Consider it Avoided

It looks like the Oilers will be sending a defenseman to OKC sometime this week. Ryan Whitney played more than expected last night, Potter is emerging as a legit top 6 option and the blue has worn better than expected through the early stages of the season. Which defender should be sent down?

Jeff Petry is the obvious candidate–he won’t have to clear waivers–and in light of the Detroit articles I’ve recently posted it would seem he would be the best choice. Advanced stats tells us that he’s playing 2nd pairing competition 5×5,  he has a CorsiRel that ranks him ahead of Cameron Barker and an offenzive zone start of 52% (second easiest on the team to Barker).

I still wouldn’t send him back. Reason? He’s about to turn 24 years old (that’s mature for a player just past his 35th NHL game and a future) and there’s no real reason to send him away. The advanced stats quoted from our friend Gabe Desjardins at are from a small sample size and don’t really give a clear picture of the player.

Here’s a look at Petry’s NHL numbers from last season:

Jeff Petry 10-11

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.21 (8th among Oil D)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 1.67 (5th among Oil D)
  • Qual Comp: 5th toughest among D
  • Qual Team: 7th best available among D
  • Corsi Rel: 2.0 (tied for 4th best among D)
  • Zone Start: 49.1% (3rd toughest among D)
  • Zone Finish: 50.5% (5th best among D)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 41 shots/1 goal 2.4% (7th among Oil D) 
  • Boxcars: 35gp, 1-4-5 
  • Plus Minus: -12 on a team that was -52

If you’re looking down the road a little, Petry’s a player the Oilers need to develop and he’s had plenty of time below the NHL to mature. 103 USHL games, 118 in the NCAA, 49 in the AHL and now 38 in the show. A RH setup of Gilbert, Potter and Petry looks pretty good from here, giving the club a chance to ice three guys capable of playing the right side without getting in there own way.

Who goes?

They could risk waivers on Teddy Peckman (he’s been poor) but that seems unlikely. I’ve wondered about his health (when NHL players have their performance fall off this badly it’s often injury) but that doesn’t appear to be an issue. The other option is Barker, a man who is slower than we might have thought from a distance.

No really. Who goes?

Petry. It’s a damn shame, he deserves to stay on age, experience and merit. But there you go. There’s an outside chance they flush a forward like Lander, but that just prolongs the inevitable (Gagner’s coming back too).

  • Talbot17

    It is way to early to be giving up on anyone (ie. Barker/Peckham). The smart move is to sent Petry down. He’ll be back.

    Once the forwards start putting pucks in the net, this team will be a force to be reckoned with. The defense and goaltending has been good and will only get better with Whitney back and as the younger guys gain experience.

    If this team can get healthy (and stay relatively healthy)they will make the playoffs.

  • VATech

    Mayorpoop, let me get this straight, you wanna give away Smid and Omark for a top 2-3 defenceman. Maybe a two. Smid got excellent value, cause right now he’s a top shut down defenseman on the Oil. I think with his value contract, the Oil are wanting to keep this guy. If he continues to stop shots with his ass every game and shut down top scorers, I’m not sure the Oil wanna let him go. But saying that I really don’t know what you package up to get a top 2 dman.

    • misfit

      i don’t want to give away potential ever but in order to get one must give.

      i like suter out of nashville. alot. this guy has great written all over him imo.

      would nashville take Omarch, peckham/smid, martindale/pittlick for him?

      dunno. but if petry shouldn’t go down, and compared to peckham he shouldn’t, then what do we do. let’s play make a deal. get off the hands and upgrade if possible.

        • Peterborough

          nope not kidding at all. it’s a starting point you don’t offer Hemsky/Gagner if you can get for less.

          don’t under-estimate Nashville’s need for offense and our fuller (is that even a proper word?) than normal cupboards.

          keep in mind what Arch says.

        • Something tells me that at the deadline they wont be getting offers that valuable for a rental player. The teams that could use him for the playoffs still need to field a championship calibre group and the others will just wait until July 1.

          • justDOit

            One scenario, where a contending team loses it’s top D-man near the deadline, might see a higher than usual offer for Suter, but yeah, it’s highly unlikely. And the closer we get to the deadline, the lower the return that Suter will bring.

            Is it possible for a club to inquire if Suter would be willing to sign a contract prior to trading for him? Sort of negotiating a contract based on the contingency of a trade?

      • Peterborough

        Dude Nashville is not going to give him away its going to take a huge over pay to get him. Teams don’t flush franchise players unless there is special circumstances. Like Heatly killing a his best friend in bad car accident and needing a change of scenery . . . and it still cost Hossa in his prime. Or the Pronger fiasco.

        Unless you find a team that might happen to aquire too many of these guys and simply can’t get them all under the cap.

        • SierraRacs

          i understand this. i also understand the dilema the preds are going to be facing with contracts. maybe that would be beneficial to us, maybe not. does it hurt to ask?

  • VATech

    RNH will stay because at some point this year we are likely going to lose forwards to trades. He can move to wing or someone else can. I am giving Tambellini the benefit of the doubt here, I guess hoping he isn’t as unproductive as many of us fear.

    I am sure the Oilers will make a pitch for one of Webber or Suter. As for Webber, while Detroit has been mentioned as the team to get him, the Oilers have a better 10 year outlook than they do, cap space, and Webber is from BC. Being close to home and family matters to some guys (partly why Hamhuis chose the Canucks), maybe he’s the same. We can only hope.

  • Bob Cobb

    Its not just from last night that I made that conclusion, of course they are going to give RNH as much time with Eberle and Hall, yes RNH has played well against the likes Weber and Suter and was great against the Canucks, yes its true none of the Oilers looked good last night because they tried to sit on the lead. I’m not saying he should go back to Jr.s, Im saying I have a feeling the Oilers are going to send him back to Red Deer because they don’t NEED to rush him like they did with Hall and they can’t send him to the minors like they can with Lander. I just don’t think it’s the worst thing for him or the organization if they send him back. If I’m wrong I’m wrong, but the Oilers are thinking not only about this year but the future, it’s what the Red Wings would do.

    • French Toast Mafia

      There is a zero percent chance of this happening. And it would not be what the red wings would do because the red wings aren’t stupid. They wouldn’t send down one of there top players for no reason

    • misfit

      The Oilers are not the Redwings, but the last time Detroit had a teenager like Nugent-Hopkins, he didn’t spend another minute in junior.

      I get that your stance is based on what you feel will happen rather than what you think should happen, but that doesn’t mean there’s any logical reason for it. It’s like buying a lotto ticket because you have a feeling you’ll win. It doesn’t tilt the odds in your favor any, and the chances are still incredibly slim.

      I guess what I’m trying to say here is; Your feeling is wrong.

    • Talbot17

      its not about “rushing” RNH, if he is playing efficiently, has good chemistry and is good on both sides of the ice, it clearly means he is NHL ready and thats build from his own work, not the oilers rushing him.

  • misfit

    If it was me, it would be Barker, but I get that it’s just not going to happen. Petry already does what Barker was brought in to do better, and he can play the right side, which we need more than another LD.

  • VATech

    BobCob is a secret Lames lover…

    Petry doesn’t deserve a demotion, but he is probably going to get it. I think the Oil are doing good things this year. When you think of it they almost won last night without three of their top forwards. And the number one defensemen was rusty as hell coming off an injury. You only have to look at the Habs to realize what happens when your missing your two best players and have other injury concerns as well. The Oil are doing well in spite of the early injury woes me thinks.

  • VATech

    I think Barker is doing fine, maybe a little slower than we wanted but not a huge liability. If that changes and he starts hurting us then I think it will be time to promote Petry full time to take his place IN the line-up.

  • If Chorney was gobbled up off waivers there is no way that Theo clears. It has to be Petry as there is no point having him in the pressbox when he could be playing 25+ minutes on the depleted OKC team.

  • Talbot17

    100% losses to our division rivalries is unacceptable . Giving away 20 games a year in this same old fashion has to end . No matter whom they put out against us we still lose in same fasion – it’s not a jinx . They learn how to beat these clubs in exhibition season , only to abandon it and follow seasonal play to another loss time after time !!

    We don’t play kiddy bar the door like we do in regular season for starters – we are not a club built for that type of game to begin with . We go out to score just like in exhibition play where we most often win against our division rivals . Bag skate these guys every game they throw away in this same old redundant fashion for starters . They got to play to score and win , not play to protect a tie , etc.. You could tell from second period on we were playing to lose again , and of course we did . In future make them try to score more and at least we salvage some games . Coaches are not helping much by allowing team to try and play a kiddy bar the door type game . Hard work bag skate after every game they throw away in this same old manner might just break this losing habit !

    • DimebagDave

      Not sure if you noticed the amount of odd man rushes the Lames had last night but you don’t give up odd man rushes by sitting back and protecting a lead. Pull your head out of your @ss and pay attention to the games instead of sitting there trying to manufacture something to complain about.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Pull your head out first . Oilers have to play to their fortay , not the oppositions . They have to play smarter and leave more sweat on the ice . If they got the energy to go on the bikes for 1/2 hour after games then they should have thr reserve to play harder to begin with . The only thing they are learning by constantly losing to division rivalries is how to blame the players odd miscues along with other excuses for losing . Exhibition season shows us that when we play to our strength which is scoring we more often win those games rather than lose them as we inevitably due in regular season even when our divisional rivals play poorly or for 5 minutes a game .

        I believe i am the only one here that figures we can finish in top 6 , but not if we continue to make it easy for our division rivals to dictate the type of game we allow ourselves to continually end up playing against them all. We are not good at protecting a lead , yet we allow opposition to lure us into that type of game . In a nutshell we are playing to tie or lose – which to be honest is exactly what almost always happens ! A lot of our division rivals are not better than us , but they play their game and are smarter at doing it . Go Oilers – play smarter and harder !

    • Peterborough

      Dude chillax, seriously! Vancity is tough and we gave them a good run and Cowtown caught us tired, sick and undermaned. The Oil have been playing very well and its way, way too early for all this Chicken Little.

    • Peterborough

      Dude chillax, seriously! Vancity is tough and we gave them a good run and Cowtown caught us tired, sick and undermaned. The Oil have been playing very well and its way, way too early for all this Chicken Little.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Speaking of RNH, did anyone see Morrison lunge on top of him last night at the end of a play? it was weird, I couldn’t tell if they both fell or what.

    I think the nuge stays unless he exposes a critical weakness. so far his size/strength hasn’t been a problem except in the faceoff circle.

  • shanetrain

    Top 6?

    Potter has shown top 4 potential so far! We automatically give Whitney a pass. Let’s see what he can do from here on out. I am not sold on him.

    No harm in sending Petry back. As long as he knows its for the short term because he will inevitably be back.

    Frig I hate the fLAMES .. still choked this morning about it. My work production is going to suffer today.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Petry will go. But it’s a shame. However, I don’t see any reason to rush him to full NHL duty.

    I actually thought Barker looked ok last night. Whitney looked rusty, but not bad. Potter looked great. And, I thought Sutton looked quicker and more intense than his size suggests.

  • knee deep in it

    Columbus needs a dman and could use a guy with Barker’s skills. If we took back a contract and included a guy like Omark, how high of a draft pick could we get?

    Next years’ draft is said to be as good as 2003 and we should be trying to get more bullets for stu.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Petry is gone and I think he deserves it, for reasons you’ve mentioned. They’re not going to risk losing Peckman.

    Potter is making this a nice problem to have. Hopefully he keeps it up, because last night he had a ton of poise with the puck.

  • Dan the Man

    I think it will be Petry because he can clear waivers and that they don’t want to risk putting someone on waivers until they know what they have.

    Potter was signed (presumably) for the AHL and as depth and right now he’s playing well enough to be a regular in the top 6. Will that hold up? Do you risk Peckham on waivers based on pre-season and 3 NHL games?

  • Bob Cobb

    I have a hunch, a gut feeling, that RNH is sent back to Red Deer, even though he has produced points, and Lander stays once Gagner is back. RNH has the vision, the speed, the smarts and the hands to play in the NHL but I don’t think he is physically strong enough to handle 82 games in the NHL at this age, he seemed to get pushed around last night and will wear down. He is big enough, but size is not an indication of strength and I think they handle him the same way they did Eberle.

    I think the Oilers centres will be Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger and Lander. As far as defence, the backend hasn’t been bad and I would give Petry more games as long as he can handle it while Peckham is struggling.

    • Let me get this straight – we are going to send away our leading scorer to Juniors? :S

      RNH is one of the very few Oilers putting the puck in the net and the chemistry with Hall and Ebs is undeniable. RNH isn’t going anywhere. Well, maybe to faceoff school on the off days but certainly not back to Juniors. He has more than proven he is ready for the show.

      All the Oilers looked horrible in the 3rd period last night in their 3rd game in 4 days.

    • Jimmeh

      Yet he, along with Eberle and Hall, were making Weber and Suter, arguably the best defensive pairing in the NHL, look like chumps the previous night.

      No forwards had a good game against Calgary, one bad game out of 5 doesn’t scream back to junior for me.

    • Talbot17

      not sure if you watch the games, but Lander is almost invisible and RNH has been great defensively as well as providing offense…
      Hes young, he isnt going to ‘wear down’ after 82 games

    • Dan the Man

      With all due respect Bob Cob I think the odds of RNH taking a cab back to Red Deer are like that of a purple unicorn galloping out of my posterior to deliver you a slap chop and the hope diamond.

  • Kodiak

    I have been real impressed with Potter. He moves the puck well, has shown good poise and his positioning seems ok in the D zone. These are all things I expected from Petry this year that just haven’t happened yet. Sending him down won’t hurt him and as Arch said, there will be injuries and he will be able to come back up after gaining some confidance in OKC.

  • Lofty

    Really been impresed with Potters poise with the puck and his ability to get good solid shots on net from the point. I think his play is what the Oil were hoping to get from Barker. Big price difference though.

    At least there wernt any new injuries from last night.

  • I think it has to be Petry. In and out of the lineup or playing every game in the AHL? I think he’s here to stay next year, especially if the Oil choose not to revisit the Barker experiment.

    Plus there will be more injuries. That is certain. He’ll be back.