The great thing about Oiler fans is that we all have ideas about how to solve the team’s problems. Take the defense—please! The online endorsements for various NHL defensemen to come in and save the day is long and varied, and I wondered how many could reasonably be considered a viable option. Here we go.
I like to use the Vollman Sledgehammer. It takes quality of competition, zone start, TOI and shot differential and puts it into one nice graph. As an adult learner, pictures are always better.
Phaneuf is in the ‘Shawshank Laundry Room’ portion of the graph, getting severe zone starts and toughest available competition. I think Phaneuf could improve the color of that bubble if he played for a team that gave him a little better support (and Gunnarsson didn’t look right all year, either). Double Dion certainly played enough to cover the No. 1 role and he’s not 35 years old. That said, I know this isn’t a wildly popular choice so will move on to the next.
Anton Stralman gets mentioned a lot, and there are some nice things. He plays second pairing competition and has a nice blue (good) bubble going on. However, Stralman gets a zone start push and I don’t think his 19:24 a night suggests he’s ready to step in and play 25 a night like Phaneuf can.
I really like Markov. He plays severe zone starts and the quality of competition is 2nd pairing (and they aren’t miles from the top pair). His bubble color is almost blue, and for me he’s a guy who could help next season. The problem? The years after that, and you KNOW Edmonton would have to offer many years on the contract.
I like this player a lot, and we know for a fact that Edmonton had an interest in him at last year’s draft. Blue bubble, tough competition and zone starts are no picnic. He played 22:26 a night this season, so he may not be ideal (that’s pretty much Petry minutes) but I’d take him.
Oh hell I know they have him on the wing now, but Buff is a helluva player, he really is. He’s a bomber on the power play and loves to engage in the battle. Dustin Byfuglien gets overlooked imo because of his unusual name and the fact he doesn’t look like Chris Pronger out there, but man I’d take him.
Gets mentioned a lot, but he plays 18:18 a night, and like Stralman I think an added 6 or 7 minutes a night probably impacts the blueness of the bubble.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
For me, it’s down to Coburn, Markov, Byfuglien and Phaneuf. I know they’re expensive and I know some of them are older than dirt, but the Oilers have all the youth in captivity and that doesn’t count for a tinker’s damn.
Get Stralman and Fayne if you can, sure. But these 24+ minute a night studs are the difference makers. I’d like to see Coburn in Oiler silks.