There’s still some rough edges and he’s a bit of a riverboat gambler, but Jeff Petry today is a solid NHL defenseman. Just in time.

Last night’s even strength minutes for the Edmonton Oilers were a revelation. The "big man on campus" has yet to play 100 games in the best league on planet Earth. And yet, there he is playing huge minutes:


  1. Jeff Petry 21:41
  2. Ryan Whitney 21:24
  3. Ladislav Smid 19:56
  4. Corey Potter 19:21
  5. Andy Sutton 15:26
  6. Nick Schultz 14:18

The kid also spent over 2 minutes on the PK and skated miles last night. Edmonton’s performance overall was hit and miss among the blue, but as Bruce McCurdy points out the Smid-Petry tandem was easily the best of the group. Petry seemed to be far more physical–almost punishing–last night and that kind of play will make him a fan favorite in no time.

I’m new to the twitter and the language, but in that world Petry would be "trending" at this point in time. In our mind’s eye, he’s graduating from "guy who looks good but is too new to trust" to "dammit, get Petry out there."

A year from now we’ll have forgotten his salad days. There were years and years when the Oilers drafted a defenseman and waited and waited and waited without seeing any measurable success. It only makes sense then to stop and take a moment to acknowledge the moment when a draft pick earns a mark in the "good choice:" column.


When we talk about "next year" in Edmonton–and let’s face it that has been the major sport for about 6 years now–Jeff Petry gets written in pen alongside Ladislav Smid. Whatever else happens in the summer, Dan Petry’s boy has arrived. Don’t tell anyone, but he might end up being a better player than Dad.

How’s that for chin music?

NATION RADIO is on at noon today, Team 1260 and the website has a listen live button. If you can’t make it live, download is available here at Oilers Nation within 24 hours of the show’s broadcast. Scheduled to appear:

Interesting guests top to bottom. Hope you tune in.

  • Rama Lama

    Let’s not jinx the poor lad. Yes he is playing good, but let’s let him earn his kudos with a couple of solid season behind him, we can say he has arrived.

  • Dan the Man

    Petry looks like he could be better than Gilbert and speaking of Gilbert, the guy that we got in return for him didn’t play a whole lot last night. Considering how much Potter struggled last night I’m really curious as to why? Is it just a case of the coach easing a new player into the lineup?

  • misfit

    Petry was outstanding last night, and has been very good lately in general.

    I also think it might not be a bad time to get Peckham back into the lineup if for no other reason than to not have either Barker or Potter in the lineup.

  • Dan the Man

    Petry was the best player on the ice last night[Stars gm.].. that is on both sides of the puck. I always say OIlers dont improve play of players, but I take this one back.. what in a year and half this Petry has come along nicely.
    In couple years of play, he could be a stud on the back end. Very clear why they moved Gilbert… this guy could be better than Gilbert every would be.. I think he’s as good now and Gilbert is at the apex of his ability now.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      no doubt the kid’s great and has a bright future… but it’s crazy talk for GMs or fans to start counting chickens with young players and small sample sizes.

      The list of under 25 year olds that look great for stretches (even long ones) only to collapse is pretty damn long.

      • I'm Batman

        So what is the best way for the Oilers to get a goalie. We need a number one goalie.
        Do we need to trade for one? Or is there a good one in the draft? UFA? Thanks

        • There’s way more hockey nerdier guys than me around here that could answer that one. It seems to me though that every summer a few solid goalies come on the market. You don’t have to get ’em through the draft because there’s far more goalies than there are positions to fill. My thought is we’ll either trade for one or buy one and trade off someone else to make room.

          Bottom line is neither Dubnyk nor Khabby are number ones on a competitive team. Having a decent starter would seem to be the top priority this summer. Although it sounds like Tambo will be looking for better D too.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Lowetide I ‘ll ask the question no one on the Oilers coaching staff seems to want to answer. Why is Cam Barker still playing? At all? Have not we reached the point where we have decided that he is not in the Oilers future plans. That said why is he still playing. Sutton is healthy. Peckham is healthy. Its dumbfounding that we continue to play Barker.

    • Lowetide

      I think the bottom line is that any NHL thinks long and hard about a former 3rd overall pick. And I think once you sign the player a full look is the fair thing to do.

      Barker was injured and he’s come back and looks out of time and not close to good enough. However, Corey Potter hasn’t looked the same either and Peckham can’t even get off the practice roster.

      So, I think it’s a combination of things. I kind of feel bad for the guy, can’t be easy looking at what might be the end of what was once an extremely promising NHL career.

      Here’s hoping he recovers and finds a way.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Michael, the obvious answer would be “shooting for 29th”, but management can’t exactly come out and say it.

    Maybe it’s because some of our defensemen are THAT bad (cough Barker cough) that it makes Petry look better, but he had an awesome game last night. Every pass he made seemed golden, there was one shift in the third there where he managed to keep it in the zone twice when I was 100% sure it was out. Hell, he was even throwing some guys around when he had to.

    Aside from Hall, last night no other player on the Oilers matched Petry’s intensity.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Petry has been playing great physical hockey lately. It actually shocked me (and still does) to see that now when compared to how he had played. He has seriously taken his overall game to another level.

    I love this kid in the Oilers line-up right now.

    His confidence level is the complete opposite of what it once was. Someone (Gene?) asked him about that, and he said it simply was the case of not being afraid to make mistakes anymore. You can definitely see that difference in his play now!

    Which leads me to want to share a couple questions as well as my own personal observations about that.

    What led Petry to feel that way before, and what changed that feeling??

    Is it possible to extend the same leniency to MPS at some point in time (hopefully sooner than later)? He seemed to be doing really well after his last call-up playing with other offensive linemates. He was putting up points and creating chances. Next thing you know he is dropped down in icetime, put on a checking line role, then up in the pressbox (again) before finally being sent back down.

    Past examples under the same regime (K-Lowe) being Jason Chimera and Sean Brown. It didn’t seem to matter what they did really well; as soon as they made one play that wasn’t quite up to snuff they were stapled to the bench, out of the lineup, or demoted. It becomes a self-fulfilling profecy that a player will struggle and eventually lack confidence in THAT setting, and of course they did, even if they initially had all the confidence in the world. To say that the players can’t make any mistakes is unrealistic; coaches and GMs make them too!

    The only way to create confidence is to allow a young player to make mistakes and STILL be able to be successful.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    JW had a good article at Cult of Hockey about Dreger relaying what he spoke to Tambo about.

    Seems the Oilers Mgmt isn’t completely blind, and will likely be going after 1 or 2 top end defensemen in the offseason.

    Maggie, we hardly knew ye.

  • DieHard

    He won’t turn 26 until April. Many NHL dmen apprentice in the minors for several years before learning the trade – perhaps an extended period of time in OKC might help him find his game.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      ok… there it is:

      25. april. that’s the guy. sorry all round.

      As far as Barker and the AHL for development (doug’s original comment)… I think he winds up there or in Europe after this season anyway. And, if he can find a way back to the NHL more power to him… but I wouldn’t be too excited to see the Oilers decide to make turning his career around a pet project. We gave him a year and a pretty big contract… that’s a big opportunity… how many second chances can you expect from the same source?

      He’s not getting the infinite forgiveness that the prodigal son got.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure someone will :P) but don’t we have to pay Barker more than we are paying him this year in order to qualify and sign him or something like that?

    I thought I read somewhere that given his age and status that you are obliged to do at least a %10 increase on current wage value. Again I could be wrong as I am no contract whiz but if so I really don’t see Barker back next year even if it is as a reclamation project to give him time in OKC to see if he can develop and mature some more.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather not have him on my team at all but if we could somehow sign him for cheap (which I don’t see him doing) and try to improve him in the minors then that may not be such a bad thing. He is a 3rd rounder after all eh.

  • I'm Batman

    I have been very impressed with Petry over the last month. Especially his defensive game. It’s refreshing to see an Oiler d-man play the body the whole way rather than get caught looking at the puck like a pee-wee player.

    As for Barker. I’m not ready to give up on him just yet. Before he got hurt, I thought he was one of Edmonton’s most reliable d-men. He looked confident with the puck. Since his return he has obviously been struggling, but the ability is there, if he can get his confidence back.

  • Wanyes bastard child


    Qualifying offers(and any mandatory bump in salary) are tiered based on current salary-I don’t have the cba in front of me but the 3 tiers are 10%,5% and 0%-the 10% mandatory bump is for salary under $1m.

    Barker makes over $2m so there is no mandatory bump in salary-the Oilers have to qualify him at his current salary($2.25m) prior to July 1 in order to retain his rights.

    God help us all if that happens.

    • Wanyes bastard child

      So basically if we want Barker back next year but for cheap and on a learning curve we wait for his contract to expire and sign him then?

      Because I don’t see a lot of teams lining up to take him eh…

  • I'm Batman

    You can wait until July 1 and he’s a UFA-I’m not sure what universe you want Barker back though…maybe the one where Spock has the beard and Kirk has that machine that makes people “go away”

    Seriously though-we need to aim higher.We’ve got enough candidates for 3rd pairing and pressbox and players learning the NHL game, and a bunch of kids on the way.

    We need to turn Cam Barker into a Beauchemin/Gleason/Boychuk type-an established D that can play 1st/2nd pairing minutes with Schultz and share top 4 duties with Smid and Petry.

    If gimpy Whitney can skate next year all the better-he’ll anchor a 3rd pair and special teams but relying on him to play in the top 4 is playing with fire.

    • Wanyes bastard child

      Dude, I’m in total agreement with you. I was more just thinking out loud on the chances of signing Barker next year for OKC to see if we could utilize and keep the potential of a 3rd round draft pick in the system at a cheaper cost and see if given a year or two he might find his game. Trust me, I don’t want Barker anywhere near the NHL club eh.

      What I don’t agree with you is Whitney being an anchor. Yes his ankles are still an issue but he has been playing better as time rolls a long and with an off season to get even more healthy I think we will see an improvement next year from this.

  • Reg Dunlop

    1st round draft picks are always given every oppertunity. Thats why we can’t give up on Lowe and Tambelloony even though they appear to be… subpar maybe?

  • Wanyes bastard child

    The Tom Gilbert countinues to be an enigma. I can’t see any resonable explanation for the loss we took. Maybe gilbert wanted out but ive never seen that side of him before, and now of all times? I think its more likely this is part of a bigger deal. Minny did this with san jose in the summer making two separate deals for heatley and setiguchi. Perhaps the oil have a wink wink deal to acquire another piece in a lopsided deal in the summer. This way minnesota can make a playoff run. Maybe omark for leddy, faulk or spurgeon is in the works. One can hope.

  • paul wodehouse

    “… the chances of signing Barker next year… and keep the potential of a 3rd round draft pick in the system…”

    Wanyes’Bastard Child…

    Barker was a 3rd OVERALL draft pick in 2004 !!!

    Check out the names of who went before him that year 7 years ago…tell me if you can stop scratching your head after…

    ’tis simply mind bending…what a bust…he’s done here unless he’s got pictures of our GM with a goat

    oh …wait a minute!

  • paul wodehouse

    …and speaking of bruising hockey players does anyone know anything of how Ryan Jones is fairing after hurtling into the end boards courtesy of a wee nudgenudge from Dallas Dman (previously suspended for charging) Mark Fistric ?

  • paul wodehouse

    Players either have a head for the game or they don’t, it isn’t going to appear magically. Young players make mistakes, but it is possible to tell if they have the potential to read plays or not.

    I would rather the team look for players like Davidson and give them a chance than waste years on guys that have almost no chance to be good because they have low hockey IQ or are lazy or both. Which basically was the Oilers development plan until recently.

    Move the guys who can’t think the game and try new players. Barker will be playing in the AHL or Europe soon after the Oilers get over him.

  • paul wodehouse

    Like Willis posted in cult of hockey, an offer sheet to Schneider in the $3.5 mil range would be a great move, perhaps as compensation they could include Dubnyk in the deal? Losing a 2nd rounder wouldn’t be a bad thing given all the prospects that will need room on the 50 man roster.

    Sign Vokoun cheap as a back-up, they almost got him last year, so maybe he could be had.

    Send Khabby & maybe Jones or Belanger + a D prospect to Chi for a Dman. For sure Chicago has to shake-up their team and maybe we can get a Seabrook or Keith…..

    Sign Penner, hopefully at a decent discount, and slot him in with RNH and Eberle. Trade Gagner + for a decent Dman. Move Hall to C and slide in Hartikainen with him and Hemsky…

    Tre Kroner as 3rd line and Smyth Horcoff Eager as 4th line……

    Comments please, thanks