A FACE IN THE CROWD

Lowetide
August 12 2012 09:43AM

The Edmonton Oilers took a practical approach to addressing their defense: using later 1st and 2nd round picks to stock the shelves and then adding later selections when the quality warranted. The three 'early' selections are all on track, and the depth group has a couple of trending prospects. It's too early to shout, but the Edmonton Oilers may well be flush with blue.

THE EARLY PICKS

  • Oscar Klefbom, #19 in 2011
  • David Musil, #31 in 2011
  • Martin Marincin, #46 in 2010

These are the young men Edmonton's scouting department has to be right about, as the organization spent valuable picks on each of them. So far, things are right on track:

  • Klefbom has been so impressive the Oilers want him to jump the pond this fall. However, Klefbom has resisted and will hold firm on his plan to play out his contract with Farjestad. We are beginning to get a sense of him: a quality 2-way defender.
  • Musil has been a little under the radar, partly due to injury and partly due to usage (the Vancouver Giants use him as a hard minutes shutdown defender, impacting his boxcars and plus minus). All of the things we talk about in terms of young defenders--reading, reacting, positioning, moving the play outside--seem to come naturally to Musil. We should be prepared for him to arrive quickly after turning pro, altough thankfully the organization has no need to rush him.
  • Marincin turns pro this fall and will likely play his first season in OKC. He's a big, mobile defensemen with a nice range of skills, and he's a year ahead of the Klefbom and Musil. I have no idea what his ETA might be, but a seldom mentioned item in regard to his development is good health.

THE LONG SHOTS

  • Erik Gustafsson, #93 in 2012
  • Joey Laleggia, #123 in 2012
  • Dillon Simpson, #92 in 2011 (in photo)
  • Martin Gernat, #122 in 2011
  • Brandon Davidson, #162 in 2010
  • Kyle Bigos, #99 in 2009

If Stu MacGregor is to become legend, these are the names (along with goalies Bunz and Roy, forwards Hartikainen and Rieder) that will make it so. An NHL team must not only rely on their scouting staffs to score well in the first and second round, but also deliver enough quality in the later rounds to sustain the future.

Among the group listed, Dillon Simpson and Martin Gernat are emerging talents. Gernat is a big, rangy kid with impressive skills and physical tools, and Simpson is so good at the fundamentals that his foot speed and lack of size are not considered career limiting.

WHO'S WHO?

I'm not one to suggest someone is a "#1D" or a "future #5" but we can place these young defenders into player styles and possible future roles.

  • 2-way defenders: Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, Martin Gernat, Dillon Simpson, Brandon Davidson, Kyle Bigos
  • Offensive defenders: Joey Laleggia, Erik Gustafsson
  • Defensive defenders:David Musil (photo)

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

We're still a long way from knowing, but it is never too early to take a guess:

  • Most likely to succeed: Oscar Klefbom
  • Leading scorer: Martin Gernat
  • Best actual defenseman: (tie) Klefbom, David Musil
  • Most likely to injure: Kyle Bigos
  • First to make their NHL debut: Martin Marincin
  • Most likely to miss: Joey Laleggia
  • Powerplay options: Laleggia, Martin Gernat, Erik Gustafsson
  • Dark horse: Dillon Simpson
  • Three you'd bet money on: Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat
  • How many are tracking well enough to be considered prospects: all of them
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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 Tomsster
August 12 2012, 09:55AM
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Erik Gustafsson My be a pleasant surprise !

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#2 noble_savage
August 12 2012, 10:00AM
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First Fist?

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#3 noble_savage
August 12 2012, 10:01AM
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Not quite!!

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#5 Hammers
August 12 2012, 10:34AM
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The only other thing needing mentioned is blood lines and you have that in Musil & Simpson . Both there fathers proved to be very good NHL players .Some of that has probably rubbed off .We have 4-5 years to find out what we really have in this group .

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#6 steveb12344
August 12 2012, 10:38AM
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While Klefbom looks like a stud, the ones i'm really hoping for is Marincin/Gernat. If those 2 both develop into dominant NHL'ers.(obv far from a sure thing at this point) They could make one heck of a good D-pairing. The Slovak twin towers if u will.

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#7 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
August 12 2012, 12:18PM
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What's the scoop on Simpson now? Is he projected to have an NHL future? Last I heard he was really raw with a lot of talent.

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#9 Cervantes
August 12 2012, 02:14PM
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How can you consider Bigos a two way defender? From what I've read on him, he certainly seems like more of a shut-down guy, lacking the mobility to lead the rush or the shot to threaten from the point.

I will admit, I get a little giddy at the thought of him and Musil on a line together. Oh, the carnage!

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#11 Jordan
August 12 2012, 05:37PM
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Marincin should be mentioned as a powerplay option, looked good on Regina's (sub par aside from Jordan Weal) powerplay after he was traded from PG.. wicked one timer from the blue line top cheddar

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#12 Trader Joe
August 12 2012, 08:36PM
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I've read elsewhere that Marincin projects more as an offensive defender than a 2-way, but maybe that's a commentary on his weak defensive play at this stage.

And please no Dillon Simpson. I hope the Oilers' defence never gets as bad as the last 3 years where Taylor Chorney made it to the big club. Slow, small and timid is 3 strikes against those 2. That's why there's an AHL.

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#13 EasyOil
August 13 2012, 06:26AM
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Trader Joe wrote:

I've read elsewhere that Marincin projects more as an offensive defender than a 2-way, but maybe that's a commentary on his weak defensive play at this stage.

And please no Dillon Simpson. I hope the Oilers' defence never gets as bad as the last 3 years where Taylor Chorney made it to the big club. Slow, small and timid is 3 strikes against those 2. That's why there's an AHL.

Now let's not be unfair to Chorney, the one thing the guy could do was skate fantastically well, very smooth and fluid. Not lightening fast, but pretty quick. Also haven't heard anything about Simpson being timid other than perhaps lacking the strength to deal with NCAA players, but that was before his draft when he was a 17 year old in the NCAA. He'll get bigger and stronger. But then I haven't seen him play personally so can't comment for sure.

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#14 David S
August 13 2012, 09:45AM
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Man. I wish we could be talking about ACTUAL NHL D that we added over the summer. Glad we have a full cupboard of prospects, but they don't do jack sh!t for us short term where the big boys play - where it actually counts. Even when/if these guys make the team they're still 2-3 years away from being trustworthy.

You know you're an Oilers fan when you get jacked about prospects who might never even make the show. It'd be nice to ponder line pairings of the NHL team for a change instead of wondering if David Musil is going to have to shave more than once a week.

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#15 The Soup Fascist
August 13 2012, 03:42PM
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EasyOil wrote:

Now let's not be unfair to Chorney, the one thing the guy could do was skate fantastically well, very smooth and fluid. Not lightening fast, but pretty quick. Also haven't heard anything about Simpson being timid other than perhaps lacking the strength to deal with NCAA players, but that was before his draft when he was a 17 year old in the NCAA. He'll get bigger and stronger. But then I haven't seen him play personally so can't comment for sure.

~Why would you let the fact you have not seen a guy play keep from you forming an opinion?~

Kudos, Easy Oil, for keeping an open mind. I have seen Simpson play live and on TV / the internet as I have a couple of friends who are Fighting Sioux Alum.

Trader Joe is somewhat correct that Simpson has not been a dominant player to date in the NCAA, largely because he is going into his Jr. year and JUST TURNED 19.

He was a 4th round pick and: a) is a longshot to make the NHL b) is IMO smart and skilled enough to run a pro powerplay. Overall North Dakota are rebuilding and he does not have a group up front that are going to put up big numbers, hence his numbers are not going to be huge. Can't say I see Dillon as small (he is at least 6'1" and 200 lbs) or timid. Certainly he is not Scott Stevens but I haven't seen him not try to make plays to avoid contact. His foot speed is not world class, but I sincerely think his positional awareness is an offsetting factor.

Trader Joe are your comments because of his last name or because you have watched him play? I don't want Simpson to make a team because of his last name but by the same token I don't want him to be dismissed because of his last name. Let the kid make it or not on his own accord.

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