Jeff Petry’s independent scouting reports never matched the over the top verbal coming from the Oilers. That disconnect caused some of us (well, me) to miss the boat in regard to the long, tall Michigander. It’s time to call uncle, because this kid would appear to have the toolkit, the brain and the desire.

Over the years I’ve monitored Oiler prospects over at Lowetide. The general idea is to take independent scouting reports, marry them to math (Desjardins equivalencies) and then track these prospects against players who have come before a specific prospect. I always look for a player of a similar age and one who has played at the same level at that age.

In regard to Petry, we never did get a very good outside scouting report. Maybe that was the key. The best scouting report I saw was from Guy Flaming at Coming Down the Pipe:

  • "Petry is a smart two-way defenseman who is an excellent skater with good mobility, which he uses to shut down opponents. The 6’2.5, 176-pound Petry plays with an edge and can lay out some good hits. He also doesn’t mind battling in front of the net. Offensively, Petry has a cannon for a point shot, but often uses a wrist shot as well so that it does not get blocked and does not allow the goaltender to set up. Petry also uses his skating and stick skills to make accurate passes out of the zone or to skate the puck up himself, which he has the speed and stickhandling to do."

Petry quickly became Flaming’s #1 prospect (article here) but I kept reading items about skating and consistency. His college coach Rick Gormley:

  •  "I thought that on some nights he was our best player and other nights, he played more like a freshman."

Added to his skating, I felt there were better prospects in the system. I want to be clear about this: I wasn’t dumping on Petry, he was in around #7 on most of my winter lists after his draft day:

The 2010 ranking has more to do with the enormous 2010 entry draft than anything Petry did wrong. Anyway, as you can see I never did rank Petry at the top (as Flaming did all down the line).

Why? Well, I’ve kind of answered it above but want to go into a little more detail. There were three main reasons:

  • He was old for a prospect by the time he turned pro. Petry turned 23 years old after game 26 of his first full AHL season. Petry is the same age as Theo Peckham, he’s 6 months younger than Andrew Cogliano. Jeff Petry is 20 months older than Sam Gagner. Ladislav Smid is about 2 years older than Jeff Petry and is currently in his 5th NHL season.
  • The skating issues and the college coach. I think the Oilers have had a strong enough group through these years that two negatives would imo disqualify anyone from the top spot.
  • The source of the positive verbal–and I mean no disrespect to Guy Flaming or anyone associated with the Edmonton Oilers–was usually Kevin Prendergast. Now, I’ve written a bunch about Kevin Prendergast over the years and I do think his draft record is much better than he’s been given credit for by fans and critics. However, KP loved all of his picks and they were all splendid and going to the HHOF one day. He was not a credible source for Oiler prospects, and I suspect much of what Guy was telling us came from KP or another Oiler scout. That’s why I try to acquire outside sources.

Having said all of that, uncle. The young man looks calm, cool and collected. He’s talented, can skate very well and has the look of a guy who will help his team win for years to come.

Good for him.

  • Hard to believe there were ever any skating issues with the kid because he pretty much glides.

    The first thing I noticed different about him was how he’d hold onto the puck on the blue and change the angle so his shot wouldn’t get blocked. You might not think that’s a big thing but I’ve got years of experience of watching bad Oilers hockey to tell you that it was a welcomed change.

    Then we saw how he can use his stick to break up plays and now what’s left is how much stronger he gets and how much smarter he gets in his own end as he learns the league and players.

    The kid looks to be the best young dman we’ve since since that awful awful man Tom Gilbert.

    • No, I don’t think it’s a safe bet. One could easily have sugested the same about last year’s #31 OV (EDM drafted F Pitlick), or the 40th overall the year prior (EDM drafted F Lander), yet they took a forward both times in spite of the perceived organizational weakness at D.

      One could arguably make a case that EDM has less of a “need” to draft D this year than they did last, what with the progression of Petry and Peckham both a bit better and/or faster than many expected, along with the great play of the 3 2010 D draftees:

      Marincin (46 OV, 2nd round) 41GP 11G 32A for 43 pts, +3

      Blain (91 OV, 4th round) 18GP 1G 17A for 18pts, +16

      Davidson (1 OV, 6th round) 46GP 5G 26A for 31 pts, -3

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I would say he’s more of the Dan Hanhuis, Brandon Gormley type in watching him play. Very simple and he always does what is necessary instead of something flashy. If hitting someone to seperate him from the puck is the optimum play then he does so, if it’s best to back up and cut the angle so he can force the forward to the outside he does so. He doesn’t seem elite in any one category but does a lot of good things. Like the scouting report said about him he hits well, skates well, passes the puck well, has a very good shot, and has good positioning in his own end.

      And 23 doesn’t seem old for a defenceman. Tom Gilbert was 24 when he finally played his first full season. It will take him time but it seems he and the rest of the trio of dmen that were drafted in 2005 and 2006 drafts (Chorney & Peckham) look like they can fill spots. Chorney is especially surprising given how he’s struggled in the pro leagues. But as a 5-6 dmen he’s looked better than Foster/Vandemeer mostly due to foot speed. Although it’s been a small sample so far this season. But if he keeps playing as well as he has Chorney looks like he could be a reliable bottom pairing defenceman who can eat some PP time.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jeff has pleasantly become another one of the few bright spots to enjoy this season. I’m afraid to think of what we would be watching if it wasn’t for this crop of first year NHL’ers in our lineup.

  • Lowetide

    I recall a couple of items about “skates well for his size” but can’t locate them at this time. I’ll check, though and post in the next few days.

    Back at the time of the draft, I did a long search for stuff on Petry, and my notes do include people like McKeens, X-Sharkie from hf boards and an Oiler scout who was on HF boards at the time (but is no longer with the team).

    Not exactly what you’re looking for, but I promise to update.

  • I’d like to say something about Petry but the only thing I can think of is..


    With all the sponsors any chance of mixing in new features to the Nation?

    “I git” why they are here, but they cover half the page and it’s a bit much, no?

    • I don’t mind the ads because we get ROBIN BROWNLEE, JASON GREGOR, LOWETIDE, JONATHAN WILLIS…

      I guess if you really don’t like all the ads, the alternative would be SITE SUBSCRIPTION FEE.

  • I remember that being the problem over the years… that we just never heard enough about this guy. And IIRC some guys would go on about Petry gonna be better than Chorney and you would say wait a minute, how do we know that. But where are you getting the skating issue from? I see no source for that being a concern. The coach doesnt mention it in his quote and Guy compliments his skating, so why was that one of the fist issues?

    • Ok so Tambo did a bad job at what again??

      1) getting rid of ethan moreau without buying out?
      2) getting rid of P.O.S without a buyout?
      3) getting a Player and a 3rd round pick for steve effin staois?????
      4) dumping loser souray to ride the bus for a year and then he WILL get a good return this summer for him
      5)getting a credit buy buying out 12!!! Lol

      Now the battlecry for haters has been khabibulin, WHO CARES? We want to finish last again in case you didnt notice. Is Dubnyk developing…..yes, confidenly unlike we did to JDD.

      Please tell me what Tambos done wrong cause obviously im missing something

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        I always get a kick out of people that give him credit for getting rid of players.

        Anyone can hit the waiver wire/buyout button people. It really isn’t that impressive.

      • Actually, did I say Tambo has done a horrible job? No. I said it’s one less piece we need to rely on him getting. Whether you think hes done a good job or not is irrelevant. Filling in all the gaps this team has at the moment enough to get us back into the playoffs next year (which should be the goal) is a big job no matter who the GM is. With how things have worked out so far I dont see Tambo being able to pull it off. I won’t say he was wrong to bring in Foster, Fraser, Khabibulin but that the pieces he has brought in havent worked out. I don’t have faith that everything he brings in the future will work out either. I dont think hes done terrible, I don’t think hes been outstanding either.

        Way to jump the gun.

        • Sorry, not really at you, just tambo haters….

          Thats the thing, we arent trying to make the playoffs this year, its next year as you say. CLB, FLA, NYI never got more than 1 top 3 pick. Everyone wants to be CHI,WSH or PIT…..well they tanked it HARD! Years of being awful…we are successfully completing this mission.

          Tambo easily could have spent our cap space this year and finished in 8-12th. The goal on the outside of this is to be elite, not just making the playoffs.

          That being said, next year the team needs to finish with a sniff at minimum and the following year needs to easily make the playoffs. I think he should be judged on signings in summer as well as what gets done with 27,83,13,89,28.

          • So Chicago and Pittsburgh dressed a lineup of kids and scrubs did they?

            Penguins during Crosby’s first year also included:

            Mario freaking Lemieux
            In fact, they played 16 different players 30 or older during the year.

            Balckhawks during Kane and Toews rookie season included:

            Jason Williams

            The point here is that these teams didn’t just up and say “screw it we are drafting players and nothing else” They played veterans alongside their youth to fill out the roster and to teach them how to play.

            I would actually argue that these teams were successful because they didn’t simply tank and pray. They tried to fill out the roster around their youth, while the other teams you mentioned did not.

            I would also argue a lot of luck was involved.

          • Recchi was traded, palffy retired half way through the year, mario played 26 games. Also keep in mind that Crosby wasn’t already had top picks playing there in Whitney, Armstrong, MA fleury, Christensen and Malkin in their back pocket. If we still suck next year then yes, this is a comparable.

            Same with Chicago, they already had toews, Keith, Seabrook. Kane was the last piece of the puzzle and they still weren’t that good his first year. Again, use the oilers next year with (couturier, lands, Lars, or RNH).


            Watch this clip and tell me Pitt didn’t suck lol. Not trying to pump you, just want to make sure were comparing the same things. I’ll want Tambos head if we don’t progress next year to contend for the playoffs closely. Year following contending for the div.

          • Either you didn’t get the point, or you don’t care, but ok, I’ll bite.

            Of course these teams were still bad. Any team who’s core is essentially a bunch of kids will be bad. That has NOTHING to do with my point.

            The point is that these teams still filled out their rosters even if the core wasn’t going to win them a cup yet. The teams that are perennially bad either do not or do it badly.

            Absolutely nothing you talk about here addresses my point in any way.

            I would like to mention as a side note: There is a lot of benefit gained from having so many great hockey blogs on the Oilers, but one annoying side effect is other people throwing out words like “comparables” at every possible opportunity without having a solid grasp on what the word means.

            Can I please point out that it is possible to compare specific aspects of players or teams without that player or team being exactly the same in every other way too?

          • I understand what you’re trying to say, thanks for reiterating it though. I know that you do not want to see any other point but your own so dismissing someone elses opinion is really easy but my point again is that the penguins when they got crosby were FURTHER along in the rebuild then the oilers are now.

            Check out the 2003-2004 penguins: Players over 30 on their team that weren’t traded include: Mike Eastwood, Mario Lemieux for 10 gms, Kelly Buchburger, and everyones favorite sniper, Steve McKenna!

            Tricky Dick led their team in scoring followed by: Morozov, Malone and Milan Kraft.

            Tell me about filling out your roster? In a previous post I said that we need to tank this year and get our top 3 again and then next year spend some cap dollars to “fill out our roster” and compete for the playoffs. Year following, the division.

            PS – talking about the oilers is not a personal attack. I get that our team blows right now but it will be worth it and we can all go high five each other on whyte again

          • It isn’t that I don’t want to see other points. I’m an academic. I love other points.

            What I dislike are rebuttals that don’t even address the original point.

            I don’t believe they were further along. We have just as many core players as they did. We just have management that refuses to fill holes.

            There is no reason this team shouldn’t be looking for a playoff spot next year, but not the way this team is being assembled.

  • neojanus

    Petry looks stronger out there than most of the veteran presence on the blue-line.

    Nice to see he and Peckham take some control and define themselves this year.