HOW MANY CAN THEY KEEP?

Lowetide
March 29 2014 07:58AM

jeff petry

It was not so long ago that Jeff Petry (in photo) was playing in Oklahoma City and the Oilers were hoping Taylor Chorney and Theo Peckham would develop. Now, Petry is in the NHL, and 200+ games into his career. Chorney and Peckham are down the line.

The Oilers have a large number of defensemen in the system, and when Dillon Simpson is signed it's going to get crazy. Can they keep all of them? Who is expendable?

I've followed the Oilers prospects since the WHA, and do not recall a time when they've had more legit NHL prospects playing pro hockey. The first defenseman who went from Oiler prospect to NHL player was Charlie Huddy—signed in 1979, and NHLer by 1981—but he was alone on the 1979-80 Houston Apollos and the next legit prospect to develop through the minors was Steve Smith in 1983-84.

The Oilers draft record when it comes to defensemen is even less impressive. After a brilliant start (Lowe, Coffey, Steve Smith and Jeff Beukeboom between 1979 and 1983) the Oilers drafted only four defensemen who played over 400 NHL games: Geoff Smith (1987), Tom Poti (1996), Matt Greene (2002) and I'm going to assume Jeff Petry (2006) also makes it that far.

Part of it comes from Edmonton's drafting strategy: the club (correctly) uses most of its high draft picks on forwards (they're a more reliable bet, due to injuries etc). Since 2007, the Oilers have devoted more dear picks to defense and the results—while slow to emerge—are finally hitting the NHL roster sheet.

musil ferguson 1

RECENT TOP 60 PICKS

  • Jeff Petry #45 overall 2006 (228 NHL games)
  • Alex Plante #15 overall 2007 (10 NHL games)
  • Martin Marincin #46 overall 2010 (36 NHL games)
  • Oscar Klefbom #19 overall 2011 (9 NHL games)
  • David Musil #31 overall 2011
  • Darnell Nurse #7 overall 2013

And it's quite likely the Oilers will invest a top 3 pick on Aaron Ekblad if he's still on the board when they pick at the June draft. Add that group to free agent signing Justin Schultz, draft picks who appear to be trending in a good way (Martin Gernat, Brandon Davidson) and there's over a half dozen defensemen who are trending well.

And that's before Dillon Simpson signs. I'm not sure where he'll slot in the depth chart, but would guess it's clear of Musil, Gernat and Davidson (plus Fedun), and he could get a long look for NHL duty in the fall. Remember, college men are often closer to NHL ready than junior graduates.

CAN THEY KEEP THEM ALL?

No. I don't think the Oilers can ice a group of defenders who are all so young and inexperienced at the pro level. The "keepers" would appear to be Petry, Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse, plus Ekblad if they select him. However, that's a guess, and I'm excluding Simpson because he hasn't turn pro yet.

If I had to choose a candidate for trade, it would probably come down to Marincin versus Klefbom. Both are LH, as are Nurse and Simpson (Petry and Schultz are the prominent RH's).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Klefbom ferguson

As painful as it might be to contemplate, the Oilers are probably going to trade one or more of these young defensemen. The idea of having three or four inexperienced defensemen on the same NHL team makes me cringe, no matter the quality. Rookies make mistakes and need guidance from experienced men, that's the way it's always been and I don't see it changing now.

The young defenseman with the most value is Jeff Petry. If Craig MacTavish goes searching for a top pairing defender this summer, Petry might be part of the ask. I don't believe it would be wise to move Petry, and would suggest Marincin or Klefbom are the more attractive candidates to move.

Which puts their current NHL auditions in an interesting light. Not only are they gaining valuable experience, they are also being (possibly) showcased for a summer trade.

The Oilers can't develop all of these kids in the NHL at the same time. They'll get killed.

(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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#51 nunyour
March 29 2014, 04:21PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Two of the three players you think should be shipped out have almost no value.

We've been down that Road with Gagner & Yakupov, trading players for pennies on the dollar is counterproductive.

The only wingers on this team that have value are Hall - Eberle & Peron.

I think it's safe to say Hall is not on the table & that leaves Eberle & Peron.

Eberle is locked up long term, Peron has 2 years left on a very good contract.

Which one do you think wants to be an Oiler long term? Which one probably won't re-sign here?

That's the player you trade.

Your right,but maybe Petry and Yak for a d-man,and Gags and the first pick for a center?

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#52 Stack Pad Save
March 29 2014, 04:38PM
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@admiralmark

I was seriously joking. I guess you missed the sarcastic comments.

Clearly the Oilers have too many holes to fill in the immediate future.

The Oilers need a new 2nd line center. One with size and skill, a Hanzal type. Where can they get this player? I honestly doubt they can.

They need a winger with size in the top 6 who has skill. I think this is where they need to trade Eberle for a Wanye Simmonds. But I doubt Philly is interested in that trade.

The Oilers need 2 top 2 D-man. Where will they get that? I don't have a clue. It's not my job, I don't have the GM's of the NHL on speed dial. However I do know this. The Oilers will suck just as much next year, they can't fill all the holes in their roster in 1 year, let alone 2. If you don't think they will be in the running for Conor McDavid next year, you are fooling yourself.

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#53 Woogie63
March 29 2014, 05:54PM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

Who plays against the other teams' top line with big boys coming at you? The twin swizzle sticks?

Step away from the Weber for Gagner and a prospect or the Colburn for our spare parts hood. 26 teams in the league is looking to add a quality dman .... How are you proposing we trade for to improve the d core?

During 2014/15 against those top western lines you are going to have to play a five man unit that is focussed on prevent ing goals.

Give the knowns, I would play;

Gordon, Perron and Hall; with Shultz/Klefbom or Myers/Marincin on defence.

I would avoid RNH, Gagner and Ference

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#54 admiralmark
March 29 2014, 06:13PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

I was seriously joking. I guess you missed the sarcastic comments.

Clearly the Oilers have too many holes to fill in the immediate future.

The Oilers need a new 2nd line center. One with size and skill, a Hanzal type. Where can they get this player? I honestly doubt they can.

They need a winger with size in the top 6 who has skill. I think this is where they need to trade Eberle for a Wanye Simmonds. But I doubt Philly is interested in that trade.

The Oilers need 2 top 2 D-man. Where will they get that? I don't have a clue. It's not my job, I don't have the GM's of the NHL on speed dial. However I do know this. The Oilers will suck just as much next year, they can't fill all the holes in their roster in 1 year, let alone 2. If you don't think they will be in the running for Conor McDavid next year, you are fooling yourself.

Well I caught the sarcasm at the end but thought prior to that you put a lot of thought into the changes needed. My bad. I do agree mostly with your last posting. There is too much of a list to full fill in 1 off season. However, I think its well within MacT's ability to

1)Upgrade the D with 1 first pairing D man. and 2) Change the mix in the top 6. (1 tough RW with some skill)

I could see going out Gagner, Eberle, 1 of Klefbom or Marincin, possibly this years 1st and possibly next years 1st.

This should be enough to deal out to achieve my points 1 and 2 greatly. this also doesn't include the 1 or 2 moves they can make in the UFA market.

Is this enough to get to the playoffs? Maybe not. I do think this team is closer then people think because the mix is just all wrong right now. So I wouldn't say they will make playoffs but I do think they could easily take themselves out of the bottom 5 picks. Maybe 10th pick overall? So I do not expect them to be in the running for McDavid if they make these moves.

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#55 Stack Pad Save
March 29 2014, 06:59PM
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@admiralmark

For the love of good hockey being played by the Oilers, I hope MacT solves some of the problems.

If it was me, I would trade Eberle and Some D prospects for a Top pairing D man along the lines of a Keith Yandle or maybe giving up a little less for a guy like Marc Staal.

Biggest problem this year is that their is no obvious solutions via free agency. Unless you want to crazy over pay for Ryan Callahan or Milan Michalek or a Derek Roy, Paul Statsny type.

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#56 seanjohn667
March 29 2014, 09:09PM
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'The Oilers can't develop all of these kids in the NHL at the same time. They'll get killed.'

but, do they mind getting killed? Do they really feel that next season (and the one after that) are important? I'm not so sure. I think they plan on going forward with Petry, Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse and another draft pick, be it Eckblad, Simpson, Musil or Gernat.

they will wait, that's what they've been doing for years now.

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#57 jake
March 30 2014, 06:48AM
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MacT needs to, with precision, navigate this situation with the D prospects and #89 while moving mountains to get another top-6 center, who can shelter Nuge a bit and score more than Gagner. For me..top6 center>> top2 D at THIS point in time. Oh and if you trade Marincin, with that wingspan (can't teach wingspan), you better have a CLEAR upgrade coming back. It's getting repetitive but this summer is really important for the Oilers.

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#58 aspin
March 30 2014, 03:35PM
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Lowetide...if they do trade one of Marincin, Klef or Petry I hope it is Petry. The ceiling for the other two is much higher. Petry is a good skater but lacks any kind of consistent physical play. Klefbom has that and Marincin has proven right now that he is close to as good overall as Petry already. If they trade Klefbom or Marincin they and all of us will come to regret it.

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#59 vivian sinclair
March 30 2014, 08:26PM
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@nunyour

I am and have been an oiler fan since the very beginning. The last six years have been a frustrating and maddening several years. Something has to be done to fix this team number one get a leader the team is not playing as a team. Get rid of Kevin lowe and craig mc tavish their time has been way over do. Do you lose on so you get a first round draft pick at the draff. How well has that worked. Look at the Oil Kings they are playing like a nhl team. This team needs to wake up and take things seriously and their a lots of players that do not have the maturity to be their. I have lost so much pride in this team and feel that it comes down to management, and coaches. One needs a wake up call. If the players don't work together then find some that do.

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