In May of 2009, the Edmonton Oilers and Steve Tambellini had to decide between centermen Kyle Brodziak and Marc Pouliot. Why? Well, the plan was to have a tough guy on every line, be it J-F Jacques or Ryan Stone or Zack Stortini, and these centermen weren’t gritty enough to be successful in the 2009 NHL. A choice would have to be made.
One of the main problems in deciding between Brodziak and Pouliot came when looking at their performances. They were even.
MARC POULIOT 08-09
- Boxcars: 63gp, 8-12-20, 23pims
- Plus Minus: +1
- Corsi For: 47.7
- 5×5/60: 1.67
- Quality of Competition: dregs
- Quality of Teammates: 3rd level
- FO %: 48.3% in 211 sorties
- 09-10 Cap Hit: $.825M (nhlnumbers.com)
KYLE BRODZIAK 08-09
- Boxcars: 79gp, 11-16-27, 21pims
- Plus Minus: +4
- Corsi: -14.5
- Corsi For: 43.1
- 5×5/60: 1.62
- Quality of Competition: dregs
- Quality of Teammates: dregs
- FO %: 51.6% in 947 sorties
- 09-10 Cap Hit: RFA.
5×5/60 and other indicators were close. The big difference
was Corsi For; Pouliot posted his number with Andrew Cogliano and Ethan Moreau, while Brodziak did worked most often with Moreau and Stortini.
Brodziak was superior in terms of faceoff skills and penalty kill and I think most people would agree that Brodziak played a
more gritty style. I think Brodziak was the better player at the time, and that has been proven over time.
Steve Tambellini made his decision in June of 2009, sending Brodziak to Minnesota with a sixth round pick that turned into Darcy Kuemper. Because the Hockey Gods love their comedy to come with tragedy, the two picks that were sent to Edmonton were promptly turned into Kyle Bigos and Olivier Roy.
THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO
You bet, five long years. The great thing about being an Oilers fan is that even during times of great joy or depression, there’s always something to send you in the other direction. Five years on the Oilers have signed Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz to one-year deals and will no doubt have to choose between them.
Except they won’t because any fool will tell you the Oilers have already made their decision. Petry is a UFA this summer, effectively making him trade bait between now and the deadline. You may giggle at the Brodziak return, but expecting miles more from the upcoming Petry trade is likely folly.
The Oilers chose Pouliot five years ago, and will choose Schultz this time. Now five years ago the players to choose from were pretty close, but this time there’s miles between the two talents.
JUSTIN SCHULTZ 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.88 (1st among regular D)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.31 (2nd among regular D)
- Qual Comp: 3rd toughest faced among regular D (2nd pairing)
- Qual Team: 3rd best available teammates among regular D
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 42.7
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -2.6
- Zone Start: 46.5% (3rd easiest among regular D)
- Zone Finish: 46.8% (3rd best among regular D)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 109/10.1% (best among D’s>50 shots)
- Boxcars: 74, 11-22-33
JEFF PETRY 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.54 (3rd among regular D)
- 5×4 points per 60: 1.82 (4th among regular D)
- Qual Comp: toughest among regular D
- Qual Team: 3rd best available among regular D
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 46.8
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: +3.7
- Zone Start: 42.7% (toughest among regular D)
- Zone Finish: 44.4% (6th best among D)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 96 shots/7.3% (2nd among Oil D>50 shots)
- Boxcars: 80gp, 7-10-17
This is last year, but it tells you all you need to know. Petry facing tougher opposition/zone starts and delivering a better number in possession. Schultz is the better offensive player, but not necessarily a superior passer or outlet option. Neither is gritty, and the Petry experience at the NHL level is certainly a benefit to him compared to Schultz and his current state.
Yes. One fall, Brodziak stepped forward and won an NHL job. Edmonton had all these high draft picks, and Brodziak (a Lorne Davis gift) marched into training camp and put a job away with his extremely impressive play.
Brodziak, unlike Pouliot, developed over time, became more than he first appeared. I think Petry has done this as well, despite his well documented failings as an “Oiler-type” defender (best defined as “Just like Jason Smith”).
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I’ve been watching the Oilers do business since 1972, and the script from here has Petry being dealt for a pick, Schultz signing long term and Oilers fans speaking of Petry’s Oilers years in a ‘good riddance’ kind of way.
I’d encourage you to follow both careers to their conclusion, and would bet we’ll find that Petry enjoys all manner of success. He is not the equal of Justin Schultz in the offensive zone with Edmonton in possession, but I submit Petry is superior in all other disciplines. There is no reason for the Oilers to send Jeff Petry away, they have no cover for him and no one with equal ability and experience to step in.
Maybe Craig MacTavish can turn around 40 years of established behavior and sign Petry late in his walk season. That would be a wonderful surprise.
We wait. And hope.