Edmonton Oilers may be looking at Deryk Engelland, because of course they are


On Wednesday, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson wrote that the Oilers “are almost certainly looking at” Pittsburgh defenceman Deryk Engelland.

Because if there’s one thing history has taught us, signing a 32-year-old fringe NHL defenceman with terrible underlying numbers never backfires.


It’s interesting to note the Corsi percentage of the defencemen who have played at least an hour on a pairing with Engelland since he first broke into the NHL in 2009:

Player Minutes With Without Difference
Brooks Orpik 601 45.6 50.0 -4.4
Matt Niskanen 601 51.6 53.4 -1.8
Alex Goligoski 406 47.5 52.5 -5.0
Paul Martin 343 51.3 53.7 -2.4
Kris Letang 290 50.1 54.3 -4.2
Simon Despres 269 51.2 54.0 -2.8
Mark Eaton 148 42.0 46.1 -4.1
Robert Bortuzzo 145 42.1 47.5 -5.4
Ben Lovejoy 132 48.1 50.6 -2.5
Rob Scuderi 110 42.6 49.8 -7.2
Zbynek Michalek 109 46.3 50.3 -4.0
Olli Maatta 92 43.4 51.1 -7.7

The key point here: Every single one of them posted a worse number with Engelland.

It’s not like there are extenuating circumstances here, either. Engelland typically plays depth opponents, and prior to this past season has been seen his shifts start far more frequently in the offensive zone than the defensive zone.

Fraser vs. Fistric


The Oilers always seem to be looking for a big, physical third-pairing defenceman.

They’ve had some decent ones in recent years. Matt Greene shouldn’t have been playing in 2006 but he eventually rounded into form. Andy Sutton did some nice things. Mark Fistric was solid in the role, though he eventually wanted too much money. Theo Peckham even had some moments.

Then there are the other guys. The most recent example is Mark Fraser – a player who brings size and toughness and a willing attitude but not much else.


Engelland seems more likely to fall into the Fraser camp than the Fistric camp. His teammates consistently perform better without him than with him, in his prime he was a limited player, and given his age he’s a long way from being in his prime.

It’s understandable why the Oilers want this kind of guy, but there are better options. Brett Bellemore of the Carolina Hurricanes is a favourite in this corner. Clayton Stoner is younger than Engelland, better than Engelland and a free agent after five years in Minnesota.

There is no reason to settle on Engelland.


  • Death Metal Nightmare

    1) The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

    2) He’s a better 3rd pair then Fraser and can handle himself in the fisticuffs so meh.

    3) Matheson is 50% right in his predictions at best.

    4) Remember when they were getting Hendricks and all the Analytics people were spazzing about how bad a player he was?

    Panic button sure is short around here.

    • Chainsawz

      You are using freaking Hendricks to show analytics can be wrong? HENDRICKS??

      He was a 41% Corsi 5v5 player last year LOL. That’s bottom 15 in the league. That is fringe NHL player.

      The analytics people were EXACTLY RIGHT about Hendricks.

      Typical oilers fan “he big and he hits so hes good”.


      • Chainsawz

        Typical fan that spouts analytics like its the gospel. Hendricks was and is good for the Oilers in the role he plays. Try watching a hockey game once in awhile.

        • Chainsawz

          I can assure you that I watched more games than most one here. And I will admit that it was nice to see a gut out there that actually tries hard. But you cant argue those numbers. For every 4 events for the Oilers while he was on the ice, there were 6 against.

          What we need is guys with his heart who aren’t pilons out there. Every other team has them, why not the Oilers?

          You will lose more games than you will win with guys like Hendricks on the team, even if he hits hard and tries hard.

  • Spoils

    KLowe – Is he big?

    MacT – Yep

    KLowe – Does he have a pulse?

    MacT – Yep

    KLowe – Does he stand for everything mediocre?

    MacT – Yep

    KLowe – I say long term, with no trade and a signing bonus!

    MacT – Yes, sir!

  • Spoils

    watching the Kings Hawks last night you just have to internalize how far we have to go. That first OT was awesome.

    We underestimate how many pieces we need to add to make a team. Sutter is willing to play any of his lines in any situation. No “soft minute” lines.

    If you accept that we will actually need A LOT of pieces, we should be looking for guys that will peak with the core of our team. unless Katz is just buying us a free agent for the year (to make up for our suffering) we should be angling for players no older than 27.

    it will take A LOT of good players to win.

  • Zarny

    Engelland is a better hockey player than Gazdic and is among the best fighters in the game (pound for pound). Keep Gazdic but this means we need less of Gazdic.

    I’d sign him as a #7 not #6. He’s better than Fraser IMO.

    Sign Bellemore as the #6.

  • Zarny

    My first thought was…who?

    The Oilers problems start with not having a single D who should be on the ice against top lines let alone 2.

    At the end of year presser MacT said he wants to add a high-end D this summer. Yes, every GM does but it’s Edm’s #1 problem. After stating the obvious I don’t see how MacT avoids breaking the bank to get someone this summer.

    I like the Bellemore suggestion; I like Mark Fayne even more.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    I don’t think they’ll sign this guy. they’ll try to get another Ference-type, maybe try to trade for a Boychuck-type. but, other than that, it’s let the kids learn in the NHL, draft in the top 10 next year. lather, rinse, repeat. they are out of answers, and don’t have the will to part with an Eberle, Schultz or Yak. so, follow the Oilkings, the Raptors, Premier league soccer for a few years. then come back when the core is Klef, Nurse, Marincin, Schultz, Simpson and whomever the get for Eberle and Hall as they near the end of their contracts. and, most of all, forget any dreams of being perrenial contenders. they will be an alright team, middle of the pack.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Better off going after Clayton Stoner. 3 years younger and much less expensive. Could probably land him for 5 yrs for around 12 million during that span. All teams can use these Mike Weaver types.

    Have to laugh when people think MacTavish is going to wave his magic wand and two Keith Yandle types are going to show up here stat.

    Rebuild from within, grow your own, do all you can to get a second top five pick next month. It’s the only option available to this market.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        We can laugh Zarny, it’s okay. It really is this bad.

        With all the changes in Washington this spring, watch MacTavish land Alexander Ovechkin next month. Dallas Eakins will break him down just like he did Nail Yakupov. In two yrs Yak and Ovy will be home playing in Russia The Oilers will be left with nothing. Bettman will wipe out the remained of his contract like they did for Kovalchuk.

        He would be one of those much needed behemoths though you mentioned though, correct? Till he goes home anyways. These are the only type of deals Craig has axcess to this summer. Deals that have very little shelf life (NHL) left.

        Stay the course, even though it’s going to take a few more years.

  • Strange Tamer

    I would be worried if the story came from a credible source, but Matheson is out of touch with reality. Like the Oilers he peaked in the 80s and still thinks he know a thing or two about winning.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    I remember reading another article on here a few months ago that suggested the same thing about Smid. I still think trading Smid was a mistake. i’m impatiently waiting for Bold to happen, and I’m getting so tired of just seeing Stupid.

  • J.R.

    The Oilers, at this point in the redevelopment of their team, have to be well past considering a boat anchor like this. While I am not a supporter of going with the kids on defense, even that has to be better than wasting a roster spot on a player like this.

  • Serious Gord

    The moves MacT makes or maybe even more significantly doesn’t make in the next 60 or so days will ultimately show fans whether he is a good or bad; competent or incompetent GM.

    If he is found to be the latter of each pairing – and getting barnacles like the player under discussion in this thread would be a real tell IMO then both he and the guy who hired him need to be terminated forthwith.

    • Death Metal Nightmare

      “forthwith” means “serious as hell”


      the moves really don’t tell if he’s competent or not. they tell us what he could do under a highly variant set of conditions.

      too much absolutist nonsense going on.

  • gr8one

    I think Pittsburgh played him a lot this year as a winger and I believe he played pretty decent in that role, so if they bring him in for that and he can hold his own as a depth forward/emergency D man in case of injury that might go a little way in mitigating the stupidity of targeting him.

    My gawd it’s painful being a fan of a team with this management.

    I was on board with Mac T and the jury is still out in my books, but if they pull moves like this than I’m very afraid the verdict will be very bad.

      • vetinari

        wow top 5 – which experts think this? Weber, Suter, Chara, Keith, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Larsen, Seabrook, are all better than Karlson so I do not know who you are kidding about being top 5, hell top 10 is a stretch

        • Chainsawz

          The first 6 are IMO bang-on. The second you put Larsen, though (I assume you mean Adam Larsson), I began to question your sanity 🙂

          JK of course, but I do agree with the premise. Erik Karlsson is an unbelievable player, but as a 2 way guy, he never should have won the Norris over Shea Weber.

        • pkam


          Heading into 2012-13, they ranked Karlsson 11th, 2nd best defenseman after Weber (7th). TSN claimed the list is based on a panel of experts.

          Heading into 2013-14, they ranked Karsson 11th again, 3rd best defenseman after Chara (6th) and Weber (8th). TSN claimed that this list is based on a selection from 14 NHL coaches and managers.

          Edit: For your referense, here are the URLs:



          • Zarny

            based on what fantasy maybe. The best part of their top 50 is it is based on individual stats which is great he can score points too bad he cannot play defense, you know the position he is supposed to play especially compared to guys like once again Chara, Weber, Pietrangelo, Doughty, Keith, Ekman Larson.

          • Zarny

            Obviously lists are subjective but Karlsson is most certainly in consideration for top 5 D in the league.

            Bleacher report ranked the top 50 D heading into 2013-14 and had Karlsson ranked 4th behind Chara, Weber and Keith.

            To dismiss the offensive part of a Dman’s game is ridiculous. If you’re ranking the top 5 defensive defenseman fair enough.

            If you’re ranking the top 5 D overall though it counts and Karlsson put up 74 pt this year beating Keith by 13 pt. Karlsson doubled Doughty’s production. To dismiss that borders on asinine.

          • Chainsawz

            Karlsson scored a hell of a lot more than Drew Doughty, but is there honestly a better defence man in the league today than DD?

            Of course there is, I forgot…

            Deryk Engelland

          • pkam

            This top 50 NHL players by TSN is not fantasy hockey ranking. I am not sure how Chara can be the best defenseman if it is fantasy hockey, he is never a big point producer.

            The latest one, heading into 2013-14, is claimed by TSN to be based on selection from 14 NHL coaches and GMs.

            You and I can disagree but we are not considered experts like NHL GMs and coaches.

  • Aitch

    I’m starting to wonder if the Oilers know what “Advanced Stats” mean when they talk about it.

    To be fair, the only time I’ve ever heard “advanced stats” was in relation to Perron, and that worked out. But every other move seems to ignore them and instead focus on using the old scouting reports from the Broad Street Bullies instead.