What about Taylor Fedun?

Taylor Fedun had an unfortunate and difficult start to his professional career.

In his first NHL camp last year, he was opening a lot of eyes with his steady play until a preseason game in Minnesota. He was going back for an iced puck with Erik Nystrom. Nystrom’s stick got caught up in his skates and an ugly crash into the boards for Fedun resulted in a complex fracture to his right femur. His first professional season was over just like that, in a blink of an eye.

An injury like that is not something I would wish on anyone, especially a young player looking to establish himself in the world of hockey. He is a solid young man with a game that I like. With drafted players such as Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and David Musil or recently signed Justin Schultz getting much of the attention as the next wave of Oiler blue liners, it is easy to overlook Fedun. I think many may be missing something that is right in front of them.

What about Taylor Fedun?

I think there is an opportunity for him in the future with the big club. Missing last year set him back a year in playing development but he is back playing and playing well for OKC. He is a smart guy, four years at Princeton confirms that! His intelligence and hockey IQ are what could carve him a place with the Oilers.

He is a good skater that uses his skating to get him into a strong defensive position. He isn’t overly fast but he puts himself into the correct position to make a play with the puck first or take the man with his body when required. Learning where to be on the ice is something that takes time to develop. He seems to have a good grasp of that already. When you are in the right place on the ice as a play is developing you are never chasing the puck. Often, chasing the puck results in trouble.

He played his full four years of college. His numbers don’t jump off the page at you offensively but there is a steady climb. He improved from fourteen to twenty two points during his four years. His last year he played twenty nine games so roughly two points every three games.

He may be a little undersized for the NHL. He is listed at six feet tall and one hundred and ninety pounds. He can’t do anything about his height but he can about his weight. Adding ten or fifteen pounds will help him battle in the tough areas, specifically in the corners and fronts of the net. Those are tough areas to play in and there are some very big and strong forwards who he will have a tough time handling without the added weight.

Good news though, it is easy to adjust. A full and healthy workout program next summer could get him easily seven or eight pounds without compromising his speed. The added pounds will also help when he is on the beach or at a buddy’s pool party. I have been told by people in the know that the ladies love the big guns and chests.

For the many reasons I was really looking forward to having him on my show. I wanted to hear about the grueling rehab and how he was feeling to be back out and playing. Here is what Taylor Fedun had to say….

Q: Looking back at your stats from your time playing locally here for the South Side Athletic Club, in the AJHL and then at Princeton University your showed steady improvement. Is that the approach you have taken to your hockey career, one day at a time and small steps?

Absolutely, I have always tried to build off the progress I made the year before. I wanted to learn from things I have gone through and that has allowed me to improve every year.

Q: Was attending college an easy choice for you, did you ever look at the Western Hockey League as an option?

I did look at junior hockey. I had already committed to Princeton when the first real offer came from the WHL. At that point I had educated myself on the two different options and for me college was the way to go.

Q: Why did you feel that way?

I had always actually enjoyed school. I enjoyed putting in the work and I didn’t shy away from getting homework and getting it done. When the opportunity arose to play hockey and attend school at the same time it was something I had always wanted to do. It was definitely the right way for me to go.

Q: Now that you have that degree to you chirp the other guys on the team that you have one?! Do you ever say ‘hey, has anyone seen my Princeton degree lying around?’ Does anyone else have a degree on the team?

Ha! There are a couple of other guys that have one. One in particular is a guy I actually played against in College, Mark Arcobello, Yale grad. We go back and forth about which is the better school!

Q: Was college the right choice for you to fill out your game and develop physically?

Definitely, the way it worked out for me is I came out of college quite a bit older then when guys finish their junior careers. It was perfect for me. It allowed me to develop me game in a way that I was much more ready to jump into the pro game. Whereas if I had been trying to do that when I was twenty to twenty one I honestly don’t think I would have been nearly as ready for it.

Q: You finish off your college career and then sign a contract with the Edmonton Oilers, your home town team. Was it a club you had identified as a good spot to start your pro career or were you looking for a chance to play for your home club?

It worked out both ways. Growing up in the city of Edmonton it is hard not to be an Oiler fan. That was definitely my case. I grew up idolizing the team so to have them put an offer on the table after college was finished made it pretty much impossible for me to say no.

Q: So you come to camp, are doing well then you get that terrible injury, obviously a big disappointment. How long did it take you after the accident to say ‘This is the way it is, I have sustained a tough injury but now I have to work my way back, I need to get healthy and I will continue my professional career?’

Honestly, it was a decision I made rather quickly. Once I had the procedure and met with the surgeons who pieced my leg back together, they made it clear to me that if I was willing to put the time in that I would be able to get back to where I was before it happened. That was really, really important for me to have those guys tell me that right up front. It was obviously going to be a very long road to get back but to know that if I took care of the details along the way that I would be able to get back was huge.

Q: Who really helped on this long road back? Who were the doctors or trainers that gave you guidance and deserve some recognition?

I think all I really had to do was show up and do what I was told. I got to work with some extraordinary people. I was very well taken care of by the Oilers organization the whole time. My parents were flown to Minnesota right after it happened which was huge for me. Then when I was back in Edmonton, it wasn’t even a few hours when T.D., the head therapist with the Oilers was at my house checking on me. Then over the next couple of days Chris Davie, another Oiler therapist was already developing a plan for my rehabilitation. He was really the guy who drove me rehab. I really can’t thank him enough. He was up early morning to help me, five days a week in the pool downtown. Then we would work a few more hours in the afternoon. Then when I got to the point I was able to do more and get into the weight room I started to work with Simon Bennett, another tremendous person to be working with. He brought such great energy to every workout and helped keep things fresh for me. It wasn’t like I just came in and was doing the same thing every day. I really had a great team working with me.

Q: After months of all this rehab and some point you have to get back on the ice. What was that moment like? Were you excited or nervous?

It was definitely both. It was very exciting but when my skate blades first touched the ice I almost felt a little like Bambi. It was a little bit weird. As you grow up you become so comfortable and confident on the ice it is weird to go from being so sure footed to a little bit timid out there. It is a weird feeling. It got my heart racing but it was awesome to get back out there!

Q: You should be very proud of yourself, many might not have gone through all that effort to get back to where you are today. You are now playing in the AHL with the Oil Barons and off to a pretty good start. How does it feel to be playing games again?

It took some getting used to. When I got into that first game it was an amazing feeling. I had an absolute blast. I got right back into all the things about hockey I had missed over the past year or so.

Q: The injury is behind you now and this is basically your first year pro. How has the adjustment been going from a college schedule to a professional one?

It has been an adjustment. Some days it is nice when you are dead tired to not to have to hit the library and do homework for a few hours. Yet there are times where there are a few days off between games, we just practice in the morning, you need to find things to do. You don’t just want to end up wasting the day away. You want to stay stimulated. It can get a little slow so I need to find some things to do to fill up then non game days and keep the mind going a bit.

Q: The schedule can been very game-heavy, how important is it to find time to rest the body?

Very important. When you mix in all the travel in there it is really important you do get your rest. You need to take very good care of your body because you can really get run down if you aren’t careful.

Q: You play a thinking man’s game on the ice. You make it easier on yourself. Is there a player you try to copy or emulate?

I always struggle answering that question. I feel there isn’t one player that I have watched and tried to emulate. It has kind of been a style that I just came into on my own with the guidance of different coaches along the way. I have just done what works for me, which as you mentioned is a thinking man’s game.

Taylor is a very well-spoken young man. He is smart and a thinker. It is clear from his answers he likes having a plan and working towards an end goal. His end goal is clear and I think it is well worth our time to keep tabs on him moving forward.

There are many reasons to be excited for this young player. He can’t worry about what the other young prospects are doing. He isn’t them and they aren’t him. He is running his own race that I think could end with a nice little NHL career.

  • DSF

    I hope thinks work out for this guy beyond the AHL, and onto to the NHL, may it be with the OIlers or some other team. I dont think I could imagine the amount of work Fedun put in to get to even where he is now in the last year or so.
    That is sheer determination and a ton 0f sweat and time. Good on him. I think this same hard work he would bring to his game day in and day out.

    • RyanCoke

      Proves nothing, it’s 1 game. I am a DD supporter but do have my doubts as well. Schneider has been more consistant over his career than DD so far, only time will tell.

      • DSF

        What about the fact Schinder has played a couple of games this year? Throw in the fact Dubnyk had a shutout last game. Mix in the fact Dubnyk had pretty good stats going down the stretch last season. Add a tinge of confidence from the off season contract.

        • DSF

          Oh, there you go.

          DD played better in one game so you just throw Schneider’s 33 games and .937 save percentage out the window for some guy who could only manage .914 in 40 games.

          Makes sense.


          • 24% body fat

            I dont think either are proven starters yet.

            In the NHL Schnieder was covered by a good team and Dubnyk was exposed by a weak one.

            Both need to play more games to prove anything.

          • DSF

            Yes, Schneider plays for a better team.

            That isn’t going to change anytime soon.

            The Canucks have gotten better defensively by adding Garrison, one of the best defensive defensemen in the game.

            The Oilers have added a rookie defenseman who is a giveaway machine.

            Here’s last night’s player grade from none other than Mr. Willis:

            Justin Schultz, 5. He was, despite the lack of points, once again brilliant on offence and by my count the top pairing generated scoring chances at twice the rate they allowed them.

            However, Schultz’s willingness to pinch in bad situations – situations where failure will leave his partner staring down the barrel of a gun – deservedly knocks his grade down here. He needs to learn to be more cautious in high-risk scenarios.

            He IS Jack Johnson.

          • DSF

            He’s been great but I seriously doubt he will be contributing much to the Oilers GA/G…..which was the point.

            Adding two rookies who are known more for cheating for offence, as both Schultz and Yakupov are notorious for, will hardly be a positive defensively.

          • 24% body fat

            I wasnt bashing Schnieder just making the point that he is not a clear cut number one until he has play 40+ in one season and played well enough.

            Schultz is going to be better than Jack Johnson.

            Dubnyks numbers were in the middle of the pack, so considering where his team was that is pretty good.

          • DSF

            At the same age as Schultz, Johnson scored 8G 28A 36P in 80GP in the NHL.

            Do you think Schultz will surpass that?

            I think there’s a chance he might but it’s much closer than you think.

          • 24% body fat

            I do think he will because the powerplay he will be playing on.

            Whether the oilers are much better next year or not, they have a lot of good pp options.

          • DSF

            Yeah, I think that’s a valid point although we’ll have to see how the Big Boys adjust to the Oilers PP.

            Johnson has always been a PP specialist too…not so good at evens.

          • 24% body fat

            Hey if Schultz get 50pts all on the PP I would be ok with that. The pp for the oilers last year was good with Petry and whoever. With Schultz and Petry it should be better.

            Hall will be the 5 on 5 beast.

          • DSF

            If you’re looking for a 5v5 beast look no further than Eberle.

            He was second in the league with 3.08 P/60 5V5.

            Hall was 71st at 2.07.

            Kyle Wellwood was 62nd at 2.15. (Sam Gagner was 91st at 1.96)

            Imagine that.

          • Marc

            Todd Nelson and Craig Button on Justin Schultz:

            “He has parts of [Scott] Niedermayer and one player he reminds me of is Drew Doughty,” Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson told NHL.com. “The NHL is a step higher, but I see him doing the same thing up there. Maybe not as explosive in his first year, but I see him contributing offensively. I see him playing a lot of minutes, just as he does here — and he plays about 30 minutes a game, handles it well.”
            “He’s an intelligent person and he takes direction very well, but we haven’t really had to lean on him because he does so many things so well,” Nelson said. “For instance, in our first two exhibition games he was lugging it up the ice and then he’d get caught. He learned quick. Instead of trying to force the game he is letting the game come to him and he reacts off of that. That’s a good way to play defense. With defenseman, when they try to force it, it’s like putting gas on fire. He’s got a good balance.”

            Button compared Schultz’s multifaceted skills to those of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

            “It’s one thing to see the play that is happening, it’s a whole other thing to see the potential play unfolding, and that is what he sees,” Button told NHL.com. “If you take away the shot, he can pass. If you take away the pass he can beat you with his skating. He presents you multiple problems, and when you’re multifaceted like him you end up with real challenges in terms of trying to defend him.

            “He’s like RG3. How do you defend him?”

            Dean Lombardi on Johnson (when he was still a King):

            “This guy has never had any coaching [at the University of Michigan],” Lombardi said. “Jack just did what he wanted.”
            “Michigan is the worst.” Lombardi added. “For hockey people, if you’ve got a choice between a kid—all things being equal—one’s going to Michigan and one’s going to Boston University, you all want your player [going to Boston University]. Michigan’s players—[head coach] Red [Berenson] doesn’t coach. It’s ‘do what you want.’ He gets the best players in the country.”
            “Jack was a thoroughbred out there,” Lombardi explained. “But he was all over the place. He was awful as a hockey player. As an athlete, you’re going, wow! Look at the way he skates, shoots, he can pass. But he had no idea where he was going.”
            “Here again, you’ve got a kid who’s got to change his game and he can change a game, going end-to-end, getting you out of your own end,” Lombardi noted. “It was like, ‘you’re not good enough at that not to do these other things that you’ve never done.’ Now try and convince him of that after [he has] been told how great [he is throughout his] life, [he has] played in the US Development Program, [he was] at Michigan, everything [was] great, great, great. Now [he is] in the pros and it’s ‘what do you mean? I’m Jack Johnson.’”
            “He struggled with it,” Lombardi added. “‘What do you mean, you’re criticizing me?’ Yeah, [I am]. When these kids come up now, this might seem totally abnormal to you, because anyone else growing up probably got slapped around [figuratively speaking] as you were learning your career or anything you’re learning. But these kids are all told how great they are.”

          • 24% body fat

            Some of this may have some validity if you had left out –

            The Canucks have gotten better defensively by adding Garrison, one of the best defensive defensemen in the game.

            Really! One decent season playing alongside Campbell.

          • DSF

            You really need to take a closer look.

            Garrison has been one of the best shutdown defensemen in the league for 3 years.

            Garrison and Weaver were the best shutdown pair in the league in 2010/11.

            Garrison was -2 and Weaver +1 while playing the toughest competition on a team that had a goal differential of -34.

            His offense took off with Campbell but he’s been great defensively for 3 years.

            Now that he’s playing with a top 5 PP, his numbers should only get better.

          • What if in those next seven games Schinder was lousy and ended up with .900 in 40? Both sample sizes are small so I’m going with the more recent positive points. Mix it up and put Dubnyk on VAN and Schinder on EDM. Dubnyk would be getting the praise.

          • DSF


            Schneider – 40GP 28W 10L 1T .930 (AHL)

            Dubnyk – 62GP 18W 41L 2T .910 (AHL)


            Schneider – 60GP 35W 23L 2T .919 (AHL)

            Dubnyk – 33GP 13W 17L 2T .916 (AHL)


            Schneider – 25GP 16W 4L .929 (NHL)

            Dubnyk – 47GP 20W 20L .914 (NHL)


            Schneider – 33GP 20W 8L .937

            Dubnyk – 47GP 20W 20L .0914

            Of course only one of these players has ever played ina playoff game when the stakes are the highest.

            Schneider – .940

            Dubnyk – .000

            I know who I would want to go to war with.

          • Rogue

            Hey Defying Sanity Forever, you know as well as everyone else that if the results of that game were different, you would be praising Cory for his play in a Big game and saying it justifies your dissing of Devan, cant win the big one! You flop more than a live fish on a hot griddle.

  • Rogue

    I wish Fedun all the luck in the world. The next year will be telling on his future. I am sure he can catch on with some NHL team. Not sure if it will be with the Oil. At this point, the Oilers need size and physicality on the D.

  • Rogue

    Ok so Schnider has the better stats. But Dubnyk has size. And like the announcers on NHL 13 say, “You can’t teach size.”

    Also you glossed over the fact that Schultz had twice as meny scoring chances for than against.

    I await your rebutle.

  • DSF

    Lombardi’s comments were certainly valid when he made them two years ago.

    And I have a lot respect for Lombardi.

    In 21 games with Columbus after being traded:

    21GP 4G 10A 14P +5

    That pro-rates to 16G 56P +20 on the worst team in the league.

    If Johnson can continue that kind of performance in the future, he’ll be a top 10 defenseman in the league.

    No guarantee of course but, then again, no guarantee Schultz’s numbers will translate to the NHL.

  • DSF

    Can we please just talk about Fedun? Man!!!

    Certain posters that shall remain nameless are starting to ruin the comments section here at our beloved ON. It’s the same drivel over and over again. Please stop.

  • Rob...

    “An injury like that is not something I would wish on anyone, especially a young player looking to establish himself in the world of hockey.” Erik Nystrom may not have wished that injury on Fedun, but he knew what he was doing when he tried to trip Taylor up to gain an advantage. If there’s a player I’d wish that injury on it’d be Nystrom. It sickens me that he was allowed to play in the NHL last season.

  • A-Mc

    I really hope Fedun gets some time in the NHL sometime soon. I don’t have any idea if he’s NHL caliber because I’m not a hockey scout, but it seems to me that he deserves a chance.

    How many guys would have just packed it in after an injury where you’re left not able to WALK. He fought back 1 day at a time and i think that shows fantastic character.

    It may sound a little insane, but could this injury actually have been BETTER for Fedun than for him to not have sustained it? It really was an opportunity to show some real character, and it might be that character that causes him to be called up first before a similarly skilled D.

  • Word to the Bird

    Quantity will be an issue for fedun. A few more lbs won’t hurt and will certainly give him the added weight to compete against the NHL’s big boys. Dr Randy Gregg played a thinking mans game but had the size to back it up. Fedun if the time is right will need to prove he has something else to offer the Oilers than what they have already.

    Shultz is built along the same lines and offers them skill. That is what the Oiler’s may be looking for from him. Its hard to say with the mix of blueliners on the way what direction the Oiler’s may want to go.

    Realistically I see Fedun playing in Europe on the bigger ice surface. Playing in the D-League or the Swiss League. He has talent but if I am his agent I am looking at signing him to a contract in Europe sooner than later. A few solid years in Europe and perhaps a few Team Canada appearances might a career make.