BEST D-MAN...

Jason Gregor
March 27 2014 03:11PM

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I get to vote on the Oilers best defenceman of the year award. I have voted on CFL all-stars, MVP's, NLL all-stars and individual awards as well as Oiler awards over the years and I take it seriously. I do some research, talk to players in the league and look up numerous different stats. I believe it is important to do some research and put in some effort when voting on these awards.

Even though the Oilers have had another horrendous season, I believe you owe it to the players to make an educated vote.

I have done my research and have made my vote, but I'm curious who Oilers fans would vote for.

Let me know who you would vote for. Defend your vote, tell us why you feel this players is worthy of being the best and don't try and be funny by saying "no one." We all understand the season has been a disaster, but you still need to pick one, so let me know who your choice is: 

Oscar Klefbom
Andrew Ference
Philip Larsen
Martin Marincin
Jeff Petry
Mark Fraser
Justin Schultz
Anton Belov

QUICK HIT...

A month ago we auctioned off a great package.

  • You attend the morning skate of the New York Rangers and then get a meet and greet with some Rangers players. Allison Currie from TSN 1260 will be your tour guide.
  • You have dinner and drinks Sunday at the Druid and then a pair of club seats to the game (courtesy of Andrew Ference) to the Oilers/Rangers game.

Kyle bid $2,500 and donated that to charity. He contacted me today and won't be able to go, so he said we should auction it off again. If you want to bid on this package call 780.444.1260 before 5:55 p.m. today. All proceeds will go towards Alzheimer's Society. Thanks Kyle, you're a beauty.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Oildrip
March 27 2014, 05:06PM
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Petry has played the most decent from the few games ive watched. Maricin is right behind him.

I'd still like to see a d-man like Igor Ulanov or Gator in Oil silks however.

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#52 BingBong
March 27 2014, 05:11PM
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Wow, what a list. "Best of the Worst" would be more accurate.

Every single guy has had some BAD stretches, but my vote goes to Petry. He certainly has his faults - mainly that he's not physical enough - but he's really the one guy we have who can initiate a breakout, make a pass, and play half-decent defense. Also the only guy who possibly makes his partner better.

But alas, that's not saying much.

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#53 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 27 2014, 05:20PM
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I vote for....."The Scivenator".......our last...and only line of defense!

But seriously, Andrew Ference. Not great, but our best all round Dman.

Either him or Nurse.

Gregor...you can't possibly vote for any guy who has not dropped the gloves at least once in the whole season....seriously.....

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#54 SteelyDan
March 27 2014, 05:24PM
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Based on some of the responses it is good the fans never vote on these awards...haha

I look at who has improved their game, and I'd say Schultz has worked on improving his positioning and he has calmed down in the defensive zone.

He is our best offensive D-man by a long shot and because of that I'd give him the award. None of others are that much better in one facet than any of the others.

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#55 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 27 2014, 05:29PM
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And to think.....before you posted that list I was leaning towards the Oilers drafting a center......never never post that list ever again for any reason......

Ekblad it is then.......

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#56 Oiler Al
March 27 2014, 05:29PM
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Last year I would have said Petry, hands down!. His game regressed this year [ not alone the whole team did], but with his tenure, I expected more of him.

My vote is Schultz. The most points Plays big minutes against top lines Best shooting % Power Play Q/B For his chaotic play, he takes few penalties. Great skater, carriew the puck well, can pass.

I am big fan of Marincin, and I think from this crew its his next year to loose.

Ps. I think Schultz could play on the forward line without much trouble.

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#57 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 27 2014, 05:32PM
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Also....CFL....Vote Ricky Ray.......Ouch!

No wonder so few people vote....voting can hurt!

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#58 @Oilanderp
March 27 2014, 05:34PM
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For me the best d-man would be the guy who comes out on top after a comparison on the following categories in no particular order (note players must have played at least 50% of the Oilers games to be considered eligible - sorry Marty I'd vote for you for rookie d of the year!):

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1. Ice time: this a measure of the coach's opinion. He won't play you as much if he thinks he has a better option to put out there. Top 3 Ice-time Leaders: Shultz (1521 mins), Petry (1519 mins), Ference (1469 mins)

2. 5v5 CF%: a measure of whether or not your team is outshooting the opponents while you are on the ice at even strength. It's like a more accurate +/-. Literally its the number of shots your team gets divided by the number of shots in the game (while you are on the ice). Good d-men help drive the play and keep the puck where it belongs: in the opponent's zone. Shots for/against approximate this (you don't get shots for when the puck is in your own zone, and good d-men get the puck back and get it out of the zone quickly).Top 3 even strength CF% Leaders: Marincin 49%, Petry 48%, Belov 46%, Larsen 45%, Schultz 43%

3. Quality of Competition: If you accept that the coach plays his better players more, then you can take a look at the ice time of players a d-man plays against. The better d-men face the opponent's best players (top icetime getters) regularly. The NHL tracks this. Top 3 Oilers D ranked by how often they play against the opponent's top ice-time getters: Petry (29%), Ference/Schultz tied (28.8%).

4. Quality of Teammates: If you accept that the coach plays his better players more, then you can take a look at the ice time of players a d-man plays with. A d-man who still does well despite playing with lower quality (read lower icetime) teammates is a good one.Oilers D with the lowest quality teammates: Petry (27.7%), Schultz/Belov tied (28%).

5. Zone Starts: A player who starts in their own zone more often will find it harder for their team to get more shots for than against, but good d-men find a way. A coach will tend to put his best defenders out for a defensive zone start while giving his more offensive players the gravy time in the o-zone.Top 3 Oilers D in defensive zone starts: Petry (36%), Marincin (35%), Belov (34%), Schultz (32.5%).

6. Special Teams: I think even strength play is the most important BUT the best d-men in my opinion are those who can contribute in all disciplines - both PP and PK.Top 3 Oilers D ranked by % of team's total time spent on special teams (PK+PP): Schultz (16PK + 60PP = 76%), Petry (52PK + 17PP = 69%), Ference (52PK + 7PP = 59%).

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Totals: I give 3 pts for being #1 in a category, 2 pts for #2, and 1 pt for #3. Let's total them up:

Jeff Petry - 16 pts

Justin Schultz - 12 pts

Anton Belov - 6 pts

Andrew Ference - 4 pts

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Jeff Petry is the clear winner. He finished no worse than second place in every single category. Justin Schultz also placed top 3 in all categories. The surprise for me was Anton Belov, who finished 2nd on the team in 3 of the categories. Ference gets an honorable mention by placing in 3 categories.

I wasn't sure who would place where before I started this, though I suspected Petry would be up there. It required a bit of work, and my post is long, but hey, its my ranking isn't it?

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#59 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 27 2014, 05:37PM
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I did exactly the same analysis as Oilanderp and came up with Andrew Ference!

Except my analysis included a 7th category called "having a pair"

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#60 Young Oil
March 27 2014, 05:47PM
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The best Dman has been Marincin without a doubt in my mind, with Petry as a close second.

Marincin has been a revelation. Little to no chaos in his game, playing top pairing minutes as a rookie. That's beyond impressive. He's been one of the few bright spots this dreadful season. Let's hope he can keep it up.

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#61 916oiler
March 27 2014, 05:53PM
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If you were to pick the best player on a team you actually played for, you'd probably ask yourself 'Who plays against the other teams' best players the most?' 'If I had to pick ___ or ___ to be out against a big time player who would I choose'. Offense is another consideration, but only if it becomes game-changing (as bad defense is far more game-changing than good offense).

Marincin has been solid, but c'mon how many games has he played?

I don't have the stats in front of me, but I'd have to guess Petry fits the bill. It's really between him and Justin Schultz, and the young buck hasn't mastered the defensive side as well as Petry in my opinion.

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#62 Rick Stroppel
March 27 2014, 05:55PM
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Max wrote:

Ladi Smid

NO JOKE, IT'S SMID. EASY.

Last year, I believe Justin Shultz was an all star in the AHL, and he was the top scoring defence an in the AHL, even though he only played 34 games there.

In the last two seasons, Smid is a cumulative minus 10, Petry is a minus 15, Schultz is minus 36 in the NHL. Look at the blocked shots (Smid tied for fourth in the NHL this season) and hits stats for these three players. Schultz' stats in those categories are a joke.

Schultz is no better than MA Bergeron or Tom Poti in their prime.

So MacTavish traded away the best defence man on the team for almost nothing? And MacTavish (and his assistant GM Eakins) are going to fix the mess this summer?

PS: I just checked, Schultz was a first team all star in the AHL last year.

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#63 @Oilanderp
March 27 2014, 06:02PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I did exactly the same analysis as Oilanderp and came up with Andrew Ference!

Except my analysis included a 7th category called "having a pair"

HAHA! Good one! I too would prefer my d-men to "have a pair"! However, they have to be good at hockey first (hello Fraser). I actually considered putting in a leadership category, but it's too subjective and I am not in the room so what the heck do I know about that.

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#64 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
March 27 2014, 06:05PM
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I hear that Dallas Eakins is not a nomination for NHL coach of the year. Why am I not surprised. Let's petition Gary Bettman for a trophy that will reward the worst & most laughable NHL franchise. The "Kevin Lowe Trophy".

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#65 ONTARIO OILERS FAN
March 27 2014, 06:07PM
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Now watching a real NHL team play: the Montreal Canadiens. They should be the only Canadian team to go in the post season. The Habs.... Canada's team.

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#66 Serious Gord
March 27 2014, 06:08PM
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Petry.

Next to the question who was the best goalie of the year who's played more than ten games there is nothing more damning of oiler management than the answer to that question.

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#67 hemi
March 27 2014, 06:22PM
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ONTARIO OILERS FAN wrote:

Now watching a real NHL team play: the Montreal Canadiens. They should be the only Canadian team to go in the post season. The Habs.... Canada's team.

Listen up Ontario Oilers fan: I have a lifetime of hated both the habs and the laffs.......to say that the godless habs are Canada's team is almost too much to take! This on top of a horrible year for the Mighty Oil, how much can a man take?

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#68 Spydyr
March 27 2014, 06:29PM
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Pronger......forgive me I'm trying to forget the last eight years.

Besides he was the last real top pairing defencman this team has had.

This year it has to sadly be the rookie Marincin .

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#69 tileguy
March 27 2014, 06:31PM
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If the award was for steadiness it would be ference but for me the best was Petry, l actually noticed a few big hits throughout the season and I expect that will increase and could be a top 2. Nice skating, nice puck movement.

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#70 lostdog82
March 27 2014, 06:40PM
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Marincin has outplayed any hopes and expectations that one could ask of a rookie. Great year for him, kid looks like he could really be something special

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#71 Oilers Coffey
March 27 2014, 06:40PM
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"Having a pair" haha Seriously no one on this Dcorps has dropped the gloves but Ference. What happened when every dman without hesitation got into the rough stuff in front of the net. This goes to show just how soft this group is! no wonder other teams come into Rexall and have their way. Therefore Ference gets my vote.

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#72 tileguy
March 27 2014, 06:50PM
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hemi wrote:

Listen up Ontario Oilers fan: I have a lifetime of hated both the habs and the laffs.......to say that the godless habs are Canada's team is almost too much to take! This on top of a horrible year for the Mighty Oil, how much can a man take?

Watch me make Hemi's eye veins pop. Vancouver for Canada's team.

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#73 Rod from Viking
March 27 2014, 07:14PM
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hemi wrote:

Listen up Ontario Oilers fan: I have a lifetime of hated both the habs and the laffs.......to say that the godless habs are Canada's team is almost too much to take! This on top of a horrible year for the Mighty Oil, how much can a man take?

I was brought up in a home that cheered for whoever was playing the Habs including the Russians, I will pull for Montral when they are playing Vancouver,Toronto or Calgary and that's about it.I think it is the arrogant media that was so hard on Randy Cunnyworth because he couldn't speak french that really turned me off the team.

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#74 Bushed
March 27 2014, 07:15PM
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Petry.

Also gets my vote for most under-appreciated.

He's quietly been developing since he got here, in spite of having to play several spots higher than he would have to on most other teams, and succeeding most of the time.

He's starting to add a more physical side to his game, too.

He's a keeper, so the Oil will likely trade him over the summer and keep Snowpants on the team, because Oilers...

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#75 Rod from Viking
March 27 2014, 07:16PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I was brought up in a home that cheered for whoever was playing the Habs including the Russians, I will pull for Montral when they are playing Vancouver,Toronto or Calgary and that's about it.I think it is the arrogant media that was so hard on Randy Cunnyworth because he couldn't speak french that really turned me off the team.

I will pull for Montreal How do you edit your posts after you have posted it.

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#76 vetinari
March 27 2014, 07:31PM
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For me, it come down to Petry and J. Schutz... Petry is more rounded in his game, can move the puck out of his zone and is usually engaged in the game from start to finish. His only knocks against him is he's not that physical and I wish that he would shoot more.

Schultz is more offensively gifted, has a higher "gear" than Petry in the transition game and can work a PP better than most. Again, I wish that Schultz was more physical and that his body position against forwards was better in front of our net.

As for the others:

Ference comes as advertised-- he has a physical edge and understands defence but not much offence there and can't beat many opposing forwards in a "one on one" foot race.

Marincin is an honorable mention and if he can find a little "meanness" in him, could be a fantastic 3/4 defenceman on the team for years to come (imagine Marincin and Nurse together with another 30 pounds on each of their frames).

Larsen, Fraser and Belov have been generally non-factors and are all "7th defenceman"/AHL material. Klefbom is too new and needs another 30-40 games to be properly assessed.

My vote is Petry in a narrow field of two or three.

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#77 Oiler63
March 27 2014, 07:41PM
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I think Petry played with more confidence this year ,not Duncan Keith level of confidence (and he shouldn't be) but definitely more composed than last year. Just wish he's more nasty.

Edit, last game his shot literally took out one of sharks' D men. He has a heavy shot. More of that in the games please.

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#78 Oiler63
March 27 2014, 07:47PM
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@Rod from Viking

There's an edit button just under the reply button on every post under your user name.

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#79 15w40
March 27 2014, 08:36PM
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I would say its tough to defend a pick with solid statistics.

I went with the process of elimination starting by removing the worst of the worst until arriving at the best of the worst.

That would have to be Petry. He is soft but he is what he is and at this point is the most competent of the group.

Marincin is a close 2nd. Those are really the only two in the conversation for me.

Ference was tagged as the leader but is not a better player then the aforementioned 2. He may have more heart but that doesn't necessarily equate to a better player.

J Schultz has generally been a train wreck most of the year and he is sooooooooo soft he makes Petry look like Chris Chelios.

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#80 dougtheslug
March 27 2014, 08:43PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I will pull for Montreal How do you edit your posts after you have posted it.

You have to Login first using the login button under the Post A Comment flag

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#81 Dog Train
March 27 2014, 09:07PM
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Marincin has probably been the best during his time here but even if he plays the rest of the games, he will still have barely played half of the season. I think it's a three-way race between Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry and Andrew Ference.

Justin Schultz has the most points but he also has way more PP minutes than the other two. That combined with the ridiculous amount of shorthanded goals against, many of which he played a part in, and I am no voting for Schultz. Andrew Ference did a nice job playing more minutes than he should be playing but he is the runner-up in my opinion.

I will go with Jeff Petry. He plays the most at even strength and I don't think he gets enough credit for Marincin's smooth transition to the NHL. For the most part, his partners seem to play better with him than without him. He's far from a perfect player but you don't have to be special in order to be the best D-man on this year's Edmonton Oilers team.

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#82 JOHN
March 27 2014, 09:08PM
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AND THE TALLEST MIDGET IS....?...................Petry

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#83 Velo
March 27 2014, 09:16PM
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Souray...we're still paying him, right? So, he counts.

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#84 Harlie
March 27 2014, 09:36PM
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"he's ragdolling Stempniak"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQKlpxRc6WE

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#85 Wonger
March 27 2014, 10:11PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Pronger......forgive me I'm trying to forget the last eight years.

Besides he was the last real top pairing defencman this team has had.

This year it has to sadly be the rookie Marincin .

Mark Fraser is my pick!!! He provides the TOUGHNESS and TRUCULENCE the Oil haven't had since Jason "GATOR" Smith!!!

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#86 a lg dubl dubl
March 27 2014, 10:44PM
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My vote is Marincin. He has a calmness to his game that has been hard to find in any of the dmen this year, uses his stick, and play the position pretty good for a rookie. Marincin is the only dman with a +/- above 0.

Petry, imo looks like a cat chasing the red dot(puck) all the time, and gets caught out of position more times than any other dman. I hope MacT doesn't resign him and lets him walk, the Oil would be better for it in the long run. I will give Perty credit on this though he has become more physical this year, and not so Tammy Gilbert like as in yrs past.

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#87 Britts94
March 27 2014, 10:47PM
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Honestly, from what I've seen, Marincin was very good given the situation, but Petty edges him out by a hair. Yes he has bad games (and when its bad, its BAD) but he's still the best defenceman on the team.

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#88 TheresAlwaysNextYear
March 27 2014, 10:57PM
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I guess I would give it to Petry.

But how about we trade Eberle for a top 2 Dman and move Schultz to the RW?? LOL

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#89 Pouzar99
March 27 2014, 11:30PM
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You could make a case for Marincin, shocking as that is, in the time he has been up, but it is not long enough based on the entire year. That leaves only two possible choices, Ference and Petry, both of whom are being asked to play more minutes against tougher opponents than would be ideal. Ference has shown tremendous character and work ethic under incredibly trying circumstances, but overall Petry has been best in my view, which is a very depressing assessment. He makes mistakes and gets overwhelmed sometimes, but he is a legitimate second pairing D man, while Ference at this point is a legitimate third pairing guy. Marincin looks to be a solid 2nd pairing D man going forward and may be the best of this bunch soon, if he isn't already. Schultz looks lost, but has the potential to grow into an excellent offensive defender. He desperately needs to build more strength and learn the fundamentals of his position. So my vote goes to Petry

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#90 Al Low
March 27 2014, 11:47PM
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Looking at those names, you can see why the Oilers suck. Andrew Ference has been horrible. I understand the signing but it was ill-advised. If the Oil find their way out of the woods, this guy will be in the press box as the 7th defenceman and only because of his lousy contract. Schultz, Marincin and Petry are the only real NHL dmen on the list. Klefbom could get there, as well.

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#91 The Last Big Bear
March 28 2014, 12:09AM
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I am not an Oilers fan (I only hang out here to pick up chicks).

My take:

Ference is probably the one I'd take if I had to pick an Oilers defenceman to take to the playoffs. Jumping Lee Stempniak, who clearly didnt want to fight, and knocking some of his teeth out after a clean hit was complete BS, but was about the closest thing to ''grit" that I've seen from an Oilers player this season.

Petry is certainly a legit NHLer, which is about as much as you can ask from this group. He's slowly making progress, and its almost a toss-up, but I'd say Ference has been better this season.

Marincin has been pretty good for a teenaged rookie over the course of half a season. Unfortunately, this puts him in the running for the best defenceman on the Oilers.

Schultz is an defensively questionable, offensive PP specialist. With like 1 power play goal.

Smid and N Schultz would have made the discussion a bit more interesting, but they are now underwhelming on other teams.

The Oilers legitimately have the worst blue line in the NHL.

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#92 jr_christ
March 28 2014, 08:48AM
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I think Marincin has been outstanding given the situation.

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#93 jr_christ
March 28 2014, 08:51AM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

I am not an Oilers fan (I only hang out here to pick up chicks).

My take:

Ference is probably the one I'd take if I had to pick an Oilers defenceman to take to the playoffs. Jumping Lee Stempniak, who clearly didnt want to fight, and knocking some of his teeth out after a clean hit was complete BS, but was about the closest thing to ''grit" that I've seen from an Oilers player this season.

Petry is certainly a legit NHLer, which is about as much as you can ask from this group. He's slowly making progress, and its almost a toss-up, but I'd say Ference has been better this season.

Marincin has been pretty good for a teenaged rookie over the course of half a season. Unfortunately, this puts him in the running for the best defenceman on the Oilers.

Schultz is an defensively questionable, offensive PP specialist. With like 1 power play goal.

Smid and N Schultz would have made the discussion a bit more interesting, but they are now underwhelming on other teams.

The Oilers legitimately have the worst blue line in the NHL.

I can't see how anyone could really disagree with you from an objective point of view. Your last sentence is, without any doubt, the truest statement ever written about this 2013-2014 oilers team.

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#94 Dan the Man
March 28 2014, 11:26AM
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Marincin has been very good in his short run with the Oilers but there should be no doubt that Petry has been the Oilers best defenseman this year.

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#95 Tikkanese
March 28 2014, 12:55PM
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Can we bring Gord Mark out of retirement again?

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