Tomorrow morning, the Oklahoma City Barons will play the San Antonio Rampage. Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom won’t be there, but perhaps they should be?

larsen ferguson


Last season, the Oilers dipped into the minor leagues a lot, especially for defensemen. Barons accounted 147 total games, and the blue line in Edmonton borrowed almost 100 man-games from the Barons:

  1. Phil Larsen 30GP, 3-9-12
  2. Martin Marincin 44GP, 0-6-6
  3. Oscar Klefbom 17GP, 1-2-3
  4. Steve Pinizzotto 6GP, 0-2-2
  5. Taylor Fedun 4GP, 2-0-2
  6. Tyler Pitlick 10GP, 1-0-1
  7. Anton Lander 27GP, 0-1-1
  8. Roman Horak 2GP, 1-0-1
  9. Brad Hunt 3GP, 0-1-1
  10. Linus Omark 1GP, 0-0-0
  11. Richard Bachman 3GP, 3.02 .916

The Oilers in 2013-14 were in crisis from the start of the year, and
experienced wobbly performances from defensemen like Anton Belov and Ladislav
Smid, and Denis Grebeshkov was unable to help at all. As shown above,
Martin Marincin, Phil Larsen, Oscar Klefbom and others occupied roster
spots at times last season, meaning fans got to see some of the good prospects perhaps
before they would have normally.

In the previous (shortened) season, none of the 49 man-games involved a defender:

  • Teemu Hartikainen 23, 1-2-3
  • Anton Lander 11, 0-1-1
  • Chris VandeVelde 11, 0-0-0
  • Yann Danis 3, 3.82 .881
  • Mark Arcobello 1, 0-0-0

aulie ferguson 1415


So far this year, Edmonton has recalled several players in the first 15 games.

  1. Martin Marincin 9GP, 0-1-1
  2. Iiro Pakarinen 3GP, 1-0-1
  3. Keith Aulie 3GP, 0-0-0
  4. Bogdan Yakimov 1GP, 0-0-0

This season, Marincin and Aulie have played 12 games (Oscar Klefbom was on the opening night roster), but the blue line appears to be settling in now. Aulie may end up hanging around awhile and there’s a good chance one of Klefbom or Marincin is sent out. The Oilers blue has more structure than a year ago, and it appears more consistency. Barring injury, we shouldn’t see a lot of minor league defensemen in the NHL. The question then becomes “who among Aulie, Klefbom and Marincin” should be considered a minor league defenseman?

marincin by rob ferguson


Progress. It’s normal for a team to phase their young players in over a longer period and in a controlled way. If the club plays Martin Marincin another 45 games this season, and Klefbom 25 more, then both will have some experience next year. The club can then graduate Darnell Nurse and others only when ready.

Entering this season, it seemed almost impossible that Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom would spend extended periods in the minors. That seems far closer to a reality tonight: The Oilers play in Nashville tomorrow, and there’s every chance both Marincin and Klefbom will be in the pressbox. 

It also serves as a reminder that prospects rarely develop in a straight line. Martin Marincin’s 2013-14 has apparently not been followed (so far) by the same level of performance.

There is no other way to frame this season’s actions by the Edmonton Oilers.

  • Wow, just let them stay up and let them play. After all they are developin Dre, Arco, Olly, Yak, Nuge, Eberle… Well everyone, might as well include them. There’s worse things that they could do like press box them.

  • CaptainLander

    If the Oilers were purely making there decisions based on the best chance to win?
    Then the pairings would be:


    Klefbom is already better then Ference and Nikitin but I think his development right now may be best served in OKC. The way they have tossed around Marincin this year is criminal in my opinion. They are ruining a very good prospect with their ridiculous Defensive deployment decisions.

    It’s astonishing the difference in the intelligence Eakins and MacT have made their decisions on the forwards compared to the D man. Its almost like they make their forward decisions 1st and then decide to shotgun a bottle of tequila before they make their D men decisions. Their complete blind love for Schultz is the catalyst for the rest of their D choices.

  • v4ance

    One nice thing that’s caught my eye is Petry’s recent willingness to rush the puck through the neutral zone or go wide in support of an odd man situation into the offensive zone in the past few games.

    I don’t know if it is due to Taylor Hall’s absence, but it’s been an added weapon the Oilers have used to increase their ability to make good zone entries/exits. Even when Hall gets back, I want Petry to continue to skate the puck out of harms way.

    When Jan 1, 2015 comes, I want MacT firmly committed to re-signing Petry.

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      Totally Agree. I think he is as dangerous as Schultz offensively, with a more solid defensive game.

      I do think Schultz is improving in his own end, but he needs to start producing more, so that a person can overlook his defensive shortcomings.

    • Spydyr

      I really Petry’s play too this year, but I really wish he played with more sandpaper. He handles the puick well, but he doesn’t do enough with it to overlook how soft he is to play against. If he gave the opposing fwd’s a rought ride, he’d be so much more valuable.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Training camp is over. Rotating them back and forth from the minors is good for keeping them from getting rusty, and make them more determined to stick. Thier young men now, not children anymore. If they can’t handle the up and down from the minors, how are they going to handle playoff game.

  • If MM and Klefbom want to stick, they have to CLEARLY outplay Aulie and Nikitin. Those are the players on the way out in the long term. Nurse will somehow have to crack:



    ….There’s a trade coming and I don’t see a way around it. Just hope it isn’t Petry going the other way.

  • Spydyr

    I would frame the Oilers actions this way.

    The Oilers are making Roster decisions based on how the individual men execute the “Systems” needs,not based upon what stats describing their past glory say they “should” be able to do.

    There has been a massive departure in the Oilers Player Management philosophy lately and it is one which pulls way from the stats focuses.They are learning what it takes to win,hard honest accurate work and valuations everywhere.

    Everyone still fails to see the missing link here, if no one knows what the System is the Oilers are using then no one can make accuarte valuations of whether or not ANYONE is making optimal Roster decisions.

    None of us know if Aulie or Klefbom or Marnincin are the right fit for the Roster becuse we do not know what the Oilers “system needs” happen to be.

    All we see are the results the System produces on the ice,all we can use to determine player value or fit are the stats produced by these men while they are executing a System we do not understand.

    FIRST we need to break down the Oilers System to define it,then we can look at how it works and what its needs are,if we dont do that then we cannot make accurate valuation calls on these players,wether we like the idea or not.

    The problem is that IF we do break down the Oilers system and we do it properly then we do a dis-service to the Oilers IF we are correct in our System Valuations and breakdown by doing the leg-work for the opponents.

    This type of accurate System synopsis CAN be done but this is not a good time to do it,4 years ago was a good time to do it.Today is the time to let the work of the last 4 years come to fruition.

    The Oilers are now returning to the past to re-kindle some System philosophies and concepts which have been sitting on the back-burner for a few years,since before the current group was formed.This shows that the Coaches and Players are communicating on an entirely new level.This needs to be protected.

    The right decisions are being made at the exact right times now for some reason,never look a gift horse in the mouth,who cares why but they are now making superior decisions in terms of supporting their System needs and positive results are coming.

    All I WANT TO DO is do a real-time System breakdown on what the Oilers are doing today,but there was a time for that and it was 4 years ago when they needed to change,now they are finally trending in the right direction,with the NHLs evolution,it would only expose their intentions now needlessly.

    I guess all I can say today is …. I wonder what the Coaches are thinking, and I cant wait to see if they can keep the wins coming.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        Krueger was just learning the Intuitive Dynamic Management program the Oilers are now going back to,the things Ralph was learning back then are now being picked up by Dallas and Ramsay and the Players who still remember how to use them .

        Ralph Kueger strength was listening to his players who were free-lancing and learning new things on their own,this helped Ralph evolve his own perspective.Believe me Ralph has taken lots out of his experiences in Edmonton.

        The Oilers Players were learning first via osmosis,then the Kings Players via osmosis,then the Hawks Management via direct injection of the concepts,then the Blues Management followed the Hawks suit,then even the Flames bought in, and so on and so on.This is why the Western Conference has been leading the NHLs evolution over the last 4 years,it all began here.

        The Oilers and Kings learned by osmosis one player buying in at time with no Coaching or mangement endorsements,the Oilers players had to “sell it” to their Coaches and managers and it didnt fly so well,the Kings had Sutter who was dazed and confused when some of his players found this NewAge program 4 years ago and he let them{Stolly} go with it the Hawks had Scotty Bowman identify the NewAge concepts for them when the Oiler players free-lancing by adding it to their System whipped the Hawks completely,Scotty approached things from a Managerial beginning and buy-in as have others.

        Firing Ralph was IMHO a poorly concieved decision, but what troubled me the most was that the System Management program Krueger was learning with the men ,together with them, was 100% abandoned when he was removed,then the Roster was wiped out of any of those influences,the SAME influences we are now seeing the Oilers being FORCED to return to so they can catch up the the NHLs evolution.

        Ralph Krueger , Sam Gagner,Ryan Jones and others took bullets for all the Managerial arseholes who are now going back to the System and Philosophies they were fighting for.

        The Oilers didnt “choose” to de-volve back to the System Management style Ralph Krueger was beginning to use,they were forced to because the entire NHL is and has been evolving into it.

        Mac-T,Quinn,Renney,Krueger,Eakins……they are all NHL Coaches for very good reasons,none of these men are bums.But if you are forced to follow inferior mangement processes then someone else is leading you,IMHO ALL of these men were dictated to and it undermined their ability to get their jobs done.These men all could have had winning experiences here had they been left to do their jobs.

        I dont care who the Coach is or what their System is or who is on the Roster as long as the Management Program they follow is optimal or superior and it produces enough wins that I can trust it.

    • what an utterly pointless posting! I’d be very surprised if the rest of the NHL was watching you waiting for you to “break down the Oilers system” so that they can gain an advantage. I think other teams in the NHL can simply send someone to an Oilers game if they need to.
      You might find simply find that the core players in edmonton are more experienced, and the recent acquisitions that were brought in were established NHL players. They’re simply a better team now, than they were a year ago.
      We are, however, in total awe of your brilliance.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        clearly you are not as smart as him, as you didnt randomly capitalize any words.

        please Try and avoid responding to the Long winded fart Sniffer known As NewAgeSys. if You ignore him, Maybe he will Go away (again)

        • no! he is here to educate us! we need his incredible depth of knowledge in order for us to better enjoy watching a hockey game. I want him…or it…to keep feeding us his…or it’s…brand of “information”. This comprehensive understanding of NHL hockey that only he has had until recent years. I imagine his full name is really Stanley Norris Adams Ross Hart Vezina.

  • Spoils

    Players are being shuffled up and down until such time as they show consistency to stay up on a permanent basis . None have yet to show that so far . Even the veterans on defence having trouble showing consistency for that matter , and no one strikes you as a top 1-2 defenseman .

    Nuge, Hall and Yakupov showing improving signs . The rest are not and having hard time holding status quo . Goaltending erratic and inconsistent . Like it or not , we are still tied for dead last in conference .

  • Stack Pad Save

    I would buy the whole sit a player when he doesn’t play well. However when was the last time J Schultz or Ference sat? How come La Femme Nikita didn’t sit after his horrible string of games? The idea of accountability is a joke again in this organization.

  • BillHK

    Lowetide here it is in a nutshell. Petry gets signed after January 1st for 5.2 x 3 years. J Shultz 4.5x 3 years .

    J Shultz gets a haircut because he has played less games.
    3 Years. At that point were either winning or dead in the water. 3 year deals are easier to unload than 4-7 year deals if things go south.

    The Oilers will unload Ference at the trade deadline this season and eat half his salary. Boston here we come again.

    NN is at this point my vote for Goat of the Year. He gets a trade or a buyout at seasons end if the flaws in his game(gap) continue to cost the team goals in the net. He was overvalued imo(a 6-7 in Columbus)and has under performed.

    Fayne is a solid dman who could use another solid non puck moving defencemen paired with him to be the Oilers shut down pairing.

    I would myself take Braydon Coburn in a trade for the sole purpose of airing him with Fayne. Line up BG-MH-JJ with those 2 and let them have at it when the opposition sends out its number 1 line.

      • Spydyr

        Petry is UFA this summer. His agent will laugh his way out of the room if they offer Petry 4.5. Its no secret that UFA dmen have absolutely cashed in huge the last several years.

        Unless the Oilers offer to overpay, to the tune of say 5.75, he will test UFA market in my opinion. And the sad thing is, someone will pay him that.

  • vetinari

    Aulie seems to be getting more time because he plays a simple game and is a banger, otherwise, Marincin and Klefbom out skill him. It would be nice to get a tough defence man for the back end who also has some skill but the next Scott Stevens or even Jason Smith doesn’t seem to be in our system. As it is, I can’t tell you how good it is to see Hendricks and Pakarainen banging in the corners and actually finishing checks– something we’ve been lacking for years.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      The Oilers were dialing in the Stand-up Defense when they discovered early sucess this season,they were syncronising their fore/backchecking with that Stand-Up Defensive focus.Using the Blue-line stand as the Anvil and the Fore/Backchecking as the Hammer.They strayed from this and immeditly spirled out of control.

      The Oilers will now use the Blue-line Deny defense as they should have consistantly been doing,possesion zone entry denial is paramount in todays NHL.

      It is suicide to use a collpse defense in todays NHL and to allow possesion zone entrys.

      Aulie is providing something the Oilers System needs,who knows what that is unless we know what the System is asking for?

      Does anyone know what System the Oilers use? Does anyone know any Systems?Do they have names?They are the single best kept secret in the entire NHL it seems.

      I think Aulie will be sticking around.He fits the correct template to support a KISS Stand-up Defense.

  • BillHK

    Here is the thing with sending down MM or OK………..they are both miles better than Andrew Ference.

    Yea Ference has NHL experience over the two but his play does not give credence to the notion you earn your playing time. This guy’s best before date has long expired.

    MM has been solid when he was played consistently such as last year. The blue line has suffered with all of Eakins stupid experiments………there is something to be said about findiing your game by playing consistently and with partners suited to your game.

    On this front Eakins has to own some responsibility.

  • m@s f@s

    Klefbom by all accounts was ripping it in the A before being called up. If we can all agree they aren’t going to make the playoffs this season, then letting MM and Klef “over ripen” and dominate the A for an extended period is good for them, and in the long run good the team whether they play here or are part of a trade.

  • Kevwan

    I appreciate the physical game Aulie brings and I think it’s needed on the club. Let’s just see how his skating holds up when the Oilers start playing Western Conference teams again. I think Marincin and Klefbom will both be better options when that happens.

    I do agree that one should be sent down in the mean time, but who to call up for the roster spot? How about Lander or Jason Williams and let Draisaitl watch a game or 2 from the pressbox?

  • Spydyr

    I would hope that the oilers focus on developing their “puck moving” defensemen and getting them into their line-up. Once teams figure out who is not a threat to move the puck up the ice, they put added pressure on the “puck carrying” d-man with little concern that the other guy will step up and take advantage of the open ice. This is what killed the Petry / Smid pairing (Smid was not a threat, and Petry felt the pressure). The top pairing in Calgary is an example how two puck carrying d-men can limit the ability of the opposition to shut down one guy (unfortunately). I hope that Klefbom and in the future, Nurse are paired with a guy like Petry as opposed to Ference. I can live with the odd brain-fart if it allows our young d-men a chance to utilize their strengths as puck movers. Sign Petry if you can’t find a comparable puck mover for similar coin.