Young Defencemen

Jonathan Willis
March 19 2014 11:33AM

85-Marincin-1

The Edmonton Oilers have a weak blue line. In the short-term, they need to shore it up with actual NHL players, but in the long-term they need some of their prospects to step forward in a big way. How will they balance those two needs?

The Depth Chart Today

21-Ference-6

  • Andrew Ference – Justin Schultz (RFA)
  • Martin Marincin – Jeff Petry (RFA)
  • Oscar Klefbom – Anton Belov (UFA)
  • Mark Fraser (UFA) – Philip Larsen (RFA)

That’s how I’d sketch out a healthy Oilers depth chart today. It’s early days for Klefbom and Belov has had mixed results, but both are big enough to win battles and good enough with the puck to make passes, and the two guys below them have only one of those qualities each.

Four of those players are probably locks for next year. Justin Schultz is the team’s ice-time leader, Andrew Ference is the captain and Jeff Petry is probably the best player on the blue today. Martin Marincin has been a revelation since being recalled; he’s forced himself into a top-four role on this team, and seems a certainty for next year’s club.

It’s early days for Oscar Klefbom, and we’ll talk more about him below. There’s no doubt he’s in the plans; the only question is whether he plays NHL or AHL to start next season.

The other three are all expendable.

Anton Belov’s probably the best player of the bunch; he’s big and can make a pass and seems to be the only left-shooting defenceman on the team who plays as well on the right side. He’s also had some terrible struggles in his first season in North America, and judging by usage prior to injury the team has made up its mind on him.

Mark Fraser isn’t an NHL'er in most organizations, but there have been suggestions made that he could be re-signed. Working in his favour is that his strengths (big, strong, mean) are weaknesses on the current Oilers blue. Philip Larsen is in the same boat as Fraser, except that his strengths and weaknesses are a terrible match for the current team.

The Depth Chart Tomorrow

19-Schultz-1

  • [Veteran D] – Justin Schultz
  • Martin Marincin – Jeff Petry
  • [Young D] – Andrew Ference
  • [Warm Body]

That’s what I think the Oilers will do.

Adding multiple quality NHL defencemen over the summer is difficult. I’d expect they take a run at Andrei Markov (and even if he’s interested, it will cost the sun, moon and stars) and that they look hard at what’s available at the NHL Draft. Doubtless, they’d like to add multiple players, but they’ll probably have to settle for just one.

There isn’t room for more than one young defenceman on that depth chart, and given Marincin’s age and experience level it’s dicey even setting aside one slot. There has (rightly) been a lot of talk dedicated to the goalies, but long-term Marincin’s play might be the most important thing to happen to this Oilers team in the latter half of the year, because it allows them to lean on him in a way they normally could not. In any case, there’s one slot there for one of Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse or (possibly) Aaron Ekblad. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a junior-aged defenceman got a brief cameo there before being sent down in favour of Klefbom.

One item of note here: Klefbom was a trainwreck in a brief right-side role cameo in Oklahoma City, but has been significantly better in Edmonton. It might just be that the Oilers really want to work Mark Fraser into the lineup, but it might also be that they’re envisioning the possibility of a Ference/Klefbom pairing next year. Ference has spent time on the right side, but hasn’t been especially good there, so if Klefbom can play the position it’ll make things easier.

As for the warm body, that could be anybody. The three expendables currently on the roster are all options, with Belov the best of them and Fraser the most likely. Down in Oklahoma City, Taylor Fedun is a possibility, but it’s probable that he’s returned to the minors next year. Somebody else currently outside the organization – a good AHL’er in another organization , a college free agent, a promising European or an NHL journeyman – could also be brought in.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 druds
March 19 2014, 11:43AM
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I would be shocked ( but seeing the decision -making by our braintrust? maybe I shouldn't be) if Mark Fraser was playing here next year...He is a disaster when pressured, handles the puck like a bar of soap at a men's bathhouse....terrible terrible terrible....Dont care how big or bruising he is he does not belong in this league

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#2 RexHolez
March 19 2014, 11:51AM
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"That’s what I think the Oilers will do."

Good article JW. I like the above statement. I value your opinion on here. You clearly state it as an opinion, other (wont name names) would have phrase it as, "That's what the Oilers should do." I think some of the bloggers on here have taken some heat the past few weeks because they're giving their opinion like the Oilers management should listen and follow like the bible.

Keep up the good writing!

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#3 admiralmark
March 19 2014, 11:51AM
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It's amazing how the D could potentially fall into place with 1 very good addition. I wouldn't be surprised if that Top pairing D is even a little more of a solid stay at home type so that Shultz can freewheel a bit more which they look to be encouraging? But if it lays out like that I would be relatively confident they would see a substantial improvement to overall team play.

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#4 Woodguy
March 19 2014, 11:53AM
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Marincin and Petry have had the tougher matchups and zone starts, so even though Shultz is getting more TOI, he's not really in the first pairing.

I agree the Oilers will take a run at Markov (or Niskinin or Nikitin) to play 1LD, but given how they dole out the ice time it will look more like:

Vet D - Petry Marincin-Shultz Young D - Ference

If you a separating the pairs via quality of opponent.

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#5 Will
March 19 2014, 11:56AM
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I miss Andy Sutton. He was a great number seven.

However, I think Markov for big money and low term, say three years, would do nicely on the top pairing.

Then instead of a young developing D along side Ference, why not another free agent. Matt Niskanin is a right hander. THough I imagine the Burgh tries to resign him.

Number seven then goes to a young D in order to come up, take a few shifts alongside some vets and get various cups of coffee and fill in for injury.

I also wouldn't mind seeing another Ferrance signed, like Orpik.

Markov, J schultz

Ference, Petry

Orpik Marincin

Klefbomb

That is a blue line I could live with. It has a nice range of size, skill, and meanness.

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#6 Jim
March 19 2014, 11:56AM
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It would be nice for Oilers to get Exblad, but players don't play to lose. Wanting Oilers to tank can only happen with management, bringing up players sitting others for suspect injuries.

I think that is what Vancouver has done by trading Lou they said we will get a better draft pick.

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#7 Larry
March 19 2014, 11:58AM
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Where's Theo Peckham?

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#8 nuge2nail
March 19 2014, 12:00PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

MacT has a ton - I mean a ton of cap space.

Needless to say its time to overspend.

I would like to see then back up a money truck and sign any of the two: Markhov, Hainsey, Zidlicky, Niskanen, MacDonald, Meszaros.

Adding two of the above players would do wonders for this team.

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#9 Cold Hard Truth
March 19 2014, 12:04PM
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In mid-July 2013, Vic Michaels asked MacTavish if he was going to make any more moves to improve the team.

MacTavish stated: "Not really at this point."

"when I sit down and look at our roster, I’m reasonably comfortable that we’ve made some progress and reasonably comfortable with the depth of our line-up.”

"I’m reasonably optimistic that we’re going to be a real good hockey team.”

Depth wasn't seen as a problem by MacTavish.

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#10 So patient
March 19 2014, 12:08PM
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Will wrote:

I miss Andy Sutton. He was a great number seven.

However, I think Markov for big money and low term, say three years, would do nicely on the top pairing.

Then instead of a young developing D along side Ference, why not another free agent. Matt Niskanin is a right hander. THough I imagine the Burgh tries to resign him.

Number seven then goes to a young D in order to come up, take a few shifts alongside some vets and get various cups of coffee and fill in for injury.

I also wouldn't mind seeing another Ferrance signed, like Orpik.

Markov, J schultz

Ference, Petry

Orpik Marincin

Klefbomb

That is a blue line I could live with. It has a nice range of size, skill, and meanness.

I didn't trash your comment because it's well thought out, but I disagree. If we do sign a 2nd free agent defence man (and signing orpik AND Markov ain't gonna happen, there's a chance if getting Markov but i don't see Pittsburgh letting orpik go without a fight), I don't want one of our prospects stuck in a number 7 role. I'd rather them be actually playing, even if that means doing so in OKC.

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#11 Manfly
March 19 2014, 12:09PM
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Larry wrote:

Where's Theo Peckham?

thankfully gone!!

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#12 Soccer Steve
March 19 2014, 12:10PM
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A beat reporter for the Leafs was on Gregor's show (I think, one of the 1260 shows anyways) a week or so ago. He said something along the lines of: 'Guys, thank you so, so, so much for taking Fraser off our hands.'

Three things that require a long-term foresight and make us better off in the future:

1. We do not re-sign Fraser.

2. Nurse plays 1 or 2 more years not on the Oilers.

3. IF we draft Ekblad he does not touch an Oilers uniform for 2 or 3 years, minimum.

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#13 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 19 2014, 12:11PM
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All hail Mighty Marty (Marincin)!

Now give me all your props!

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#14 FuManShu
March 19 2014, 12:12PM
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Apparently Rishaug mentioned Eberle for Josi + 1st

While I don't think that is a deal Nashville makes, I'm going to entertain the notion.

That gives us two first round picks in the top ten (likely) and Sam Gagner to now move.

How I would do it:

Nashville first + Sam Gagner for Tyutin + Jenner + first

Draft Draisaitl with our first

Columbus first for Chris Stewart

Sign Kulemin, Goc, Winnik

Hall Nuge Stewart

Kulemin Jenner yakupov

Perron Goc Winnik

Smyth Gordon Hendricks

Tyutin Schultz

Josi Petry

Marincin Ference

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#15 Soccer Steve
March 19 2014, 12:15PM
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FuManShu wrote:

Apparently Rishaug mentioned Eberle for Josi + 1st

While I don't think that is a deal Nashville makes, I'm going to entertain the notion.

That gives us two first round picks in the top ten (likely) and Sam Gagner to now move.

How I would do it:

Nashville first + Sam Gagner for Tyutin + Jenner + first

Draft Draisaitl with our first

Columbus first for Chris Stewart

Sign Kulemin, Goc, Winnik

Hall Nuge Stewart

Kulemin Jenner yakupov

Perron Goc Winnik

Smyth Gordon Hendricks

Tyutin Schultz

Josi Petry

Marincin Ference

If there are an infinite number of universes and in each one there is an NHL, this STILL never ever, ever happens.

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#16 majin_oil
March 19 2014, 12:15PM
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Larry wrote:

Where's Theo Peckham?

enjoying a double at McCafe

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#17 FuManShu
March 19 2014, 12:16PM
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Soccer Steve wrote:

If there are an infinite number of universes and in each one there is an NHL, this STILL never ever, ever happens.

Agreed haha, but I like to be Arm Chair GM

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#18 Will
March 19 2014, 12:17PM
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So patient wrote:

I didn't trash your comment because it's well thought out, but I disagree. If we do sign a 2nd free agent defence man (and signing orpik AND Markov ain't gonna happen, there's a chance if getting Markov but i don't see Pittsburgh letting orpik go without a fight), I don't want one of our prospects stuck in a number 7 role. I'd rather them be actually playing, even if that means doing so in OKC.

I don't disagree with you. The number seven slot being for prospects I think gives the team some flex. All the prospects will be on two way contracts o they can be brought up and sent down during times of need, fill in for injuries and what have you, as well as let Eakins hold his defence accountable. Not playing well, making mistakes, well we have this hungry as hell player sitting right here eager to take your spot. It's also a nice reward for those prospects playing well down in OKC.

As for signing two free agents, that I think is not only possible, but probable given Mac T's clear frustration with the D.

There are only a few guys like Markov who will get a dump truck of cash, but there's a lot of guys like Orpik who are going to shake loose this year, and who will fetch a good amount of money. The Oilers have the cap space, why not? The pens need to resign Niskanin over Orpik. And though I love the idea of getting value contracts out of our D prospects, I would rather have a D core full of NHL players, punching at their weight as oppose to everyone trying to develop at the NHL level all at the same time.

2 or 3 years each for the two UFA's Mac T brings in, by then Nurse, J Schultz, and hopefully anyone of Marinicin, Gernat, Fedune, Ekblad, Larson, Hunt, Musil, or anyone of the other myriad of defensive prospects turns out to be some bonafide talent.

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#19 Fish
March 19 2014, 12:19PM
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Take the Center at the draft. Ekblad would NOT be a bad pick. I just feel with two youngish RD's Schultz and Petry (who have miles left in the career tank) and a log jam of good young LD's we create a heck of hill to climb with only so many minutes to pass around (not a bad problem to have). But, having Klefbom as a 7D would be a wasted development opp. A good 2C is a bigger hole for us going forward a year or two and the C draft pick will have more of an immediate impact. Reinheart would be amazing here. Bennette would be a nice fit as well.

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#20 Ed in Edmonton
March 19 2014, 12:24PM
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Willis

A well thought out article.

Your analysis for 2014/15 may turn out to be reasonably accurate. However, I would suggest that in the not too distance future Petry may need to go. I don't think a competitive team can have 2 players as similar as Petry and Schultz. Their weaknesses (easy to knock of the puck, rarely win a puck battle, panic when under pressure) are too similar. Schultz has already shown more offensive up side the Petry and may have room to improve. Petry is reaching 200+ NHL games and what we see is likely what we get.

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#21 gord962
March 19 2014, 12:27PM
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Will wrote:

I miss Andy Sutton. He was a great number seven.

However, I think Markov for big money and low term, say three years, would do nicely on the top pairing.

Then instead of a young developing D along side Ference, why not another free agent. Matt Niskanin is a right hander. THough I imagine the Burgh tries to resign him.

Number seven then goes to a young D in order to come up, take a few shifts alongside some vets and get various cups of coffee and fill in for injury.

I also wouldn't mind seeing another Ferrance signed, like Orpik.

Markov, J schultz

Ference, Petry

Orpik Marincin

Klefbomb

That is a blue line I could live with. It has a nice range of size, skill, and meanness.

There is absolutely ZERO chance the Oilers bring Klefbom up to sit him in the pressbox as the 7th defenseman. Either he plays in the NHL or he goes back to OKC to be the top pairing guy there. Sitting in the pressbox won't help his development.

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#22 Oiler Al
March 19 2014, 12:29PM
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Manfly wrote:

thankfully gone!!

ECHL, where he belongs. Think its with the Hawks system.

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#23 The artist formerly known as Harry
March 19 2014, 12:39PM
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@RexHolez

Brownosersayswhat??!

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#24 Al Low
March 19 2014, 12:42PM
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I think next year's projections are accurate. It will take a 'bold move' to get that number 1 dman. Schultz would benefit the most from that move, as he is in need of some mentorship. When the Oilers are ready to be a contender, I don't think Petry will be in the mix. I think you can live with one soft dman and still win but not two. I think Schultz would be the guy kept because of his offensive potential.

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#25 jeanshorts
March 19 2014, 12:46PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

In mid-July 2013, Vic Michaels asked MacTavish if he was going to make any more moves to improve the team.

MacTavish stated: "Not really at this point."

"when I sit down and look at our roster, I’m reasonably comfortable that we’ve made some progress and reasonably comfortable with the depth of our line-up.”

"I’m reasonably optimistic that we’re going to be a real good hockey team.”

Depth wasn't seen as a problem by MacTavish.

And I'm sure in the EIGHT MONTHS that have passed he probably hasn't changed his position at all.......

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#26 Wintoon
March 19 2014, 12:46PM
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Agree with Fish. Oilers desparately need to acquire a #1C or #2C via the draft. History shows that many of the top D men come from lower in the draft. That, plus the number of D prospects in the system, lends itself to the drafting of a Centre this year. Stanley Cup winning teams are strong down the middle. Right now, the Oilers are anything but.

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#27 The Real Scuba Steve
March 19 2014, 12:47PM
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Soccer Steve wrote:

If there are an infinite number of universes and in each one there is an NHL, this STILL never ever, ever happens.

How many infinite number of names have you used on this site?

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#28 Nj
March 19 2014, 12:57PM
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Ference and Orpik aren't similar. Orpik is a tough, HITTING defenseman. He blows guys up. And yes, he' be a great addition.

Fedun needs a big look up here but the organization seems to have moved on in regards to him. I hope he gets a serious look and succeeds somewhere else.

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#29 oilerjed
March 19 2014, 01:27PM
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So patient wrote:

I didn't trash your comment because it's well thought out, but I disagree. If we do sign a 2nd free agent defence man (and signing orpik AND Markov ain't gonna happen, there's a chance if getting Markov but i don't see Pittsburgh letting orpik go without a fight), I don't want one of our prospects stuck in a number 7 role. I'd rather them be actually playing, even if that means doing so in OKC.

You beat me to the punch on this one. Id have to agree, if you are not playing the young guy regularly then it would take away from his development to sit the majority of nights when he could be in OKC honing the craft.

It wouldn't hurt to have a winner down south where our prospects can develop a habit of winning and playing in big games. Taking quality guys that are on the cusp but not quite there yet will hurt OKC and will not change the mindset of the big club when they do come up.

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#30 MSK
March 19 2014, 01:32PM
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Its time to make a bold move. Move Eberle for a proven d-man!

Draft a center in this years draft. Sign a veteran d-man like Markov. Defense issue should be solved going into next year.

Markov-Josi Marincin-Petry Ference-Schultz

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#31 rickithebear
March 19 2014, 01:33PM
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Primary role of Dman?

Protect the scoring chance area in our own zone.

Stop Opposition scoring @ even and on their PP.

Here is a List of the 30 best EVGA Toughest Comp Dmen Quality of teamates listed. League average EVGA is 2.33

1. Lovejoy 1.36 EVGA/60 4th line teamates 2. Michalek 1.40 1st 3. Dekeyser 1.55 3rd 4. Suter 1.67 2nd 5. Chara 1.69 1st 6. Gorges 1.77 1st 7. Brodin 1.82 1st 8. Marincin 1.86 4th 9. Hjarlmasson 1.93 2nd 10. OEL 1.94 2nd 11. Carle 1.95 1st 12. Doughty 2.02 1st 13. Fowler 2.05 2nd 14. Braun 2.06 1st 15. Gunnerson 2.08 1st 16. Mcdonnagh 2.08 1st 17. Timoenen 2.08 1st 18. Boychuck 2.08 1st 19. Oduya 2.09 3rd 20. Bouwmeester 2.11 1st 21. Pietrangelo 2.13 1st 22. Giordano 2.14 1st 23. E. johnson 2.15 1st 24. Salo 2.20 1st 25 Gudas 2.23 1st 26. Yemelin 2.26 1st 27. Girardi 2.27 1st 28. Tanev 2.28 1st ----------------------league average 29. Phanuef 2.34 1st 30 Hamhuis 2.34 1st

What is clear is most of the best toughcomp Dmen face the other teams best with there first lines.

But notice that stud of a Dmanwho is top 10 in EVGA and facing the tothe rteams best with 4th line caliber forwards.

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These team needs more Hendricks!

Sign Fraser and convert him to wing.

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#33 WhattaMike
March 19 2014, 01:57PM
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IMO, the Oilers should be making a big trade for a top 1-2 type Defenceman and to do so..put in play for a deal with Gagner,Yakupov (maybe), even say Petry...and maybe add a top prospect or two such as Gernat, Musil, etc.

The kids such as Marancin and Klefbom are coming along very nicely right now, Marancin is playing excellently as a rookie right now.

Keep!!!!!... the 1st round pick for this year because ... I would love to see Ekblad get drafted here and be playing for sure for the Oil in 2015 or, a top winger like Draisaitl, or top type looking centre like Bennett.

Also, I am seeing that Matt Greene is available as a UFA this summer and is on the cheaper side as well. A return to Edmonton with him would be great cause there's a big mean stay at home sixth defenceman for the Oilers for next season...replacing Mark Frazer, Belov, Grebeshkov.

Those three players do cost more each and altogether than Greene ever would too. I also would look at Setoguchi and or Moulson for a signing as they look to be UFA's as well. Either would be very great to fit in on the 2nd line or third line with Hendricks and Gordon.

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#34 **
March 19 2014, 02:02PM
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I wonder if Petry, Gagner and a pick would fetch a top 2 dman.

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#35 nunyour
March 19 2014, 02:05PM
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I hope Mact is looking for both a big veteran d-man and a big veteran 2nd line center.

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#36 RexHolez
March 19 2014, 02:12PM
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The artist formerly known as Harry wrote:

Brownosersayswhat??!

I just want a diffrent perspective then this Pom Pom waving "watch how good we'll be next year with ***insert 18 year old high draft prospect here" again. This rebuild is off the rails.

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#37 RexHolez
March 19 2014, 02:26PM
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RexHolez wrote:

"That’s what I think the Oilers will do."

Good article JW. I like the above statement. I value your opinion on here. You clearly state it as an opinion, other (wont name names) would have phrase it as, "That's what the Oilers should do." I think some of the bloggers on here have taken some heat the past few weeks because they're giving their opinion like the Oilers management should listen and follow like the bible.

Keep up the good writing!

Lol I'm on to you! You just steal my name to get under my skin and get me booted!! Oh no!! Booted from a fan site of the worst team in the league

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#38 Zarny
March 19 2014, 02:45PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I just want a diffrent perspective then this Pom Pom waving "watch how good we'll be next year with ***insert 18 year old high draft prospect here" again. This rebuild is off the rails.

Off the rails?

No, you've just lost touch with reality.

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#39 Anton (still waiting for playoffs)
March 19 2014, 03:11PM
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Larry wrote:

Where's Theo Peckham?

Gambling randomly in one of the casino in town.

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#40 Randaman
March 19 2014, 03:35PM
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Nj wrote:

Ference and Orpik aren't similar. Orpik is a tough, HITTING defenseman. He blows guys up. And yes, he' be a great addition.

Fedun needs a big look up here but the organization seems to have moved on in regards to him. I hope he gets a serious look and succeeds somewhere else.

You may not have noticed but Orpik doesn't blow up anybody since his last concussion. Just sayin...

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#41 Randaman
March 19 2014, 03:36PM
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oilerjed wrote:

You beat me to the punch on this one. Id have to agree, if you are not playing the young guy regularly then it would take away from his development to sit the majority of nights when he could be in OKC honing the craft.

It wouldn't hurt to have a winner down south where our prospects can develop a habit of winning and playing in big games. Taking quality guys that are on the cusp but not quite there yet will hurt OKC and will not change the mindset of the big club when they do come up.

As the depth increases Organization wide, that will happen. Sadly we are not there yet.

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#42 Nj
March 19 2014, 04:01PM
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Randaman wrote:

You may not have noticed but Orpik doesn't blow up anybody since his last concussion. Just sayin...

I've seen most of the penguins games since the Olympic break. Orpik is still crushing guys. No offense but you are wrong. However you are also entitled to your opinion and we can disagree... It really doesn't matter until he's in Oilers blue.

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#43 Esa10
March 19 2014, 04:20PM
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Willis, I have a question for you and other oiler blog faithfuls like WG and lowetide, etc.

Since the summer I have seen a strong push to pick a #1 LD, my question is why not a #1 RD?

Let's imagine that the oilers sign Matt Niskanen. Our D-chart would be

Marincin Niskanen Klefbom Petry Ference Schultz. (Warm body, as you say)

I see that as being more beneficial than signing a LD, am I missing something.

1. Ference stays in his natural position 2. Nurse arrives when Ference is done. 3. Our right d is set for the next 5 years.

Thoughts?

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#44 copper
March 19 2014, 04:28PM
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@Ed in Edmonton

I believe you dramatically underrate Petry. Much better than you give credit. Clearly, a 2nd pairing NHL Dman.

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#45 copper
March 19 2014, 04:41PM
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As fans, we can't talk patience and then want to trade youth. Gagner is still young and not yet in his prime. Can he be better? Of course. Who couldn't. But, trading him +++ for an aged expensive Dman also weakens an already weak/thin C position. Then what?

Yak. Trade??? Give up already?? So much for patience.

Ebs + Gags +++ for a Dman?? Why?? Top pairing Dman are developed and when they are, who would trade them if they were any good?

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#46 The Last Big Bear
March 19 2014, 09:55PM
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jeanshorts wrote:

And I'm sure in the EIGHT MONTHS that have passed he probably hasn't changed his position at all.......

If MacTavish can't recognize an absolutely embarrassingly bad team after FIFTY YEARS in ice hockey, then what difference do you think 8 months is going to make?

This team being terrible was not a big unexpected outcome, unless you've been bathing in blue Kool-Aid for the last decade.

Having eight mediocre-to-poor defencemen is not "defence by committee".

It's just a crap defence.

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#47 Spydyr
March 20 2014, 10:56AM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

If MacTavish can't recognize an absolutely embarrassingly bad team after FIFTY YEARS in ice hockey, then what difference do you think 8 months is going to make?

This team being terrible was not a big unexpected outcome, unless you've been bathing in blue Kool-Aid for the last decade.

Having eight mediocre-to-poor defencemen is not "defence by committee".

It's just a crap defence.

Something smells,oh wait it is just the Oilers defence.

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