, but it's better to me than losing something for nothing.

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#65 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 11 2011, 11:26AM
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FastOil wrote:

I don't like Chorney for the Oilers, but see this as a waste of an asset.

If he's good enough to not clear waivers, he has some value. I feel like this is poor planning and asset management.

STL has a d-man down. Instead of calling up a guy like Syvret they took someone of equal value to him off waivers. I suspect when Colaiacovo is back, Chorney is back on waivers.

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#66 Matt Henderson
October 11 2011, 11:26AM
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@FastOil

Sometimes theres no way around it. Better players than Chorney have passed through waivers this year already. If Whitney had been healthy I'm sure Chorney would have gone down with no problems a week ago.

Instead he sticks around just long enough to be sent down right when the Blues are putting another defender on the IR.

Is it bad asset management? The only other choice was to send a superior defender in Petry to OKC instead. That seems like a far worse option than losing a fringe player from the organization.

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#67 FastOil
October 11 2011, 11:28AM
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madjam wrote:

We could use a booming shot from the point and another good rushing defenceman . Since Souray and Visnovsky are not with us , i suggest we pool our resources for Shea Weber and forget about other weakling defencemen . Horc is Horc just way overpaid for what he can still bring to club . Smyth another aging overpaid addition but still useable . Depth,size and toughness is now in system and just needs to develop swiftly . If present youth produce swiftly , then we have a good shot at playoff run this season despite obvious flaws in lineup .

Do we want one? It seems like a waste of a good draft year to me with little to gain from it.

I'd rather see strategic, well taken preparation and planning to have that run next season. Good trades, smart signings etc., the best use of assets, no player wasted.

I would like to see depth in the org. rebalanced and evened out, eg. about the same number and quality of RW and LW, RD and LD, and players promoted when ready, the ones being replaced traded for more assets.

Like good teams do.

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#68 FastOil
October 11 2011, 12:29PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

Archaeologuy & Ogden

So a smart team took a guy off waivers to avoid losing a player they have to waivers?

Could the Oilers have done same? I might be wrong but it seems they have real strategic issues with waivers and certain players.

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#69 Matt Henderson
October 11 2011, 12:47PM
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@FastOil

Yup. Could have, but the injuries are probably why it didnt happen. The Oilers injuries were short term. If guys were put on the LTIR then i bet someone would have been claimed.

But there was no way around this, and it really isnt a big deal. Chorney is not a good player. For St Louis he was the first available warm body. Thats it.

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#70 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 11 2011, 12:58PM
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Can't believe someone actually cares about this. Better players have made it through waivers in the past, and will make it through in the future.

The only issue will be if we don't use our priority waiver status to claim a superior defensmen then Chorney.

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#71 madjam
October 11 2011, 02:36PM
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Chorney never really panned out for us , and unlikely to for anybody else as well . We should be able to replace his value internally and or the waiver wire as well , and it won't take much for that to be an upgrade from Chorney to begin with . Maybe he'll blossom elsewhere - i doubt it .

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#72 Peterborough
October 11 2011, 07:35PM
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I liked Taylor Chorney and wanted him to be a guy we could use and had high hopes for him. There is a some potential there. However he seems to be not quite ready. St. Louis has had sucess with guys like Coliaccovo so maybe this will be where he puts it together.

Good luck TC.

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