2011 Grads (G & D)

Lowetide
March 13 2011 09:13AM

The Edmonton Oilers have a large number of young men ready to graduate. Pro hockey is the next step, they've complete their studies and are ready to sign contracts. Next stop? Edmonton, Oklahoma City, Stockton. Or back to junior.

Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor and the Oiler scouting staff are certainly doing a fine job in the procurement department. It is beginning to create some (welcome) problems for the organization, notably where to put all of these young men who have proven themselves in junior. Below is a list--position by position--of the incumbents and the players who will be pushing them for playing time as early as this fall.

GOAL

  • Oilers: Devan Dubnyk is signed to a reasonable deal for 11-12 and then becomes a restricted free agent. Nikolai Khabibulin's contract is an albatross from which there is no escape. However, based on his performance this season, NK's roster spot may not be safe. The Oilers have to pay in full for the contract, but Khabibulin's 29 losses in 40 starts and his ,892 SP ranks him 67th of 83 NHL goalies this year.
  • Barons: Martin Gerber has played very well and is likely to get a more attractive offer than the Oilers are willing to give him. He might be an option for backup to DD but I suspect the team will want a younger player should they decide to go that route. Jeff Deslauriers is also a UFA this summer and there's every chance he pursues opportunities elsewhere. Dubnyk won the battle for the NHL job, and JDD has not played well in the AHL this season.
  • Thunder: Bryan Pitton has struggled with Stockton this season, although his AHL cup of coffee was more impressive. Pitton is an rfa this summer and I think the Oilers may walk away.
  • Graduating: QMJHL star Olivier Roy. His .910SP is tied for 5th in the QMJHL and Roy's resume makes him a no-brainer signing. I don't know what level he'll play at in 11-12, but it's a good bet Roy will spend at least some time in the AHL.
  • Current 11-12 depth chart: Dubnyk, NK. Two UFA's in JDD and Gerber plus RFA Pitton mean heavy turnover possible. Roy certain to sign with the Oilers and begin his pro career.

DEFENSE

  • Oilers: Whitney and Gilbert are at the top of the depth chart and are signed through 2013 and 2014 respectively. Kurtis Foster has one more year on his deal and Ladislav Smid is an rfa who will be signed over the summer. Kids we can assume will be here to stay in the fall are Theo Peckham and Jeff Petry. Taylor Chorney and Alex Plante are also in the mix, depending on what happens over the summer. The big club will lose Jim Vandermeer and Jason Strudwick to free agency unless signed; I think Vandermeer may return.
  • Barons: Richard Petioit is UFA but may re-sign with the Oilers on a 2-way deal. Aside from him some youngsters will get cut from the big club in the fall (among the group that is Peckham, Petry, Chorney and Plante). AHL names include Colten Teubert,  Kevin Montgomery and Johan Motin. Barons have Helmer signed for next season and will have a Jake Taylor type (or Taylor himself) back again. If we assume that all of Chorney, Plante, Teubert and Montgomery spend most of the season in OKC with possibly Petioit, Helmer and a Taylor type, there's not much room left for new hires. A guy like Motin--with a year left on his deal--may be looking Stockton square in the face this fall. Taylor Fedun, the recently signed NCAA grad, will also be a factor.
  • Thunder: Jordan Bendfeld is an rfa who has spent time in both OKC and Stockton, one expects he'll be signed. Motin is also in the mix for Stockton's blue.
  • Graduating: Huge college defender Kyle Bigos is just finishing up his sophomore year with Merrimack. He could turn pro, but has two more years of eligbility in the NCAA. Bigos' bruising style is likely better suited to the pro game, so it is possible the Oilers will sgn him this summer. Martin Marincin won't turn 20 until shortly after Valentine's day 2012, but is eligible to turn pro this fall. Based on his impressive WHL season my guess is the Oilers will sign him and Marincin will play in OKC. Brandon Davidson is winding down another solid year with the Pats, a season which saw him improve in all areas. Guy Flaming mentioned on Nation Radio yesterday he thought Davidson might stay, so there could be a chance he'll be in the WHL again next year. I don't believe Jeremie Blain is eligible to turn pro this fall (March 1992 birthday).
  • Current 11-12 depth chart: Whitney-Gilbert, Smid-Foster, Peckham-Petry for the Oilers. Chorney-Plante, Teubert-Montgomery, Helmer-Motin for the Barons. Bendfeld for the Thunder. It goes without saying that the free agent signings at the NHL and AHL level will push back the current depth chart before the fall.

From the group eligible to sign with the Oilers this fall, I believe G Olivier Roy, D Martin Marincin and D Brandon Davidson will turn pro. I'm less certain about Bigos, but history tells us that the Oilers will pursue him after his junior season if they believe he's a player. That was the approach the club took with both Matt Greene and Jeff Petry.

Next up: the forwards.

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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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#1 Steve Smith
March 13 2011, 02:30PM
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@John Chambers

We're still subject to Khabibulin's cap hit if he retires or plays in the minors - there's no burying him.

I'll say this again: that signing was a fireable offense.

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#2 Zed
March 13 2011, 09:27AM
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That current defence depth chart for the 11-12 made me puke in my mouth a little bit.

Lets hope ST has the moxy to make it a little stronger.

Ugh... I did it again.

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#3 esa tikkanen
March 13 2011, 02:00PM
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LT

Not sure if you noticed but Marincin has gone ice cold offensively the last month or so. I believe he had 52 points in 52 games and now has 52 in 63 games. Brandon Davidson has actually caught him for points and looks to pass him.

If I were the Oilers I would give him another year in junior to get used to the schedule, the language and the culture as he looks like he hit the wall big time. Seems like a high end talent and I would prefer to develop him properly rather than put him over his head in the AHL. It wouldn't hurt for him to put on some pounds and get used to the grind for one more year before throwing him to the wolves.

LT I was wondering your thoughts on Marincin compared to Alexei Semenov. What do you think went wrong with him and why did he not pan out? Big, physical, good skater, put up lots of points his last year in junior and one would think should have had the ability to make it as at least a second pairing in the NHL, yet he couldn;t even be a regular number 7.

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#6 RossCreekNation
March 13 2011, 11:42PM
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One way (sort of) out of Khabibulin deal would be re-entry waivers. Another team would have to pick him up at half price, while the Oil would still be on the hook for $1.875M each of the next 2 years. Possible, but I don't see it.

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#7 buffaloboy
March 13 2011, 09:23AM
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this is the fist thing i read this morning.

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#8 buttermilk buscuits free today
March 13 2011, 09:40AM
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If only the Oilers wouldve kept Greene, same goes for Stoll..As it turns out theyve got Whitney straight up for Stoll and Greene (after the visnovsky trade)..talk about a set back..

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#9 Oilcruzer
March 13 2011, 09:50AM
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Just blow it up and start over.

Oh. Darn.

DD and Khappy Stay up. Roy and whoever to da farm

Get a non flashy D Vet who can skate. Keep VandeMeer, cut Foster, make Struds a coach. More Petry and Chorney, Marincin to the farm.

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#10 Oilfan14
March 13 2011, 10:04AM
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What about Tyler Bunz of steel? Where does he fit in? Is he playing for The Hat again next year?

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#12 Rogue
March 13 2011, 10:24AM
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I would like to say goodbye to Foster. However, if they lose Vandemeer, we may be forced to keep him.

Ugh, I hope we see improvement in the rest of these guys and a healthy Whitney.

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#13 SumOil
March 13 2011, 11:04AM
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LT I wouldnt mind another year in the Whl for Davidson and Marincin. Davidson is improving constantly and I think another year with coaching staff at Whl might be better than a year in Echl, but i am no expert. Also Maarincin is showing signs of the schedule getting to him. So again another year in the same league might be better for him. He is also still pretty slight, so yeah I wont be opposed to the two of them being in the dub, considering there is a good chance they spend extended time in the Echl

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#14 Rabbit
March 13 2011, 11:55AM
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You forgot Mr Larsson,however u spell it. He will be in the fold somewhere watch and see. So will Tuebert and his nasty self. Honestly he is no worse than any of our current 5-6 D IMO and is going to impress at camp. U HEARD IT FROM THE RABBIT FIRST.

Going to breed now cya.

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#15 Quicksilver ballet
March 13 2011, 12:27PM
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Outside of LT's 6 pack, Tambellini should be making an effort to move out anything that's worth something and get another shot in the top five this summer. Things have never been this dismal here before, time to make our own luck by adding two of these four kids who for the most part are ready now. With Hemsky,Gagner,Brule,Smid and that Kings first rounder avilable it's time to add two more bodies to that six pack instead of just one.

Patience my arse, we need to see a little more light at the end of the tunnel sooner rather than later.

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#16 speeds
March 13 2011, 12:54PM
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I think Davidson and/or Marincin might see their futures tied to EDM's 1st round pick.

If the Oilers go with Larsson, and keep him in the NHL, it's possible that might shove a D like Chorney back to the AHL who they'd otherwise keep in the NHL.

Additionally, Chorney is waiver eligible, and traditionally the Oilers haven't seemed to like risking waivers on a player they think still has NHL potential.

Whitney Gilbert Foster Smid Petry Peckham Larsson/Chorney

That look something like what you expect to see next fall LT? Not to be confused with what you'd like to see?

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#18 John Chambers
March 13 2011, 01:14PM
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Washington is going to have to do something this summer with their 3 goalies. I'm very bullish on Dubnyk, but I like the idea of having two young goalie studs pushing each other. Maybe we can deal LA's first along someone peripheral for Varlamov.

NK gets his contract buried in the minors. If we're lucky he decides that he's too old for this sh*t and just retires. Remember, he has made over $30M over the last 6 years - after a summer in jail he might just want to sit on a beach next winter.

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#19 speeds
March 13 2011, 01:36PM
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@Lowetide

LT:

If I were the Oilers I would consider switching from 14F/7D to 13F/8D next season.

They've got enough decent AHL F depth, IMO, and enough guys on two way deals or guys they can bring up and down freely and take looks at. Especially if they bring a guy like Giroux back, and is they continue to employ a couple of expensive proven AHL vets at F.

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#21 alborticus
March 13 2011, 02:47PM
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LT,

Where do you think Taylor Fedun, our most recent FA signing, fits into the chart for 11-12? I've heard he was sought after by a number of teams, is that true?

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#23 JohnQPublic
March 13 2011, 04:53PM
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LT:

What do you think the possibility of the Oil signing some "high-grade" UFA help this summer? All those draft picks and cap space have to be burning a hole in ST's pocket.

Do you think he's going to stay with the building program exclusively, or sign at least one name this summer?

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#24 John Chambers
March 13 2011, 05:32PM
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@Steve Smith

Thanks - didn't know the cap hit applied if he retired, but I suppose it does given his age.

Regardless, I think there's a unique opportunity to pry a young goalie out of the Caps system, and would like to see the Oil make a move to solidify this position long-term sooner rather than later.

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#25 Quintana
March 13 2011, 08:32PM
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Lowetide wrote:

speeds: Makes sense. I think the Oilers will sign Vandermeer but are also likely to deal Foster to the SE division.

Even if Chorney makes the team as 7D, this is a team that has plenty of injury possibilities from G1 of the season on.

Hey Lowetide....Do you think Tambo is gonna go after a big veteran D this summer?ala.Jovanovski,Ehrhoff or Bieksa just for name some......

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#26 kdunbar
March 13 2011, 10:28PM
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@Steve Smith

absolutely we are...

http://proicehockey.about.com/od/learnthegame/a/nhl_salary_cap.htm

See "The "35-and-Older" Clause"

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#27 Steve Smith
March 13 2011, 11:35PM
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@kdunbar

Um, that's what I said.

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#28 soxandoil
March 14 2011, 06:11PM
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What about the possibility of drafting Benjamin Conz this year? He looked great playing for the Swiss at the world jrs.

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