Edmonton Oilers defencemen whipping boy power rankings


Oilers fans are a diverse bunch, but they can agree on two things without any doubt:

  • They’ve suffered a lot lately.
  • When suffering, nothing feels better than irrationally scapegoating a defenceman.

With that in mind, we present the Oilers defencemen whipping boy power rankings!

Remember: This isn’t about fairness. All of these guys worked really hard to get to the NHL, and if they showed up at your beer league game each and every one of them would dominate physically, score 15-20 goals without breaking a sweat and then drive off with your girlfriend. 

That doesn’t matter. When a hockey team loses, it’s important to identify scapegoats and hurl abuse at them mercilessly.

The Rankings


1. Nikita “Call Me Niki” Nikitin. The Russian double agent with an obviously made-up name shoots to the top of this list after singlehandedly costing his team the game against Nashville. A lack of speed and a Steve Tambellini approach to decision-making have vaulted him to the lead here.

2. Justin “Jultz” Schultz. The Edmonton Oilers played their first good defensive game in three seasons with Schultz watching from the press box. Coincidence?

3. Tom “Potty” Poti. I bet he was just making up all that stuff about needing a special diet. The archetype for every soft college defenceman who has followed him to Edmonton.

4. “Timid” Tom Gilbert. 543 games into his NHL career he has yet to be awarded a hit by the in-game trackers. The only thing worse than how soft he is are all those stupid advanced stats morons who defend him no matter what.

5. Jeff “Petey” Petry. Hockey nicknames have reached their zenith (thanks, Ralph) with this baseball player’s kid, who does his best but simply can’t climb these rankings the way his predecessors have. Don’t get me wrong, he’s horrid, but he’s more ‘Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light’ than he is ‘Lucifer, Prince of Darkness.’

6. Paul “Cough-Up” Coffey. You know, call me old-fashioned, but in my day defencemen played DEFENCE. They didn’t wander around like forwards, always looking for goals, they took care of business in their own end first, second and last.

7. Mark “Marc-Andre” Bergeron. Nobody has forgiven you. Don’t even ask.

8. Denis “Marc-Andre” Grebeshkov. The man also known as “Garbagekov” mixes in a little bit of Russian double agent with Bergeron’s river boat gambler instincts. A player so nice they signed him twice.

9. Cory “Can’t Get A-”Cross. His speed settings (“ultra-slow” and “glacial”) made him a natural fit for the new obstruction-free NHL.

T10. Ryan “Barbaro” Whitney. Good team-first guy who totally is not a cripple. We’ll take Visnovsky for him. Thanks.

T10. Sheldon “Studley Wonderbomb” Souray. Wade Redden may have been sent to the AHL while on a super-rich NHL contract, but at least he wasn’t so toxic that he needed to be loaned out a whole other organization.

Souray quote

This list is presented with apologies to Steve Smith, Pat Price, Boris Mironov, Allan “Hot Doorknob” Rourke, Sebastien Bisaillon, Alexei Semonov, Taylor Chorney and Cam Barker, all of whom will doubtless have their advocates in the comments section.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    Justin Schultz wouldn’t dominate physically in a pee-wee league let alone a beer league.

    Oh, and leave Paul Coffey alone. Any defenseman that can rack up 385 points in span of 3 seasons gets an automatic pass in my books.

    385 points in 3 seasons!!!! Amazing

  • Serious Gord

    1. Anyone else see Nikitin during a power play lean over with his stick across his knees like you do when you are waiting at the face off dot like he was resting?

    I think maybe he really does have bad back issues. I think it impressive that he continues to play with such pain if that’s the case, but I also think it is beyond stupid if the coach is letting him play under such circumstances when he clearly is a disaster on the ice. And for what reason? is it face saving (again) on MacT’s part?

    2. How souray was handled by the oil should be a chapter in the tell all book that deserves to be written about this oilers era. Disgraceful.

    3. Funny how the MacT supporters forget about grebeshkov redux.

    4. Shultz seems to only be getting worse over time. He’s 24 now. Tough to see how he revolutionizes his style – if you can call it that – of play at that age. He has become the current Ryan Whitney of this team – except worse.

    5. Petry continues to fall to pieces when the speed of the game get going too fast and he isn’t given enough time and space. He has mastered the look of a calm assured defenseman when he is not under pressure and I think that fools a lot of people. Maybe MacT has figured this out. But if he has why didn’t he trade him in the summer instead of signing him for just the season making him virtually worthless?

      • Serious Gord

        Petry is the best of a very bad lot. As has been discussed before MacT blew it signing him to a one year – either commit to a long term or trade him – that’s what he should have done. He’s gone by the playoffs at the latest.

      • BC BOY

        Jeff Petry may be Edmonton’s best d-man, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress.[/lazyplagiarism]

        And booooooo Willis, no Eric Brewer? Boooooooo.

    • 1. I think a close examination of players would show the stick across the knees is used to “rest’ whilst on the ice. Maybe NN has done this all his career, I don’t know. I do know that Penner used to do this all of the time.

      3. I think its hard to find many MacT supporters at the moment. But of all the MacT misses, Grebs was one of the least damaging. It just cost Katz $1M for a player in the AHL. Kudos to Katz for fitting the bill for this screw up. I’m sure more than a few owners would have said, if I’m paying someone $1M he’s playing in the NHL.

      4. Dmen hit their peak from 25 to 32 so the Norris trophy candidate isn’t likely to improve much from what we currently see. However, there are always outliers.

      5. Yup Petry crumbles under pressure. I see him being a bottom half defencemen next year (on a different team of course).

      • Serious Gord

        Did Penner rest on his stick while the play was going on? NN did it right after he dumped the puck around the boards (on a power play I think) like he felt a pain in his back shooting the puck…

  • Now I’m confused. So when I say things like “man Schultz is a give away machine” or “did you see that guy just walk Jultz like he wasnt even there?” Or “why did management want Nikitin again?” Is that scapegoating or simple observation?

    Scapegoating is firing the goalie coach cuz there’s pressure to do somthing

    • Positive Ray of Sunshine

      I don’t understand this sentiment. I’m not saying firing the goalie coach fixes anything, but his track record includes nothing but utter failure. Every single goalie that has come in under his tenure has gotten worse while playing here. Every one. Bryzgalov is perhaps the closest thing he had to a plus.

      Obviously it doesn’t fix everything (or maybe anything), but it couldn’t hurt.

      That said they really should have done it in the summer. It’s harder to find a replacement now, and it’s much harder for Chabot to go find other work mid season.

      • I agree with you, but management knew in the summer that every goalie chabot had got worst yet they still felt comfortable with him and decided to keep him. Firing him after 20 some games and a 7-1 blowout is classic scapegoating

      • Serious Gord

        Firing him was long overdue (years?) but hiring a permanent replacement during the season – again with no search – is idiocy. Which for oilers management is par for the course.

    • As much as I think Chabot should have been gone two or three years ago, they didn’t fire him when they should have. They waited until their backs were against the wall and has to DO SOMETHING …. and they did.

      Yes, as much as he needed to go, he went out as a scapegoat, not because it was the right thing to do.

  • Positive Ray of Sunshine

    I’d like to nominate Dave Manson as well. He took a stupid penalty every game, gave the puck away like it was the clap and had a wicked shot that hit the net about once a month.

    He did have a good nickname, as far as hockey players go.

  • YFC Prez

    That Wanye ms paint Gilbert goat is almost inspiring me to start a fund to get a late 90’s model PC at the nation. But I’m lazy.

    I do miss those though.

  • vetinari

    Ahhh. MS Paint. A classic.

    In honour of the spirit of the rankings, instead of “Whipping Boy Power Rankings” should it be named “Whipping Boy Glower* Rankings”?

    *Glower – an angry or sullen expression

  • Spydyr

    I once ruptured my bicep tendon in the first period finished the game and even scored a goal in the third.If there ever is another Oilernation get together I will prove it.

    There is no way in gods green earth Schultz would ever would dominate physically against me(6 foot 220lbs).Skate by me sure ,like the wind but in the corners and in front of the net I would own his ass.

      • Spydyr

        Nah, they would totally kick our ass.The one thing I can tell you though is if one of them ran a 19 year old kid on my team and put his face through the boards there would be repercussions for sure.Even if I had to take a Buckberger style beating.

      • YFC Prez

        I was playing pond hockey in jasper a little over ten years ago. There was a guy who joined in with a couple friends who was easily the best player I ever seen on the ice with me.
        I later found out it was Josh Green. Remember him? Not that great for NHL standards , but his skill was other worldly compared to the rest of us.

        Point being, you have to be damn good to play in the NHL , even on the oilers.

        A fan super team versus the oilers would be a gong show.

  • Serious Gord

    MacT needs a goalie and a second line center. Stay the course. No fans have gone through the pain and suffering that we have, but we have too many great pieces to the puzzle to give up on the guys now. Glen Sather always tried to draft the best goalie. I HOPE THIS MANAGEMENT TEAM LEARNS FROM THERE YEARS OF GOALTENDER DEVELOPMENT FAILURE. We’ll get there,God willing. Stay positive Oiler diehards.

  • Prongers Promises

    The greatest GOAT to ever GOAT is and forever will be MAB.

    Remember that game against Dallas with the goalie pulled Stoll *Swoon* drops it behind the net for our boy Marc-Andre. He comes charging up the middle and outlets to!?? *WHIFFFS* PATRIK STEFAN??? The only player in the league who could possibly out goat the greatest goat!!! I still think they were in cahoots! He strolls in, massaging the frozen disc into the… HE MISSED!?? Puck bobbles and he blows a moccasin.

    STOLL CROSS ICE TO SMYTTY slips it over to hemmer. Forehand backhand SHES TIED.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Lets not kid ourselves here, any NHL player on the ice with beer leaguers would make us regular joes look laughably bad. Schultz would dance around any of us like we’d never worn skates before. But I agree with Spydey, there’s no way a guy Schultz’ size would physically dominate me in the corner, pro athlete or not. It’s a physics thing.

  • Serious Gord

    So before i pick my whipping boy on the defense core i was wondering is it the players fault or the coach’s fault that were so bad.

    To me the defensive play looks like it has MacT’s hands all over it. The first thing the players do when the puck gets into our end is to try set up the play to get the puck out instead of just getting the puck out and starting a rush into the offensive zone this has cost us.

  • we played more structured in defense except for Taylors no line change in overtime. But Schultz absence, improved the defense, he is probably back in tonight so expect at least two giveaways in the first period.
    I know the general opinion out there is to not rush into any trade from a point of weakness.
    Its deja vous again, don’t we always talk about a trade around this time and we are always at a point of weakness.
    The only constant is management, which has a nine year losing record, in any other city they would be gone long ago.
    This is the perfect time to bring in new management to asses what we have here and make suitable changes.

    • A few Louis Armstrong songs may be fitting? Cold,Cold Heart; I Get Ideas; Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off; We have all the Time in the World and the concluding song Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.

  • …..another OT loss, thanks for the give away Schultz we can count on you for something, I repeat the defense was better against Nashville than tonight, last night with Aullie in at least we had a little push back, at the moment any body who wants to skate past the blue line has an oiler escort but no physical contact…….