This summer will see a lot of turnover on defense—we’re seeing a mass exit already, and now await the new arrivals. Two players who are facing a key summer are RH blue Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry. Those right-handed defensemen don’t grow on trees and there aren’t a bunch who can play 21 minutes a night. Edmonton has two, and both have reached rfa status. What could we see this summer?
It’s interesting to break down the Oilers defense this past season, and to have a good look at how Dallas Eakins deployed the group. I like to use the Vollman Sledgehammer, it breaks things down in one graph, and you can recognize things at a glance.
Fascinating graph. Top to bottom it’s quality of competition, so Petry and Marincin were facing the toughest opponents, followed by Ference and Schultz. Oscar Klefbom had the third easiest competition, but his zone starts were beyond severe—that’s really kind of crazy for a rookie, but he did pretty well. Bubble size is TOI per game, and the colors are Corsi Rel: Petry is blue (good), Klefbom is light blue (pretty good) and Ference is the color of a man drowning.
Marincin? His color is best described as “impossible” for this Oilers team. And yet, there it is.
Jeff Petry played over 21 minutes a night in 2013-14, and Justin Schultz was north of 23. Of the 59 defenseman last season to play more per game than Petry (I’m not going to include Byfuglien), 24 are right-handed. I expect many of them play less difficult minutes, but either way I’m pretty confident we are looking at one of the 30 best RH defenders in the game at this time.
SIGN THEM BOTH? AND FOR HOW MUCH?
I sign both players, and Petry long term. For me, those two righties will be key to the future, as the Oilers graduate more Marincins into the NHL.
It’s going to cost a lot of coin. I don’t believe either player will approach the Justin Faulk contract ($29M over 6 years), but this is going to be eat a large part of the summer cap.
What do you think? Sign these men to contracts over $4 million a year, or send them away understanding there’s nothing left behind them?
(OKC photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)