Brandon Gormley on Waivers

On Thursday, the Colorado Avalanche waived defenceman Brandon Gormley. The 23-year-old was a first-round pick in the 2010 Draft (13th overall) and was named the top defenceman at the 2012 World Juniors. Now, just 58 games into his NHL career, he’s on the waiver wire.

Draft Day

It’s always interesting to go back and read the draft day comments on a player like this, and in Gormley’s case it’s particularly interesting because he slipped on draft day.

“He’s really well-rounded, but he’s not dynamic,” a scout told The Hockey News (who had him ranked No. 7). “He does everything well. Lots of nights you leave the rink thinking he wasn’t very flashy, but you didn’t notice him making any mistakes either.”

The publication quoted another scout describing him as “the kind of guy” who most Stanley Cup winners have, and predicting a 15-year NHL career. It also suggested that he might well be picked as high as third overall, ahead of Cam Fowler and Erik Gudbranson.

McKeen’s Hockey liked him too, ranking him the fifth-best available prospect and noting that he’d been a first overall pick in the QMJHL Draft and had been named the league’s best pro prospect. It described his game thusly:

Gormley is a low maintenance but reliable defenceman with a solid build. His hockey sense is one of his greatest attributes as he thinks the game very well in his own zone and displays great composure. His fluid, all-around mobility and strength in his outlet passes enables him to transition from defence to offence rather seamlessly. Gormley has good vision and makes smart, efficient plays at the line. He lacks the requisite shot to become a dangerous option on the power-play, but he keeps his shot low to the ice. Gormley still needs to work on his foot-speed but he projects to be a consistent, versatile performer capable of logging top four minutes and playing in all situations.

Should the Oilers look at him?

Gormley played two seasons in the QMJHL after being drafted, scoring at a point-per-game pace both years. He then played a little over two years in the AHL, developing into a pretty decent offensive defender with the Portland Pirates. He made the jump to full-time NHL work midway through last season, playing 27 games with the Arizona Coyotes and recording four points.

The Coyotes flipped him to Colorado for another young defenceman, Stefan Elliott, a move which brought a right shot to Arizona and sent a left shot to the Avs.

With Colorado, Gormley has had a measure of success on a pairing with Zach Redmond, his most regular partner. With that duo on the ice, the Avs have scored 53.8 percent of all goals and record 51.2 percent of all shot events at five-on-five—ridiculous numbers for a Colorado team that routinely gets crushed on the shot clock and basically crosses its fingers hoping that Semyon Varlamov can save the day.

Gormley’s a pretty interesting player. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, and his cap hit right now is just over $850,000. He’s quite young, his underlying numbers are decent, and there’s no risk involved here; he’d basically be filling the same spot in the Oilers’ system that Martin Marincin filled and with Edmonton’s current blueline injuries there’s room for him right now.

Complicating matters is Edmonton’s depth on the left side. Griffin Reinhart will be back at some point, they may want to see David Musil play in the NHL before making a waiver decision on him next year, and right now power play specialist Brad Hunt is in the top-six. In some ways adding Gormley would be adding an asset for the sake of adding an asset.

However, it’s also worth keeping in mind the trade deadline. There’s a good chance the Oilers will be shipping out defencemen, and having Gormley around as a stopgap wouldn’t be the worst thing, particularly given that his contract is up at the end of the year and it will be possible to just walk away if that’s desired.

If Gormley was a right shot, this would be a no-brainer. Even with him being a left shot, I’d be inclined to put in a claim. 

  • They shouldn’t claim him.

    Nicholson, Chiarelli and MacLellan are doing an 82-game evaluation of the Oilers before any moves can be made.

    Seriously though, you wouldn’t play him ahead of Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson or Reinhart so why pick him up?

  • The_Angershark_Lives

    Fan opinion on available defence = “Sign him! Anyone is better than the guys we have”

    Fan opinion on the defence we do* have = “How come we have all these bottom pairing defenseman??”

  • The_Angershark_Lives

    Can anyone tell me how Gormley’s NHL stats would compare to the the Oiler’s current D core? Just curious as to where the stats would place him.

  • Ol_OneNut

    The kid obviously has glaring warts …not one team offered up a late round pick, or a middling prospect. Why bother ? You’d only b bringing in another 6,7 guy and have to start from the ground floor teaching him the systems this coaching staff wants to play.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    What’s with this kid. After being drafted spent 2 years in the CHL then 2 years in the AHL which you would think is enough developing time. Can’t get playing time with Arizona or Colorado. Maybe he has plateaued I think pass

  • Zarny

    Pretty simple actually, there is no room on the left side. Just what Katz would like to see another NHL contract in the minors besides you have to ask the question why was he placed on waivers? is there something off ice going on because nothing about his play says get rid of this guy. Maybe I’m wrong and he is a good kid and there is just a plethora of left shooting d-man on each team and there is no room at the inn.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      2.0 for sure. Alex Plante, David Musil, Griffin Reinhart….the Oilers seem to love their slew footed d-men so hey why shouldn’t the Oilers take a chance on him?

  • Zarny

    Ultimately, I’d defer to anyone whose actually watched Gormley play; but his pedigree is intriguing.

    I don’t see a down side to adding depth to the system. With Gormley’s scouting report I wouldn’t have expected a quick transition. Good production in the AHL; could be a player there still.

  • YakCity1039

    YES! I don’t care if he’s a left shot. Fayne, Ference, Nikitin, and Schultz are all gone. I know Schultz is RH but whatever. I would rather have this defense:

    Sekera/Davidson Klefbom/Nurse Gormley/Gryba/Rundblad

    than the one we have now. Should’ve put in a claim on Rundblad too.

    *Just realized Fayne is RHD too, but you get my point 😀

    • bradleypi

      I get that nikitin will be gone but how are you so sure the other 3 are gone? Doesn’t fayne have a year left? As well as ference? And unless pc gets a player back for Schultz I don’t think he trades him for “magic beans”.

      • CMG30

        Fayne is iffy, but likely not returning. Deadline will be Chirelli’s target as that’s where most value is realized.

        Same with Schultz. Chirelli will take anything he can get for him including magic beans. If there’s no takers, he will most likely be walked for nothing in the summer as his contract room is more valuable than he is.

      • oilbaron

        Ference will be bought out this summer. If they bought him out last summer the team would be forced to eat 3 years of cap penalties because of it. If they do it this summer its only 1 year. Schultz isnt going to be qualified at the price point in which they would need to qualify him at, (3.5M?). Fayne will be in the minors next summer, spending that Katz money 😉

        • bradleypi

          We all thought that nikitin was gonna be bought out last summer. That didn’t play out. Why would the plan be different with ference this summer. And if Fayne is in the minors he is technically still an oiler. And letting 24 year old nhl dmen walk away for absolutely nothing can’t be at the top of Chiarellis list of things to do. Can’t he just not qualify him then sign him on a cheaper deal? He’s still oiler property till July 1st if I’m not mistaken?

    • Oilers4Ever

      The idiots that are trashing my original comment need to get their heads out of their a$$es. Reinhart was selected 4th overall by the islanders a couple of years ago and they gave up on him before he even played 50 NHL games. He is obviously a bust and the oilers happily took him off the islanders’ hands … oh and gave up a high first and second round pick in the process.

  • Oilers4Ever

    Congrat’s to Hunt for making the allstar team. I don’t know much about him. I did watch the first period of the Carolina game and he didn’t look very good to me.

    I also know nothing of Gormley but I expect he has a better chance at being a regular NHL D-man than Hunt.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    I doubt the Oil will pick him up since his waive wire exemption has expired. If they grabbed him they would have to keep him in the NHL, or expose him to waivers again before sending him down. So unless they think he is an NHL player today, there is no point in picking him up.

    The expiration of the waiver wire exemption ends the careers of a lot of prospects.