TUMBLING DICE

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.

Source

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.

ANYTHING ELSE?

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?

dumb dumb dogs

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. 

  • Bishai in the Benches

    Well that was depressing… Lowetide is looking into his crystal ball, and I don’t think anyone can doubt that what he sees will come true. Additionally, I dont think anyone can doubt, with the evidence he has presented, that he is right about his predictions of Petry superiority.

    A sad outcome for a sad team.

  • Bishai in the Benches

    Ah, the ones that got away. I miss the day when they let Glencross walk away and then complained for two years they did not have a gritty winger that could play with skill.

    Oh Oilers.

  • Bishai in the Benches

    Good God! When Brodziak is the answer, it’s a crappy question. And, losing Petry becauseoilers is going to suck. More holes to fill, I suppose.

  • Young Oil

    I think we should offer a 4th and a 6th round pick for Brodziak and a 5th round pick.

    Unfortunately, no GM would be dumb enough to take that trade.

    *sigh*

  • The Last Big Bear

    One option is to trade Petry for a teenage goalie and an NHL-proven 22 year old centre prospect. This way you can inexplicably not offer that centreman a contract, despite being absolutely desperate for centres, and watch him lead his KHL team in scoring, with an NHLe of 48 points.

    Because Oilers.

    • Bishai in the Benches

      I don’t think Dellow has as much power as everyone in the oilogosphere would like. Evidenced by marincin in the minors, schultz playing 27 min, petry a healthy scratch, and gazdic likely getting a roster spot when healthy.

      • vetinari

        It’s likely they tried to sign Petry to a longer term but he refused.

        Why would he refuse?

        1. The dollar figure was lower because they need to save money for Schultz.

        2. He doesn’t believe this management group can right the ship.

        So, their incompetence can’t be blamed for both.

  • Bishai in the Benches

    It’s hard to imagine MacT watching the games so far this year and saying to himself man that Petry really isnt that good… But Schultz now there’s a D man thats helping out there?! You don’t even need to know hockey to see whats blatantly clear on the ice this season.

  • vetinari

    I hope Yak hits a guy in tonight’s game like that little black dog at the end of the gif. As for the article, yeah Petry’s a goner by February but I wish that he’d stick around for another year or two and get to play with some quality veteran support. J. Schultz will sign for 4-6 years next summer and Petry will be a Red Wing by October. Sigh.

  • vetinari

    The Oilers Management makes stupid decisions.

    David Legwand is easily available? Let’s just gamble on Draisaitl playing like he’s 28 years old instead of 18. Done.

    Jeff Petry is our best dman? Well, his name isnt Jultz, so send him packing for nothing.

  • Alex87

    LT, I believe MacTavish is an intelligent GM who learned the value of unsung players and depth when he was a coach (this is the guy who had Sebastien Bisaillon suiting up for his team in 2007). That MacTavish would let Petry go for peanuts just doesn’t compute with me. We need to consider the possibility that Petry has advised management that the Oilers aren’t in his long-term plans, and that he plans on heading home to Detroit or calmer waters on the FA market this summer.

    Frankly, I’m surprised this doesn’t get brought up as a possibility more often because it happens often enough in the NHL. Jordan Staal, anyone? It’s easy to instinctively blame Oilers management – lord knows they’ve gotten it wrong so many times in the past – but I strongly believe the Petry situation is one we need to see through to the end before we pass judgement.

    • The Last Big Bear

      I think you’re almost certainly correct.

      Petry has probably decided he no longer wants to be on the club. We can make educated guesses as to what those reasons are. But as you so eloquently put it, I suspect the Oilers are not in his long term plans. This happens from time to time with all teams.

      That’s hockey, you know? Why get mad about it?

      Im sure he’s a good guy. He may be tired to live here because here in November month is a -32.

      Could you imagine? It’s eight months in a year snow!

      • I don’t think MacT is an intelligent GM, because the proof is in the pudding. Bad signings, overpays on RFA’s, UFA mistakes, personnel decisions, etc. They misunderstood what they hd in Petry and did not sign him. However we got Schultz and Nikitin to the tune of 8 mil plus, and don’t forget Ference. 11.5 mil tied up in number 4-6 defenders.

  • D

    These players didn’t play hard with Oilers so when they got traded, they have to play harder to stay in NHL.

    Once they got traded and if they didn’t perform then they will be traded again or play in the minors. That’s the end of their career.

    Red Wings know how to develop their players from the minors and their lower draft picks turn into good NHL players.

    No sense to cry over spilled milk, Brodziak is gone, forget about the guy. He never played with grit here so he got traded.

    Now don’t make same mistake with Nail Yakupov, he will score 50 goals one day. Mark my words.

    Don’t trade these young players because the team is losing, bring in a good coach to bring out their best potentials.

  • I don’t understand why they keep making holes in the roster by trading good players. It just makes no sense. You need a lot of good players to win. Why not have Schultz AND Petry? Why not have Petry AND Gilbert? On and on we go

  • H4LL

    Omg… how can anyone consider Petry to be a better player overall? do you even watch the games Lowetide? or do you just look at stats? Petry is the worst defenseman I have ever seen in the defensive end… worse than Cory Cross.

    • Joy S. Lee

      Worst ever? That’s a little harsh.

      Huge potential within Petry. He just needs good coaching on making better decisions in the D-zone and using/putting his partner in a better position to help him. Watch him if he ever gets angry – he plays like an all-star. Cultivating his mean streak (anger) and an opportunity to play in some offensive situations could reveal Petry to be a upper echelon defenseman. In fact, I cannot believe the Oilers have not recognized this; he is far too passive for the NHL, which means he’s gotten this far on his underlying talent… which also means he has a lot of that. Bring it out of him, that’s the team’s job… which they’ve failed at miserably. Unless Petry refuses to play angry, in which case there’s not much that can be done for him defensively until then. So far as I’m concerned, the team has been too busy fawning over Justin Schultz to notice that Petry needs some encouragement, too.