October 19 2011 07:41AM
It looks like the Oilers will be sending a defenseman to OKC sometime this week. Ryan Whitney played more than expected last night, Potter is emerging as a legit top 6 option and the blue has worn better than expected through the early stages of the season. Which defender should be sent down?
Jeff Petry is the obvious candidate--he won't have to clear waivers--and in light of the Detroit articles I've recently posted it would seem he would be the best choice. Advanced stats tells us that he's playing 2nd pairing competition 5x5, he has a CorsiRel that ranks him ahead of Cameron Barker and an offenzive zone start of 52% (second easiest on the team to Barker).
I still wouldn't send him back. Reason? He's about to turn 24 years old (that's mature for a player just past his 35th NHL game and a future) and there's no real reason to send him away. The advanced stats quoted from our friend Gabe Desjardins at behindthenet.ca are from a small sample size and don't really give a clear picture of the player.
Here's a look at Petry's NHL numbers from last season:
Jeff Petry 10-11
- 5x5 points per 60: 0.21 (8th among Oil D)
- 5x4 points per 60: 1.67 (5th among Oil D)
- Qual Comp: 5th toughest among D
- Qual Team: 7th best available among D
- Corsi Rel: 2.0 (tied for 4th best among D)
- Zone Start: 49.1% (3rd toughest among D)
- Zone Finish: 50.5% (5th best among D)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 41 shots/1 goal 2.4% (7th among Oil D)
- Boxcars: 35gp, 1-4-5
- Plus Minus: -12 on a team that was -52
If you're looking down the road a little, Petry's a player the Oilers need to develop and he's had plenty of time below the NHL to mature. 103 USHL games, 118 in the NCAA, 49 in the AHL and now 38 in the show. A RH setup of Gilbert, Potter and Petry looks pretty good from here, giving the club a chance to ice three guys capable of playing the right side without getting in there own way.
They could risk waivers on Teddy Peckman (he's been poor) but that seems unlikely. I've wondered about his health (when NHL players have their performance fall off this badly it's often injury) but that doesn't appear to be an issue. The other option is Barker, a man who is slower than we might have thought from a distance.
No really. Who goes?
Petry. It's a damn shame, he deserves to stay on age, experience and merit. But there you go. There's an outside chance they flush a forward like Lander, but that just prolongs the inevitable (Gagner's coming back too).