PETRY AND PAAJARVI: REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

The Oilers re-assigned Jeff Petry to OKC today, not because he was playing bad, but because it is better for his development. For those stating Theo Peckham has been worse, you’re looking at a very small sample size. Last year Peckham was solid, while Petry struggled, and now you want to run Peckham out of town because of a bad start, lose him to waivers, to keep Petry?

If you are that guy, I’d love to be in a fantasy hockey league with you.

Peckham has struggled at times, and I like that Renney sat him for two games (dressing as a forward and playing three minutes is like a 2nd game in pressbox), to send him a message he needs to be better. You don’t give up on Peckham, put him on waivers and send him to the minors based on an average start to the season.

Cam Barker has been average at best and Petry has shown he has more potential, but if the choice is Barker or Petry as the #7, I’ll take Barker. Petry needs to play every game. He doesn’t need to sit four out of ten games, he needs to play.

Petry has played 55 AHL games and 38 NHL games thus far. Playing 25 minutes a night in the AHL for another 40 games won’t stunt his development. Right now, he is the best blueline prospect in the system capable of  helping in the near future. Colten Teubert, David Musil, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom or Martin Gernat might be better down the road, but the Oilers need some help well before they mature.

They want Petry to play in every situation; PK, PP and EV, but he won’t get that opportunity with the Oilers right now. Corey Potter, a veteran of five AHL seasons, is more poised and he’s grabbed the PP minutes that Petry might have been given. No player should be gift-wrapped icetime or opportunity, they need to earn it.

With Ryan Whitney returning Petry’s overall minutes would have decreased, and with Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid finally showing signs of being consistent, there isn’t any openings in the top-four.

Petry will go to OKC and get lots of icetime, because he’ll be the most skilled defender they have. He will play in the last minute of a period, on the first unit PP and against the top lines in the AHL. He’ll build some confidence and hopefully understand all the nuances of his position. They sent him to OKC with the hopes that when he returns he is a more complete defender.

Many defenceman have spent some time in the AHL before becoming a top-four, or better, D-man. Duncan Keith spent two years in the AHL. Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff played a year and a half in the minors before being regular NHLers, and the list goes on. Ryan Suter spent a full season in the AHL. Sure some guys like Drew Doughty play right away, but they are the exception to the rule.

Petry’s demotion is not a step back, I’d argue it is finally a step in the right direction for the Oilers and how they develop players.

I understand that fans are sick of being patient, and you want to see guys like Petry play here everynight over a journeyman like Barker, but that mindset won’t make make the Oilers competitive longterm.

There is no guarantee that Petry will develop into a solid top-four defender, but I feel sending him to OKC today gives him a better chance than playing 16 minutes every second or third game in the NHL. 

QUICK HITS

  • Sam Gagner passed Renney’s final "drop off" test today and he’ll be a game time decision tomorrow. I asked Renney where he plans on playing Gagner when he returns, "Sam is a centreman, but he’s played the wing. We have a few options. Lander can play the wing and so can Horc if need be. I won’t seriously look at it until I know for sure that Sam will play." That last comment makes me think we’ll see Gagner on Saturday, but he might dress tomorrow.
     
  • I was surprised to see rookie fourth-liner, Lennart Petrell, not on the ice for the optional skate. Normally rookies, especially 4th liners, are out there. Lander, Eager, Gagner, Paajarvi, Peckham, Petry, Whitney, Dubnyk and Khabibulin were the nine guys who took part. Unless Petrell was feeling ill, that was a bad move on his part.
     
  • Interesting to see Paajarvi out there. I think that’s a combination of him loving to practice, but also wanting to show the coach he is determined to get better. Paajarvi hasn’t played bad, but Renney said, "He needs to battle more consistently." Renney also added he loves many parts of Paajarvi’s game and hasn’t be disappointed with him at all, and in fact he feels he is on the edge of breaking out.
     
  • I think people need to have more realistic expectations of Paajarvi. Keep in mind he was a 10th pick, not a top-five overall. History shows there is a significant difference between 1st and 10th picks. If he becomes a 20-25 goal man, who kills penalties he’d be pretty valuable. Since the lockout the amount of 20-goal scorers is slowly getting smaller. Here’s the list amount of 20-goal scorers from 2006-2011: 126, 120, 102, 120, 110, 106 for an average of 114 a year. That works out to just under four 20-goal scorers per team.

    If you assume Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will be 20-goal men, that leaves Paajarvi, Gagner, RNH, Smyth and possibly Hemsky or Horcoff. If Paajarvi becomes a consistent 20-25 goal man, he’d be considered an excellent 10th overall pick and a meaningful cog for the Oilers.

    The 10th overall picks from 1994-2008 (previous 15 years to Paajarvi) were: Nolan Baumgartner (1994), Radek Dvorak, Lance Ward, Brad Ference, Nik Antropov, Branislav Mezei, Mikhail Yakubov, Dan Blackburn, Eric Nystrom, Andrei Kostitsyn, Boris Valabik, Luc Bourdon, Michael Frolik, Keaton Ellerby and Cody Hodgson (2008). 15 goals in his rookie season was not a bad start, but you shouldn’t  expect him to be in the same category as Hall or Nugent-Hopkins; because it is unlikely.

  • Clyde Frog

    Is it just me or are we having real trouble with that first pass?

    Watching Montreal, Philadelphia and Pitt early this season makes it look like the Oilers are playing a different game.

    Of course I don’t have game film or anything to refer to, but having watched the Oiler’s games it looks like a large proportion of the break out passes crossing at least one line are just bouncing off the recieving forwards stick/being tipped into the offensive zone.

    Contrast that with the aformentioned teams who seem to pick it up and transition smoothly, I am wondering if that is one of the issues we are facing in generating a lot of offense off the rush.

    Is it a coaching choice to have the D rifle the puck as apposed to feather it to lower turn overs in the neutral zone? Or is the first pass ability of our D just that much lower than other teams?

  • Dipstick

    All of the proposed line combos are making me dizzy. Frankly, we will probably see a lot of them this year. I doubt that there will be a significant number of games when all of the top twelve forwards are healthy.

  • Jason Gregor

    James H I totally agree. Glenx was running around and taking liberties with our kids and that can’t be accepted. I despise glenx I hope hordichuk destroys him

  • Talbot17

    Just a hunch, but even with Gagner coming back b/c of hemsky being injured is it a safe bet Lander stays up for now and they move him or Gagner to the wing?

  • SumOil

    “Last year Peckham was solid, while Petry struggled”

    BS number 1. Petry was arguably our 3rd best D man after Gilbert and Smid. Ya his +/- was bad but that was a result of on ice sv% than his play. His corsi was solid. His scoring chance differential was in black! So idk what game you were watching gregor.

    “You don’t give up on Peckham, put him on waivers and send him to the minors based on an average start to the season.”

    2 games of press box duty and not being able to put oneself in the lineup ahead of Potter/Petry and Barker and this is average? Then what is poor?

    “Cam Barker has been average at best”

    Cam Barker is poor. So far he has been playing soft minutes and is heavely out corsied and out chanced. In the game against nashville where we outchanced them 10-3 at ES Barker was 0-1! Seriously? The only reason Barker is on this club because ST wouldn’t want to admit to a failed experiment. Of course there is a lot of hockey to be played, but if anyone has been the worst defenseman on this team its Barker.

    “No player should be gift-wrapped icetime or opportunity, they need to earn it.”

    Then please explain why Peckham and Barker should be playing? Isnt this contradictory to the whole justification of sending Petry to the minors?

    “With Ryan Whitney returning Petry’s overall minutes would have decreased, and with Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid finally showing signs of being consistent, there isn’t any openings in the top-four”

    That’s 3 defensemen. The 4th spot is open and Petry can fill that easily.

    “Petry’s demotion is not a step back, I’d argue it is finally a step in the right direction for the Oilers and how they develop players.I understand that fans are sick of being patient, and you want to see guys like Petry play here everynight over a journeyman like Barker, but that mindset won’t make make the Oilers competitive longterm.”

    LOLWUT? So we have aprospect who is ready to play in the Nhl and is better than his competition which comprises of a ‘journeyman’ and a D man not good enough to crack the team when Petry is around and this is the step in the right direction? How? Had he been nhl ready but worse than the others on the roster, then yes; But not when he is clearly the 4th/5th best D man on the team!!Please explain how playing Barker over Petry goint to make the Oilers better long-term?

  • A-Mc

    I’m pleasantly surprised by how our defense looks this year; maybe all the lack-of-Defense hype has tilted my original expectations and now I’m left pleasantly surprised.

    Am i glad Peckham is sticking around? Heck yes. I like him. I like him for the same reason i like Jones; they seem like likable playful characters.
    Are they hot shots on the ice? no.
    Do they give it their all? It appears that way to me.
    Are they expensive to have around while they develop? no.

    As for the Magnum PI vs Omark on top line bit. I understand the Renney reward system and i think it’s a great motivator. We have a few players on the Oiler’s roster that i feel produce something real but the numbers game doesn’t reflect that.
    Maybe I’m delusional but i absolutely love Omark’s play. He’s not a big man what-so-ever but DAMN is he a Son of a B!#%@ to get off of that puck. The guy has talent and I’m pointing the finger at Renney to ensure Omark’s Talents are put to good use. (I hear Harlem Globe Trotter Music and see 2x Omark’s playing Keep away to kill Penalties)

    Sending Omark onto the top line as a reward? Sure.. i get it. Would a faster Magnum P-jarvi be better with the spritey Eberle and RNH? Yea i think so but his hands aren’t as quick. Eberle and RNH need a door crashing play maker. With out Hall i just didn’t see RNH/Eberle as often as i should have so i hope to GOD that Hall is back in tonight vs The Wild.

    PS: Jordan Eberle is by far my favorite player on the Oilers. The kid can jam a 3″ puck into a 2″ hole on his backhand, TOP SHELF, 10cm from the goal line. This year he’s been plagued with bouncing pucks and extended reach ‘wiffs’. When his hands come back into sync, he’s going to help the Hall/RNH/Eberle line explode. I. M. O.

    Until next time!

  • “The only reason Barker is on this club because ST wouldn’t want to admit to a failed experiment.”

    We are 5 games into the season. We signed him for relatively cheap to a 1 yr deal. Explain how this is a failed experiment??

  • If Duncan Keith can play 2 full AHL season then so can Petry.*

    He isnt hands down better than Potter or Peckham right now. He had a so so camp and a so so start to his season. He’ll be here as the 1st call-up anyway.

    *Looking at last year’s top 10 in D scoring, about half have spent a significant amount of time in the AHL. Nothing wrong with saying that the Oilers are developing this player as a Top 4 dman, so he needs to play Top 4 minutes.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      “He’ll be here as the 1st call-up anyway.”

      Exactly. I don’t know why everyone gets so wound up, you want players of Petry’s caliber available for call up (though I do think those calling him a top 4 dman already vastly overate him).

      Same story with Lander, everyone was so worried about him in the middle of camp… a few weeks later and we are already down two top 6 forwards.

      Lets take advantage of waiver rules and actually have a little depth and flexibility on the team.

  • A-Mc

    Just what type of player Magnus becomes will depend on whether he remains a periphery player or he adapts to a more inside game . He looks like a 20 plus forward when he uses his size and skills to play an inside game , and i believe that he will do this more often as season wears on . Right now , he just seems to be getting to confortable playing a periphery game .

  • A-Mc

    PSS: Random thoughts – off topic with regards to the original thread, but somethings I’ve been noticing while watching games that I’m told I’m out to lunch on.

    Tell me if I’m off base please.

    – Since when is Horcoff afraid to do something with the puck in the offensive zone? He continually stops at the blue line when he clearly has a shooting lane to fire a shot of his own. Wouldn’t a shot with hope of rebound be better than stopping to wait for another Oiler to become open?

    – I love Smyth but when did he decide turning over pucks was an acceptable consequence of bailing a puck as soon as it touches his stick? I’ve noticed that sometimes he isn’t taking the time to look for an open team-mate and instead just wacks the puck as soon as it comes to him (which oft finds its way onto the tape of an opposing player).

    – Potter. This guys good and there appears to be no shortage of heart in his diving for pucks, throwing around his body, making good passes and squeezing people off the puck. I like him.

    – Gilbert taking shots and moving into the slot!? Awesome! It’s a bit risky but unexpected. I like it.

    – Hemsky is replaceable. I cannot get my head around keeping an expensive player for much longer that is continually injured like he is. I think he’s a great player but the big ‘IF’ that is his health status is just too concerning to me.

    – Dubnyk all the way. I Literally get nervous when i watch Khabi in net. regardless of his numbers (Good or Bad), he is a twitchy nervous type goalie. I often think he hap-hazardly makes his way through games which sometimes results in wins. Dubnyk, win or lose, is calm and collected. When Dubnyk is scored on, i rarely think “AW Dooby! WTF MAN”, i think “Damn, that was a nice goal. GJ “. For viewer sanity, for MY sanity, i would much prefer Dubnyk in net.

    – RNH/Eberle/Hall. With 1 of the 3 pieces out, this line just doesn’t work. These 3 kids are fast lightweights with magic hands. If you insert any other player that doesn’t match their speed and puck moving ability, the whole equation becomes imbalanced. This line just doesn’t function the same with anyone we currently have that is considered a ‘vet’.

  • A-Mc

    I dont know. I always sense a difference between CAN/USA players drafted 1st/2nd or 10th/11th and Swedes drafted at those positions. Not to say that the Canadians and Americans are brilliant players and have produced some of the best (and the best) players of all time.

    Looking at top 10 Swede picks it becomes complicated because the group is so small even if you go back 20 years. There are a few busts obviosly like Lars Jonsson, Niklas Sundstrom, Fredrik Sjostrom and Robert Nilsson but the others (and I am looking top 15/16) are Forsberg (6th), Naslund (16th) (-91), Ohlund (13th) (-94) and Erik Karlsson (15th) (-08)… Then of course we have the Sedins at 2nd, 3rd in 99 and Backstrom at 4th in 06 but maybe they are oo high to be counted.

    I have high expectations on PRV and I can definitely say that I do not expect a “as Cogs should have been” type of player in a few years. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • A-Mc

    yes i know. if he hasn’t more potential than the others who have played “average” then i am not watching the games with clear glasses at all. the kid is a FAR better prospect.

  • The things Petry needs to learn can be learned in the AHL. Peckham has already proven he can play in the NHL, he just had a bad start. There’s a difference. Whoever said Petry was their third best Dman last year is on some kind of pharmaceuticals. He’s still learning the game, chillax.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    SO refreshing to have a debate on which defenseman should play or not. Last year and before this year started, all I heard was our defence sucks and let’s trade everyone for Webber. Peckham and Petry played a lot last year. The fact that their spots are being challenged this year is a good indication that we’ve improved on D.

    But let’s get back to the more serious discussion. Putting my pants on took me a while to figure out. Some genius adviced me to put one leg in at a time and oh boy that did the trick. I must say I’m pretty good at it now. Tying my shoelaces is another story though.

  • I’m not sure why everybody has their panties all twisted up. Petry is the only guy the team can send down to OKC without risking a waiver claim. He’ll be back on the first D injury callup and is obviously going to be with the team full-time very soon.

    Chorney just got claimed a week or so ago and he sucked. Yeah Barker isn’t exactly a gem right now either but he’s better than Chorney. Fact is he’s a low-risk project Tambellini believes in. Lots of teams have a guy like this on the roster (see: Lupul, G.).

    Peckham is a work in progress, but he’s one of the few actual players we have who makes a point of establishing his presence with physical play. Past that you’ve got Hordicuk (marginal player – injured), Eager (marginal player – just back from injury) and Smid (decent player who can’t afford to spend too much time in the box).

    Bottom line, if Peckham went on waivers it’s almost certain he’d be claimed. And we need him.

  • Im sure alot of people know this but Peckham has deleted his twitter account. Maybe his small demotion has really lit a fire under his arse and he is going to be extremely focused. Good to see a younger player taking it very serious when he gets scrathed and benched. I expect Peckham will still be in more games then he is out by the end of the year. You can really notice when he isnt playing in a game cause there is no physicality straight up which Peckham brings.