The Oilers defense performed well enough last night to secure an OT win in G1 of the 11-12 season. Plenty of chaos and things to work on, but overall the 6 showed grit, shot blocking ability, strength along the boards and did a good job of staying in lanes. Down in OKC, there was a lot of blood on the tracks. Opening night for the Oilers at the pro level exposed a distinct lack of depth along the blue. Who knew? Everyone.
Jeff Petry had a solid game last night in Edmonton, but he was badly missed by the Barons. In losing 7-0 in their opening night, OKC ran the following tandems most of the night:
- Bryan Helmer-Ryan Lowery
- Alex Plante-Colten Teubert
- Johan Motin-Kirill Tulupov
Helmer/Lowery finished the night -2, Plante/Teubert -1 and Motin/Tulupov even. Plante had 7 pims and it looks like much of the night was spent penalty killing for the Barons.
There’s very little experience on the Barons defense currently, and the experience that is there is somewhat aged. Here’s a breakdown of last night’s defense by age and pro experience:
- Helmer: 39 years old; 146 NHL games; 1024 AHL games
- Plante: 22 years old; 7 NHL games; 122 AHL games.
- Motin: 21 year old; 1 NHL game; 89 AHL games; 14 ECHL games.
- Teubert: 21 years old; 0 NHL games- 59 AHL games; 18 ECHL games.
- Lowery: 23 years old; last night was his pro debut after 4 NCAA seasons.
- Tulupov: 23 years old; last night was his NA pro debut.
There’s no one in the heart of their career, no Corey Potter or Jeff Woywitka. The Oilers have to address defense soon, which could mean sending Potter down or risking waivers on Chorney. Or it could mean a minor league trade.
The Oilers are trying to develop Colten Teubert, Alex Plante and others while also developing a plethora of young forwards in OKC. The blueline and improved performance in OKC have been issues for some time: both Robin Brownlee and Jonathan Willis have written on it at ON and Bob Stauffer recently tweeted the following:
- The Oilers are a bit thin at both NHL and AHL levels. Moving an AHL depth forward for an AHL D may be doable.
After last night, I think the Oilers might want to upgrade "doable" to "imminent." A quality pro defender capable of helping this team–in exchange for a forward–seems a likely transaction for the Barons this week.