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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

McKenzie: Alex Petrovic is available

After all the hoops they jumped through in order to keep him last summer, the Florida Panthers are saying Alex Petrovic is available. Bob McKenzie discussed the rugged defender being on the trade market in his most recent edition of the BobCast.

Depending on how closely you follow the antics of the Panthers, you may or may not remember how they chose to navigate last summer’s expansion draft. They opted to protect eight skaters and one goalie because they felt they had four defenders they wanted to keep around.

The Panthers protected Alex Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Vincent Trocheck, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Mark Pysyk, Petrovic, and James Reimer. Ultimately, they struck a deal with Vegas that resulted in the Golden Knights taking Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith mainly as a cap dump of Smith’s large contract. I think that worked out really nicely for Vegas.

Now, just a year later, the Panthers appear ready to move on from Petrovic. Could the Oilers be interested in acquiring him?

Petrovic just turned 26 in March. He’s a right-handed shot who plays a shutdown game. He’s from Edmonton, played for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, and was drafted 36th overall by the Panthers back in 2010. He’s an RFA this summer and has one more year of control before he can become a UFA. His cap hit last season was $1,850,000.

The Oilers, as we know, are sparse on the right side of their blueline. They’re loaded on the left, but on the right, they have only Adam Larsson and Matt Benning as NHL-calibre defenders heading into next season. It isn’t going to be easy to specifically find a righty who can produce offence, which is the profile of the player the Oilers need most this summer. Petrovic may not profile as the offensive-minded defenceman we’ve talked about the Oilers acquiring, but he’s still an upgrade on their weak right side. Adding a defensive defenceman could potentially allow a lefty like Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom to play a more offensive style.

In the past, the Oilers have done a bad job of selling low on players. They did it last summer with Jordan Eberle who was coming off the worst season of his career. It would be nice to see them do the same thing to another team. Petrovic saw his minutes slashed to 14:39 per game in 2017-18 and seems to have fallen out of favour with the Panthers. That said, he looked like a very solid second-pairing guy in 2016-17, so there’s obviously still a player there.

What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers be in on Petrovic? Or is there a better player they should be targeting to improve their blueline?

  • Himynameistaylor

    if it’s not gonna cost anything more than a depth player and maybe a 3rd round pick or something light like that yeah. You can find what Petrovic brings deeper in the draft anyways.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    He’s an RFA so acquiring him shouldn’t be more than a 3rd or 4th round pick. Would be a good 5-7 dman and can move up to 3-4 if need be. Definitely would push Benning to be better than last year.

  • Rama Lama

    I hope we keep our powder dry for the upcoming draft…….there will be deals to be had and if enough “normal people”, surround PC just maybe we can manufacture a deal that benefits this team long term. I for one am tired of our Harvard educated GM making deals that a pre-schooler would not make.

  • crabman

    The only way we can afford to add Petrovic at this point is if we moved out another defenceman. Larsson isn’t going anywhere and moving Benning defeats the purpose of adding another RHD. I also wouldn’t add him at the expense of Nurse or Klefbom. So if a deal could be done that sent Sekera or Russell the other way, waiving NMC dependent, or in a separate deal I would add Petrovic and hope Klefbom’s offense bounces back and Nurse takes another step offensively. Klefbom credited playing with Larsson for giving him the confidence to play a more offensive game and take a few more chances resulting in a career year just a season ago. Petrovic could have the same effect playing with Klefbom or Nurse while the other plays with Larsson. That has the makings of a strong top4. After reviewing scouting reports on Petrovic from draft day and through development years until now his biggest knock is lack of offence. But everyone says he skates well and can make a good 1st pass. He could be a great addition and with Benning on the bottom pair this lineup gives Bear the time to develope in the AHL. Sign Benning to a 1 year deal then maybe Bear is ready in a year to be the 3RHD PP specialist the team needs without needing to pay a premium to get.
    If Russell or Sekera could be moved in a separate deal I wonder if this year’s 10th would get Florida’s 15th and Petrovic? Add the RHD we need and still add a skilled prospect to.the system as well as any asset we would get in the Sekera/Russell deal.

    • Johnny Utah

      Completely agree with this. Only thing I’d add is that having seven strong DMen could be worthwhile, giving us better depth at the NHL level:

      Klef- Larsson
      Nurse – Petrovic
      Sekera – Russell
      Benning

      I think at any given point one of those guys would be hurt.

      Move Sekera or Russell down the road / when their NMC loosens, with Bear coming in as the PP specialist in 2019-20. If we throw another Def prospect in (assuming BPA in the draft) we’d really have a good mix of vets, guys in their prime, and talented prospects pushing their way in.

      • crabman

        @Johnny Utah,

        In a non cap world I totally agree. But my suggestion that this will only work if Sekera or Russell are traded has nothing to do with finding a roster spot for Petrovic. It has everything to do with having the cap room to add him. Right now I would estimate the team has about $6M, after signing the RFAs with Nurse on a bridge at $3.5M×2 and that could easily be more. They need to sign a defenceman and 3 forwards, hopefully 1 of them is a top 6 winger. So there is room to trade for and sign Petrovic but probably not enough to sign anyone to help the forward group in the top6.

  • Tonya Harding Compete Level

    Please pass. We have a tough shutdown righty, with the way the game is moving we need more puck movers that can skate well and ideally are big enough to survive a forecheck. He sounds like a fancy Gubranson/Fayne.

    • crabman

      From what I read he is a better skater and can make a first pass out of the zone and up to the forwards. The knock on him is a lack of offensive instincts. He isn’t going to buy up points on the backend or play the pp but if he can be the defensive conscience on a line with Klefbom or Nirse and they improve offensively he could be a fit.

  • CMG30

    YES! Find teams that act like the Oilers, teams who make dumb short-sighted decisions and make trades with them. Find a team who drafts and develops players then sells low for ‘reasons’. The rash of former Oilers finding success throughout the league proves that this is the best source of cheap NHL ready talent…

  • Its.Not.Me.Its.You

    depending on the price i think its a great idea to let nurse and klef off the leash and find their offensive game. lets face it we are not getting the puck moving defensemen we need in trade or free agentcy, maybe he is already on the team.

  • The team could use another NHL calibre RHD so if he is cheap enough and Chiarrelli doesn’t over pay then I say yes. Another shutdown RHD is not a bad thing as long as not playing with another shutdown LHD; the LHD can be the guy going for points. He should have a decent outlet pass.

  • OilCan2

    There is a very narrow window in this case. Benning might have to go to make room. Lucic might not waive his NMC so a straight hockey trade may not be in the works.

  • TKB2677

    I am for any move that has the potential to improve the Oilers. On paper, other than shoot right, I don’t see how he improves the team. If it was possible to say trade Russell who is left and replace him with Petrovic who’s right handed and younger then sure. But I don’t see that happening.

  • Gravis82

    slightly more offensive Brandon Davidson. Hes a 3rd pairing guy currently that could be 2nd pair in future.

    Hes been played like a 3rd pair, so acquire him for 3rd pairing value. Otherwise no.