Projecting the Blue

Based on age and skill, there will be significant turnover on the blue for the Edmonton Oilers in the next 24 months. Based on the sheer number of defensemen drafted and procured since 2010 summer, there’s a trainload of defensemen coming soon. How soon will these kids arrive?

A quick look at the Oilers defensemen under contract tells us there is much room for movement over the next two summers. Here’s a list of NHL defensemen signed for the next two seasons:

  • Tom Gilbert $4M caphit UFA 2014 summer
  • Ryan Whitney $4M caphit UFA 2013 summer
  • Ladislav Smid $2.25M caphit UFA 2013 summer
  • Corey Potter $775,000 caphit UFA 2014 summer

You can look at that list two ways: one, there’s not a lot of depth and they sure aren’t signed long term so there’s not a lot of security for the Edmonton Oilers hockey club at this posiiton. On the other hand, there’s miles of freedom and a chance to make a trade or free agent signing in the 4’s if the value is there for the team.


Aside from those four signed NHL players, the club has several restricted free agents who will either be signed, set free or dealt over the summer:

  • Cam Barker
  • Theo Peckham
  • Jeff Petry
  • Taylor Chorney
  • Alex Plante

It’s dangerous for a layman such as myself to guess what an organization is thinking, but at this point I’d suggest Jeff Petry is a lock for a new contract. Cam Barker and Theo Peckham are players the Oilers will probably have an interest in bringing back (depending on price) and Chorney plus Plante are clearly lagging and in danger of being set free or offered two-way contracts. Those two will have waiver issues next fall and could be plucked by another team.


The Oilers also have a group of young defensemen at the AHL level. They’re players who are learning on the job but have shown enough to be considered legit pro prospects.

  • Colten Teubert
  • Taylor Fedun (injured all year)
  • Kirill Tulupov (AHL contract)
  • Ryan Lowery (AHL contract)

I’ve taken the liberty of including two AHL contracts that have worked out well. You never know, but from reports both have impressed and I think the Oilers may have those two earmarked for their 50-man list when the dust clears from expiring contracts.


Edmonton has a plethora of young defensemen who are about to emerge as pro players beginning as early as fall 2012. Signing these young men and then seeing where they stack up against each other will be an enormous part of the summer development, rookie and training camps. Edmonton has a lot of people coming who play defense.

  • Martin Marincin (already signed)
  • Kyle Bigos (older prospect from NCAA)
  • Jeremie Blain
  • Brandon Davidson
  • Oscar Klefbom
  • David Musil

I don’t think the Oilers will sign Dillon Simpson and it is unlikely that Martin Gernat turns pro. From this list, I’d say that Marincin is a lock for the AHL, Bigos is a probable signing and that Blain and Davidson will also turn pro.

My hunch is that they send Klefbom back and that Musil pushes for an NHL job but falls shy and they send him to the WHL for another season.


Oscar Klefbom is the jewel in the crown and he may turn pro in 2013 fall. Meaning the amateur players to watch are Martin Marincin, David Musil and a couple of long shots. Bottom line: The Oilers will be looking to add over the summer, and with four signed veterans and three rfa’s considered NHLers (Barker, Peckham, Petry) there’s likely someone headed out as someone is coming in this summer.

And I’ll bet a 2-4 that the Oilers choose a defenseman with their first pick in this year’s draft.

  • John Chambers

    What does the Nation think about Gagner for Subban? Straight up.

    … and then we stink-o for Grigorenko and go with him and RNH as our #1 & #2 centres.

    • Suitable trade proposal for me.

      If Gauthier is stupid enough to trade Subban (And we all know he is) then maybe Tambellini (Ha ha, good one) can convince him that he needs more size in his lineup and Gagner isnt the answer…*

      *Fires up the latest offering from EA

    • Dan the Man

      That would be a very good deal for the Oilers but I can’t imagine the Habs would make that deal. Although they have made some bad deals before. Too bad he wasn’t Sam Gagne from Quebec instead of Sam Gagner from Ontario…

    • Chris.

      No way Subban is available for Gagner. Subban might not even be available for our first.(As discussed this morning on the team 1260)

      I am enough of an optimist to really believe the Oilers have a strong chance to play their way out of a top 3 pick with their remaining 32 games. The pick might be more valuable now than it will be later. Let a rival GM gamble for Nail.

        • Chris.

          Agreed… But what if it’s a top 4 or 5 pick? Could a 22 year old Subban help the Oilers more than another 17 year old Prosopect (even in the long term)? Based on the concepts like roster balance, ice time allocation, and cap management: it’s possible that a player like PK Subban could be more instrumental in an Edmonton championship even if he isn’t as good an overall player as the player drafted this spring. Tampa, and Annaheim are examples of middling franchises with lots of money tied up in star forwards.

          • Completely agree. If young forwards are 19-20, in a perfect world the best defensive prospects should be 22-23.

            The Oilers are obviously very top heavy. At some point the Oilers need to make (As DSF displayed earlier) a quantity for quality trade or we need to be ready to part with one of the forwards.

            Let’s pray for the best returns we can from Hemsky and Gagner*

            *Gagner’s name included now based on Dregger’s latest reports

          • John Chambers

            Hmm, and to think that under a year ago you were championing the “Say no to BoGo” campaign.

            Guy plays 22+ minutes like a buzzsaw for the Peg. Might’ve been a good flip for Gagner in hindsight.

  • No doubt PK Subban is an exceptional talent. But everybody questions his attitude. More to the point, can he play on a team, a structured team, looking to make a run at the Stanley Cup?

    PK was great on the World Junior team so he is capable. But his problem in Montreal is that he has been very individualistic, not playing as a part of a cohesive unit. He’s one of those yahoos on the ice the makes random plays. His teammates don’t know how to read him and PK doesn’t read his teammates. If he were a forward, he might be able to get away with it if he were scoring 50 goals, but a Dman can’t get away with this too often. Acquiring PK would have its risks.

    Just something to consider before you start submitting your “How to Improve the Oilers” essays to Tambi.

    • Chris.

      PK plays a reckless game. (Reminds me of Taylor Hall sometimes) I worry about the big personality thing also… but the Oilers lack identity: a little more personality might be a good thing. Two future leaders: one on the back, one up front. Both with motors that never stop. Both with lightning speed, size, and heavy shots. Both kids are absolute gamers… Not a bad identity for the Oil IMO.

      Disclaimer: I can’t imagine the Canadiens would deal PK… can’t see that happening at all. Schenn is more likely in play for the right price. If the Oilers ate the Komisarek salary and sent a cheaper serviceable D to Burke along with a useful roster forward… maybe Schenn can be had out of Toronto. Burke is a player.

  • Chris.

    Does our 1st, Hemsky and Paajarvi for Suter make any sense? (Assuming they sign Weber).
    I mean Nashville might HAVE to trade one of those guys…can any team put together a package comparable to what we could, which includes a top 2 pick in this years draft?

    • What other team is going to offer anything as valuable as our pick ALONE?

      David Poile would push his Grandma down the stairs to get an offer like that on Suter.

      The guy is a UFA on his way out and everyone knows Nashville has no power at all at the bargaining table.

  • My point is that it was not as much of a quantity for quality trade to the point that DSF was trying to make. While there we’re 3 players traded for 4 Phaneuf was a question in his work habits and erratic play. He was left off the Olympic team for a reason.

    Secondly he also is trying to make a point that Burke has TO much farther ahead in the build to become a contender. Yet they do not have one player that I would trade for any of our top 3 forwards.

    I agree TO is farther ahead in the standings but they are not any nearer than the Oilers to being a contender and I would rather watch the Oilers grow in to that than watch TO spin in never ending mediocrity.

    Unless you honestly believe that Kessel is going to lead the team to the promised land and Phanuef is a Norris candidate.

    • biased observer

      Toronto IS much further ahead than the Oilers.

      They have decent young goaltending, they have 7 young NHL calibre defensemen and two players in the top ten in NHL scoring.

      Their forward core still needs some work but Burke has shown himself to be very adept at adding pieces to his team.

      No surprise that the Leafs have show improvement in the standings every year since Burke has been in charge while the Oilers remain in the sewer.

      If Burke had loaded up on expensive free agents over the age of 30, you would be right…but he didn’t.

      He’s brought in players who are entering their prime years and I again remind you the Leafs are the youngest team in the league.

      Tambellini’s approach of tanking and drafting first overall will blow up in his face if he doesn’t address goaltending and his defense in the very near future.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        TO just signed JM Liles to a 4yr deal, he is 31, dont know the per though.

        And addressing goaltending bit, Reimer hasn’t been great, either has Gustavsson, but I’d rather have those two then Khabby and Dubby.

        • John Chambers

          Liles signed for four years at an average cap hit of $3.85 Million.

          Considering he has 21 points in 34 games and is a superb PP QB, that’s pretty reasonable money.

          BTW…he is only two years older than Tom Gilbert who has 15 points in 38 games and has a cap hit of $4.00 Million.

          I agree on the goaltending…but Gustavsson has looked much better in his last ten games.

      • RexLibris

        I don’t even know what to say. Other than I am very happy you’re not the Oilers gm. I am not sure where your info comes in but a quick google search says that Nashville is the youngest team and the old sack oilers are .4 months older on average than the leafs. Wow that gonna make a huge difference. Lasty that great young core of 7 nhl caliber defencmen and the goaltending duo you would trade dubnyk and khabby for are 25th in goals againt the Oilers are 19th.

        Burke is a genius 7 nhl caliber dmen that can’t keep the puck out of the net.

        • OilLeak

          I’ve been reading your posts and you are drinking the kool-aid that the Oilers organization is feeding you.

          DSF may be slightly off-base and undervalue certain players on the Oilers roster, but he makes some very good points. Brian Burke has made that team better while Tambellini has made the Oilers worse.

          The only defenseman that the Oilers can count on going forward are

          and eventually Petry. The Oilers need 2 top 4 defenseman now, and then we can start filling in the rest of the pieces.

          Whitney has serious injury issues and should not be counted upon(If he can be serviceable in the future, Bonus)Peckham should be a trade throw-in, Potter has some nice skills but is a third pairing guy(better option then Barker). Sutton is too old and Barker should be sent to the scrap heap as quickly as possible.

          The d-men that the Oilers drafted are 3-5 years away from being effective, so the management needs to take action and make this team better now, or else we’ll be talking about Hall, Eberle, and RNH leaving for greener pastures like the current discussions being held surrounding Gagner and Hemsky.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Can’t help but think we’re all rowing in the same direction really. Some of us are just more anxious than others.

    I’d do whatever possible to get a second lotto pick in June (Grig and Murray) and set Paajarvi,Smid,Lander and the Oilers first in 2013 aside for a shot at Shea Weber.

    • Chris.

      I love Shea Weber. He is my favorite defenceman in the NHL right now… but at this stage of the rebuild the Oilers may be better off targeting a younger defenceman rather than a UFA with a likely price tag around $8m. The concussion thing also scares me.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    To everyone saying PK has an ego and needs to grow up, remember he isn’t Swedish and is 21? 22? Give him time and he’ll mature quite nicely I imagine.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    My belief is any mature quality defenseman is not wanting to be here with out overpaying .. Then where are we? If for some reason work ethic isn’t there we have another horcoff or goalie contract. Or worse a carter like player who clearly doesnt want to be here. Is it wrong to have 2 apprentice d as 6/7that can take big minutes when the game is to far one way or the other?
    Is Ryan Ellis out of the question a smaller puck mover supported by larger d first partners?

    Do we have the best developers we can get for players we have all ready in the system?

  • Old Soldier

    I am not a big fan of acquiring a big ticket defenceman at this stage. An upgrade definitely if there is one available but given Lowe/Tambi history, the idea of them opening up the chequebook for anyone has images of Dipietro/Kovalchuk running through my mind. Especially when there is a good chance that the new CBA will have a salary rollback like the last one, lowering the cap a year or two before we have to extend Hall/Eberle/Paajarvi/Omark/RNH etc.

    Now someone like Subban, who is RFA this year and given his poor showing might resign at a reasonable rate going forward is someone I would look at. Also, if we are putting our first on the table in any deal, I would like to see it as a swap of firsts in any deal, we can throw in an extra prospect, but I would like to keep a pick in the first round, no matter where.

    Other D I would target is Ellis, Blum, Voynov, Subban, Myers, McBain, Faulk, Leddy class . D-men that are on the cusp or already playing, and who, while not cheap, arent in the Sutter/Webber range.

  • RexLibris

    Can I just throw out a trade idea for the Devils’ Alex Urbom. Then we could have Klefbom and Urbom on the back end together. Jack Michaels and Gene Principe would think they’d died and gone to heaven.

    Actually, Urbom is a prospect I would be interested in, but with Jon Merrill’s issues of late I’m not sure they move their next-best defensive prospect (I’m not listing Larsson as a prospect anymore).

    As for trading for Subban: no thanks. He’s a great talent, but unless we bring him in, pump up his tires some more and then unload him for a king’s ransom (not literally “Kings”, Mr. Lombardi, just a figure of speech) then I’m not interested in his attitude on this roster. I found it interesting that even his close friend, Carey Price, called him out on taking a stupid penalty in a 7-2 romp of Detroit. That tells you that even his friends amongst his teammates are tiring of his act.