With Andrej Sekera set to potentially miss the entire 2018-19 season, the Oilers have added a little depth to their blueline. According to the team’s official Twitter account, the Oilers have inked defenceman Jakub Jerabek to a one-year deal worth $1 million.
The #Oilers have signed Jakub Jerabek to a one-year contract. The 27-year-old Czech defenceman split time between Montreal & Washington in 2017-18, including two playoff appearances with the Capitals. pic.twitter.com/szTK67Ltt2
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) August 20, 2018
Jerabek, a left-shooting defender, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of the Czech Republic last summer by the Montreal Canadiens. He played 25 games for the Habs and 17 games for their AHL team before getting dealt to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline. He would play 11 regular seasons games and two playoff games with the Caps, making him a Stanley Cup Champion. All told, the 27-year-old has played in 36 NHL games. He’s scored two goals and has put up eight points, logged an average of 16:19 per game, and has a shot attempt differential of 49.5 percent.
Jerabek’s calling card is his offensive game. He isn’t big by NHL standards, coming in at 5’11”, but he’s put up points everywhere in Europe. In 2016-17, prior to inking a deal with the Habs, Jerabek scored 34 points in 59 games with Vityaz Podolsk of the KHL. Before that, he had 33- and 32-point seasons in the top Czech league.
Back in January, the Montreal Gazette put out a glowing review of Jerabek based on his underlying numbers…
Other than Weber and Mete, Jerabek is the Canadiens’ best defenceman when it comes to controlling high-danger shots, at almost 57 per cent. But is that number just an outlier given the relatively small sample size of 22 games?
To answer that question we can take a look at the expected goals-for percentage during his shifts. That metric essentially combines shots and scoring chances (location, quality, type) in an attempt to predict future success when it comes to goals scored during a particular player’s shifts.
This gives Edmonton another option heading into training camp on the blueline. As of right now, they’re rolling in with Klefbom, Larsson, Benning, and Russell as sure things (Nurse is also a sure thing as soon as he gets signed) with Kevin Gravel, Jerabek, rookie Evan Bouchard, and other AHL veterans competing for the No. 6 and 7 roles on the team.
While Jerabek certainly doesn’t have the steady two-way game that Andrej Sekera offered, he fits a somewhat similar profile as a smooth, puck-moving defenceman who can create offence and function on the power play. I think him and Matt Benning could thrive on an offensive-minded, sheltered pairing while Kris Russell and Darnell Nurse operate together in a defensive role.
However it works out, this is certainly a nice low-risk addition by Peter Chiarelli.
JERABEK’S NHL CAREER SO FAR
Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter account, 8/20/2018 – 1:00 pm MST