Although the Oilers are once again suffering through a lost season, there are some things that can be gained. Among the most important things to watch in the season’s final 30 games? The progress of Jeff Petry.

Jeff Petry has certainly made progress this season. He began the season as the "guy who can get optioned" due to his waiver ineligibility. He looks to end the season as one of the top 4 defenseman on the roster. Petry played 26:41 last night, but of course this is on a team that is without Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney and Cam Barker.

Having said that, Petry’s 23:15 at even strength trailed only Ladislav Smid from last night’s group, meaning that Theo Peckham, Corey Potter, Andy Sutton and Taylor Chorney were less suitable options for the coach at equal strength. Petry was +1 on the night and gathered an assist as well.



The Oilers have some effective puck movers from the RH side (Gilbert, Potter who also plays LS, Petry) but the young man will need to be effective along the wall and in front of the net to be an effective NHL defender. I think that will be his mountain, the thing that he masters last (with Laddy it was the back door play) but Petry has a lot of try, good wheels and isn’t a small man.

There’s a player here, a good one.

 As you can see, Petry’s CorsiRel is respectable and considering his GP and the team’s overall Corsi the top 6 numbers on this list are solid. Petry is facing 2nd pairing opposition according to behind the net


QOC is a moving target but I think by eye we’ve seen Petry move up from third pairing to something more substantial as the season wears on. Coach Renney is treating him like the young D he is based on zone start:

It should be mentioned that his zone finish (51.6) is solid, but based on this info we’d have to agree that Potter and Petry are getting the biggest push from the coach in this department.

All stats courtesy behind the



You never know with young defensemen, and the Oilers have thrown a lot onto the ice since fall 2006. Among the defensemen who have auditioned for the Oilers since summer 2006, the following have "arrived" as NHL players:

  • Ladislav Smid
  • Tom Gilbert
  • Theo Peckham

In the same time, the Oilers tried and trashed Mathieu Roy, Danny Syvret, Bryan Young, Sebastian Bisaiilon. Still trying to establish themselves as Oilers are Taylor Chorney, Alex Plante and Colten Teubert. I don’t think Jeff Petry’s on that list of established NHL defensemen yet, but he’s getting there. And I do think that his range of skills may make him among the best of the group should he negotiate the rapids and manage to be effective at even strength, powertplay and penalty-kill.

His development may end up being a hidden jewel in the trying season of 2011-12.

  • Chris.

    I thought Barker was playing better the last 3-5 games before he went down to injury. (The game he tried playing hurt notwithstanding)

    Not sure if I’m sold on him being much more than a 6 who can play up a bit in a pinch.

  • Some Angry Bear

    Wouldn’t consider Teddy Peckman an established NHL defensemen… He makes the same mistakes Tuebert and Chorney do on a regular basis.

    I’d give Barker another try, but at a much lower salary. 2.5mil for someone that is injury prone and hasn’t proven himself yet is an overpayment.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I’d be interested to see what Cam Barker does when he returns from injury. His next contract will really depend on what he does down the stretch here. Even if he does blow out the lights, you should still be wary as a buyer. This year, it was worth the risk to see if he could elevate his game. But I think next year will be a different story. We can see from the fan base as well as some of the players, that losing is gettting very old. Expectations will be higher next year and the potential of Cam Barker turning into a stud Dman has huge upside. But if the team falters again, do we run the risk of disenchanting the fanbase which could lead to popular, but unadvisable trades. The risk of a player like Taylor Hall saying, enough, trade me. The risk of some of the young guys not learning what it takes to win. With these risks starting to appear on the horizon, it may be worth examining paying a premium for an establish stud Dman. The Oilers have the assets to pull this off, without having to include Hall, Eberle or RNH.

    To me, this is where Tambi earns his extension. If he has a credible plan to give this franchise a serious leg up over the next 7 months, he needs to deliver that plan to the Oil brain trust and then execute it.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    After reading LEARNING WITH LOU here, Lou says non elite players should pay their dues in the AHL. Should we argue with Lou? Could he have us whacked? Do we know where he’s been?

    Desperation doesn’t create the best learning/growing environment in most situations. Pajaarvi is a prime example. I think he will be a GREAT role player if given the right opportunity, but he needs some time to mature physically and elsewise, and get used to hockey here.

    Because he can sort of hold his own in the bigs doesn’t mean he shouldn’t serve time until he is so dominant down there he is getting bored. 10 games or whatever is not enough to time. That would allow his confidence to grow enough to match his tool kit. I think that also is what hampers Gagner now as well – he has publicly mentioned his troubles with consistency and I think it’s clear he feels timid with contact which a good AHL stint would have allowed him to adjust to outside of the limelight.

    The NHL team looks like whatever it has to until draftees and prospects are properly ready to take a full time job. There are players to sign to fill in. That sounds like a rebuild to me. Kinda sorta happened this year.