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.
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.
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.
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|
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.