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 NJ
March 29 2014, 12:28PM
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Maybe someone could clarify, but I would think based on the Justin Shultz fiasco they would close that hole in CBA in the last round of bargaining, otherwise all college players would be going that route. If I could play another year and have a choice of teams AND finish my degree debt free, I'd do it. Can anyone verify if that loophole has closed?

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#52 admiralmark
March 29 2014, 12:55PM
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NJ wrote:

Maybe someone could clarify, but I would think based on the Justin Shultz fiasco they would close that hole in CBA in the last round of bargaining, otherwise all college players would be going that route. If I could play another year and have a choice of teams AND finish my degree debt free, I'd do it. Can anyone verify if that loophole has closed?

http://www.lighthousehockey.com/2013/6/7/4404684/nhl-cba-college-loophole-ncaa-change

Very good read for clarity if you can get through the legalese?

Everyone needs to calm down. He will sign with the Oilers. IF NOT? I really don't see it as all that detrimental.

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#53 Rod from Viking
March 29 2014, 01:21PM
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15w40 wrote:

I would say that the Simpson clan is definitely weighing their options. If you could pick from 29 teams and avoid the obvious issues that are plaguing the team that currently owns your rights, wouldn't you look at it??

I don't think that the fact that his dad played for the Oilers will have any bearing on his decision.

Not saying he won't sign here but I would think at this point its a 50-50 proposition at best IMHO.

I would think the goal will be to turn over about 50% of the defensemen on the current roster.

Larsen, Fraser, & Belov will likely be gone. Klefbom back to the minors to start next season.

Can't see them starting the season with Nurse, Ekblad, Marincin, and Klefbom on the roster.

Marincin is likely on the team, Nurse in Junior, Klefbom in OKC and I can't really say about Ekblad if they draft him - but probably back in Junior.

Craig does the weekly segment on "Oilers Now" and for the most part has slammed the Oilers for their team makeup and play. He was a lot more positive last week and makes me wonder if that means anything.

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#54 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 29 2014, 02:14PM
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Dog Train wrote:

Patience. If there is a deal out there to improve this team in the present and future, then of course one of the D prospects is expendable. For now, having a bunch of promising young D is a good thing. Let Marincin and Klefbom compete for a spot on the team next season. The runner-up goes back to the AHL and will get the first call-up when injuries inevitably hit. Give Nurse a taste of the NHL for a few games, then send him back to junior. Ekblad is a bit of a tricky situation given the extra year he played in junior, but I would still send him back if we draft him.

The first round pick is in play for the right price. We will probably have a top 3 pick which basically assures us that one of Ekblad or Draisaitl will still be available. Draisaitl probably fills more of a long-term need.

If we end up in third, Buffalo, Florida, Edmonton, and some team below us wins the draft lottery then we are in fourth.

If Ekblad, Reinhart and Draisaitl are gone......what then?

Some say take Bennett, others say move the pick. I say start planning today for this eventuality and have a plan to move up in the draft if need be.

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#55 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
March 29 2014, 02:30PM
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Manfly wrote:

^I say we trade down, but not too far and take a big winger like Nick Ritchie.

I disagree....but I like the out of the box thinking.....what would be a reasonable trade down for a 4th overall pick? 10th and ?

(Ritchie is slotted 10th in ISS rankings.)

If you were willing to take a winger wouldn't you just take Dal Colle at 4th? ISS

1. AARON EKBLAD D 6'4 216 R 2/7/96 Barrie OHL

2. SAM REINHART C 6'1 186 R 11/6/95 Kootenay WHL

3. SAM BENNETT LW 6'0 178 L 6/20/96 Kingston OHL

4. MICHAEL DAL COLLE F 6'2 184 L 6/20/96 Oshawa OHL 5. WILLIE NYLANDER C 5'11 169 R 5/1/95 Rogle SweAI 6. BRENDAN PERLINI LW 6'2 205 L 4/27/96 Niagara OHL 7. JAKE VIRTANEN LW 6'1 213 R 8/17/96 Calgary WHL 8. HAYDN FLEURY D 6'3 207 L 7/8/96 Red Deer WHL 9. JOSH HO-SANG RW 5'11 160 R 1/22/96 Windsor OHL 10. NICK RITCHIE F 6'2 218 L 12/5/95 Peterborough OHL 11. LEON DRAISAITL C 6'1 199 L 10/27/95 Prince Albert WHL

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#56 Walter Sobchak
March 29 2014, 03:35PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

One point on Simpson: he's a lefty, but apparently prefers to play the right side.

Not on a Eakins team he won't! He knows just how to fix that.........just ask Yakupov.

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#57 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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#58 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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#59 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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