Tangled Up In Blue

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.

  • Charlie Huddy

    Maybe OKC needs a puckmoving Dman. A guy who can skate and pass the puck out of the defensive zone. Dave Manson was a good Edmonton Dman, but played his best with Norm MacIver, a guy that could get the puck out of the zone for this pairing.

  • Lowetide

    I can’t see the Oilers moving Horc to the wing, who is he going to replace? Hall- Hemsky, Smyth-Eberle, PRV-Omark, Jones- Eager/Hordichuk et al. Omark and Jones would be the only wingers that he might be a better complete player than, however Omark is better offensively and his line mates (the other Sweds are more than capable of covering defensively). As far as Jones he is a 4th line winger, bangs and crashes. I doubt the Oilers are going to put their captain on the 4th line and move him to the wing. Can’t get any lower on the depth chart than to lose your position and fall to 4th line.

  • Lowetide

    We could use a booming shot from the point and another good rushing defenceman . Since Souray and Visnovsky are not with us , i suggest we pool our resources for Shea Weber and forget about other weakling defencemen . Horc is Horc just way overpaid for what he can still bring to club . Smyth another aging overpaid addition but still useable . Depth,size and toughness is now in system and just needs to develop swiftly . If present youth produce swiftly , then we have a good shot at playoff run this season despite obvious flaws in lineup .

    • CanaDave

      Do we want one? It seems like a waste of a good draft year to me with little to gain from it.

      I’d rather see strategic, well taken preparation and planning to have that run next season. Good trades, smart signings etc., the best use of assets, no player wasted.

      I would like to see depth in the org. rebalanced and evened out, eg. about the same number and quality of RW and LW, RD and LD, and players promoted when ready, the ones being replaced traded for more assets.

      Like good teams do.

  • Lowetide

    I don’t like Chorney for the Oilers, but see this as a waste of an asset.

    If he’s good enough to not clear waivers, he has some value. I feel like this is poor planning and asset management.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      STL has a d-man down. Instead of calling up a guy like Syvret they took someone of equal value to him off waivers. I suspect when Colaiacovo is back, Chorney is back on waivers.

      • CanaDave

        Archaeologuy & Ogden

        So a smart team took a guy off waivers to avoid losing a player they have to waivers?

        Could the Oilers have done same? I might be wrong but it seems they have real strategic issues with waivers and certain players.

        • Yup. Could have, but the injuries are probably why it didnt happen. The Oilers injuries were short term. If guys were put on the LTIR then i bet someone would have been claimed.

          But there was no way around this, and it really isnt a big deal. Chorney is not a good player. For St Louis he was the first available warm body. Thats it.

    • Sometimes theres no way around it. Better players than Chorney have passed through waivers this year already. If Whitney had been healthy I’m sure Chorney would have gone down with no problems a week ago.

      Instead he sticks around just long enough to be sent down right when the Blues are putting another defender on the IR.

      Is it bad asset management? The only other choice was to send a superior defender in Petry to OKC instead. That seems like a far worse option than losing a fringe player from the organization.

  • CanaDave

    I’d hope that Oilers management had a pretty good idea that Chorney would be claimed when they put him on waivers. Maybe they did so to be able to take on an extra contract in a trade sooner or later but with the Oilers having been so high on acquiring draft picks in the last 2 seasons, you’d think they would have just moved Chorney out for a 5th or 6th round pick. Not that I think trading a 2nd round pick for a 6th round pick is a move in the right direction, but it’s better to me than losing something for nothing.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Can’t believe someone actually cares about this. Better players have made it through waivers in the past, and will make it through in the future.

    The only issue will be if we don’t use our priority waiver status to claim a superior defensmen then Chorney.

  • Chorney never really panned out for us , and unlikely to for anybody else as well . We should be able to replace his value internally and or the waiver wire as well , and it won’t take much for that to be an upgrade from Chorney to begin with . Maybe he’ll blossom elsewhere – i doubt it .

  • Peterborough

    I liked Taylor Chorney and wanted him to be a guy we could use and had high hopes for him. There is a some potential there. However he seems to be not quite ready. St. Louis has had sucess with guys like Coliaccovo so maybe this will be where he puts it together.

    Good luck TC.