schultz common1

This summer will see a lot of turnover on defense—we’re seeing a mass exit already, and now await the new arrivals. Two players who are facing a key summer are RH blue Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry. Those right-handed defensemen don’t grow on trees and there aren’t a bunch who can play 21 minutes a night. Edmonton has two, and both have reached rfa status. What could we see this summer?

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It’s interesting to break down the Oilers defense this past season, and to have a good look at how Dallas Eakins deployed the group. I like to use the Vollman Sledgehammer, it breaks things down in one graph, and you can recognize things at a glance.


oilers defense 13-14 with klefbom

Fascinating graph. Top to bottom it’s quality of competition, so Petry and Marincin were facing the toughest opponents, followed by Ference and Schultz. Oscar Klefbom had the third easiest competition, but his zone starts were beyond severe—that’s really kind of crazy for a rookie, but he did pretty well. Bubble size is TOI per game, and the colors are Corsi Rel: Petry is blue (good), Klefbom is light blue (pretty good) and Ference is the color of a man drowning.

Marincin? His color is best described as “impossible” for this Oilers team. And yet, there it is.



Jeff Petry played over 21 minutes a night in 2013-14, and Justin Schultz was north of 23. Of the 59 defenseman last season to play more per game than Petry (I’m not going to include Byfuglien), 24 are right-handed. I expect many of them play less difficult minutes, but either way I’m pretty confident we are looking at one of the 30 best RH defenders in the game at this time.


marincin and schultz

I sign both players, and Petry long term. For me, those two righties will be key to the future, as the Oilers graduate more Marincins into the NHL.

It’s going to cost a lot of coin. I don’t believe either player will approach the Justin Faulk contract ($29M over 6 years), but this is going to be eat a large part of the summer cap.

What do you think? Sign these men to contracts over $4 million a year, or send them away understanding there’s nothing left behind them?

(OKC photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

  • Lowetide

    I like both guys and we can ill afford to not sign them both or have difficulty doing so as the team depth simply does not exist. The bottom line is we need to keep both of them happy, as we know d-man do not grow on trees. Even overprice d-man have value across the league.

  • Spydyr

    It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if both of them were replaced with better players. Petry is an ok Dman, if he’s on you’re 2nd pairing. And Jultz doesn’t do anything for me at all.

    • RPG

      Brian Ralalski was still a couple of years away from returning from Europe at the same agen as Justin Schultz.

      Brian Campbell was on a 3rd pairing in Buffalo with a veteran mentor in James Patrick.

      Justin Schultz is forced into a top four role with 3rd pairing type D partner and struggles in his first 100 games defensively.

      The problem isn’t Justin Schultz. It is how the team is using and surrounding Justin Schultz. The Oilers gave Schultz a knife to take to a gunfight.

  • Lowetide

    A bridge contract for Schultz.

    I have been proponent of looking at trade options for petry. And by trade options I mean getting roster talent back. Petry and Schultz,s weaknesses are too similar. The oil would better swaping petry for a more physical less panic prone rh defense.

  • Spydyr

    Classic example of Oiler fans and media over valuing players.Sure they play 21 minutes a night.That 21 minutes is on a perennial bottom 5 team.Coincidence, I think not.

    They both will be overpaid.It is the Oiler way.

    • Zarny

      So true.

      Petry is a decent mid-pairing D man. 3 million per would be very generous for him.

      Schultz was abysmal for most of the season. He deserves less than Suban got in his bridge deal. Two years at a little under 2 million per is very fair for a guy who hasn’t proven anything yet.

    • Wax Man Riley

      Playing on the worst team in the NHL, against the toughest opposition. And keeping his head relatively above water.

      He is a good defenseman. Just not a #1. If he can be paid as a #3: awesome.

      You have to think: He’s doing alright and has NO support.

    • Lowetide

      Petry plays 21 tough minutes a night. No doubt he could use some help, but he looks good doing it compared to his teammates (as the Vollman graph describes).

      I understand the idea that Petry isn’t perfect, but surely we can agree that TOI has value in reflecting the players that the coach relies on?

      • Spydyr

        IMO Petry would be a 4-5 defencman on a good team.That is how he should be paid.Not an over pay because he is playing 2-3 on a lousy Oiler team.

        Like all Oiler defencman he is being asked to play at least 2 spots higher than his ability.

        That is not his fault of course but he should not be paid like he is a true 2-3 guy.

        • Phuryous George

          If he has been playing top pair minutes, but is actually a 4 or 5 Defenseman on a good team ( as you say) than his numbers would show this clearly drowning Defenseman playing way over his head. The numbers however are clearly showing the complete opposite of what you are arguing.

          Playing on a good team you say you mean with forwards that are held accountable defensively, yeah i bet having forwards play with you every game that are disciplined in both ends of the ice would really show the holes in Petry’s game. Having a steady partner playing with you, that is clearly better than Petry himself that would just make Petry’s game go all to hell, like what would Petry do if his partner would make the appropriate play at the appropriate time. His game would surely go off the rails.

          • Spydyr

            The numbers that really matter are wins and loses.How have the Oilers been doing since Petry has been (as you say) a top pairing defenceman?

            Bring up all the advanced stats you like.The teams record is the bottom line.

            Petry has been a top pairing defencman on a consistent bottom of the NHL team.That’s what really shows he is in over is head playing top pairing minutes.

            I truly believe every Oiler defencman is playing two places higher than they should be Petry included,If you feel otherwise that is your opinion and I will respect your right to be wrong.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            “The numbers that really matter are wins and loses.How have the Oilers been doing since Petry has been (as you say) a top pairing defence man?”

            LMAO, you use that as an indictment on him??? HAHAHA, that’s hilarious. How has the teams record been since Taylor Hall arrived? Oh right garbage, therefore he must not be a first line player, he’s just a first liner on a terrible team.

          • Spydyr

            If you think Hall and Petry are comparable players.I’m not even going to waste my time discussing it with you.

            One is a beast the other is a 4-5 defenceman.

            One is carrying the team the other is playing over his head.

            I’ll leave it to you to figure out who is who.

          • Spydyr

            I don’t follow capgeek enough to give a well thought out answer for the dollar amount.The amount would depend on the league average for 4-5 defencman and it would go up slightly higher for ever year of UFA you purchased.

  • D

    If I’m Petry’s agent, I go to arbitration and UFA next summer in 2015 if the offer is for less than 4 x $5 million.

    There is zero incentive for Petry to sign for term for less than $5 million per season, regardless of what many fans may think.

    I think a two year bridge deal makes the most sense for Schultz, but if both sides want to go long…

    • Lowetide

      Agree on Petry, except I think they can get him below the Faulk deal. Schultz is a big worry, the Oilers love him, he came of his own accord and they’ll reward him.

      This could be a big money deal.

  • D

    Petry is a fantastic 4 or 5 Dman. He is not a top pairing guy. Likely never will be. But we can’t over pay him. #1 and 2 Defenseman cost 5 to 9 million per year.

    That’s why I say 4 million per for the maxim 7 years. Please MacT don’t Gaggy Horcoff him.

  • D

    I forsee 4 years at 4 for petry and 2 years 3.5 for Jultz. Gives petry some long term security and a decent bridge contract for justin to give him a chance to get a significant raise in the future

  • Lowetide

    Cue all the people who scream to trade Petry away for a bag of pucks if he doesn’t sign for what he’s really worth, you know, about 1m a year because he’s just that brutal starting in 3… 2… 1…