Photo Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Oilers getting in Alex Petrovic?

Earlier today the Edmonton Oilers acquired Alex Petrovic from the Florida Panthers in a deal that saw Chris Wideman and a 2019 third round pick going the other way.

In a sense, this deal feels a little like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic to steal a line that Ryan Rishaug used earlier this season. Wideman wasn’t getting in the lineup and while I’m not a huge fan of giving up a third round pick, this deal doesn’t really upset me. Petrovic had been falling in and out of favour in Florida so maybe a change of scenery can spark him.

He’s in the final year of a deal that carries a cap hit of $1.95 million. Players in contract years sometimes see a spike in their quality of play. It’s realistic to expect the Oilers are getting a very motivated player.

Since being drafted 36th overall by the Panthers in 2010 the Red Deer, Alberta native has suited up in 254 NHL games with the team registering five goals, 44 assists, and well over 300 penalty minutes.

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He’s never been a defender who can make a significant impact on the offensive side of things. Of his 49 career points, only 24 of them are primary points.

For essentially his entire career he’s been a third pairing defenseman in Florida and at times, he’s struggled to even get into the lineup.

When he has played, he’s never been relied on as a powerplay option. His career high in powerplay minutes in a year is just over ten. It’s not even worth reading into the numbers he’s put up in his limited powerplay time. In that area, this is a step down from Chris Wideman but the Oilers have Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, and Caleb Jones as powerplay options so I don’t see a problem with the downgrade in this area.

Petrovic has been used fairly regularly on the Panthers penalty kill this year, averaging about 90 seconds a game on the PK. The Panthers average around 4:30 per game on the penalty kill, so while he wasn’t used as a top PK guy, he has the ability to do it. Although his numbers are just average, the Oilers could use some help with their penalty kill as it sits 26th in the league. I’m not sure how much an impact Petrovic can have, but he’s experienced nonetheless.

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At even strength this season, he’s played 410 minutes and has registered just one assist. Here are some other numbers I got:

He has a shots/60 of 5.41, that would be 4th on the Oilers current blueline. When he gets the puck in the offensive zone, he isn’t afraid to throw it on net.

He starts in the offensive zone 52.54% of the time, which would sit 3rd on the Oilers. He got some pretty easy zone starts in Florida which might speak to how much he was trusted by the Panthers coaching staff.

He has an even-strength Fenwick For Percentage of 44.61%, that number is the worst among the Oilers current 8 blueliners.

He has an even-strength Goals For % of 35.71% which also sits last on the Oilers blueline.

The fact that Chiarelli had to throw in a third-round pick in this deal puzzles me a bit, but at the end of the day if the pro scouts see something in Petrovic that Florida didn’t, maybe the Oilers can maximize his potential.

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He shoots right and with the new addition of Brandon Manning, the Oilers depth chart currently looks like this (based on their last game):

Darnell Nurse Adam Larsson
Kevin Gravel Matt Benning
Caleb Jones Alex Petrovic
Brandon Manning


Remember that they also have Andrej Sekera, Kris Russell, and Oscar Klefbom all on IR and expected back within the next five weeks. All three of those players are left-handed defenseman (although Russell can play the right side). It will be interesting to see how things shake out if the Oilers blueline ever gets 100% healthy.

At the end of the day, the Oilers traded their own struggling seventh/eighth defenseman for a struggling sixth defenseman. I don’t love this deal, but I don’t absolutely hate it like the other deal they made today. We’ll see if the move back to his home province sparks something in Petrovic and maybe Peter Chiarelli will come out looking smart… big emphasis on maybe.

  • Randaman

    OilersNation will throw him under the bus just because of the hatred for Peter Chiarelli. Pretty stupid logic if you ask me. I’ve always liked Petrovic but what do I know? Probably just as much as anyone else on this site. Getting my point?

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Injuries aside Tyler. The D is better than it was 2 Hours ago. Not much, but better and tougher. Will it make a difference? not much but we or Pete is grasping at straws.

    • the reasonable person

      I’m not even sure of that. But what really pisses me off is the hemorrhaging of assets lately (and at many other teams in much greater magnitude). Remember that this team for once actually has the defensemen it needs in the system long term. They need scoring, and on the cheap. That can only be obtained by drafting. So what do they do, trade zykov for a pick, keep their 3rd round pick, and maybe trade guys they can at the deadline for more picks? Surely that’s what a sensible team would do.

      No? They instead waived zykov, and traded what might end up being the 65th overall pick for another team’s healthy scratch d man with no term left on his contract, and traded cagguila for an overpaid goon who injured our star player then was classless about it instead of trading cagguila for a pick? That way we get to waste more money to boot on a guy who’s apparently been healthy scratched a lot on a team even worse than ours this year.

      Why is this?!?!?!?!

      The best thing that could happen is another lotto pick this year and lots of other pics too. I assumed that was the only logical plan but apparently not, even though we’ve been assured that there is an undisclosed plan in place.

      None of this even touches on the optics of adding Manning, either. My plan is not to watch another game this season unless they get back into a playoff spot at any point.

      • the reasonable person

        Edit- “times” instead of “teams” when discussing how assets have been hemmorgaged at even greater magnitudes in the past.

        And apparently being too angry to realize that some of my post did address the optics of adding Manning.

        What a joke though. And really, picks are the only way to build teams now, and they don’t count against the cap for Pete sakes. Which if we had any of, we could use to sign a winger one day.

  • Kevwan

    No mention of winning the WHL Defenseman of the year in 2011-12? How about the fact that he had a 50 assist season in 2010-11 for the Red Deer Rebels? I’m not saying he’s a star but he definitely has some potential.

    Did anyone watch Wideman last night? It was like he was having who can take the worst penalty contest with himself ( he won by the way). Seriously, he’s been less than impressive since joining the Oilers.

    I haven’t seen much of Petrovic play and I doubt many Oiler fans have. I’ll watch him for a few games before I blast this trade.

      • Kevwan

        It is a much different league and it was a long time ago. Just pointing out that Petrovic might have more talent than his so far pedestrian NHL numbers indicate.

        And Yak scored at a rate of 29 goals per full season as an 18 yr old in the NHL. That’s actually very good.

  • Bluetomorrow

    Numbers on Petrovic are incorrect he wouldn’t rank bottom in Fenwick not even close as he is 50.2% FF at even strength. ES Fenwick are below along with offensive starts

    #1 Klefbom 53.4% (52.8% OS)
    #2 Jones 52.5% (58.0% OS)
    #3 Gravel 50.2% (49.4% OS)
    #4 Petrovic 50.2%(52.5% OS)
    #5 Larsson 50.1%(49.2% OS)
    #6 Russell 49.0% (45.7% OS)
    #7 Benning 48.5% (47.8% OS)
    #8 Nurse 46.7% (45.0% OS)
    #9 Garrison 45.5% (50.4% OS)
    #10 Manning 44.1% (39.9% OS)
    #11 Wideman 40.0% (55.9% OS)
    17-18 Sekera 47.9% (57.5% OS)

    Few things stand out for Manning was leaned far too heavily for Dzone starts by Hawks if Oilers drop that number his FF% likely increases and Wideman was not good in Oiler uniform heavy Ozone starts and terrible FF%.

    Overall both moves together added some strength to the blueline. With 10 defensemen on roster (7 active, 3 IR) makes you wonder what moves will be made in 4-6 weeks.

  • Svart kaffe

    All they can hope for is to thread water until Klefbom and Russell is back. Petrovic will at least be better than Wideman at that.

    Can’t help but think Hitchcock has something to do with these trades. The guys coming in looks like Hitchcock players.

  • SlovakOiler

    “…if the pro scouts see something in Petrovic that Florida didn’t, maybe the Oilers can maximize his potential.”
    Pro scouts? Do we really think Chia consulted the scouts? They certainly said throw a third in there too 😉