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.
McKenzie talking about FLA moving on from Petrovic after what happened to keep him around last offseason is <chef_kissing_fingers.jpeg>.https://t.co/vai0KsoMYy— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) June 5, 2018
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?