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 TSN 1260.
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#101 Dog Train
January 19 2014, 08:25PM
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If we start next season with any more than 1 of Marincin, Fedun, Nurse, Klefbom or Ekblad, if we draft him, then management is not doing their job. I don't mind giving some guys a look down the stretch here but those guys should go to camp next season competing for one spot on the bottom pairing.

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#102 Oiler Al
January 19 2014, 08:48PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

If i were Simpson and see how this team develops its young players there would be no way in Hell would sign here if I had other offers

Heck the team and development is so bad that Lowe didnt even want his son to be drafted by the Oilers.

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#103 tileguy
January 19 2014, 09:00AM
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NHL rule:

A player who has lost or broken his stick may only receive a stick at his own players’ bench or be handed one from a teammate on the ice. A player will be penalized if he throws, tosses, slides or shoots a stick to teammate on the ice. A player may not participate in the play using a goalkeeper’s stick. A minor penalty shall be imposed for an infraction of this rule.

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#104 Fossil
January 19 2014, 10:36AM
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The reason Fedun is not being called up, and why he was sent down, is due to his minor league contract. Unfortunately ability has nothing to do with it when the GM believes other players are better and signs them to NHL deals. Yesterday, Petry was again exposed as a very soft dman. I would not trade him now as his value is too low, however, if never learns that play in the defensive zone requires physical contact he will have to go. Another comment on yesterdays game; Taylor Hall, on 2 shifts in the 1st period Winnipeg hit him at every opportunity. I was watching his response and the elbow to Wheeler was great, too bad he didn't get him in the nose, it actually showed some emotion. Unfortunately, that was it from Taylor as he either felt bad for the hit or he is getting intimidated. Winnipeg obviously saw something and it took him out of the game.

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#105 a lg dubl dubl
January 19 2014, 11:51AM
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CMG30 wrote:

I have to agree, As much as the Oil need to make a trade for defense, their number 1 this year could very well turn out to be the first overall... again. What GM in the league will be willing to give the Oilers full value for that?

Depends, if you offer the 1st pick with JShultz, and another prospect for Subban, Montreal just might take it to save on cap space while still getting the "tremendously offensively gifted"* Shultz.

*I think those were the words KLowe said about him in his last interview on 1260.

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#106 finn_fann
January 19 2014, 01:05PM
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This article is a sign of good things happening in my opinion. Marincin is the first player who has been drafted and developed in the OKC system, and he seems to have made the jump better than a LOT of other prospects in the past. The fact that Klefbom, Fedun, Gernat, and Simpson are still knocking at the door of NHL employment and haven't already been washed by injury or poor play is a sign that our current drafting department (ie. since Prendergast got canned) is doing a decent job at identifying value prospects.

The forwards seem to be doing okay as well, with Chase and Yakimov looking like keepers, Pitlick pushing for 4-line duty and Moroz seeming to figure out how to use his stick as well as his body.

It'll be interesting in a year or two to see what Eakins can do with players who have been trained how to actually play a system before jumping straight to the NHL.

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#107 Taylor Gang
January 19 2014, 04:44PM
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Randaman wrote:

GO NINERS!!

Can you beat the Broncos? If so, San Francisco for the win!

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#108 Taylor Gang
January 19 2014, 04:46PM
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Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate wrote:

I just hope that Ghana beats the US in the World Cup. That way that tool can call into Jim Rome and whine about always losing to Ghana. That call was pure hilarity.

America won't win, though they are a rising power in the world of futbol

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#109 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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#110 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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#111 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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#112 a lg dubl dubl
January 19 2014, 08:56AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I didn't include Fedun because of age. I do think he's going to get a callup and could have a career, though.

As for who I would package? My keeper list goes Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin, so it would be Gernat, Simpson, Musil, Fedun, Belov etc.

Oh, and I saw your post. I would consider trading Justin Schultz for a more complete defenseman.

Thanks for the response! Im still hoping Musil can keep working on his foot speed, he sounds like a sloid stay at home dman with a nasty edge to his game.

Has Simpson been signed yet? if not wont he go back into the draft this summer?

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#113 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 19 2014, 11:25AM
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40 Double D wrote:

Suck bad for Ekblad. Suck bad for McDavid. Suck bad for 2015. Suck bad for 2016.

WAIT....that didn't rhyme.

A little Sunday Jocularity

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#114 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 19 2014, 11:30AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Perhaps some people are just tired of you saying the same thing day after day.

And some people are just like to shoot the messenger.

Thats life I guess

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#115 a lg dubl dubl
January 19 2014, 11:33AM
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@reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)

In defense of the Oiler management, IMO they are just starting to break away from "draft forwards only" approach, last couple years with Simpson, Klefbom, and Nurse in the fold, management is getting the d prospects they should have had to go with Eberle, PRV, and Gagner

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#116 Josh Oiler
January 19 2014, 09:16PM
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"PLAY BAD FOR EKBLAD"

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#117 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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#118 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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#119 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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#120 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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#121 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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#122 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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#123 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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#124 Jesse
January 19 2014, 07:01PM
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Who is that in the animated GIF?

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

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#126 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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#127 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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#128 RexHolez
January 20 2014, 01:52PM
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@Zarny

It's been a tough year

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