BLUE ON BLUE

Lowetide
January 19 2014 07:25AM

The Edmonton Oilers have Jeff Petry just past 200 NHL games, Justin Schultz in the 90s and Martin Marincin just past a baker's dozen. The club also has Darnell Nurse ripping up junior, and a large number of prospects posting improving arrows in the AHL. How many of these kids can they develop in the next two seasons?

BUBBLING UNDER!

Corey Pronman's Top 50 Prospects (paywall)

  • 8. Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers: He wasn’t chosen to be on Canada’s team for the WJC, but I don’t think that is indicative of where Nurse is as an NHL prospect — he brings a ton to the table. He’s big, mean, a great skater and is pretty effective in both ends of the rink. His decisions aren’t always perfect and his shot could be a little better, but he’s a top-end prospect.

  • Willis: Klefbom has had struggles this year, but it does seem like he’s turned a corner. No other player on the blue line, or even on the team for that matter, has a wider gap between where he was at the start of the year and how he’s played the last few games. Taylor Fedun has been excellent throughout, Martin Marincin has made progress and Martin Gernat and David Musil have both evolved, but only with Klefbom have the strides been so large.

 

  • Dallas Eakins on Martin Marincin: " he’s a young kid trying to get his feet wet, he has played excellent for us, he’s had a great number of games in a row where on some nights he’s maybe been our most consistent and solid D."

  • Todd Nelson on Martin Gernat: “We're starting to see the offensive side to him. With these young guys it's always a work in progress. They have to learn all the things about going through their first pro season and try to develop some consistency.”

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

These are good young prospects, but they won't all turn out, and even the ones who do won't end up playing the heart of their careers as Oilers. Some 40+ years ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs had an enormous number of young and talented defensemen who all arrived at basically the same time.

1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs

That's an insane group of young players, six of those guys were considered to be good to outstanding prospects at the time. The Leafs should have employed most of these men through the 1970s, but the WHA came along and raided most of them. By 1973-74 though, Toronto had recovered.

1973-74 Toronto Maple Leafs

I think there's a lesson here, even without the Godless WHA raids. Defensemen, like objects in your rear view mirror, may be closer than they appear (Marincin being an example) and may also be a mirage.

The odds of Edmonton ever employing a top 7D of Ekblad, Nurse, Petry, Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom and Gernat are zero. Some will flush out because of injury and some will be sent away for other needs.This extreme cluster development in a short time also clouds Dillon Simpson's future—the Oilers have an outstanding NCAA prospect who may get blocked in the pro organization. Or he may, as I'm suggesting is possible, be one of the young men who ends up staying while others depart the scene.

It is an impressive group, and this season has some very good arrows.

(All Barons photos by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved)

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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 Team 1260.
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#101 Jay
January 19 2014, 09:46PM
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So when should the jersey's be thrown on the ice in the Nucks game?? Opening faceoff? End of the eventual loss?? Right after we let up another short handed goal???

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#102 David S
January 19 2014, 09:52PM
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Cynic wrote:

"Mr. Short..." "Please. Call me John. My dad is Mr. Short." "OK. John. Do you think the Bruins would trade us Ray Bourque for Marc Habscheid? Jim Matheson wrote that Habscheid is the next Wayne Gretzky and Bourque's always hurt so maybe the Bruins are sour on him. I'll hang up and listen to your answer."

Oiler fan. The only difference is instead of AM radio it's the interwebs where the myopians hang out.

Oh AM radio is still full of single digit Oiler fan IQ's. Just tune into Stauffer's show some day while at lunch and prepare to laugh your ass off.

Honestly. Sometimes I think Bob must hide a bottle under his studio desk "deep in the bowels of Rexall Place". No wonder he goes on and on and ON about tree planting and exploits at the South Side Athletic Club.

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#103 RexHolez
January 19 2014, 09:53PM
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Jay wrote:

So when should the jersey's be thrown on the ice in the Nucks game?? Opening faceoff? End of the eventual loss?? Right after we let up another short handed goal???

I vote when the dj plays cotton eyed joe

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#104 Tuningout
January 19 2014, 10:42PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Haha that's alot to expect from a kid that can't make the junior team

Nah .. I was one of those guys that was sold on HOPE. Paarvi and Omark. In retrospect ...

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#105 Zarny
January 19 2014, 10:55PM
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Cynic wrote:

Oiler fan thought Klebomb was going to be in the top pair this year. Oiler fan thinks The Mickey Mouse Club has a realistic opportunity to trade a lottery ticket, an over-rated stick of a no-hit Dman, and an over-rated prospect for the reigning Norris Trophy winner. Full Retard, as has always been the case in this city.

Nicklas Lidstrom didn't throw a lot of hits. You have a somewhat poor understanding of what playing defense means.

Klefbomb certainly isn't going to be a top pair D this year or next. Ultimately only time will tell. For you to say otherwise is foolish.

Kris Letang was drafted in 2005 and didn't top 50 pts until 2010-2011. Duncan Keith didn't play in the NHL until 3 years after he was drafted and only had 21 pts and was -11. He didn't top 40 pts until 6 years after being drafted.

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#106 RexHolez
January 19 2014, 10:56PM
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Yeah, we've been getting sold HOPE for a long time now. Whatever happened to Schremp??

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#107 RexHolez
January 19 2014, 10:57PM
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Zarny wrote:

Nicklas Lidstrom didn't throw a lot of hits. You have a somewhat poor understanding of what playing defense means.

Klefbomb certainly isn't going to be a top pair D this year or next. Ultimately only time will tell. For you to say otherwise is foolish.

Kris Letang was drafted in 2005 and didn't top 50 pts until 2010-2011. Duncan Keith didn't play in the NHL until 3 years after he was drafted and only had 21 pts and was -11. He didn't top 40 pts until 6 years after being drafted.

So you're saying this rebuild isn't even close to being quasi competitive??

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#108 chuck biscuits
January 19 2014, 11:41PM
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Hi Cynic!!!

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#109 Tuningout
January 20 2014, 12:45AM
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RexHolez wrote:

So you're saying this rebuild isn't even close to being quasi competitive??

It is a backward rebuild.

By the time these #1 picks become competitive. All of the best defensive prospects will be rookies.

By the time MacT realizes he needs a winning coach to attract free agents, well... it might be summer 2015.

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#110 Romanus
January 20 2014, 01:31AM
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RexHolez wrote:

I vote when the dj plays cotton eyed joe

Dj sucks worse than the team. Same freaking crap every game. It's like they only have 10 songs.

All though they do have the entire Pitbull Album. Sigh.

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#111 john
January 20 2014, 02:58AM
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The only player with positive plus/minus on the team is Ryan Jones. This is a joke, fire this guy Eakins, throw lots of jerseys at the game. Eakins said it's disrepectful to throw jersey onto the ice, well it's disrepectful for the fans to see how badly the Oilers play each night. The fans pay for their salaries, so Oilers need a real coach to get the team play more competitively.

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#112 john
January 20 2014, 03:01AM
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Todd Nelson need a call up, the guy is a real coach, he motivates and improve all the young guys.

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#113 I AM KEVIN L.
January 20 2014, 04:18AM
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You people make me laugh!!! Why is this website bent out of shape and can only discuss a "rebuild"? The 29 other NHL teams have sites that talk about hockey success. My advice to you all: keep buying tickets and merchandising. We will soon sell Ekblad & McDavid jerseys. First come first served. Suckers.

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#114 The Real Scuba Steve
January 20 2014, 04:44AM
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I AM KEVIN L. wrote:

You people make me laugh!!! Why is this website bent out of shape and can only discuss a "rebuild"? The 29 other NHL teams have sites that talk about hockey success. My advice to you all: keep buying tickets and merchandising. We will soon sell Ekblad & McDavid jerseys. First come first served. Suckers.

Go away.

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#115 wintoon
January 20 2014, 06:04AM
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LT has just shown the upcoming D talent in the Oilers system. Unfortunately there is very little offensive talent coming, particularly at center. Therefore, at this years draft, the Oilers should be drafting a 2C rather than a D man.

Given the ineptitude of the team, the prime candidates are Reinhart, Draisaitl and Bennett. Personally, I like what Draisaitl seems to offer. Some offensive talent, size, scoring and playmaking ability.

If before the draft we are able to off load Gagner for decent value, I would be ecstatic.

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#116 Sisyphus
January 20 2014, 07:02AM
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From a Puck Daddy article, regarding Hendricks: "So maybe it comes down to something as simple and indefinable as “leadership.” Maybe he'll yell at Taylor Hall for taking a shift off, or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for not coming off quickly enough on a power play. Get guys to pay attention to “the finer details” or whatever you want to call them. "

Really? That's what we brought him in for? He's barely been a serviceable NHL player this year, and is on a downhill trajectory. Yes, he's willing to fight, but so is Gazdic, whom we already had. Hendy takes a roster spot away for supposed toughness and leadership.

But given how kid-glove-treatment gets given to Hall, RNH, Eberle, etc., no remotely smart player in the room is going to challenge them, or they'll find themselves on the way out of town, a la Smid. Then again, now that I've said it out loud, maybe that's what Hendricks SHOULD do. Get himself out of a city and a team he never wanted to play for in the first place.

Probably no better way than to go around picking fights with the golden boys who are beyond reproach. No one is going to bother yelling at the kids---no point. They've learned how to lose, and everyone knows--they are here to stay. You can yell at them, the coach can yell at them, try to get them to compete, to play better/smarter, but at the end of the day, those kids know they are not going anywhere. They have their contracts. And they will not be traded. Pointless for anyone to try to change them--barring MacT from telling each of the stars that they will be available for trade and/or benching, they have no reason to change anything they're doing. Nice paycheck, little effort, short season.

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#117 camdog
January 20 2014, 07:35AM
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@Sisyphus

The culture of this organization for many years has been to get rid of all of the expierenced veterans that challenged the young guns. Post season interviews focused on getting rid of the Horcoffs, to force the young guns to take ownership of this team.

I personally feel that a culture change is needed within the organisation. Giving A's to elite talent that don't know how to win in the NHL, when they don't really provide leadership is wrong. You can't force a guy to lead. When Smid wasn't given an A this season it was a message to him that veteran leadership is not welcomed in this organisation. This cancerous belief is in grained within the entire management group and it needs to change.

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#118 pkam
January 20 2014, 09:17AM
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Tuningout wrote:

It is a backward rebuild.

By the time these #1 picks become competitive. All of the best defensive prospects will be rookies.

By the time MacT realizes he needs a winning coach to attract free agents, well... it might be summer 2015.

So what the Oilers management should have done differently?

what do you think they should do in 2010 instead of drafting Taylor Hall? Use our 1st overall to draft a defenseman, so Erik Gudbranson or Cam Fowler? I wonder what would you say if the management drafted any of the 2 defensemmen instead of Hall.

So Larsson over RNH in 2011?

You can plan all you want, unfortunately the reality usually doesn't follow your plan.

Just look at LA Kings, they drafted Brown and Kopitar before Doughty. I guess their rebuild is also a backward one.

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#119 S cottV
January 20 2014, 09:32AM
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@camdog

The whole issue of team captains is probably under estimated with regard to the predicament the Oilers find themselves in.

If a team is over achieving - its usually strong leadership that drives it and visa versa. I think we all agree the Oilers are under achieving to some degree, so - a lack of leadership is likely a factor.

Heard an interesting comment from the Jets camp that said Maurice had assumed the leadership of the team and would hand it back to the player group in due time. Beautiful - that is the way its done.

A coach has to be very careful, who he appoints as team captains. He needs to pick the right influencers within the player group, covering a spectrum that most players can fall in line with. You need a couple of "good guy" leaders and at least one "bad guy" leader.

I really dislike the home and away captains approach, where you hand extra guys letters to in theory - spread the leadership around, amongst a larger group. True leadership that really stands out - is rare and its unlikely that 6 or 7 guys have the "right stuff." Further - if you decorate guys with a letter, for the wrong appeasement reasons, he effectively becomes an anti leader, taking away from this vital process. If you have too many decorated leaders, it can get to the point where there is no real leadership because it just gets too blurred out.

I suspect the Oilers have appeased for the wrong reasons with some of their young hot shot Asst Captains. This ingrains the "entitlement" process from top to bottom within the organization.

The last thing you want are "entitled" leaders and or non-competent leaders as some guys are just not cut for it, or - not cut out for it at too young an age, regardless of hockey talent.

All concerned with the Oilers could use a good dose of over achievement from this player group, for a change.

Over achievement is driven by leadership and I think some changes to the present leadership structure are probably necessary.

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#120 RexHolez
January 20 2014, 09:54AM
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pkam wrote:

So what the Oilers management should have done differently?

what do you think they should do in 2010 instead of drafting Taylor Hall? Use our 1st overall to draft a defenseman, so Erik Gudbranson or Cam Fowler? I wonder what would you say if the management drafted any of the 2 defensemmen instead of Hall.

So Larsson over RNH in 2011?

You can plan all you want, unfortunately the reality usually doesn't follow your plan.

Just look at LA Kings, they drafted Brown and Kopitar before Doughty. I guess their rebuild is also a backward one.

How about making smarter trades? Building a better Dcore? Getting better goaltending?? Rebuilding isn't all just about who you pick with the first overall picks!! It's about building a team and management has done a lousy job at that! It's pathetic actually how terrible they've done

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#121 pkam
January 20 2014, 10:28AM
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RexHolez wrote:

How about making smarter trades? Building a better Dcore? Getting better goaltending?? Rebuilding isn't all just about who you pick with the first overall picks!! It's about building a team and management has done a lousy job at that! It's pathetic actually how terrible they've done

So you think MacT doesn't try to trade for a better D core?

We now all know MacT tried to get Hendricks. We also know he wanted to sign Clarkson. We also know he wanted to trade for Schneider. We also know he wanted to trade away Hemsky. The question is we don't know all his attempts that failed for whatever reason. When something didn't happen, we assume the management was not trying.

When we didn't see what we want, we criticize the management for not trying hard enough. We said we were willing to overpay. When the management overpay to get a player or a prospect, we criticize them for making stupid trades. Who knows what the other side ask for a defense.

We heard that Canucks want our 1st and 2nd plus one of Pitlick or Marincin for Schneider. Perhaps you would want to make the trade, I don't.

I've heard that they asked Phoenix about Yandle, and they want one of our fav 5, our 1st and 2nd, and a top prospect like Pitlick or Marincin. Perhaps you are okay with that too, not me.

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#122 Will
January 20 2014, 10:48AM
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This is a big reason why I think the Oilers rebuild is failing. Other successful teams drafted grit, defence, and character guys all before getting those big first overall super stars.

So there was already a nicely developed team that just needed some super stardom boost. The oilers, by contrast, got the stars fist and now have to develop a talented pool of D men in order to get the team where it needs to be.

I hope they use some of these prospects to trade for some help on D right now, and or to balance out the top six.

If I was Mac T, Hemsky, Gagner, Yak, Ebs, Klefbomb, Nurse, Marincin, Gernat, and our 1st round pick would all be on the trade block. I would also try like hell to sign Matt Moulson and Ryan Callahan in free agency if they become available from their respective teams.

With those two signed the RW position becomes pretty stocked and they can afford to get rid of one of Hemsky, Ebs, or Yak depending on what is being returned.

With Moulson, The Oil defence begins to get some vets that can help which ever prospects don't get traded. Obviously not all these guys get traded, but I think a few can go to get some pieces that make the Oilers a better team.

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#123 RexHolez g
January 20 2014, 11:58AM
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pkam wrote:

So you think MacT doesn't try to trade for a better D core?

We now all know MacT tried to get Hendricks. We also know he wanted to sign Clarkson. We also know he wanted to trade for Schneider. We also know he wanted to trade away Hemsky. The question is we don't know all his attempts that failed for whatever reason. When something didn't happen, we assume the management was not trying.

When we didn't see what we want, we criticize the management for not trying hard enough. We said we were willing to overpay. When the management overpay to get a player or a prospect, we criticize them for making stupid trades. Who knows what the other side ask for a defense.

We heard that Canucks want our 1st and 2nd plus one of Pitlick or Marincin for Schneider. Perhaps you would want to make the trade, I don't.

I've heard that they asked Phoenix about Yandle, and they want one of our fav 5, our 1st and 2nd, and a top prospect like Pitlick or Marincin. Perhaps you are okay with that too, not me.

MacT started 8 months ago. This team has sucked for 8 years... You seem ok with that

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#124 Zarny
January 20 2014, 01:02PM
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RexHolez wrote:

So you're saying this rebuild isn't even close to being quasi competitive??

No, not at all.

That's really a bit silly to say and indicative of fans who have completely lost all perspective this year.

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#125 RexHolez
January 20 2014, 01:52PM
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@Zarny

It's been a tough year

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#126 Zarny
January 20 2014, 02:36PM
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No, the Oilers 7 D will never be Nurse, Ekblad, Petry, Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom, and Gernat/Simpson. We've seen the consequences of playing a bunch of young kids prone to making mistakes together on forward.

It's a positive sign however, that there is a logjam of D prospects ready to make the jump to the NHL. That was the intent of the rebuild.

The blueprint is evident when you look at contenders like Pit, Chi and LA.

Their rebuilds were not based on draft picks over 3 years. More like 6-8. And many were not 1st overall or even 1st round picks. The Oilers need some of their 2nd and 3rd round picks to develop into core players.

D like Keith, Weber, Pietrangelo and Letang took 2-3 years to make the NHL. More importantly, with few exceptions they didn't start out playing top pairing minutes. Weber, Pietrangelo and Letang all started out playing behind players like Timonen, Zidlicky, Brewer, Jackman, Gonchar and Whitney.

Meanwhile, Schultz leads all Oiler D TOI/game by almost a minute and half.

Given that Petry and Schultz are already inexperienced the Oilers should target no more than 2 D prospects to add over the next 2-3 years.

The rest of the prospects should be traded to fill holes at other positions or acquire D already in their prime.

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#127 Zarny
January 20 2014, 03:01PM
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RexHolez wrote:

It's been a tough year

Haha...understatement of the year.

The frustration is completely understandable and justified.

I appreciate few want to hear the word patience. So instead I think it's a matter of focusing on perspective.

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#128 RexHolez
January 20 2014, 04:01PM
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Zarny wrote:

Haha...understatement of the year.

The frustration is completely understandable and justified.

I appreciate few want to hear the word patience. So instead I think it's a matter of focusing on perspective.

Unfortunately patience will be the only thing to keep a person sane. No one wants to hear it and neither do I, but all we can do is sit, wait and hope that one day we'll be spending our time watching a good team make runs in the playoffs. I'll have to brush up on how the playoff format even works if we ever get there. Who knew this rebuild would be so long and frustrating

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