Edmonton Oilers may be looking at Deryk Engelland, because of course they are


On Wednesday, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson wrote that the Oilers “are almost certainly looking at” Pittsburgh defenceman Deryk Engelland.

Because if there’s one thing history has taught us, signing a 32-year-old fringe NHL defenceman with terrible underlying numbers never backfires.


It’s interesting to note the Corsi percentage of the defencemen who have played at least an hour on a pairing with Engelland since he first broke into the NHL in 2009:

Player Minutes With Without Difference
Brooks Orpik 601 45.6 50.0 -4.4
Matt Niskanen 601 51.6 53.4 -1.8
Alex Goligoski 406 47.5 52.5 -5.0
Paul Martin 343 51.3 53.7 -2.4
Kris Letang 290 50.1 54.3 -4.2
Simon Despres 269 51.2 54.0 -2.8
Mark Eaton 148 42.0 46.1 -4.1
Robert Bortuzzo 145 42.1 47.5 -5.4
Ben Lovejoy 132 48.1 50.6 -2.5
Rob Scuderi 110 42.6 49.8 -7.2
Zbynek Michalek 109 46.3 50.3 -4.0
Olli Maatta 92 43.4 51.1 -7.7

The key point here: Every single one of them posted a worse number with Engelland.

It’s not like there are extenuating circumstances here, either. Engelland typically plays depth opponents, and prior to this past season has been seen his shifts start far more frequently in the offensive zone than the defensive zone.

Fraser vs. Fistric


The Oilers always seem to be looking for a big, physical third-pairing defenceman.

They’ve had some decent ones in recent years. Matt Greene shouldn’t have been playing in 2006 but he eventually rounded into form. Andy Sutton did some nice things. Mark Fistric was solid in the role, though he eventually wanted too much money. Theo Peckham even had some moments.

Then there are the other guys. The most recent example is Mark Fraser – a player who brings size and toughness and a willing attitude but not much else.


Engelland seems more likely to fall into the Fraser camp than the Fistric camp. His teammates consistently perform better without him than with him, in his prime he was a limited player, and given his age he’s a long way from being in his prime.

It’s understandable why the Oilers want this kind of guy, but there are better options. Brett Bellemore of the Carolina Hurricanes is a favourite in this corner. Clayton Stoner is younger than Engelland, better than Engelland and a free agent after five years in Minnesota.

There is no reason to settle on Engelland.


  • misfit

    I don’t think the WOWY for Engelland is entirely fair to him (at least this year). If you look at the Vollman chart, only one player sits farther into the top-left quadrant, and that’s Brooks Orpik.

    So, aside from Brooks Orpik, everyone else got an easier ride when they weren’t playing with Engelland than when they were. That difference in role is definitely going to have an affect on their shot differential. And when Orpik wasn’t playing with Engelland, he was mostly with Martin. An underrated defenseman and legit top 4 guy pretty much anywhere in the league.

    With that said, he’s 32 and hasn’t established himself as more than a 6/7 defenseman in the NHL. I’m perfectly happy with him as the Larsen/Fraser replacement on the 3rd pairing if he signs for reasonable dollars on a 1 or 2 year deal. Anything more than $1.5M or 2 years, or to fill a spot higher than 6th on the depth chart and it’s a bad move. But he’s from Edmonton and can punch faces, so there’s little doubt we’re interested.

  • Zarny


    Paul Martin was to the left of Engelland’s too.

    And Engelland’s sledgehammer is the size of pinhole while facing the easiest opposition of any Pit D.

    I think the WOWY is appropriate.

  • Tikkanese

    I don’t know guys. Engellend keeps getting drafted in my hockey pools as a goon. Those teams have never come close to winning the pool but since he keeps getting drafted there must be some value there, right?

  • ubermiguel

    Wrong Pittsburgh defenceman; aim higher up the depth chart MacT! Niskanen or Orpik would both be better and would eat some minutes so we don’t have 23 year olds playing 23 minutes a night.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    it’s the MacT way though, isn’t it? just add anyone in the off season and there you go….we’ve made changes! nobody said they would be effective ones, but still changes. nobody really cared whether or not Belov or Larsen came back, and Fraser is barely an NHLer, but the Oilers need to sign/trade for a top d-man and a middle d-man perhaps, and stop the dillying about with bottom pairing. if he’s going to sign Engelland, then he may as well just play Klefbom, Marincin and Fraser instead and save the Oilers money.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    They would sign him.. Obviously this team is going to be shipped out. Daryl Katz is a great goon of big pharma but an idiot when it comes to sports

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Well he had almost twice as many points as Belov last year, so at very least hopefully he’s a slight improvement on last years team. We still need way more help on the back end though, excited to see what Mac-T does this summer

  • OilClog

    Actually party with Stoner in the summer here on Van isle.. I’m gonna be pushing the Oilers hard on him.. “You know Clay I’ve told you before I’ll tell you again.. Sign with the Oilers! I’m sick of wild equipment with signatures dammit”

  • Zarny


    Absolutely expectations being higher than results was a problem. But I also think expectations were out of line with reality.

    I didn’t expect a 4-15-2 start but the Oilers were destined for a tough start with Nuge and Gagner hurt, half the roster changing over and a new coach with different systems once again. A young team with terrible depth was never going to handle that well. Add in Dubnyk having a meltdown and the wheels fell off.

    It was a serious miscalculation for Lowe and MacT to raise expectations and not put the team in a position to meet them.

  • Zarny

    @David S

    LOL…sorry David but I’m just a failed hockey prospect turned engineer in Calgary.

    And like I said, I don’t think Eakins has proven himself to be a good coach. He made rookie mistakes but none were even remotely as critical to the Oilers’ lack of success as simply having a sh*tty roster IMO.

  • Anton CP

    Who was on the radio said, Oilers build like Sharks but coached like Kings. Instead teaching the team how to use their skills and speed that they were demanded to play a physical game to bunch of small forwards.

    • Chainsawz

      The worlds is filled with guys your size and bigger that can half ass skate. If it was that easy why aren’t you and the rest of Golds Gym in the bigs? We can hack on these guys for not being good enough or tough enough,but don’t pretend you could do what they could do. I guarantee you take any bruiser playing AHL and up and they embarrass you playing pick up.

  • Chainsawz

    Haven’t been on this site for weeks, the pitiful season has left me reeling and sick of hockey – even playoffs are not giving any enthusiasm. Thanks Oilers. So, let’s look at the big picture – we have changed coaches (many times), we have changed the GM, we have changed players (actually a carousel of players, 99% of the team from 8 years ago gone.) NONE of these changes have made an iota of difference – we still suck, big time. SO what have we NOT changed. Well, POHO for one, and assistant and goalie coaches for another. Think Delauriers, think Dubnyk, think LaBarbera. Think lousy defense, think lousy special teams. Hmm, is there a pattern here?? Oh, I forgot, think amateur AND professional scouts too. These ones are the only ones we haven’t changed – any suggestions anyone???? Or am I barking up the wrong tree. I’m really sick and tired of all this – anyone else agree????? Is there life after death – Jeez, I hope so

  • Chainsawz

    “The worlds is filled with guys your size and bigger that can half ass skate. If it was that easy why aren’t you and the rest of Golds Gym in the bigs? We can hack on these guys for not being good enough or tough enough,but don’t pretend you could do what they could do. I guarantee you take any bruiser playing AHL and up and they embarrass you playing pick up.”
    Remember the 80’s? Recall ‘No S%^# Ex-Lax?’