While the obvious storyline is that Colten Teubert will have some extra motivation in his NHL debut at the Staples Center Thursday against the team that drafted him but traded him away before giving him a shot, I’m guessing he’ll be far too busy trying to survive to follow that script.
Recalled from Oklahoma City by the Edmonton Oilers, Teubert will take his first shifts in The Show against the Los Angeles Kings, who selected the big blueliner 13th overall from the Regina Pats in 2008, but shipped him to Edmonton with a draft pick for Dustin Penner last February.
Unfortunately for Teubert, 21, his first opportunity to show Los Angeles GM Dean Lombardi he made a mistake — Lombardi might have figured that out already with as bad as Penner has been in the City of Angels — comes under trying circumstances.
The Oilers kick-off a six-game road swing on a five-game winning streak but with a defensive corps that’s thinner than a cocaine-fuelled runway model. Suspended Andy Sutton is out of the mix, as are injured Ryan Whitney (knee sprain) and Cam Barker (shoulder).
It seems likely Teubert will take his first NHL shifts alongside Theo Peckham in Tom Renney’s third defensive pairing behind the tandems of Tom Gilbert and Laddy Smid and Corey Potter and Jeff Petry.
TOUGH CURTAIN CALL
I’m intrigued by Teubert because he came over in the Penner trade billed as big, tough and nasty, but raw and with a long way to go to become a bona fide NHL defenseman. He strikes me as old-school. Might be the bent nose and missing teeth. First impression? I like him.
Unfortunately for Teubert and those hoping to see how and if he’d fit into the mix at training camp and pre-season, he didn’t get much of a chance to show anything after getting starched in a scrap at that tournament in Penticton.
So now he’ll get tossed into the deep end alongside Peckham, who is just finding his way back into the line-up, against the Kings. This is not going to be about proving Lombardi wrong.
If I’m Los Angeles coach Terry Murray, I’m using the last shift Thursday to throw Simon Gagne, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams out against Peckham and Teubert every chance I get. Failing that, it’s Scott Parse, Mike Richards and Dustin Brown.
Renney is going to have to play the wheels off Gilbert and Smid, and likely will, to avoid that match-up. It’s not like the duo of Petry and Potter are ready to take much of the load against Murray’s top six.
You’re in, kid. Go get ’em.
DOG BITES MAN
Hands up everybody — that means you, David Staples, and all the math guys in the front row of the class — who is surprised that Penner is off to a brutal start with the Kings. Shocker.
Through nine games with Los Angeles, Penner has managed one assist and been a non-factor. For Lombardi, that would mean more of the same of the next-to-nothing he got from Penner after acquiring him from the Oilers last season — 2-4-6 in 19 games.
While I’m sure there are some underlying numbers that show Penner has actually been very good and isn’t playing like an unmotivated, under-performing dog instead of busting his ass to earn a fat new deal, I’ll go with what meets the eye.
— With Gagne out, Penner got a shot on the top line alongside Kopitar for two games, but did squat. He was the only Kings forward who didn’t get a shot on goal in a loss to Colorado. Penner will likely see duty on the third line with former Oiler Jarret Stoll and Brad Richardson.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.