Shocking Blue

Lowetide
March 09 2012 07:25AM

Oscar Klefbom had a strong World Junior tournament and played another season in the pro Swedish Elite League. Klefbom even scored a couple of goals right at season's end to eclipse last year's boxcars. Now, the young man--regarded as the top blueline prospect in the Oilers system--will have to hurdle many, many older kids hoping for the same thing: a pro contract this summer.

  

The number of blueline prospects who are going to push for pro roster spots this fall is ridiculous. The Edmonton Oilers are going to have to make some decisions, maybe as early as this spring. They can trade some of the surplus, they can sign the graduating class and send the rest back to junior, college or Euro pro, or they can flush a bunch of pro hockey players currently on their 50 man list (and playing in the AHL) in favor of the new hires.

NHL DEFENSEMEN

  1. Ryan Whitney (signed through 2013 summer, then UFA)
  2. Nick Schultz (signed through 2014 summer, then UFA)
  3. Ladislav Smid (signed through 2013 summer, then UFA)
  4. Andy Sutton (signed through 2013 summer, then UFA)
  5. Cam Barker (RFA this summer)
  6. Jeff Petry (RFA this summer)
  7. Theo Peckham (RFA this summer)
  8. Corey Potter (signed through 2014 summer, then UFA)

There's obviously going to be some movement this off-season (the Oilers already made a move at the deadline) so at least a couple of these names should be flushed before September. A guess might be Barker and Peckham out, but we also know that the Oilers plan on bringing in at least one defensemen. Added to the roster pressure is the distinct possibility Edmonton will select a defender with their lottery selection. If they add Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart, where does that put all of these kids from junior, college and European leagues?

 

SIGNED MINOR LEAGUE DEFENSEMEN

  1. Colten Teubert (signed through 2014 summer, then RFA)
  2. Taylor Fedun (signed through 2014 summer, then RFA)
  3. Alex Plante (RFA)
  4. Taylor Chorney (RFA)

Oilers have a few interesting young defensemen on AHL contracts--the crazy Russian Kirill Tulupov, for one--and they may factor in at some point, However, for the sake of conversation, let's assume the 12 names listed here are the incumbents heading into summer.  The Oilers current 50 Man Reserve List has 14 defensemen listed, down one from Johan Motin's departure early this season. If Edmonton keeps Whitney, Smid, Schultz, Sutton, Petry, Potter and the 4 AHL defenders that's 10 in total. Throw in the one defenseman Steve Tambellini plans to add to the NHL roster and the roster crunch is a real item.

 

THE BACK END 12-13

Let's approach this starting with those most likely to turn pro based on age and expiring eligibilty in their current league. There's one man who already has his entry level deal (Marincin) so it's a good guess he's going to get his ticket stamped to pro hockey in the fall.

  1. Brandon Davidson: He's 21 in August and won't be junior eligible in 2012-13. Edmonton will either sign him, trade him or walk away. Davidson's numbers (64, 13-34-47 +22) and the scouting reports I've heard suggest that he is a legit prospect.
  2. Kyle Bigos: Big man turns 23 in May and is having a solid year at Merrimack of the NCAA (31, 4-13-17). Bigos does have another season of college eligibility and the club may decide to keep him outside pro hockey for another year.
  3. Martin Marincin: Entry level contract has already been signed, he'll turn pro this fall. 54, 11-27-38 -4 and closing strong in Regina, Marincin is one of the big blueliners Edmonton is very excited about moving forward.
  4. Jeremie Blain: It sounds insane, but the depth is so impressive at this position there might be a chance that Blain plays another season in the QMJHL (he turns 20 in 2 weeks). 54, 9-39-48 +26 and the scouting reports say nice things about him.
  5. Oscar Klefbom: No pressure to bring him over and put him in the AHL/NHL, but the club probably wants to sign him and take away any possible draft re-entry for 2013. 33, 2-0-2 -1 for his SEL season, he was staring at goose eggs all season before punching through. I have no idea if they'll sign him, but do believe there's a chance they leave the top D prospect in Sweden next year while breaking in (at least) a trio of youngsters in the AHL.
  6. Martin Gernat: 55, 8-40-48 +38 is incredible production for a 5th round pick and he's still over a year from his 20th birthday. He should be back in Edmonton playing with the Oil Kings in the fall, although it does appear he could qualify for AHL action as early as this fall. The money quote is "Players drafted from European and NCAA leagues aren't held to these terms" and the Oilers selected him out of Kosice of the Czech juniors. Scouting reports are exceptional. **I'd love input into this item, because I'm not 100% certain I'm reading this correctly.
  7. David Musil:  Musil plays a very mature game for his age and anyone observing him during the WJ's knows how much he's capable of doing defensively. 56, 5-19-24 +13 with Vancouver of the WHL. Musil's only chance to turn pro is as an Edmonton Oiler, so he is not a signing priority over the summer.

The Oilers have 5 or 6 defensemen who they could sign and turn pro, and the other two have a chance to get signed and then returned to junior for a final season. They're graduating by the 6-pak.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers are going to sign as many as 6 amateur defensemen from their previous drafts to pro contracts this summer. It's a good bet that at least one of them spends their rookie season in Stockton and there's a chance Edmonton either makes a trade involving one of them or walks someone like Brandon Davidson. Or they might ask Kyle Bigos to stay in college for a final season.  The numbers don't add up. Believe it or not, there's too much on the way. I expect we'll see a trade before or at the draft involving one or more of the prospect blue.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 Team 1260.
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#51 Pucker
March 09 2012, 04:17PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I cannot find any connection between AHL success and NHL success. If there were one, then the teams with the AHL clubs that fought the most playoff battles would churn out the best prospects.

Learning how to win is important, but I'd much rather give the Klefboms of the world 18 minutes a night in all situations for 70+ games instead of Kevin Montgomery. And I dont care if that means the Barons lose more.

I believe you that, in Edmonton's case, winning at the AHL level is very important. . If they don't win, they're not going to get the attendance and if nobody is paying to go watch, it becomes more likely they find an alternate means of bringing along the kids . . like splitting a farm team ???

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#52 Oilers89
March 09 2012, 04:18PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

What would it take to get Dougie Hamilton? Klefbom and a 2nd? I'd give up MPS and a prospect or 3rd for him.

If we draft Grig or Yak we have our top 6 set.

Then some vets with some prospects for our 3/4 lines.

Then our D prospects will be packaged and upgraded or given a shot to stick with the AHL/NHL.

All we need is a goalie.

I would love to get Dougie as I believe that he will be a very good NHL defenseman. He looked unreal in the WJ's better than basically any dman that I have ever seen play in the juniors, just exceptional.

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#53 DieHard
March 09 2012, 04:20PM
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Draft BPA. If that's Grigorenko so be it. If he's good enough to make the team next year, so be it. He doesn't have to start at center and it doesn't mean Gagner has to go, ever.

We have assets to trade for a top 4D (from a team with excess) including this year's 2nd rounder and next year's first (we are making the playoff next year - damn-it).

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#54 michael
March 09 2012, 04:40PM
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DieHard wrote:

Draft BPA. If that's Grigorenko so be it. If he's good enough to make the team next year, so be it. He doesn't have to start at center and it doesn't mean Gagner has to go, ever.

We have assets to trade for a top 4D (from a team with excess) including this year's 2nd rounder and next year's first (we are making the playoff next year - damn-it).

Add Yakupov and we might. I think Columbus goes with Grigorenko. They have Johansen and will have more when they ship out Nash.Since the trade deadline Columbus has awoken. I would not not say were out of the woods as far as another 30th place finish. Renny has his eyes on the prize that is Yakupov. He keeps sending out Bulin and Barker and Peckham. 16 games to go I bet the Oilers finish with 68 points and Columbus gets 69.

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#55 Yourmomthinksimhot
March 09 2012, 04:41PM
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DieHard wrote:

Draft BPA. If that's Grigorenko so be it. If he's good enough to make the team next year, so be it. He doesn't have to start at center and it doesn't mean Gagner has to go, ever.

We have assets to trade for a top 4D (from a team with excess) including this year's 2nd rounder and next year's first (we are making the playoff next year - damn-it).

Exactly, you don't pass on the BPA because you already have a guy whose spent 5 years developing. You always draft BPA and trade your redundant assets for your needs.

Never draft by need, because what you need today may not be what you need in a year or tomorrow. Always, always draft BPA.

Also, we're not exactly overloaded with 6'3 centres at the moment either.

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#56 Buzz Lightbeer
March 09 2012, 04:42PM
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There are no exceptionally talented UFA Dman at the right price this year. Suter's above average but not exceptional. Trading for the stud...not so much. Dithers, trade half the farm for an exceptional goalie. You know who they are. All BS aside the current group less a few passengers is capable of making the playoffs with a goaltender who can win two fists full of games despite the clowns that play in front of him. I really didn't think the nation would have to explain this to you however you have been one subborn hombre. Throw us a bone fer fox ache.

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#57 Time Travelling Sean
March 09 2012, 05:05PM
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@michael

We could always lose the lottery.

And if we catch Columbus we would have to go 0-16.

They're on a hot stretch, if they don't finish the season going 0-6 then I'm surprised.

Oh and Buzz Suter isn't getting a 7 year 53 million dollar contract from any team in the league because he's "above average". You also don't become an All-Star as a defence men by scoring 45 points a year unless your exceptional at defence.

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#58 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 09 2012, 05:14PM
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Whoever thought if the Oilers could improve their goals against considerably, bump up their F/O percentage by 5 points, and had the best powerplay in the league...and we'd still be at the bottom of the league.

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#59 RexLibris
March 09 2012, 05:17PM
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@Oilcruzer

I'd thought about asking for more, but I didn't want to sound like a homer. You know, the "Kaberle is worth a 1st round pick and a blue chip prospect" kind of fan. ;-)

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#60 Yourmomthinksimhot
March 09 2012, 05:33PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Whoever thought if the Oilers could improve their goals against considerably, bump up their F/O percentage by 5 points, and had the best powerplay in the league...and we'd still be at the bottom of the league.

Don't forget we've had arguably our "MVP" Nik Khabibulin for almost the whole year too.

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#61 Buzz Lightbeer
March 09 2012, 05:44PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

We could always lose the lottery.

And if we catch Columbus we would have to go 0-16.

They're on a hot stretch, if they don't finish the season going 0-6 then I'm surprised.

Oh and Buzz Suter isn't getting a 7 year 53 million dollar contract from any team in the league because he's "above average". You also don't become an All-Star as a defence men by scoring 45 points a year unless your exceptional at defence.

Geez, I should read your offerings more carefully and consistently. Last time I looked Suter was a RFA. Apparently you have the inside track, finger on the pulse. Thanks.

@ Quicksilver

Thank you too! you always find a way to sum up the painful truth in a deadpan way. I like that style. Keep it comin.

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#62 pelhem grenville
March 09 2012, 06:08PM
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...Q has a friend...yo Buzz...u da bes...he's (Q) always gettin' crapped on for that deadpan way you speak of here ... only a few, i being one are happy to bask in his reflective glow...

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#63 Slide rule
March 09 2012, 06:39PM
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I keep saying our defence is not that bad.

It's just that we are evaluating.our players .Most of our losses have swung on one or two bad goals or bad plays ,bad changes.etc.I can recall at least five games were Ted has given up one or two goals and Barker at least as many.If you take these two out of the mix we maybe have six or seven more wins.

I scratch my head as to why they play these guys over and over but it's all part of the plan.

Tank this year and draft top three again just in time for new arena.

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#64 DieHard
March 09 2012, 07:31PM
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Ya know, I really wish we could play in a really old arena with bad facilities for the next 30ish years. That would just great YOU FREEKS.

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#65 The Soup Fascist
March 09 2012, 07:33PM
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Would Matt Carle be a D the oil should target? 27 years old UFA. 35 to 40 point guy. Flyers against the cap. Will be a commodity but cheaper than Suter.

BTW. The Flinstones was clearly Ann Margrock's best work. TV gold.

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#66 gongshow
March 09 2012, 07:49PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Similar but not same opening chords to Pinball Wizard by the Who.

Also, agreed on the D.

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#67 Ted Sheckler
March 09 2012, 07:55PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

A fifth rounder? Even if he becomes a career AHL'er with the odd call up (and that's the very worst he will become), those guys are important and worth a helluva lot more than that. A 3 at least. Try and get a starting first line AHL D in the third round... not likely unless lucky - that's where firsts end up

He cleared waivers the last time he was up (and in one game played himself out of a chance of a new contract) anyone could have claimed him and had him for nothing, no takers. What makes you think anybody would give up anything let alone a third rounder? The fact that he is playing top 2 minutes in OKC shows how sad the oilers depth on defence is.

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#68 michael
March 09 2012, 08:41PM
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At the rate the Oilers are playing 30th is not out of the question. Who in the solar system does not think Suter is a 1-2? Above average. I'll take that vs cam Barkers below average. And who on the Nation thought N. Shultz would be this good offensively? And please could someone tell R.Whitney that the season has started.

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#69 goalie dad
March 09 2012, 09:09PM
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It seems pretty obvious that either Tom was told to blow the season or he didn't catch that puck squarely enough. I will never know why Barker and Teddy are being played. Mistakes and stupid penalties everywhere. We need d and a goalie. The kids were by far the most dangerous line on the ice last night. I didn't even see Hall on his a$$ as often as usual.

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#70 Bryzarro World
March 09 2012, 10:47PM
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Oilers89 wrote:

I would love to get Dougie as I believe that he will be a very good NHL defenseman. He looked unreal in the WJ's better than basically any dman that I have ever seen play in the juniors, just exceptional.

I would consider MPS a prospect at this time, wouldn't you?

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#71 TigerUnderGlass
March 09 2012, 11:16PM
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@Buzz Lightbeer

Geez,Last time I looked Suter was a RFA.

So I guess it's been quite a while since you've looked?

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#72 Oilcruzer
March 09 2012, 11:50PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
Geez,Last time I looked Suter was a RFA.

So I guess it's been quite a while since you've looked?

Well played.

@ michael

I don't know... I'm not on the Suter koolaid. Good but not cornerstone.

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#73 sizedoesmatter
March 10 2012, 04:00AM
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When the 630 ched golden wheel would spin I would yell staaauup! when shocking blue came on.Defense will Improve along with the rest of the team once the forwards become more reliable.I dont think the oilers will have to go after a big ticket free agent.

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#74 ItsTheBGB
March 10 2012, 08:31AM
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Let Alex Plante and Chorney walk if they can't tradxe them for any pick at all at the draft.

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