Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved. This is a fascinating photo. Look at the faces of the OKC Barons on the bench and tell me hockey players don’t value a guy who sticks up for them. Can’t do it. Also, our friend Rob Fergsuon captured the exact moment when Colten Teubert replaced Andy Sutton on the Oilers roster. Is it that easy?

The NHL depth chart–with Andy Sutton injured and possibly at the end of his career–looks like this:

  1. Ladislav Smid
  2. Jeff Petry
  3. Nick Schultz
  4. Justin Schultz
  5. Ryan Whitney (#1 if completely healthy)
  6. Theo Peckham
  7. Corey Potter

Sutton’s role, which was 5-6D, mentor and policeman, is likely to be awarded to Theo Peckham by default. The club can’t send him down without risking waivers and haven’t yet decided if he’s part of the future (remember, trading young defenseman often turns out badly. The Oilers have endured the growing pains on Peckham, allowing someone else to enjoy a more mature Theo is a painful thought), so he’s clearly ahead of Teubert.


They’re not. The Oilers have waiver options on Colten Teubert and do not have them on Theo Peckham, and Teubert has not (as of now) established himself as a clear NHL option. When the best league in the world returns, Justin  Schultz is the only Baron defender who is a "sure thing" recall to the big club.

After that, all of the OKC defenders have shown the kind of inconsistency that establishes a gap between the Peckham’s–who clearly struggle but have reached the point where the organization is comfortable with them playing in the NHL–and the Teubert’s–still trying to defend sorties successfully in the minors.

Alex Plante–an AHL All-Star last season–seems to be in an early season fog, possibly owing to a concussion-filled pro career.


Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved. I’m not picking on Brandon Davidson, but the step from junior to the AHL is a big one. We know this from past performances by graduating defenders: it’s a tough damn job on any level, but being 20, new to the league and chasing men who are older, bigger, stronger, more experienced and determined to do damage against a rookie? Hell man, that’s a perfect storm.

The Oilers have so many rookies on the current blue–Schultz, Martin Marincin, Taylor Fedun and Davidson are all playing their first full seasons at the pro level. Schultz is amazing, and the others are learning on the job. Schultz aside, I don’t think there’s a strong candidate for recall beyond Teubert should he settle in and begin establishing consistency with the Barons.


Its pretty obvious: The NHL and AHL team have something in common: not enough established defemsemen. This was a problem before Andy Sutton went down, and it was a problem before the club decided to run 4 rookie pro’s most nights in OKC.

I have a (well earned) reputation for suggesting trades should occur, but in this case there’s obviously a lack of balance in OKC and in Edmonton. There are a mammoth number of young defensemen on the way, but these kids also need a mentor. At this point, the best plan might be to pair Teubert with a veteran AHL acquisition to play behind the Marincin-Schultz pairing. After that, the rookies can come along on the third pairing and maybe one of them will spend some time in Stockton this winter.

I think Todd Nelson is a helluva coach, but there’s too much green on the blue.

  • I wonder about Fedun, LT. He’s spent a lot of time on the left-hand side and I thought putting him there over a more veteran guy (like Plante) was a tell from the coach.

    I agree the depth chart is Schultz >>> Teubert > everybody else right now, but given circumstance Fedun has impressed me enough to think he’s at least in the mix.

    Plante, though. Wow. I thought for sure he’d be ahead of Davidson, but right now he’s struggling to stay ahead of Ringwald.

    • Lowetide

      Jon, I had a quick look around to see if there were any summer/early fall stories about Plante and cobwebs. If there isn’t, then he’s about where everyone was in about 1980 when the kids came in and sped up the league by about 5 times.

      Every once in awhile these slow footed guys get purged, kind of like Cory Cross and Igor Ulanov after the lockout. Could be happening to Plante, or he could be injured/coming off injury.

      As for Fedun, from what I’ve seen so far the right decisions are being made but he’s maybe not getting there in time. Now, he’s coming off a major, major injury so that should be expected. Still, this team needs guys they can count on.

      What’s your read on Ringwald? Did they think he’d be able to step up a little stronger?

      • The problem for Plante is that this couldn’t happen at a worse time for him. *Everybody* is watching that OKC team, and he’s looked a lot like a guy who won’t ever play NHL hockey. Maybe he’s hurt, maybe he’s just a slow starter, but he’s been flat-out bad.

        I can’t see how the team would have expected more from Ringwald than they’ve gotten – he spent a decent chunk of last year in the ECHL, after all. Bob Stauffer was talking around the time of the Byers signing about how OKC wanted to add a veteran left-side ‘D’; my guess is that they always planned to and somehow it just didn’t get done.

  • The other day it was noted that there were many more scouts in attendance for the OKC game than usual. I cant remember which game it was but Ethan Moreau was notably in attendance and the papers had some quotes from Scouts who wished to remain anonymous. That game Schultz and Teemu Hartikainen were the talk of the hockey community.

    I chalked those things up to the NHL being under a lockout, but a week later we are finding out that Sutton may have a career ending injury. Since the Oilers obviously knew this before we did is it fair to assume that Tambellini et al sent word out to the rest of the league that they needed immediate help on the blue line and names like Hartikainen, Pitlick, Teubert, and various others were available for the right price?

    • Lowetide

      Makes complete sense. I don’t want the team to deal any of those names, but they’re top heavy right now and maybe a forward-for-blue trade would be wise.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Great pic of Teubert jumping in to send a message. With Sutton gone, the ball has been firmly handed to Teddy Peckman. Whether he can run with it is up to him. It sounds like Teddy’s learned a thing or two about fitness and nutrition, let’s hope he’s maturing into a solid pro – and earns a steady job. We need his grit on a team that’s losing it in spats. (Eager doing time, Sutton on the mend)

  • Oil Vice

    Evidently Plante did NOT get the memo after last season.
    Make quicker decisions with the puck.
    Increase foot speed…a lot.
    We need another Strudwick or Sutton type…Plante isnt it right now 🙁

    Gona have to be Teubert or trades.

  • OilFan

    You know, as I read about player hockey development, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the college route is the way to go, in particular when it comes to defencemen.

    Here’s why:

    You draft a kid, he’s 18, and physically weak. Strong for an 18 year old, perhaps, and some of these draft picks are stronger than some NHLers, but for the most part, he’s weak.

    He’s also inexperienced. He plays junior hockey, which is a very different game from pro – especially when you’re on the back end. Much less defensive responsibility and much more opportunity to look good by beating up on 15-17 year olds. A one year age gap is significant when you’re that young, never mind 2-3. Just as he gets drafted, he spends at least 1, likely 2 years learning to beat up on younger players.

    Then he makes the jump to the AHL at 20 and finds himself playing in a tough, hard-nosed league with a lot of hitting, significantly faster, bigger players, and the added mental adjustment to getting his butt kicked on a nightly basis. I don’t think that’s the best way to go, when trying to learn how to play pro hockey.

    College, meanwhile, keeps players around other players their age. Sure, 21- and 22-year olds are bigger than our fresh draft pick will be, but the relative numbers will be smaller – there will be proportionally as many 18-19-20 year olds. While by the time you’re 22 you’re pretty much a full-grown man, odds are you’re still not at your strongest, fastest, and certainly not most experienced. Peak is another 3-6 years away.

    what does this result in? Fewer injuries, a more gradual and effective learning curve, at the expense of lost ice time.

    I’d say 4 years of high quality seasons of 40 games each is a better way to teach a player to play than 1-2 seasons of lower quality competition and 2-3 of beatdowns.

    I think the ideal solution is a “draftee-age” league. Something in-between the AHL and CHL. 18-22 year-olds only, 60 games per season.

    • Dipstick

      With all of the NHL ready D-men coming out of college recently, it makes sense to let them mature in that fashion. However, it would suck to be on the wrong side of a Schultz situation. That loop hole needs to be dealt with.

    • StHenriOilBomb

      I’d prefer the CHL route over NCAA. College route doesn’t play enough games per season, where as CHL is the closest thing there is to professional hockey. It helps players bodies get accustomed to a schedule with the number of games played per season.

      What does NCAA play, 34 games?

      The thing with NCAA is that players don’t usually leave the CHL to attend that league. Many Canadians are going to opt for CHL if they can make it. Once they are in the league at 16 and establish themselves at 18 they aren’t going to leave for the NCAA.

      Teams can have three 20 year olds in the CHL as well. And in my cousins case he’s gaining a ton of experience his past 3 years by playing with great leadership coming from older players. Look at PA Raiders for instance, McNeil, Conroy and Bardarro are older players getting a ton of opportunity. They wouldn’t be leaders in the NCAA getting majority of ice time and a ton of games.

      CHL develops players faster in my opinion. NCAA might be good for an education outside of hockey – but I don’t see it being a superior league.

  • Lowetide

    Jon: Yeah, they needed to get that done though. Barons are going to bleed goals, especially against the better clubs.

    BlacqueJacque: Great points. I think drafting defensemen in the second round is the best plan. Look at what Nashville has done for crying out loud.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Just to add to that. Considering you can be 20 in the CHL, if they are capable of playing in the AHL than that has been determined by their pro club. Otherwise they’d remain in the CHL.

    To play in the NCAA that said player is interested in an education. Obviously if he’s in the AHL at 20 he’s too good for the CHL and he’s not interested in an education. So I don’t think NCAA is even an option considering those factors.

    • Lofty

      Not going to disagree that there is more talent in the CHL overall in terms of overall skill & ability over college hockey but that’s because the elite skill guys like Kane, Crosby, Hall, etc. can all make the jump so why would they delay playing pro hockey. But as we’ve all seen defenceman take a while. Even in the talented 2008 draft the only impact dmen thus far are Pietrangelo and Doughty. It actually wouldn’t be a bad idea for defenceman to go the college route after the CHL to gain maturity. Outside of the NHL moving up the draft age this seems like a good option. It would also make picking dmen less of a gamble as you have a better idea of what you’re getting at 22/23.

      That’s why the NFL draft sees a much higher success rate in terms of players sticking with the club. So many drafted players at least manage to play roles on their teams because football players generally go to the NFL at 22-25. This maturity give the teams a clear idea of who these young men are. The NHL has the youngest draft of any of the pro leagues and the only sport more physical is football. I’ve long thought the NHL should consider moving the draft up and dividing the junior leagues into a 16-18yo league and a 19-22 year old league. More fair for the juniors because you don’t have 16yo playing 20yo. Also the draft would become less of a crapshoot and more like the NFL. Drafting according to the scarcity or rarity of a type of player in relation to the skill/potential.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    I was watching the Toronto vs Oilers re-run ( 1980)……….funny thing the best defenseman they had was Fogolin, Lowe, and Weir.

    None of these guys did a lot but played to the strengths of their offense, mainly Gretzky. There were a lot of odd-man rushes and three on ones………but entertaining it definitely was! A lot of these future all-star defenseman were coughing up the puck constantly.

    I think we expect too much from our young defenseman these days…..let them learn from their mistakes and stop benching them every time they take a chance on a play.

    Quinn was the worst coach for this followed by Mctavish! Renny was marginally better and Sather was the most forgiving coach in Oilers history………..wonder who was the most successful Oiles coach?

    • StHenriOilBomb

      Stan Weir played center, not defense. Lowe was a rookie in 1979, and played well, but was not the best on the team at that point. Fogolin was solid, but they also had Doug Hicks, Al Hamilton, Colin Campbell, Risto Siltanen and Pat Price. Siltanen could bomb the puck from the point. It was a serviceable unit considering the Oilers were basically an expansion team, but you’re right in that the games were played loosely with the forwards and defense all making a lot of mistakes.

    • book¡e

      Allowing players to make mistakes is an important part of being successful and I seem to remember Krueger emphasizing this in an interview. I hope he sticks to it.

  • Lowetide

    Rama Lama: I agree. There’s not the same level of clutching and grabbing allowed now either. Tough position in any sport, but on skates–backwards–not much tougher in sports.

    Maybe the could have them juggle, too? 🙂

  • Lowetide

    Everybodys forgetting about our Eite Prospect defenceman out in Europe..30 percent chance we see even any NHL games this season, and if there is a season our team isn’t ready to compete for playoffs anyways..
    Klefbom could very well be our Defensive Jutin Schultz next season.
    Teubert has always impressed me..I like him with the Oil, sure he made some glaring mistakes but I think the tools are all there to be a Matt Greene type.
    Corey Potter doesn’t have enough NHL experience in my mind to play a 6th-7th role as a mentor..he’s not young enough to be a prospect and we have likely seen his peak.
    I suggest trading for a Strudwick type(hey struds-dont know you but will call your nickname anyways) to fill the void till Teubert and Klefbom get here..even once they do to mentor for a season or two.

  • justDOit

    This is a pretty good opportunity for the Oilers and their rookie Dmen. They get to make the mistakes that all rookie pros make without the NHL spotlight on them.

  • Lofty

    I cant recall seeing Peckham or any of the Oilers other tough guys grab someone and hold them accountable like Teubert did. Love to see it and oil need more of it. I thought that’s what Eager was supposed to bring but that didnt happen last year. It builds character and gives the team a swagger when they know they will be avenged.

  • Lofty

    Colten offers more than willingness to be protective of his system,he is a player who is very physical by nature,he hits first and asks questions later.I mean this in the most positive way–he has a style that is based off of a defined committment to clean physical contact all the time,he prefers his work to be up close and personal.Tuebert does not get caught sitting on the fence he commits to the play and the hit every time and makes you deal with that dimension,it is very nice to watch as it is a bit of a throwback style.Teubert Definately has a dimension the Oilers system can utilise.EveryMan on the Oilers team has to be committed to a wolf-pack mentality,we cannot allow teams to dictate momentum to us in any area including fisticuffs–with designated fighters that type of momentum control can be done to us—nyet–we will defend our systems integrity with numbers in 5-man units.

    I think Tuebert has already earned his shot and is in the mix–there will always be injuries on defence and lots of movment,now lets focus on Fedun and get him rolling–he should be engaging the exact same offense as Schultz is,he has an identical skillset.We need two offensive catalysts ready and prepared at all times so if we sustain an injury our system can replace that dimension.Or Rodney wherever he is if we still have him,but we need another mirror image of Schultz,I think we already have it in Potter but you can never have enough of a good thing.

    It is nice to see Tuebert playing well–I had him slotted to stay last year and have him slotted to play again this year based on his in a phonebooth up-close individual style of contact—not at all for his fighting–for his ability to make contact effectively consistantly for 60mins without being caught out of position his hitting is naturally part of his work .Tuebert is also able to RECOVER faster than his opponent—he is a master of removing guys from the play and recovering himself first—a real throwback and great to watch.Reminds me of Kevin Lowe–and Peckham reminds me of Charlie Huddy.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    This is a side note – but I’m pretty impressed that Martin Marincin is playing on the first line down on the farm, and apparently holding his own. From everything I have read that appears to be the case…can that be true – already?