Getting to know Troy Stecher and where he’ll fit on the Edmonton Oilers

Photo credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
4 months ago
The trade deadline has come and gone and we now know who the Edmonton Oilers will have on their roster down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of the Oilers acquiring Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick from the Anaheim Ducks and both players making their debuts the following day is defenceman Troy Stecher, who Edmonton added in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
This is an under-the-radar addition, one that brings some quality depth to the team’s blueline. He’s not the top-four, Chris Tanev addition that many hoped for, but Stecher offers the team something of a similar variety, and is a player Oilers fans will likely come to appreciate.
Born in Richmond, British Columbia, Stecher played for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL before attending the University of North Dakota. In his third season in college, he was named NCHC Offensive Defenceman of the Year and helped the team to a National Championship.
Stetcher was passed over in the NHL draft but his excellent junior season at North Dakota earned him an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks, his hometown team. He made a lot of noise during training camp but wound up being one of the final players cut ahead of the 2016-17 season.
After just four games with the Utica Comets of the AHL, Stecher was called up to the big league club. The Canucks were in the midst of what would wind up being a nine-game losing streak and brought up the young defender hoping for a spark.
In his fourth game with the team, Stecher was in the middle of a line brawl between the Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Late in the third period of a 6-3 blowout in favour of Toronto, Leafs bruiser Matt Martin beat Stecher in a race to the puck on a forecheck and then threw him to the ice following a quick battle for the puck. Stecher threw a jab, Martin started to throw punches, and Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller came to the defence of the team’s young blueliner.

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You don’t always see a goaltender get into a hurry to shed the gloves with a heavyweight enforcer but Miller said after the game he wasn’t going to let a rookie like Stecher get thrown around by an older player like Martin.
After not playing in Vancouver’s next game, Stecher returned to the lineup against the New York Rangers the following night and the Canucks finally snapped their losing streak. Whether or not he was the deciding factor in the Canucks being able to win a game, Stecher helped to bring to life a team that was on the verge of one of their worst losing streaks in franchise history.
Stecher never went back to the AHL after that. He scored 24 points over 71 games and logged 19:59 for the Canucks in 2016-17 and became a mainstay on Vancouver’s blueline for the next few seasons. Though Stecher was slated for the third pairing with the Canucks, he often wound up playing higher in the lineup alongside Alex Edler in the team’s top-four.
In 2019-20, the Canucks made the expanded bubble playoffs with a 36-27-6 record and came just one win shy of reaching the Western Conference Final with a surprising run that was ended by the Vegas Golden Knights.
Stecher’s father passed away shortly before the playoffs that summer and the team rallied around the tragedy. The Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild in the play-in round before beating the heavily-favoured 42-19-10 St. Louis Blues in six games in the second round. Stecher had the best on-ice goal differential of any player on the Canucks during that playoff run at 15-to-6 and led the team to punch well above its weight class.

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After that season, the Canucks surprisingly opted not to issue Stecher a qualifying offer. Like how Chris Tanev had been the heir to Kevin Bieksa on the right side of Vancouver’s blueline, it seemed that Stecher was going to be among the players they built around for years to come.
Instead, both players wound up being salary cap casualties. The lower-than-expected cap ceiling resulted in the Canucks cutting ties with Stecher while Tanev walked in free agency to join the Calgary Flames. There was talk about Stecher re-signing with Vancouver as a free agent but he wound up signing a two-year deal with the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings.
In the latter of those two seasons, Stecher was dealt to the L.A. Kings, where he wound up losing to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs. The following summer, Stecher inked a one-year deal with the Coyotes and got moved to the Flames ahead of the trade deadline. Stecher again signed with Arizona last summer and here we are now.
Stecher has logged 18:26 per game for the Coyotes this season, playing mostly on a defensively oriented pairing with former first-round pick Juuso Valimaki. With the Oilers, Stecher will give head coach Kris Knoblauch another option for the third defensive pairing alongside Brett Kulak. Vincent Desharnais has taken major steps forward this season in his development but a defender with excellent speed like Stecher might be a better fit against a quick-strike team like the Golden Knights in the playoffs.
Stecher isn’t the big name that many Oilers fans were hoping the team would add to their blueline ahead of the trade deadline but he also isn’t one that should be overlooked. He’s the type who can and will drag his team out of a lull and into the fight. Having watched many games in which the Oilers don’t bother to show up until the third period, that sort of player might be very, very helpful.

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