Another Rookie?

This is Wally Pipp. Legend has it that (while the Yankees starting first baseman) he asked out of a ballgame due to a headache. Although there is evidence that the real story had more to do with a batting slump, the headache story sounds better so most go with it.

Replacing Pipp in the Yankee lineup on June 2, 1925? Some college kid named Lou Gehrig, who would go on to play 2,130 consecutive games at the position. Soon Pipp was off to the National League and Cincinnati, where the story goes he never asked for a day off again.

This is Jeff Petry. He might be the next rookie to impact the city of Edmonton in what is quickly becoming the season of the unshaven. Although his ETA was supposed to be 2011 fall, the college kid (college kid!!)  is a quick study and at this point is starting to do things normal humans cannot at the minor league level. An example is here.

I’m of the belief that major league organizations should elevate players the moment they’ve proven they can impact the game at a lower level. There is no level between AHL and NHL, and the latest numbers suggest Petry is ready:

  • 31gp, 7-13-20 has him 5th in team scoring.
  • 3-3-6 +4 in 8 December games
  • tied for 8th in points among all AHL defensemen
  • tied for 7th in points among all AHL rookies
  • His coach (Todd Nelson): “He’s playing with more confidence. He has the skill set. We all knew that he has the skill set. You can see the way he skates. He just explodes. He’s got a great shot. He moves the puck like a pro. And he’s just playing with more confidence.”  The full story is here.


Jim Vandermeer was playing his best hockey of the season when struck by injury. In his last 8 games before the ankle injury, the big veteran posted 1-2-3 +8 numbers. That’s a strong linescore in any league. Vandermeer has had ankle problems before and although I’m having a little fun here with Vandermeer/Pipp comparisons it should be mentioned that at this point in his career injuries are a huge item for this player. In 06-07 he missed the final 33 games of the year with a broken right ankle, and he broke the left one in 2008-09. 

This is no laughing matter.

Jim Vandermeer–like a lot of Oiler blue–had a tough start to the season but he’d really turned it around in the last while. All joking aside, one hopes he returns to the NHL quickly.

There are 4 candidates for callup (the Oilers may make the call today). Shawn Belle has already played for the Oilers this season and would seem the most likely candidate. Jeff Petry is coming on strong and the organization may want to reward him for his efforts.

Alex Plante is a similar player in style to Vandermeer, although his HS for OKC last night is probably a tell in terms of how the organization feels about him at this time. Also, Taylor Chorney is kicking about in the AHL and has in fact had a nice season with the Barons. From this group, he boasts the most NHL experience.

I’m not including Richard Petiot on the list, as he has just returned from injury (he’s played the last 2 games for Oklahoma City).

Coach Nelson: "They’ve all been playing well. It depends on what they’re looking for if they want to call someone up at all.”

Spoken like a man who wants to keep his defense intact. We’ll find out in the next few hours if the Oilers are going to make a move. The club might run with Strudwick through the next couple of games and make a decision after Christmas.

The news we got about Vandermeer about  December 14 was that this was a two week injury (meaning he’d be ready around the end of December) so they may choose to stay the course.

If they do call up Belle it might be the last time Petry watches another Baron defender punch his ticket. When Jeff Petry arrives at the International Airport from Oklahoma City, I suspect he’ll be staying for years. The Edmonton Oilers "season of the rookie" rolls on.

  • m_kennedy13

    Morning LT, hopefully the coffee is good this morning for ya.

    Petry, Plante, Marincin, and Smid are names that I am going to be watching very closely for the next few years. Unless we draft another high end defender this year it’s important that one of those 4 turns into a top pairing kind of guy. Although the window is probably shut for Smid to develop into that, the homer in me feels he has another big step to take. Love the guy and am really blinded by it.

    Side note: I’ve tried posting here a few times lately, and I get re-directed to another page saying I was rejected and it’s possibly because I was trying to do something I don’t have permission to do. Any idea what’s going on?

    • Lowetide

      What I don’t know about the internet would scare you. I’ve done some wonky stuff here at ON too but don’t tell Wanye. 🙂

      As for your specific problem, I know sometimes things go a little askew when two people are trying to post at the exact same time but other than that I can’t help you.

      I worry about Smid on two fronts. One: health. He’s like the kid who can’t remember to keep his hands up when sparring in a boxing ring. I worry about him. Seriously.

      Second, he doesn’t seem to be developing with the puck. Smid has a nice smooth stride and can make people miss, but when he reaches the end boards it’s like he doesn’t know what to do next. I know this isn’t true–hell NHL hockey is so bloody fast it’s a wonder anyone gets things done.

      But I don’t get the feeling his offensive skills can marry themselves to things that we associate with scoring goals.

      We’re left with a guy who is big, strong and can mark his man well. He’s improved on the back door play and should have a long career on the third pairing. But I thought he’d be better than that and he’s been passed by Peckham already.

      I keep hoping the light turns on. He has some exceptional God given talent (skating, size).

  • GSC

    Not sure point production from the backend should matter from this crew. What we need is a couple of good shut down d men. We seem to be able to put some goals up this year but do very little to stop the opponent from putting up more.

    • Lowetide

      Yeah, I think that’s why Plante will also get a push. Peckham’s quick adjustment may mean one of Petry/Plante spends 40+ games in the NHL this season, allowing the other one to make the team next fall.

      But I agree, the Oilers need a defense-first guy too.

  • Lowetide

    I cannot imagine a scenario where you send Omark down. IF he slumps then it may happen, but how in hell do you send him back now?

    What would the conversation sound like? “Linus, you’ve scored in the shootout and in the game, and you’re posting offense plus the PP looks good with you out there. Now we need you to go back to Oklahoma City and work harder on nothing at all.”

    Makes no sense. If you’re rebuilding, you WANT these players to force their way onto the roster. The Oilers have plenty of lesser players they can send away.

    Jacques comes to mind.

      • Lowetide

        Yeah, agreed. I think Cogliano may have a career but the Oilers have seen him for a few years now and the offense isn’t there. I do agree that if he’d had better linemates the numbers would come, but the Oilers were a poor team during his time here and it never happened.

        Suspect he’ll have success if he lands with a good team, though.

  • Lowetide

    Donovan: His Desjardins NHL equivalencies have always suggested he’s going to be a point producer. Now a lot of offense for defensemen comes from the powerplay, so if he doesn’t get those minutes with the Oilers then his boxcars won’t be as impressive.

    I do think that he’ll score 25+ points consistently in the NHL. If he becomes a mainstay on the PP, he could post 35+ in his best seasons imo.

    The thing about Petry is he has a nice range of skills. Size, footspeed, he can move the puck and make a pass, and the scouting report suggests there’s some grit in his game.

    So, as a comp I’d say he’ll be a little shy of Gilbert offensively but have more jam.

    • Horcsky

      If a defencemen is a little less offensively gifted than Tom Gilbert, but with more jam, then I’d say you have a number one d-man.

      Glencross scares me. When he’s playing well, he’s a banging agitator who can actually line up and check his man, unlike stortini. His hands are okay for a grinder too. However, he has many games where he takes awful penalties at the worst times. Ethan Moreau v2.0 comes to mind.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I remember you tooting Brule’s horn because he was “fiesty with a good shot” and you “knew what you are looking at out there”.

            So what’s your point?

  • DonovanMD

    GarbageManBrian with a garbage post, well done sir.

    Lowetide: Anyone Petry really compares to or projects like? Even if he came in and played solid, potted 20 points, I’d be a pretty happy guy. He seems to have a good 40 point upside.