Trade for Corey Potter!

It’s a rough time to be Corey Potter. The Edmonton Oilers have six other defencemen on one-way contracts, and three other guys on two-way deals who will (Justin Schultz), will likely (Anton Belov) and might (Oscar Klefbom) make the team out of training camp.

But there is good news. While the writing may be on the wall in Edmonton, Potter has virtues that should make him of interest to other NHL teams.

The Situation

As I see it, Potter currently sits ninth on the Oilers’ defensive depth chart, which I have arranged thusly:

  • Jeff Petry
  • Justin Schultz
  • Ladislav Smid
  • Andrew Ference
  • Nick Schultz
  • Denis Grebeshkov
  • Anton Belov
  • Philip Larsen
  • Corey Potter
  • Oscar Klefbom

The cut-off line for NHL employment is likely right after Philip Larsen (though it may fall just south of Anton Belov).

Already I can hear the complaint: if Anton Belov is on a two-way contract, why not ship him to the minors? There probably isn’t going to be a big gap in performance so isn’t that the smart asset management move? I doubt it, and here’s why: Belov is on a 27 year-old Russian who stands 6’4”/216 pounds and has puck-moving ability. He’s on a one-year deal and doubtless has plenty of options back home. There could well be an impact player there, and it makes no sense to stick him in the minors and possibly finish him with the team in order not to expose a decent six/seven defenceman like Potter to the waiver wire. It’s penny-wise, pound-foolish.

I have similar thoughts on Larsen, too. Potter is 29 years old, and it’s a good bet he’ll never be more than he is right now – a solid depth defenceman. Larsen is 23 and his performance at other levels indicates there might be an offensive contributor there. Unless Potter is clearly better in camp, does it really make sense to dump the guy who might make a real difference in favour of a reserve player?

Virtuous Potter

Working in Potter’s favour are a few things:

  • He’s cheap. Potter has one year left on a deal that pays him $800,000 in real dollars and has a $775,000 cap hit. That’s chump change for an NHL team.
  • He can play in all situations. Potter may have a low ceiling, but he’s versatile. He played regular third-pairing minutes at even-strength, logged almost 2:00 per game on the penalty kill and served as a point man on the Oilers’ second power play unit.
  • He is a right-handed shot. Right-shooting defencemen are generally rarer than their left-shooting equivalents.
  • He doesn’t come with Ryan Whitney. Last season, particularly without Ryan Whitney, Potter actually had pretty decent on-ice scoring chance numbers. This is actually a two-year trend – when playing with Whitney, Potter’s pairing was lit up the last two seasons; when apart from Whitney, the (terrible) Oilers came pretty close to breaking even with Potter on the ice. Separated from Whitney, Potter has looked like a competent depth defender on a bad team.

Add it all together and Potter almost certainly isn’t worth very much – he’s a cheap third-pairing/seventh defender who can hold his own and play anywhere he’s put. A team tight to the salary cap still in need of a player to round out their depth chart could probably use him, and maybe the Oilers could get a late draft pick out of that team for their troubles.

Then again, with most teams seemingly done for the summer, maybe there isn’t a trade market. In that case, the Oilers can stick Potter on waivers – if he clears, the team has a useful depth guy in the minors, and in the (likely) event that he doesn’t he’ll have a chance at a second opinion from another NHL team.

Some of my recent stuff

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i’d love to see Nick Schultz and Corey Potter both gone. it’s a gamble going with Grebs again, as well as inexperienced d-men like Larson, Klefbom and Belov, but hey, why not take a gamble?

      • Thanks for giving me a place to dump.

        If ifs were spliffs-we’d be all #@$%ed up.

        If Potter was of any value-I might have something valuable to say about the chump.

        All jokes aside, I never really cared about Potter much, I always seen him as a 6-7th Dman. The way it looks now, if he doesn’t retire, he might be a career 7th Dman.

        You specialize in garbage, so the type of contribution and insight your looking for is to be found in other comments from the hyppothetical armchair knowitalls.

        Trash away.;-‘)

  • Tikkanese

    Potter has zero trade value. There are many better UFA options which are probably cheaper both $ wise and by not having to lose any assets to trade for.

    Plus if by some miracle that somehow you really liked Potter, you will very likely be able to have him for free on waivers given the Oilers sudden depth of middling defencemen. So why lose an asset?

    That all said, barring a run of injuries, I bet he clears waivers and will be in OKC come Oct 1.

  • The Soup Fascist

    See if there’s low trade value for him, if there isn’t then he likely won’t get lost to waivers, if there is then generate a bidding war and see how many bags of pucks we can get for him.

    It’s too bad as I remember when he secured his spot he was running our power play quite well. TO me he seems like another mismanaged player that could be better than he is under a different system.

    • Wax Man Riley

      Flip it around for a sec…

      When Potter got his contract, he was a poor defenseman playing well and flourishing under that system.

      When the system was changed, so did Potter’s play.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        Hhhmmmm, my memory is not that long, but please correct me. Didn’t Potter play under Renny for two years? And wasn’t he only good for the first half of one of those years?

        Fair enough if you think the system of play was different under Kreuger which led to Potter’s play; however, I think the numbers showed he played just fine under Krueger. His powerplay time got taken by J Schultz, and his defensive play was hurt by being constantly paired with Whitney. Why Krueger didn’t play Fistric and Potter as the bottom pair more often always confused me.

        My biggest complaint is his age. He seems to be trending upwards, but he’s also getting into his prime so it’s not like he’s a young guy with a lot of years ahead of him.

        • Wax Man Riley

          True, but there you go right there… Under Krueger, Potter didn’t get powerplay time, and was benched or stranded with Whitney.

          He flourished(-ish) under Renney and got a contract, but under a different coach, couldn’t perform.

          I was more just making a statement against “another player mismanaged by the Oilers.” I can’t defend the Oilers decisions with most of their players, we all know their history (Souray, Gagner, Cogliano, Deslauriers, Belanger, Glencross…and the list goes on), but I think in this case it wasn’t an issue of mismanagement as it is that Potter is just not that good.

          • Wax Man Riley

            Completely valid point. And I agree that he’s really not that good, I’m just not convinced he’s all that bad yet.

            Regardless, the Oilers have too many D and someone is going to either get traded, get demoted, or get lost to waivers, if that guy was Potter, I wouldn’t be sad.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Potter is a cheap depth defensemen that can be stashed in OKC without cap impact. LA signed Ellerby and Jeff Schultz to be 8 and 9 on their depth chart.

    Defensemen get hurt.

    Why do people consider defensive depth a problem?

    Potter has no cap impact if he is playing in OKC.

    • Truth

      I’m pretty sure contracts cannot be stashed in the AHL under the new CBA. He would still be the same cap impact no matter where he plays in North America if still property of the Oilers.

      Hopefully there is a team out there willing to trade something for him by just looking at his numbers and not ever watching him play. If MacT can get any kind of asset at all for Potter it should be considered a win. He is an AHL player at best. Probably right at home in the Swiss league.

  • The Soup Fascist

    One of the most frustrating things for me last year was this guy continually playing ahead of Fistric. I have no idea what Fumbellini was thinking giving up a 3rd for Fistric and then two days later showing up on Gregor’s show and announcing to the world that Corey Potter was in “his” top six and Fistric was not.

    a) Isn’t naming the lineup supposed to be the coaches job?

    b) The Oilers continued to get their heads kicked in while Fistric and Peckhamburger sat in the press box – watching Potter play with all the edge of a wet Kleenex.

    NOTHING made me more mental than watching that night in and night out …… Except Horcoff and Smyth out together to start O.T., the Oilers D-zone coverage and Eric Belanger.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Might not be a bad idea to have Belov start in the Ahl, just to adapt to the smaller ice. Either way, Potter will likely pass waivers and remain in the AHL until the inevitable injury call.

  • Young Oil

    Instead of dealing Potter for a late round pick, why not include him as a part of a bigger deal? He is an inexpensive option that could be of great use to cap strapped teams. We could even deal him at half price. Many teams in a cap crunch would be thrilled to get a 6/7 defender for a cap hit under 400K.

    Just a theoretical situation: The Oilers have tons of D depth, and 3 top 6 RWs, but not enough depth in the bottom 6. The Rangers have tons of bottom 6 depth, but need a #2RW, and inexpensive players to put in their lineup to make room to sign Stepan. There’s tons of potential for a deal there.

    Just for the sake of argument:

    Hemsky+Potter, both at half price

    for

    Boyle+Kreider+Palmieri.

    That fits the needs for both teams IMO.

  • vetinari

    He’ll likely get us a mid to late round pick, and frankly, if you can get it– take it. He’s a “tweener”– not good enough to crack our top 7 (unless injuries start to pile up) and likely too good to be a pure AHLer. I’m guessing he’ll get shipped out during pre-season games when teams have a chance to see what they have but before roster limits get enforced.

  • vetinari

    With all the unsigned UFA defensemen still out there, I doubt if he will looked at by any team. Yes he comes cheap, but there seems to be no team out there looking to make a deal for a depth defenseman…….everyone seems to have guys like this on their roster.

    I still think that Potter paird with the right guy is a great third pairing …….maybe with Nick Schultz? When we have all six puck mover and no real defenders I’m wondering if Mac T starts looking for these tyoe of guys?

  • vetinari

    It’s quite simple if Corey Potter is on your 2nd unit power play you are not
    A playoff team… He and Nick Schultz are weak links on the back end…
    Not offensive, not physical and both need to go… If we can get a 5th, 6th, or 7th I’m all for it