jeff petry

It was not so long ago that Jeff Petry (in photo) was playing in Oklahoma City and the Oilers were hoping Taylor Chorney and Theo Peckham would develop. Now, Petry is in the NHL, and 200+ games into his career. Chorney and Peckham are down the line.

The Oilers have a large number of defensemen in the system, and when Dillon Simpson is signed it’s going to get crazy. Can they keep all of them? Who is expendable?

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I’ve followed the Oilers prospects since the WHA, and do not recall a time when they’ve had more legit NHL prospects playing pro hockey. The first defenseman who went from Oiler prospect to NHL player was Charlie Huddy—signed in 1979, and NHLer by 1981—but he was alone on the 1979-80 Houston Apollos and the next legit prospect to develop through the minors was Steve Smith in 1983-84.

The Oilers draft record when it comes to defensemen is even less impressive. After a brilliant start (Lowe, Coffey, Steve Smith and Jeff Beukeboom between 1979 and 1983) the Oilers drafted only four defensemen who played over 400 NHL games: Geoff Smith (1987), Tom Poti (1996), Matt Greene (2002) and I’m going to assume Jeff Petry (2006) also makes it that far.

Part of it comes from Edmonton’s drafting strategy: the club (correctly) uses most of its high draft picks on forwards (they’re a more reliable bet, due to injuries etc). Since 2007, the Oilers have devoted more dear picks to defense and the results—while slow to emerge—are finally hitting the NHL roster sheet.

musil ferguson 1

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  • Jeff Petry #45 overall 2006 (228 NHL games)
  • Alex Plante #15 overall 2007 (10 NHL games)
  • Martin Marincin #46 overall 2010 (36 NHL games)
  • Oscar Klefbom #19 overall 2011 (9 NHL games)
  • David Musil #31 overall 2011
  • Darnell Nurse #7 overall 2013

And it’s quite likely the Oilers will invest a top 3 pick on Aaron Ekblad if he’s still on the board when they pick at the June draft. Add that group to free agent signing Justin Schultz, draft picks who appear to be trending in a good way (Martin Gernat, Brandon Davidson) and there’s over a half dozen defensemen who are trending well.

And that’s before Dillon Simpson signs. I’m not sure where he’ll slot in the depth chart, but would guess it’s clear of Musil, Gernat and Davidson (plus Fedun), and he could get a long look for NHL duty in the fall. Remember, college men are often closer to NHL ready than junior graduates.


No. I don’t think the Oilers can ice a group of defenders who are all so young and inexperienced at the pro level. The “keepers” would appear to be Petry, Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse, plus Ekblad if they select him. However, that’s a guess, and I’m excluding Simpson because he hasn’t turn pro yet.

If I had to choose a candidate for trade, it would probably come down to Marincin versus Klefbom. Both are LH, as are Nurse and Simpson (Petry and Schultz are the prominent RH’s).


Klefbom ferguson

As painful as it might be to contemplate, the Oilers are probably going to trade one or more of these young defensemen. The idea of having three or four inexperienced defensemen on the same NHL team makes me cringe, no matter the quality. Rookies make mistakes and need guidance from experienced men, that’s the way it’s always been and I don’t see it changing now.

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The young defenseman with the most value is Jeff Petry. If Craig MacTavish goes searching for a top pairing defender this summer, Petry might be part of the ask. I don’t believe it would be wise to move Petry, and would suggest Marincin or Klefbom are the more attractive candidates to move.

Which puts their current NHL auditions in an interesting light. Not only are they gaining valuable experience, they are also being (possibly) showcased for a summer trade.

The Oilers can’t develop all of these kids in the NHL at the same time. They’ll get killed.

(photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

        • Buhl_Country

          Let’s assume (I cringe when I use that word) the Simpsons are concerned about D depth &/or suckitudeness of the Oilers. At least we know that they’ll have an honest conversation with MacT about that and if possible MacT can try and get some value for him

        • Buhl_Country

          On surface maybe. But this is pure conjecture at this point. Based on what could possibly make sense. Based on a rumour with no basis from anyone we might consider has any real inside knowledge?

          The facts as I see it are:
          1) Craig Simpson seems to have a very good relationship with the Oilers. I would even say he belongs to the ole boys club.
          2) Playing well in college is hardly a guarantee of NHL readiness. Most likely he could use some developmental time in the AHL. Why not with the OKC? He would most certainly get the top pairing play time… And thats a good thing.
          3) We are talking about this option as if it is so frequently used from US college drafted players? Not sure why? I guess because J Shultz?! Simpson looks good but he doesn’t quite have the reputation Shultz had.

          Bottom line is there is nothing i’ve seen so far but rumours and fear mongering at this point. Not saying it’s possible.. of course it is. Just no basis to think it will.

  • Sevenseven

    1) Dillon Simpson will have 4 years of US College Hockey.
    2) Oscar Klefbom has 2.5 years in the SEL, and a year in North America split between the AHL, and will finish with nearly 20 NHL games.
    3) Marincin is on a completely normal development path for a CHL player. 2 years in the CHL post draft. 1.5 years in the AHL. 0.5 years in the NHL.
    4) Justin Schultz, 3 years of US college, and about ), 0.5 years in the AHL and 1.5 years in the NHL.

    If they end up with Ekblad. It is simple. Send him back to junior.

    The wildcard for next year is Nurse.

    But the OIlers can certainly start the year with Schultz, Marincin, and Klefbom, with Simpson starting in the AHL, to see where he is at.

    The Oilers need to acquire one really quality NHL D.

    Ference – quality D
    Marincin – Petry
    Klefbom – Schultz

    Fedun, Belov, or somebody else for #7

    Simpson, Gernat, Musil in the minors

    Nurse is the only complicating factor for next year.

    Too many D is NOT a problem.

    Gagner and Pitlick for Byfuglien. Only two years left on his contract. If all the D arrive, play him at forward.

    • Buhl_Country

      Agreed on Big Buff. MacT should be asking the questions on him because he’d be a big solution either as a fwd or a D. I don’t have a hate on for Petry but I don’t place his Value as high as Marancin. I think right now you pretty well know what you have in Petry, and I’m suspect of his heartif he ever gets into a physical playoff series. Wait till the weight goes on Marancin and he gets some more seasoning time…guy could turn out to be one helluva player.

  • Stack Pad Save

    The Oilers need a more rugged defenceman like Colborn.They also need a more veteran guy.I like a Colborn. The Flyers need a defenceman who can move the puck.Kimmo Timmonen is a FA at seasons end.What is he 38? They have little in the way of defensive prospects.

    What they do have is Sean Courtier playing 3rd line minutes.

    The Flyers have B.Shenn as an RFA. How much is that doggie in the window is my thought.Could you get Colborn and Courtier for a Justin Shultz and ???.

    Your gong to have t trade one of JS,Yakupov or Eberle to get the 2 big ticket items you need.I believe Justin Shultz is that valuable to a team like Philly.

    The alternative is trading the Oilers first and a pick and/or prospects. Philly is so slow on its backend its sad.

    They also have Matt Read whom they have to resign.

    My feeling is that Eberle is untouchable. he is a 65-75 30 goal a year player.Yakupov is a wild card.His current value is low and we have seen glimpses of his skill.

    Is a guy like Artem Anisimov more suited to Yakupov skill set.Or is drafting Sam Rheinhart a wiser move?

    The Oilers biggest asset right now though is last nights hero.David Perron. The guy is money.Has a sweet contract and has increased his value by a wide margin since coming over from the Blues. What could he bring back if they decided to move him?

    Mact is in the proverbial poop. He needs a Matt Greene tocome solidify his dcorp in the bottom 6.He could mentor a Klefbom or a Marincin. But he really needs a solid 2 guy who can chew up minutes.Tough job this off season.

    • O.C.

      Sam Reinhart is exactly what the Oilers don’t need right now.

      If Ekblad is there, you play him next year. He is one of the four. The player who is so good that he entered junior a year early. The only defenceman EVER to receive exceptional status. And he excelled right away.

      That also means that he already has that “extra year of junior” that normal draftees get when they are returned following their draft year.

      If he isn’t there, there is only one player the Oil should look at.

      Leon Draisaitl. 6’2,, 210 lbs. Centre.
      But he isn’t ready next year.

      • O.C.

        was not aware of his exceptional status.So an extra year bodes well in terms of experience.

        If its me I draft Eckblad. The wild card is the Sabres new GM.Does he look at the Oilers and say we better build from the back.Or does he say do we build down the middle.Cody Hogdson has been a bust.

        The Islesare the Joke.They are sohooped its mindboggling.Garth Snow has dug them a hole so deep its half way to China.

        Florida wll take another Center.

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            The Oilers are no Joke…….a joke is funny……what’s happening here is not funny……..the Oilers are among the bottom three worst teams in the league. They would need five or six changes to achieve Joke status.

            Kevin Lowe even said “there are 16 other managers in the league that would trade rosters with us in a heartbeat”……but he was rudely interrupted and could not finish his statement…..”8 of them manage Buffalo and the other 8 manage Florida.”

            Poor Kevin…he is so misunderstood.

      • NewfoundlandOil

        I’m with you,one of these two or trade the pick,no more small forwards,I also have Gags,Petry and Yak as trade bait,for a vet.d-man,and a vet.centre with size.

        • Two of the three players you think should be shipped out have almost no value.

          We’ve been down that Road with Gagner & Yakupov, trading players for pennies on the dollar is counterproductive.

          The only wingers on this team that have value are Hall – Eberle & Peron.

          I think it’s safe to say Hall is not on the table & that leaves Eberle & Peron.

          Eberle is locked up long term, Peron has 2 years left on a very good contract.

          Which one do you think wants to be an Oiler long term? Which one probably won’t re-sign here?

          That’s the player you trade.

          • Zarny

            I am and have been an oiler fan since the very beginning. The last six years have been a frustrating and maddening several years. Something has to be done to fix this team number one get a leader the team is not playing as a team. Get rid of Kevin lowe and craig mc tavish their time has been way over do. Do you lose on so you get a first round draft pick at the draff. How well has that worked. Look at the Oil Kings they are playing like a nhl team. This team needs to wake up and take things seriously and their a lots of players that do not have the maturity to be their. I have lost so much pride in this team and feel that it comes down to management, and coaches. One needs a wake up call. If the players don’t work together then find some that do.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    “The Oilers can’t develop all of these kids in the NHL at the same time. They’ll get killed.”

    so youre saying they’d improve if they developed them all at the same time right? killed instead of slaughtered is a step up

  • O.C.

    I, too, was going to comment on the when = if statement with regards to Simpson. Honestly, if you had the option to pick another organization or sign with the Oilers as is his right (like Schultz), would you sign here with the depth that’s here already? This is before you take into consideration that:

    a) we could potentially draft Ekblad
    b) trades to improve the d (necessary)
    c) free agent signings (REALLY necessary if a and b don’t pan out)

    Dillion Simpson and Daddy Simpson aren’t stupid. They’ve got a lot of competition to get through and not just at the NHL level but in the AHL fighting for quality minutes to further develop your game. It’s already packed down there – I don’t see how any of this looks appealing to Simpson and this doesn’t even begin to put the consideration of the win-loss record of the big club for the past decade.

    At this point, I’ll actually be surprised if he chooses to sign with the Oilers.

  • O.C.

    OR for a change instead of rushing them all to the NHL we do it right this time and leave Nurse and Ekblad in juniors for another year and then put them in the AHL for a year and Simpson and Garnet et el are left in AHL for another year to as Ken Holand say to ripen into real pros .Do this and you have 2 to 3 years to find the Real winners .

  • O.C.

    The oil needs 1-2 vet dmen and a bigger vet secondline center. If you cant draft ekblad then the pick should be traded. Add gagner and either yak or ebs (hopefully yak) and a young prospect dman or two to the mix and there should be a trade or two worth making. The only untouchables are nuge hall schultz and nurse.

    Hopefully we can sign a solid third line winger to go with hendricks and gordon. Matt green would be a beauty and he may come (overpriced) free.

    • Buhl_Country

      I agree with you here Randaman, but then you’ve lost one of your few partly useful/experienced d-men, not to mention right hand shot. I guess this is what happens when management was beyond mediocre at drafting quality D-men. Since the 2000 draft, the only D-man draft pick to play and be somewhat consistent is Matt Greene (499 GP). Outside of Greene and Petry, there’s nothing there. I hope this off-season brings a lot of needed changes, and management realizes the need for a better mix in the top 6 and the urgency to find at least 1 stud defender. Sounds a little too far fetched, but we can always hope.

    • NewfoundlandOil

      Petry is 18th in the league in hits for defencemen and you ditch him because he is soft. Petry is a much more solid player this year than he has been in the past. He had a strong summer of physical development.

      Moving a top hitting, good skating D with size and experience is a recipe for disaster.

      The return is likely to be a lateral move at best a loss at worst (see Gilbert for Schultz) and Marincin, Klefbom and Nurse, despite looking great won’t be there yet next year.

  • Stack Pad Save

    I think the Oilers should draft Ekblad. Keep him in Juniors. Play the same exact D we have this year next year. Suck it some more, and draft Conor McDavid. All problems solved. 2 years after no fans are left the Oilers start to dominate with this line up:

    Hall – Nuge – (Eberle traded for a bigger winger)

    Perron – McDavid – (Yak traded for bigger winger)

    bottom 6 of who cares our top 6 is going to be awesome


    Ekblad – Schultz

    Klefbomb – Nurse

    Marincin – Some other good D man you get by trading away the other young d man and sam gagner

    I swear I did this in NHL 14 and I won 3 cups after simming the first 2 years.

    • Randaman

      Yes this is a very good plan. Tell MacT he should simply sit on his hands for 1 more year. Hope Buffalo pulls its socks up. Then sweat it out at the draft lottery on TSN in 2015. Hope Hall/RNH… everyone doesn’t demand a trade. Tell Katz he needs to purchase armoured vehicles for the management group(Prombron Iron Diamond preferably). And the Cup will be ours. I wonder what kind of a big winger Yak could get us btw… David Booth?

      • Stack Pad Save

        I was seriously joking. I guess you missed the sarcastic comments.

        Clearly the Oilers have too many holes to fill in the immediate future.

        The Oilers need a new 2nd line center. One with size and skill, a Hanzal type. Where can they get this player? I honestly doubt they can.

        They need a winger with size in the top 6 who has skill. I think this is where they need to trade Eberle for a Wanye Simmonds. But I doubt Philly is interested in that trade.

        The Oilers need 2 top 2 D-man. Where will they get that? I don’t have a clue. It’s not my job, I don’t have the GM’s of the NHL on speed dial. However I do know this. The Oilers will suck just as much next year, they can’t fill all the holes in their roster in 1 year, let alone 2. If you don’t think they will be in the running for Conor McDavid next year, you are fooling yourself.

        • Well I caught the sarcasm at the end but thought prior to that you put a lot of thought into the changes needed. My bad. I do agree mostly with your last posting. There is too much of a list to full fill in 1 off season. However, I think its well within MacT’s ability to

          1)Upgrade the D with 1 first pairing D man.
          2) Change the mix in the top 6. (1 tough RW with some skill)

          I could see going out Gagner, Eberle, 1 of Klefbom or Marincin, possibly this years 1st and possibly next years 1st.

          This should be enough to deal out to achieve my points 1 and 2 greatly. this also doesn’t include the 1 or 2 moves they can make in the UFA market.

          Is this enough to get to the playoffs? Maybe not. I do think this team is closer then people think because the mix is just all wrong right now. So I wouldn’t say they will make playoffs but I do think they could easily take themselves out of the bottom 5 picks. Maybe 10th pick overall? So I do not expect them to be in the running for McDavid if they make these moves.

          • Stack Pad Save

            For the love of good hockey being played by the Oilers, I hope MacT solves some of the problems.

            If it was me, I would trade Eberle and Some D prospects for a Top pairing D man along the lines of a Keith Yandle or maybe giving up a little less for a guy like Marc Staal.

            Biggest problem this year is that their is no obvious solutions via free agency. Unless you want to crazy over pay for Ryan Callahan or Milan Michalek or a Derek Roy, Paul Statsny type.

  • Dont see Oilers snagging Eckbald, and Simpson likely to run like heck from this organization.
    Lets not get ahead of ourselves with this overload of D prospects. Jury still out of Klefbom, played a few games. You want to trade Marincin… dumbest idea ever.Theres a better chance tht Marincin will be a tougher player than Schultz and Petry combined.

    Cotinuned problem that every D man is playing beyond their skill level. It will take a couple of years to sort this out.

  • Buhl_Country

    I am not sure we get killed with this young defense core next year! The are growing up befiore our eyes. I would like to ONLY add quality to this defense next year to speed up the process.

    Tyler Myers has been romoured to be available, i think this is the best option available to the Oilers (forget Colburn, Flyers are not that dumb).

    Klefbom-Shultz – great skaters, classic combo of offense and defense

    Marincin – Myers – Huge reach, tough to play against in our zone

    Ference – Petry – Nice skaters, both will excel in the 3rd pairing

    7th is Belov – another year would be good for this experiment

    1st call up is Simpson or Gernat

    Keep Nurse and a drafted Exblad in Juniors , but get them traded to the same team.

      • Stack Pad Save

        Step away from the Weber for Gagner and a prospect or the Colburn for our spare parts hood. 26 teams in the league is looking to add a quality dman …. How are you proposing we trade for to improve the d core?

        During 2014/15 against those top western lines you are going to have to play a five man unit that is focussed on prevent ing goals.

        Give the knowns, I would play;

        Gordon, Perron and Hall; with Shultz/Klefbom or Myers/Marincin on defence.

        I would avoid RNH, Gagner and Ference

  • Patience. If there is a deal out there to improve this team in the present and future, then of course one of the D prospects is expendable. For now, having a bunch of promising young D is a good thing. Let Marincin and Klefbom compete for a spot on the team next season. The runner-up goes back to the AHL and will get the first call-up when injuries inevitably hit. Give Nurse a taste of the NHL for a few games, then send him back to junior. Ekblad is a bit of a tricky situation given the extra year he played in junior, but I would still send him back if we draft him.

    The first round pick is in play for the right price. We will probably have a top 3 pick which basically assures us that one of Ekblad or Draisaitl will still be available. Draisaitl probably fills more of a long-term need.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      If we end up in third, Buffalo, Florida, Edmonton, and some team below us wins the draft lottery then we are in fourth.

      If Ekblad, Reinhart and Draisaitl are gone……what then?

      Some say take Bennett, others say move the pick. I say start planning today for this eventuality and have a plan to move up in the draft if need be.

  • 15w40

    I would say that the Simpson clan is definitely weighing their options. If you could pick from 29 teams and avoid the obvious issues that are plaguing the team that currently owns your rights, wouldn’t you look at it??

    I don’t think that the fact that his dad played for the Oilers will have any bearing on his decision.

    Not saying he won’t sign here but I would think at this point its a 50-50 proposition at best IMHO.

    I would think the goal will be to turn over about 50% of the defensemen on the current roster.

    Larsen, Fraser, & Belov will likely be gone. Klefbom back to the minors to start next season.

    Can’t see them starting the season with Nurse, Ekblad, Marincin, and Klefbom on the roster.

    Marincin is likely on the team, Nurse in Junior, Klefbom in OKC and I can’t really say about Ekblad if they draft him – but probably back in Junior.

    • Buhl_Country

      Craig does the weekly segment on “Oilers Now” and for the most part has slammed the Oilers for their team makeup and play. He was a lot more positive last week and makes me wonder if that means anything.

  • Buhl_Country

    Maybe someone could clarify, but I would think based on the Justin Shultz fiasco they would close that hole in CBA in the last round of bargaining, otherwise all college players would be going that route. If I could play another year and have a choice of teams AND finish my degree debt free, I’d do it. Can anyone verify if that loophole has closed?

  • Guy Lafleur

    Why cant Nurse step right in and make an impact like a Subban , Doughty or a Dougie Hamilton have ?? Lots of young d-man do it , its not like Subban was surrounded with Hall of Famers on that back end in Montreal .

    • Wax Man Riley

      I agree you don’t have to send him back if he is the teams best defense-man next fall but he needs a complimentary veteran to play with. If the Oilers can sign Markov that will help all the young D.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      I disagree….but I like the out of the box thinking…..what would be a reasonable trade down for a 4th overall pick? 10th and ?

      (Ritchie is slotted 10th in ISS rankings.)

      If you were willing to take a winger wouldn’t you just take Dal Colle at 4th?


      1. AARON EKBLAD D 6’4 216 R 2/7/96 Barrie OHL

      2. SAM REINHART C 6’1 186 R 11/6/95 Kootenay WHL

      3. SAM BENNETT LW 6’0 178 L 6/20/96 Kingston OHL

      4. MICHAEL DAL COLLE F 6’2 184 L 6/20/96 Oshawa OHL
      5. WILLIE NYLANDER C 5’11 169 R 5/1/95 Rogle SweAI
      6. BRENDAN PERLINI LW 6’2 205 L 4/27/96 Niagara OHL
      7. JAKE VIRTANEN LW 6’1 213 R 8/17/96 Calgary WHL
      8. HAYDN FLEURY D 6’3 207 L 7/8/96 Red Deer WHL
      9. JOSH HO-SANG RW 5’11 160 R 1/22/96 Windsor OHL
      10. NICK RITCHIE F 6’2 218 L 12/5/95 Peterborough OHL
      11. LEON DRAISAITL C 6’1 199 L 10/27/95 Prince Albert WHL

      • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

        This list is a tad old. Draisitl is mostly ranked top 3-5 now. And they would likely take him over Del Colle if that was their option.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    This team is not competing for the Cup next year, so they could afford to have as many as three young defencemen in the top six as long as each one is paired with a reliable veteran and the veteran-youngster pairing are supported by the forwards in the defensive zone. Too bad the Oilers are grossly inadequate in meeting both criteria, but hopefully MacT makes some additional changes in both the coaching staff and in the player lineup to rectify this.

    Also, Jeff Petry is 26 years old and next year will be his fifth season in the NHL. How long are we going to continue to call him a “young defenceman”? Or is that label meant to excuse his frequent mistakes?

  • Zarny

    No, the Oilers can’t keep all of their D prospects and that isn’t painful. It’s a good thing.

    I agree Klefbom vs Marincin is the first move. Packaging one to fill a top 2 D or top 6 F need for next season is ideal. The one that remains may ultimately be a top 2-4 solution with Nurse.

    Or they may be traded as well like Jack and Erik Johnson when passed by better prospects. If the Oilers draft Ekblad that fate may befit Petry or Schultz too.

    Nurse and Ekblad would be 2-4 years away from anchoring a top pair. Moving Klefbom, Marincin and Petry or Schlutz to obtain Coburn and Yandle or some version of a legit veteran top pair D could be ideal.

    If additional prospects like Simpson and Gernat continue to develop they give the Oilers more options. Maybe they play on the bottom pair as value contracts. Maybe they get traded for something the Oilers need. Options are a good thing.

  • Stack Pad Save

    ‘The Oilers can’t develop all of these kids in the NHL at the same time. They’ll get killed.’

    but, do they mind getting killed? Do they really feel that next season (and the one after that) are important? I’m not so sure. I think they plan on going forward with Petry, Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse and another draft pick, be it Eckblad, Simpson, Musil or Gernat.

    they will wait, that’s what they’ve been doing for years now.

  • Stack Pad Save

    MacT needs to, with precision, navigate this situation with the D prospects and #89 while moving mountains to get another top-6 center, who can shelter Nuge a bit and score more than Gagner. For me..top6 center>> top2 D at THIS point in time. Oh and if you trade Marincin, with that wingspan (can’t teach wingspan), you better have a CLEAR upgrade coming back. It’s getting repetitive but this summer is really important for the Oilers.

  • Zarny

    Lowetide…if they do trade one of Marincin, Klef or Petry I hope it is Petry. The ceiling for the other two is much higher. Petry is a good skater but lacks any kind of consistent physical play. Klefbom has that and Marincin has proven right now that he is close to as good overall as Petry already. If they trade Klefbom or Marincin they and all of us will come to regret it.