February 06 2012 08:37PM
In August of last season, the Edmonton Oilers hired a Sutter. This is the equivalent of a Hatfield sitting down with a McCoy.
Duane Sutter joins the other Oiler pro scouts in searching the universe for useful plug and players. In the calendar year 2011, Edmonton's pro scouts would have been (at a guess) responsible for giving their input on the following players:
- minor league prospect Colten Teubert
- AHL defenseman Kevin Montgomery
- Finnish winger Lennart Petrell
- Finnish winger Antti Tyrvainen
- AHL forward Ryan Keller
- NHL defender Andy Sutton
- AHL defender Corey Potter
- NHL enforcer Darcy Hordichuk
- NHL winger Ben Eager
- NHL defenseman Cam Barker
- NHL center Eric Belanger
- AHL goalie Yann Danis
I didn't include Taylor Fedun but he could have been scouting by the pro side of the staff too. The Oilers coaching staff found a useful PK winger in the Finn Petrell and a defender in Corey Potter. By any stretch, those two additions have outperformed their initial cost. Future possibles include another Finn (Tyrvainen) and another AHL defenseman (Teubert).
This trade deadline and the summer will be even more important for the organization. The team once again needs defensemen, and there will probably be increased importance placed on goaltending. Devan Dubnyk is not established as an NHL starter and the Oilers will no doubt look to add to their "top 4" of Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry.
ATTENTION PRO SCOUTS
Now I know Morey Gare and the Oilers pro scouts don't spend their days golfing, this photo is an attempt at humor. I can't imagine how thankless scouting games must be--watching hockey games is a blast but the travel is insane and the hotels aren't that pretty.
TARGET NUMBER ONE: BEN BISHOP
This is Ben Bishop. He is a quality AHL goaltender (SP is top 3 in the league) and will be a free agent this summer unless an NHL team (Edmonton?) can get him into enough games before season's end. Bishop is 6.07, 215 and at 25 has enough college and pro experience to be considered ready to challenge for NHL employment.
I don't know the asking price, but St. Louis looks set in goal and will no doubt have a shopping list at the deadline. Edmonton might be a match. Bishop's scouting report is somewhat similar to Dubnyk's and the club will need to find their goalie of the future (if it isn't Dubnyk) sooner than later.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
A few things. This kicks off the trade deadline primers and this time around it'll be all about what is out there. We have mulled over the names heading out of town since Christmas. It's time to look at useful items the Oilers can bring in at the deadline.
It also opens up the conversation in regard to Devan Dubnyk's ability to be a number one NHL goaltender. I've long been a fan of his game (dating back to Kamloops) and do believe he is a solid young goalie. However, the Oilers need certainty in net and DD is inconsistent and reaching an age when he'll be too old to have that word as part of his resume and be considered a top option.
Ben Bishop is an inexpensive possible replacement and because of his unique situation (pending free agency unless he plays a certain number of NHL games combined with playing for an NHL team that has the position covered) it gives the Oilers a window of opportunity.
Up next: a defenseman flying under the radar who could help next season.