Shocking Blue

Oscar Klefbom had a strong World Junior tournament and played another season in the pro Swedish Elite League. Klefbom even scored a couple of goals right at season’s end to eclipse last year’s boxcars. Now, the young man–regarded as the top blueline prospect in the Oilers system–will have to hurdle many, many older kids hoping for the same thing: a pro contract this summer.

  

The number of blueline prospects who are going to push for pro roster spots this fall is ridiculous. The Edmonton Oilers are going to have to make some decisions, maybe as early as this spring. They can trade some of the surplus, they can sign the graduating class and send the rest back to junior, college or Euro pro, or they can flush a bunch of pro hockey players currently on their 50 man list (and playing in the AHL) in favor of the new hires.

NHL DEFENSEMEN

  1. Ryan Whitney (signed through 2013 summer, then UFA)
  2. Nick Schultz (signed through 2014 summer, then UFA)
  3. Ladislav Smid (signed through 2013 summer, then UFA)
  4. Andy Sutton (signed through 2013 summer, then UFA)
  5. Cam Barker (RFA this summer)
  6. Jeff Petry (RFA this summer)
  7. Theo Peckham (RFA this summer)
  8. Corey Potter (signed through 2014 summer, then UFA)

There’s obviously going to be some movement this off-season (the Oilers already made a move at the deadline) so at least a couple of these names should be flushed before September. A guess might be Barker and Peckham out, but we also know that the Oilers plan on bringing in at least one defensemen. Added to the roster pressure is the distinct possibility Edmonton will select a defender with their lottery selection. If they add Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart, where does that put all of these kids from junior, college and European leagues?

 

SIGNED MINOR LEAGUE DEFENSEMEN

  1. Colten Teubert (signed through 2014 summer, then RFA)
  2. Taylor Fedun (signed through 2014 summer, then RFA)
  3. Alex Plante (RFA)
  4. Taylor Chorney (RFA)

Oilers have a few interesting young defensemen on AHL contracts–the crazy Russian Kirill Tulupov, for one–and they may factor in at some point, However, for the sake of conversation, let’s assume the 12 names listed here are the incumbents heading into summer.  The Oilers current 50 Man Reserve List has 14 defensemen listed, down one from Johan Motin’s departure early this season. If Edmonton keeps Whitney, Smid, Schultz, Sutton, Petry, Potter and the 4 AHL defenders that’s 10 in total. Throw in the one defenseman Steve Tambellini plans to add to the NHL roster and the roster crunch is a real item.

 

THE BACK END 12-13

Let’s approach this starting with those most likely to turn pro based on age and expiring eligibilty in their current league. There’s one man who already has his entry level deal (Marincin) so it’s a good guess he’s going to get his ticket stamped to pro hockey in the fall.

  1. Brandon Davidson: He’s 21 in August and won’t be junior eligible in 2012-13. Edmonton will either sign him, trade him or walk away. Davidson’s numbers (64, 13-34-47 +22) and the scouting reports I’ve heard suggest that he is a legit prospect.
  2. Kyle Bigos: Big man turns 23 in May and is having a solid year at Merrimack of the NCAA (31, 4-13-17). Bigos does have another season of college eligibility and the club may decide to keep him outside pro hockey for another year.
  3. Martin Marincin: Entry level contract has already been signed, he’ll turn pro this fall. 54, 11-27-38 -4 and closing strong in Regina, Marincin is one of the big blueliners Edmonton is very excited about moving forward.
  4. Jeremie Blain: It sounds insane, but the depth is so impressive at this position there might be a chance that Blain plays another season in the QMJHL (he turns 20 in 2 weeks). 54, 9-39-48 +26 and the scouting reports say nice things about him.
  5. Oscar Klefbom: No pressure to bring him over and put him in the AHL/NHL, but the club probably wants to sign him and take away any possible draft re-entry for 2013. 33, 2-0-2 -1 for his SEL season, he was staring at goose eggs all season before punching through. I have no idea if they’ll sign him, but do believe there’s a chance they leave the top D prospect in Sweden next year while breaking in (at least) a trio of youngsters in the AHL.
  6. Martin Gernat: 55, 8-40-48 +38 is incredible production for a 5th round pick and he’s still over a year from his 20th birthday. He should be back in Edmonton playing with the Oil Kings in the fall, although it does appear he could qualify for AHL action as early as this fall. The money quote is "Players drafted from European and NCAA leagues aren’t held to these terms" and the Oilers selected him out of Kosice of the Czech juniors. Scouting reports are exceptional. **I’d love input into this item, because I’m not 100% certain I’m reading this correctly.
  7. David Musil:  Musil plays a very mature game for his age and anyone observing him during the WJ’s knows how much he’s capable of doing defensively. 56, 5-19-24 +13 with Vancouver of the WHL. Musil’s only chance to turn pro is as an Edmonton Oiler, so he is not a signing priority over the summer.

The Oilers have 5 or 6 defensemen who they could sign and turn pro, and the other two have a chance to get signed and then returned to junior for a final season. They’re graduating by the 6-pak.

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers are going to sign as many as 6 amateur defensemen from their previous drafts to pro contracts this summer. It’s a good bet that at least one of them spends their rookie season in Stockton and there’s a chance Edmonton either makes a trade involving one of them or walks someone like Brandon Davidson. Or they might ask Kyle Bigos to stay in college for a final season.  The numbers don’t add up. Believe it or not, there’s too much on the way. I expect we’ll see a trade before or at the draft involving one or more of the prospect blue.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    On the fourth pairing (yes 4th) on a team in the swedish league, this guy has lit it up with 4points in two years. Sounds like the kind of puck moving defensman that could turn this club around. Looks like lottery picks for another few years.

  • 24% body fat

    why does everyone want to rush our d here. We have a good problem with a good solution with the exception of klefboms playing time. Leave the kids in junior and the older kids in the ahl. Maximize and slow there development.

    This is the first time in a long time when there is no need to rush. No one in the AHL is ready for NHL (tuebert is close and will eventually replace sutton).

    SO let them play where we can have them all and than make trades when there value is higher, you know who is better and who is the right fit.

    Murray is the only player that may need to be rushed as he may not be challenged in juniors. Leave him there for another year.

    Also for all you grigorenko fans, if we draft him and trade gagner, we are setting our rebuild back another two years. Even if he out scores Gagner, he will in no way shape or formplay to the defensive level gagner has grown to this year or be able to match ice time. Scoring is not the problem, lack of skill is not the problem, defense is the problem. And unless suter likes edmonton, we do not have tradable assests that is going to upgrade this teams defense very much.

  • Rama Lama

    Before we start entertaining any thoughts of trading this guy, or selecting that guy, we need to address Mr. Tamby…..aka Mr. Dithers! He needs to go to the light!

    I’m hoping that he lets others select the appropriate draft selection and that given players that are very close on the tangibles, they select heart ( like TH) over anything else.

    Surely to goodness we can package some prospects and land a legit top two d-man at this upcoming draft.

    I’m getting tired of waiting.

  • DieHard

    Draft BPA. If that’s Grigorenko so be it. If he’s good enough to make the team next year, so be it. He doesn’t have to start at center and it doesn’t mean Gagner has to go, ever.

    We have assets to trade for a top 4D (from a team with excess) including this year’s 2nd rounder and next year’s first (we are making the playoff next year – damn-it).

    • Add Yakupov and we might. I think Columbus goes with Grigorenko. They have Johansen and will have more when they ship out Nash.Since the trade deadline Columbus has awoken. I would not not say were out of the woods as far as another 30th place finish. Renny has his eyes on the prize that is Yakupov. He keeps sending out Bulin and Barker and Peckham. 16 games to go I bet the Oilers finish with 68 points and Columbus gets 69.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        We could always lose the lottery.

        And if we catch Columbus we would have to go 0-16.

        They’re on a hot stretch, if they don’t finish the season going 0-6 then I’m surprised.

        Oh and Buzz Suter isn’t getting a 7 year 53 million dollar contract from any team in the league because he’s “above average”. You also don’t become an All-Star as a defence men by scoring 45 points a year unless your exceptional at defence.

    • Yourmomthinksimhot

      Exactly, you don’t pass on the BPA because you already have a guy whose spent 5 years developing. You always draft BPA and trade your redundant assets for your needs.

      Never draft by need, because what you need today may not be what you need in a year or tomorrow. Always, always draft BPA.

      Also, we’re not exactly overloaded with 6’3 centres at the moment either.

  • Yourmomthinksimhot

    There are no exceptionally talented UFA Dman at the right price this year. Suter’s above average but not exceptional. Trading for the stud…not so much. Dithers, trade half the farm for an exceptional goalie. You know who they are. All BS aside the current group less a few passengers is capable of making the playoffs with a goaltender who can win two fists full of games despite the clowns that play in front of him. I really didn’t think the nation would have to explain this to you however you have been one subborn hombre. Throw us a bone fer fox ache.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Whoever thought if the Oilers could improve their goals against considerably, bump up their F/O percentage by 5 points, and had the best powerplay in the league…and we’d still be at the bottom of the league.

  • paul wodehouse

    …Q has a friend…yo Buzz…u da bes…he’s (Q) always gettin’ crapped on for that deadpan way you speak of here … only a few, i being one are happy to bask in his reflective glow…

  • I keep saying our defence is not that bad.

    It’s just that we are evaluating.our players .Most of our losses have swung on one or two bad goals or bad plays ,bad changes.etc.I can recall at least five games were Ted has given up one or two goals and Barker at least as many.If you take these two out of the mix we maybe have six or seven more wins.

    I scratch my head as to why they play these guys over and over but it’s all part of the plan.

    Tank this year and draft top three again just in time for new arena.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Would Matt Carle be a D the oil should target? 27 years old UFA. 35 to 40 point guy. Flyers against the cap. Will be a commodity but cheaper than Suter.

    BTW. The Flinstones was clearly Ann Margrock’s best work. TV gold.

  • DieHard

    At the rate the Oilers are playing 30th is not out of the question. Who in the solar system does not think Suter is a 1-2? Above average. I’ll take that vs cam Barkers below average. And who on the Nation thought N. Shultz would be this good offensively? And please could someone tell R.Whitney that the season has started.

  • DieHard

    It seems pretty obvious that either Tom was told to blow the season or he didn’t catch that puck squarely enough. I will never know why Barker and Teddy are being played. Mistakes and stupid penalties everywhere. We need d and a goalie. The kids were by far the most dangerous line on the ice last night. I didn’t even see Hall on his a$$ as often as usual.

  • When the 630 ched golden wheel would spin I would yell staaauup! when shocking blue came on.Defense will Improve along with the rest of the team once the forwards become more reliable.I dont think the oilers will have to go after a big ticket free agent.