An NHL team’s depth chart is constantly in motion. Dustin Pennner sent away=more icetime for Taylor Hall and others. Injury to Theo Peckham=calling up the best available talent for that player type. The first round pick was passed over on recall. It spells trouble for the prospect.
Richard Petiot (in photo above) is a 28-year old journeyman player. That’s not an insult, playing defense in the AHL is no bargain (witness Taylor Chorney’s plus minus as a young D) and playing it at the NHL level is like flying life and death sorties over hostile territory every three minutes.
The Oilers depth chart on the blue at the start of the season included Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid, Kurtis Foster, Theo Peckham, Jim Vandermeer and Jason Strudwick. Here’s the minor leaguers listed in the reverse order of their being sent out of training camp:
- Oct 5: Sheldon Souray
- Oct 3: Shawn Belle and Richard Petiot
- Sept 30: Taylor Chorney, Jeff Petry and Alex Plante
- Sept 27: Jake Taylor and Johan Motin
- Sept 20: Jordan Bendfeld
Using this as a depth chart (and understanding the 7 guys who made the big club form the major league depth chart), we could reasonably assume that Alex Plante was between 10 and 12 on the overall depth chart coming out of training camp. With the season 78% in the books, the number of NHL games played somewhat reflects the TC pecking order:
- #8 Shawn Belle (5 NHL games this season, since traded)
- #9 Richard Petiot (1 NHL game, played last night)
- #10 Taylor Chorney (10 NHL games, knee issues)
- #11 Jeff Petry (21 NHL games, in OKC awaiting recall)
- #12 Alex Plante
Plante remains in the AHL and has been a healthy scratch at times this season. The acquisition of Colten Teubert–a very similar player–suggests the Oilers may have decided on Plante as a prospect (or at the very least felt a need to address the issue of that player type).
The tough stay at home group–which includes Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham, Jim Vandermeer and Jason Strudwick at the NHL level and Petiot, Teubert and Plante at the minor league level–is not an area of strength. Part of the reason Teubert is an Oiler today has to do with Plante’s lack of progress.
That’s how I see it.