Anton Belov Demoted


The Oilers have announced the demotion of Anton Belov to the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons.

Key Questions

1. Did the Oilers need the roster space with their recent call-ups?

The Oilers official roster currently shows 14 healthy forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders. That’s a full NHL roster, but Boyd Gordon could easily be shuffled off to retroactive injured reserve (joining Tyler Pitlick, Ilya Bryzgalov and Richard Bachman on the list). As Bruce McCurdy pointed out on Monday, Gordon could go on injured reserve and be eligible to return for Saturday’s game.

So unless Gordon plays tonight, no the Oilers didn’t need the roster space. And even if Gordon’s ready to go, Edmonton could have avoided this situation by just leaving Martin Marincin in the minors. 

2. This saves Edmonton money, right?

Yes it does. Assuming that neither player hits his performance bonuses, Marincin’s roughly $200,000 cheaper. It’s difficult to imagine that $200,000 being decisive in this move, though.  

3. Does Belov need to clear waivers?

No. Belov is on his entry-level contract, so there is no risk of losing him on the waiver wire. 

Why It’s A Bad Idea

The simple answer is this: there are not seven better defenders on the Oilers roster than Anton Belov. Here’s what the depth chart looks like today, based on total minutes handed out by the coaching staff:

  1. Jeff Petry: 640 minutes
  2. Andrew Ference: 595 minutes
  3. Anton Belov: 528 minutes
  4. Justin Schultz: 457 minutes
  5. Nick Schultz: 435 minutes
  6. Philip Larsen: 170 minutes
  7. Denis Grebeshkov: 96 minutes
  8. Corey Potter: 85 minutes
  9. Taylor Fedun: 49 minutes

We could point to Belov’s strong underlying statistics, his size and strength and ability to move the puck, or any number of other items, but the biggest point here is that the only left-side defender ahead of Belov in total minutes is Andrew Ference. The coaches have made it clear, by their ice-time decisions, that Belov is seen as a top-four defender on this team.

Now, nothing says the coaches can’t scratch a top-four defenceman, to try and get him to improve his game. But one does not simply demote a top-four defenceman for a guy who has never played an NHL game. It’s bizarre. 

  • CMG30

    I have to admit that I’m confused by this move. I also have to admit that I’ve not been watching the games lately but when I did catch a game, Belov did not seem to be my first candidate for demotion. In fact, going forward I kind of saw him as part of the solution (Not a top 2, but valuable none-the-less) Maybe they saw value in allowing him to play top paring minutes in OKC for a while?

  • pkam

    Nothing about this makes sense. You might have beef with Belov’s play at times this year, but he’s still a better (by far) defenceman than Potter and Marincin at this point in his career. This literally boggles the mind. Either this is completely inept roster management with no foresight or it’s a serious punishment for something behind the scenes we don’t know about.

  • YFC Prez

    Congrats Gregor!

    We should all contribute our GDB for him.

    GDP: Oilers are stunned by the benching of a couple of regulars, turn in another listless effort in front of a home crowd and lose 7-2.

    OGDP: The crowd starts chanting “We Want 10” halfway through the 2nd when Colorado takes a 7-0 lead.

    NSOGDP: The Avs totally take their foot off the gas in the 3rd, moving all of the defence up to forward, and 6 forwards back on D. They make the forwards moving to D switch which way they shoot. The Oilers still cannot break out of their zone. After the game, Patrick Roy says he couldn’t hear the We Want 10 chant because his Stanley Cup Rings are still stuck in his ears.

  • pkam

    @Jonathan Willis

    I don’t think the Oilers really send him down to OKC. Probably another way to buy a roster spot for a few days instead of putting a player on IR, like what they did before with Acrobello. Perhaps it is easier to demote a player than to put a player on IR?

    If it is bizarre to scratch Belov base on TOI, then is it even more bizarre to scratch Petry? If you don’t think it is bizarre to scratch Petry, then why is it bizarre to scratch Belov?

  • Truth

    GDP: Oilers come out fired up but can’t score early or at all. Lose 6-0.

    OGDP: Oilers blow.

    NSOGDP: Gregor’s new son looks conspicuously similar to Wanye. Congrats Mr. Gregor, my daughters birth is easily the best day of my life so far. Can’t beat it.

  • Alsker

    After Tuesday night this one could end up being a couple feet under the rock bottom…as for Belov maybe OKC has a coach that can actually explain and teach this system??

  • Bucknuck

    The real head scratcher for me is bringing up both Larsen and Marincin over Fedun. I like both, but right now Fedun is killing it in the AHL, and had a great first 3 games in the NHL. If the idea is to just get Marincin a few games and some $$ i get that, but doesn’t seem to be the best player coming in. I actually think Marincin will be better in a few years, but Fedun has clearly earned another call up.

  • geoilersgist

    OK just to set the record straight, I just got off the phone with Mac T and KLowe…….the reason for demoting Belov was because he is not fit. This was also the reason for trading SMID.

    We were far too heavy in the position and this makes us smaller and faster and now fitter.

    Everything will be OK now…….relax people, Mr. Fitness is in charge.

    • YFC Prez

      As sad as it is…there is most likely some truth behind your sarcasm. Eakins should try and get some skates on a dozen marathon runners and see how they work .Fitness isn’t everything.

  • geoilersgist

    Ference= 2nd Pairing D man
    Belov=2nd Pairing Dman
    Shultz JR= 2nd Pairing D man
    Shultz Sr= 3rd pairing D man
    Petry=2nd Pairing Dman
    Larson 3rd pairing Dman
    Potter= AHL Dman
    Fedun=3rd Pairing
    Grebishkov=SEL Dman(maybe)

    When a team like the Oil decide to roll with a lineup like this it means 2-3 D men are playing at positions high above their abilities. What this ultimately means is players are going to go through these major periods of struggles… To think it will end is foolish. The question is can this do damage to a players progression long term?

    This rebuild game plan of scorching the earth is showing to be a horrendous concept. Upcoming, even potential superstars would be much better served with a veteran skilled player “still” in his prime to show the way somewhat. I don’t think theres an option here.. MacT HAS to get a 1st pairing d man on this team before next season.

    • D-Unit

      I’ll do the honour of providing the GDB—
      Obvious prediction–we suck and we lose.
      Not so obvious.— Taylor Hall sits in the middle of the ice half way thru the second and cries his eyes out.
      What I like to see–Captain Ference skating over to the bench at the start of the third and punching Eakins in his big ugly yap. The camera pans to the press box and shows Petry laughing at the idiot that just got knuckled.

  • YFC Prez

    Belov is in the minors, Petry is in the press box and Smid is in Calgary. They’re not the best defenders in the league, but they’re the best we have or had. Icing an AHL team on an NHL roster is undoubtedly one of the most moronic, nonsensical decisions made by this foolish group of managers to date.

    • **

      Except for PHillip Larsen (who was caught puck watching a couple of times) the D corps tonight played really well, specially the third pairing of Potter and Marincin. There’s a player there with Belov, but he looks overwhelmed. Being in the AHL will be good for him. Petry is not a top 2 dman. Spreading the ice time today between all 6 defenders worked much better for the Oilers than throwing Petry to the wolves. Smid I like, but like Petry he was being used in the wrong situations in Edmonton.

  • Serious Gord


    There is no better word to describe the last 24 hours and for that matter the goings on back to the trading of smid.

    Seems to me that greatly weakening the defense of the team is going to do nothing positive on the scoresheet, in the standings and to the morale and the development curve of the team.

    Especially when – as has been noted be several others here and elsewhere – there are clearly other, higher profile players on the team who are arguably more deserving of a ‘time out’.

    WHAT A MESS. The oil are the new generation New York islanders.

  • D-Unit

    Don’t quite understand why people are upset about this. No matter what the Oil do on defence they have 4 AHL D on the roster. Might as well rotate them all through the AHL. They are also no better or worse with Belov on the team. He isn’t a win or lose difference maker. None of the D are n

    • Dan 1919

      WOW, I was going through these comments wondering if ANYBODY in Edmonton actually realizes that this team has been a bottom dweller for a reason, or they think it’s just hockey magic.

      You are 100% correct, all they Oiler’s defencemen are AHL caliber, and rotating through them means nothing. Petry is probably one of the most overrated things this town has seen since those silver balls on Whitemud. He would have trouble, or probably just not be able to crack a good team’s line-up, yeah he can move alright and has flashes where everyone sees him, but at the end of the day he is terrible in his own zone and a liability.

      Smid and Belov, seriously? 5-6 or more like 6-7 dmen on a good team.

      Don’t get me wrong, it is still a bad thing that we can swap out our apparent top 3 dmen with no ill affects, but at this point we can do it.

  • Joy S. Lee

    Is this a healthy scratch or he hurt?

    If he scratched we just pulled another Hejda. He will look good in Pittsburgh next year. Guess we are not resigning him. Lol. Good Golly management sucks.

  • **

    It seems that management is finally listening to the statistics and probability and have officially declared the season lost. Time to see what they got on the prospects. Expect to see Klefbom and Davison up at some point before the Olympics break.

  • **

    Now that Belov has been demoted, maybe Marincin was brought up instead of Klefbom, Fedun, or Davidson to shoecase him because there’s about to be a trade involving him.