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.
ALONG THE WALL
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 net.ca
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
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.