Unless you’ve been away for a couple of months, the legend of Justin Schultz has washed over you and the Schultz-mania that will sweep our city the moment the lockout ends is something you’re anticipating. What about the rest of the OKC defense? Are they progressing? Which of these young men is emerging as an NHL option, and who is getting left behind?


(Photo courtesy Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved. Check out the women behind the OKC bench. They seem to be anticipating the Teubert blow).

Coach Todd Nelson seems to have decided on his pairings and pecking order. The defense most often looks like this these days in OKC:

  1. Martin Marincin-Justin Schultz
  2. Taylor Fedun-Colten Teubert
  3. Alex Plante-one of several

The second pairing waivers from time to time, but from my observation that’s the group. Marincin-Schultz most often play with the Hall line, so I’d hesitate to suggest they are playing the tough minutes, but they appear to be out against the other team’s best (which makes sense) so they do get extra points for it.

The Barons are 42-35 (+7) at even strength over the first 20 games of the season. If we assume that each pairing plays equal minutes (which is untrue), the "expected" plus minus for each defenseman would be +2.3; the Barons defense varies wildly in that department:

  1. Justin Schultz 20gp, +14
  2. Martin Marincin 18gp, +12
  3. Taylor Fedun 18gp, E
  4. Colten Teubert 18gp, E
  5. Jordan Henry 10gp, E
  6. Dan Ringwald 7gp, E
  7. Brandon Davidson, 6gp, E
  8. Teigan Zahn, 5gp, E
  9. Alex Plante, 16gp, -4

The Schultz plus minus number is the best on the Barons (and in the entire AHL), Plante’s is team worst. The top two plus minus numbers are clearly "wind-aided" from playing with the big line, credit to the pairing they are clearly contributing to the success (Schultz, incredibly, remains the league leader in points and we’re well into the season).


I don’t think much has changed in that department since the beginning of the year. My guess would be:

  1. Justin Schultz (duh)
  2. Colten Teubert
  3. Taylor Fedun
  4. Martin Marincin
  5. Alex Plante

I guess that’s the one thing we can take from the season’s first two games (aside from the dominance of the top pairing). Alex Plante–about 200 games into his pro career–appears to be drowning in injuries and lack of mobility. He won NHL games played bragging rights over father Cam 10 to 2, but those concussions have taken their toll.


Schultz was always going to the NHL the moment the lockout ended, but I don’t think Marincin gets a call this season (aside from a cup of coffee) if they play big league hockey. I do believe Colten Teubert is clearly ahead of Alex Plante now in the "Andy Sutton’s done" sweepstakes and that Taylor Fedun has entered the conversation.

There’s a long way to go for all of these kids, save Schultz and Plante who appear to be going in opposite directions. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Its all on the OKC blue this season.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I so hope that Carano’s movie career shifts to less of her kicking and punching to more of a featured role on her back.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I haven’t followed the AHL that closely lately (in spite of paying for a whole season of often crappy broadcasts) but have noticed Marincin–a pleasant surprise as a first-year player. Skates well, decent shot, decent size for his age, lots of upside.

    I’m hoping Fedun can keep progressing, too. He’s a good skater and has a great shot. Not the most physical guy, but usually effective positionally to my eye.

    I’m not sure about Teubert. I like his toughness, but he looks just a shade too slow and flat-footed for the NHL (unless Teddy Peckman implodes completely).

    Plante is done, and I’m not convinced he ever had a real shot anyway–way too slow. I’m OK with the Oil taking the odd flyer on a big player at the draft (go Jar Jar!), but please take the ones that can actually skate (I’ll allow one exception for a nuclear deterrent to protect our young talent, like a Steve MacIntyre, but that’s it).

  • oilabroad

    Schultz is obviously a pleasant surprise but how about Marincin, did anyone expect him getting top pairing minutes this year?? If things go as planned, next year is going to have some tough choices for management with both Klefbom and Marincin ready for the show…

  • ItsTheBGB

    Not you too LT?

    What’s so bad about a clever FIST comment? It is an ON tradition and usually gives me a good chuckle.

    I do not think it devalues or lays the foundation for this website to included irrelevant chatter.

    • Lowetide

      It matters not to me, the fist comments are usually clever and give me a chuckle. Having said that, others prefer to post something else with the first item.

      I’m just happy people read it. You DO read it right? 🙂

      • ItsTheBGB

        Are you kidding me?? Don’t you remember the days when you would have to wait till training camp just to get some articles? You guys are LIFESAVERS!

        I know what you mean though, if somebody gets on there and just races down to type FIST before reading the article, it is sort of pointless.

        While I got you, out of curiosity, Schultz is on pace for about 124 points. What would be the Desjardins equivalency on that? I could use a little pick-me-up this morning…

    • It’s called the F!ST! block. Equally as prestigious and makes a statement that “first posters” are the scourge of the internet.

      We won the battle this time around but the war continues. Mua-ha ha ha ha!

      My god. What has this lockout reduced me to?

  • With Musil,Gernat and Klefbom still in the system the Oilers appear to be on the brink of a cycle where we can look at making a trade for a player rather than by position. We have struggled mightily in the depth department. Especially on the blueline.

    Where is Potter at right now in your opinion on the depth chart. Is Sutton a for sure kinda done or a maybe kinda done.If the lockout is the full season. If. Do the Oilers bring back Ryan Whitney? He’d be looking at a major salary reduction in the 1.6-1.8 range. his current 5.5 million is way out of line with his last 2 seasons of almost continuous injuries. If its my choice I do not resign him.
    I also think that if Tambo is going to do something it is with the Montreal Canadians in terms of a trade.P.K.Subban may have worn out his welcome with the Montreal faithful. I believe that the Oilers and Canadians are both looking for dance partners to address each others needs.The Oilers biggest need is another top 4 dman (Whitney is to much of a wildcard)who can move the puck. Subban fits that need.The Canadians are in desperate need of a shooter to compliment Galchenyuk.The premium on scoring is at an all time high. I think the Oilers and Canadians do a deal that sees Yakupov,Belanger and Hamilton and picks move to the Canadians for Subban,Tinordi and picks.

    Sounds bizarre but the need for the Oilers is on the back end.They need a blue that will play with speed.Be creative.And be able to compliment Hall, Eberle and RNH.With Dubnyk a massive question mark in pipes we need a blue that will be able to get the puck out of the d zone fast.

  • Lowetide

    Michael: I think the #1 issue for the Oilers D is Whitney. If he’s Whitney then things shape up nicely. We have no evidence–none–that he’s Whitney.

    So, we put that aside. Smid and Petry is a very nice pairing–not perfect for a top pairing but they played well together against tough opponents a year ago.

    Nick Schultz and Jeff Schultz should be a decent pairing, veteran stay-at-home type and young gun. That’s where I’d put a ready Ryan Whitney btw.

    Third pairing at this point is Peckham-Potter imo with Sutton done. I’ve been a booster of Peckham in the past, and do think his conditioning will be better in the coming year (whatever year that is). We also have to remember that learning NHL defense is a long process, so Peckham should be better moving forward just based on experience.

    I’d add a veteran NHL defenseman as soon as possible, a 2-way guy resembling Whitney when his feet were right.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    OKC blue…


    Watched my first two games of the season the last two nights and the D looked rough…

    Schultz has offense in spades and is a marvel to watch in the opposition end… he seems prone to some big blunders in his own end though (I’m hoping he’ll be able to work on the latter without sacrificing the former).

    The rest of the team varies from promising but rough (Marincin, Fedun, Teubert) to terrible (Plante, Henry).

    Of note is the fact that Barons seemed to clean house with Helmer and Montgomery leaving… those two really seemed to anchor the D last year and the new line up looks young and unfocused.

    I think Michael makes a good point about the talent knocking on the AHL door next year or so (Klefbom, Gernat, Musil, etc.) It will be interesting to see who shakes out of that tree.

    ps. does anyone know of a searchable, easy site that lists the whereabouts of various players… it would be nice to track the comings and goings (or sittings) of the NHLers.

  • Lexi

    I’m assuming it’s partly due to the lockout causing a backlog of talent at all levels, but there aren’t a lot of D prospects thriving in any league. Then with Klefbom, Murray, Brodin and Merrill out, who would be four of the top 10 prospects, there aren’t a lot of guys earning themselves NHL jobs right now to open up some trades.

    Hamilton, Reilly and Oullette are only guys I see in the CHL significantly impressing (I can’t imagine how concerned we would be if we had picked Reinhart). Trouba’s stats are impressive at Michigan (though his team looks horrible).

    There do not appear to be too many first or second year guys in the AHL dominating. Marancin’s stats compare very favourably to his peer group of Morrow, Depres, Beaulieu, Tinordi and Oleksiak.

    I’ve had about 50 different ideas of what the Oilers need and can afford on their D in the last 6 months. Quite frankly until we know what the CBA is and when it is settled, it is impossible to properly analyze the options. It still goes back to Whitney’s health. If he is healthy then their top 5 is pretty good, with 3 effective puck movers and 2 strong D first guys. Especially with the season likely to be only 48 games, it seems like we might as well just roll the dice with what we’ve got unless someone like Streit or Lyndman falls in their lap.

    If the sesaon is canceled then the chaos of next season is impossible to grade. I just hope the Oilers have the new RFA rules analyzed properly as you add OEL, Hamornic, Shattenkirk, Pietrangelo, Alzner and Bogosian to Subban, Kulikov and Del Zotto and that’s a lot of guys in the right age demo for our stars.

    • Chris.

      Jordan Eberle’s NHLE from his two short stints in the AHL to his first injury shortened season in the NHL was around .55. (My numbers are close but come from memory owing to the fact I’m using a data phone in an arena with low cell coverage)

      Eberle’s reverse NHLE using his numbers from this AHL season and comparing them to his last NHL season where he played in a premiere offensive roll with RNH and Hall instead of with Horcoff are around .70.

      I’m simply implying that since Schultz is likely to move straight on to that excellent first unit power play (a very rare situation) his NHLPE numbers might be more in line with the reverse NHLE of Eberle, Hall and RNH with whom he’ll be playing…Even if you doubt my hopeful logic is it too crazy to say by split difference between a historical NHLPE and that of the other Oiler young guns lands Schultz’s adjusted NHLPE higher than the typical 0.45? How about 0.50, or maybe even 0.60? Can Shultz be the next Karlsson?

      • I’d be more inclined to agree if Schultz was a forward. Being that he’s a D, I highly doubt he’ll be able to pylon NHL D-men the way he’s doing right now, especially if he’s on the 1st line PP and facing the best of the other team.

        Everything I read about Schultz says he’s a dynamite offensive threat, yet still has alot of work to do in his own end. Just can’t see Ralph putting him in so far over his head in his first year.

        Granted he’s pretty far along the development path, but blatant Oilers fan optimism only carries you so far. He’ll run into a brick wall in the big boys league for the first year. They all do.

        • Chris.

          My blatant optimism is performance based. When the Oilers first signed Schultz: Lowetide wrote an article saying that Desjardins math absolutely LOVES Schultz:


          That number projected Schultz to be a 40 point NHL player. Schultz must be absolutely blowing away any typical NCAA to AHL Desjardin type projection with his performance so far; especially when you consider Lowetide just predicted Schultz’s new NHLE can be as high as 54 points. IMO, there is no math, or suitable predictor for a player like Schultz… His situation, and style are too unusual.

  • db7db7db7

    Marincin will be Pronger 2.0!!! He seems to be able to make that one move deep in his end to calm down the play and then move the puck to safety. He’s not consistent yet, but he’ll be there soon I hope.

  • OilClog

    I’m going to lean this way..

    The more Marincin can improve and show as this season comes along, the more I believe he will be the high end prospect that is moved in a deal. He’s going to be one of those gems, a smart GM is going to want to get their hands on him.

    Now I know the word on Marleau in San Jose isn’t the greatest.

    Change needs to happen in San Jose, Marleau’s time has come to a end there. Maybe he’s not all fire and brimstone like JR says, but with a bunch of young fired up kids.. they could be the perfect chemical combination together.

    I’d try a package of Gagner, Marincin and a pick for Marleau. I just think he’d be a perfect addition to the ranks.

    • Chris.

      Patrick Marleau is not even close to the kind of 2cd line center the Oilers need. He is done. Too many miles and to many goats hanging onto his neck. He and Thornton are passed their best before label.

      I’d rather the Oilers target Mark McNeil of the PA Raiders. At 6’2 215ish and with the size and ability to play up against the opponents best lines I would target him in a trade in the very near future. He definitely fits the bill as the type of player the Oilers need to have moving forward. The bonus is that he is tough as nails also.

      • Marleau isn’t the player we “need” true. McNeil would be nice but isn’t what this team “needs” either, at least not looking at the next few years. What the oilers need is a 23-26 year old center rounding into form that can compliment the talent we have now (which ideally means some size and physicality with some scoring touch.). You want that player to be 28ish when this team is ready to make some runs.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            I don’t think Gagner has had his chances when we’ve only so far seen his 18-22yr seasons. He fits this team perfectly but few seem to see it. Including management who should have stepped up and given him some serious term.

          • Not to mention the fact that he’s had to play alot of garbage time with less than complementary players so NUUUUUGE, Hall and Ebs could get gravy minutes. Funny thing. When Gagner was put with Ebs and Hall he was…ahem… “moderately” effective.

          • OilLeak

            A healthy Ryan Kesler is a pain the ass, but an effective pain the ass.

            The oilers were hoping Tyler Pitlick could fill that role, but not enough offense. The upcoming draft would be ideal to address that spot, but that all depends on the Oilers draft position.

            In the mean time Gagner is a an effective 2C.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Do you think the Oil ever rated Pitlick that high?

            The chance always was (and maybe very slightly still is… see JW’s post) there… but I doubt they ever saw Pitlick rising that high without some divine intervention (which is probably an apt description for the learning curve of most successful 2nd rounders).

            Also, they’ve had him on the wing for a while now, so they don’t seem to be breeding him to run up the middle.

            Interestingly, Moroz and Khaira are both wingers too… so it doesn’t look like the team is targeting big Cs (at least via draft).

            ps. I’d take brown over kessler too (even better to get kopitar) … but either way it would be one hell of a dilemma to have

          • That person would be Aleksander Sasha Barkov.

            6’3 – 210lbs excellent two way center who use’s both skill and size much the same way Lindros did.

            The only way the Oilers get him is to play this season. No season, no lottery position.

            Next choice would be Monahan.

        • After reading Jason Gregor’s interview with Jeremy Roenick I want no part of Marleau.

          JG: Patrick Marleau, you didn’t shy away from him in your book. You felt that he never reached what his true potential. When you look back at how you dealt with that, were there other guys like him, or was Marleau the biggest underachiever you played with?

          JR: Well, Patrick Marleau is one of the most talented guys I ever played with. I say that also. And it always frustrated me when I saw guys of immense, immense talent — especially guys that had more talent than me — just let 50 percent of it or 40 percent of it or 60 percent of it just sit there and idle and not use it to their best advantage. I always thought that someone that was extremely talented that had that grit, that had that fire, that showed the emotion and got pissed off, I always thought that that was a much more effective player, and Patrick never gave that to me. That always frustrated me. 

I don’t know how you can go through a career or go through a season and never change your demeanor, never change your facial expression, not get pissed off and break something. I just don’t understand that. It questions how committed and how in are you. And that was my problem with him.

          Hey, that’s nothing against him as a person. He’s a good guy. He’s a good family man. He’s a good husband. You know, he got his captaincy taken away for a reason, and it wasn’t because I didn’t think he was going at his full potential. That was a team decision. There are reasons for that. And hey, he could not like me, and that’s fine. I don’t care if I’m calling him out. I sat right next to him for two years, and that was my opinion of him. I said I wish I had his talent and he had my heart. Oh, my gosh, what we could have done together

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      I wouldn’t trade Gagner for Marleau straight up, let alone adding Marincin and picks. That’s just crazy talk. Talk about two players whose careers are going the opposite way.

  • OilClog

    For the next few seasons Marleau would be a much better upgrade then anyone the oilers currently have available. The whole san Jose team lost their magic, but Marleau still has game if in the right situation. Marleau between Hall and Hemmer would be a handful.

    This season I’d like to see the oilers win, thinking about kids we can draft is nice and all. Marleau hasn’t missed a game in 3 seasons and has been over 30 goals each of them. Id take the guy on my team.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    It will be very difficult for the Oilers to find a good match for Schultz of the Justin variety.

    His style of play will be the issue……..albeit a good problem to have. Playing him with Nick will not benefit either player…….there will be too many odd man rushes where Nick is left out to dry IMHO. It would be better for him to play with Petry and between them both, they can take turns pinching and playing like forwards.

    We have needed defenseman like this for a very long time…….I for one can’t wait!

    • GVBlackhawk

      Two right handed offensive- minded defensemen playing together. No thanks. Using your logic, J. Schultz would hang all his partners out to dry. A defensive-minded left handed guy is clearly the best choice.

      • StHenriOilBomb

        His style of play suggests that he is more offensive minded than anything we have seen since Paul Coffey.

        If his style of play should be similar when he gets to the NHL, ………all I am suggesting is that he may be better paired with a player who shares his passion for offense. As he will be a first pairing type of guy, the only guy that could handle those kinds of minutes may be Smid, other than that I do not see a fit unless Whitney gets very healthy and regains his game.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    The guy the Oilers coveted Philly got in the Richards trade.Brayden Shenn. If Philly came today and offered B.Shenn for Yakupov would everyone here not say yes to that trade? I think it would be almost a crime if we did not see that Shenn has what we need in a second line center for years to come.

    Barring an event of biblical proportions the Oilers are most certainly going to be picking way down in the draft this season if a deal gets done after the season is canceled. I am refering to the way the last post lockout draft was held. We most assuredly wouldn’t be looking at a top 10 pick. I would think we would end up picking somewhere 25-30. If that is the case kiss our goodbyes to players like Curtis Lazar and suchlike.

    If the Oilers are going to get deeper at center they’ll need to step up and target a player like Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry during the summer of 2013. How good would this team be with RNH/Geztlaf/Horcoff and Lander up the middle for the 2013-2014 season?

    They’ll need cap room. the abscence of Nk,Souray’s yoke, and Whitney’s 5.5 million should be enough to make Getzlaf an offer he can live with.

    The other wild card is the development of Lander? where will he be in 2013-2014 season? Could we see a scenario where Gagne moves down to the third line center position? with Horcoff seeing minutes on the fourth line? Horcoff is a very useful player but his time may soon be running out. A trade to a team with cap issues with the floor might see his days in Edmonton come to an end. Hemsky? A healthy season see’s him elsewhere at the trade deadline.
    The lockout is the best thing to happen to the Oilers players in the sense that the veterans get a rest to heal. Hemsky plays in Europe gets him a look by other teams. And the big 4 get a chance to fine tune and hone their skills together without the pressure that comes with playing in Edmonton.

    Its going to be wild when the NHL plays again. I think we see alot of salary dumps. Lots of trades.Its going to be fun.