UND’s Troy Stecher could be a college free agent this spring (this is his junior year). A
RH defender who can run a power play (his NHL Equivalency is 23 points), Stecher
would be a nice fit for Edmonton despite lack of size (he is 5.10, 190). Hmm. A right-handed, undersized puck-moving defender from college? Hey, I know what you’re thinking. There is some evidence this young man has a different story to tell.
THE OILERS AND COLLEGE BLUE
The Edmonton Oilers (and their fans) have had a love-hate relationship with college defensemen going back to the turn of the century. I well remember Tom Poti being booed unmercifully at Rexall, and in more recent times Tom Gilbert, Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz have had their troubles playing home games in Edmonton.
Oilers fans are (in my opinion) more comfortable with rugged defenders along the lines of rookie Darnell Nurse. Although Edmonton’s towering rookie makes his share of mistakes, he is also a tough player with the ability to win battles, stand up for his teammates (hello, Roman Polak!) and skate like the wind.
More Nurse, less college! Right? Well, I would argue there is a need for defensemen who can pass, transport and shoot the puck, and for that reason young Troy Stecher should be a player of interest for the Oilers.
— Brendan Jones (@MustBeJonesy) February 28, 2016
THE SCOUTING REPORT
Chris Dilks, SB Nation: Philosophies are changing in the NHL, and it’s becoming more and more
important that defensemen at the NHL level have the ability to jump into
the rush and attack when given the opportunity rather than just sitting
back and defending. There’s no doubt that Stecher has that ability. And
with his added strength, he’s not going to be a liability in the
defensive zone either. He’s a bit of a late-bloomer by NHL prospect
standards, but has definitely developed into a legit prospect at North
More Dilks: Stecher added some muscle
between his freshman and sophomore season and went from a good
defenseman to one of the top available free agent targets in all of
college hockey. His smooth, strong skating allows him to be a force on
both ends of the ice. He missed a good chunk of the season with a leg
injury, but has been fantastic when he’s been healthy. Source
Ryan Lund, Fox Sports: A junior defenseman for the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, Stecher
leads a Fighting Hawks defensive corps that has allowed just 25 shots on
goal and 1.82 goals against per game this season. Stecher has chipped
in offensively this season, scoring seven goals and adding 19 assists. Source
There is no way Troy Stecher actually did this on an Etch A Sketch, is there? pic.twitter.com/LYMiphrYK5
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 28, 2016
— Grand Forks Herald (@gfherald) February 19, 2016
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Stecher is an effective puck mover, and the scouting reports suggest an extremely valuable kicker: He is a cerebral player, using his big brain on offense and defense. The combination of natural talent and intelligent play gives Stecher an edge on both offense and defense.
Now, that doesn’t mean the Oilers have any interest in him, or will sign him. However, he is a righty, an effective puck mover, would cost only an entry-level contract and Edmonton has an extreme need for this type of player.
I think this is a very good fit.