The Edmonton Oilers replaced Andy Sutton today when acquiring big, tough defender Mark Fistric. Fistric is a former first round selection (2004) who has carved out a role with the Dallas Stars over the last few seasons. Dallas relied on him as a third-pairing defender, a penalty killer and as a ‘keep your head up’ deterrent to opposition Fancy Dan’s entering the zone.
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.14 (6th and last among Stars D)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: easiest among Stars D over 40 games
- Qual Team: least favourable among Stars D over 40 games
- Corsi Rel: -3.8 5th best among Stars D over 40 games
- Zone Start: 45.5% toughest among Stars D over 40 games
- Zone Finish: 50.6% 2nd best among Stars D over 40 games
- Shots on goal/percentage: 30 shots/0 goals
- Boxcars: 60, 0-2-2
- Plus Minus: -3 on a team that was even
A quick glance at these numbers tells us he was a third pairing stay at home defender who had the toughest zone starts on the club and sent the puck in a good direction fairly often. That’s a pretty good third pairing D, although his plus minus is below par and of course he doesn’t deliver much offensively–in fact, he looks like an extremely defensive player, and along with Nick Schultz and Laddy Smid gives the team three LH D who aren’t going to help you much with the GF.
I like the deal as a ‘replacing Andy Sutton on the 3rd pairing’ item and he’s young enough to have a nice little run here if things go well for him. Dallas probably felt they could fill this slot from within and with Fistric a UFA at season’s end getting a 3rd rd pick in return is terrific value.
For Edmonton, this is the kind of deal they had to make the moment Sutton’s status became known. Edmonton used 13 defensemen a year ago and you’d have to think that even with today’s deal we’ll see a lot of Potter, Peckham and Teubert in the NHL.
A few words about the price tag: a 3rd rd pick is a dear price to pay, but I am encouraged that the Oilers have decided to deal the pick in an effort to have roster balance now. Under the MBS draft model, the third round selections are the areas where tall trees, Coke Machines, energy guys who can’t score and distant bell goaltenders are added (Troy Hesketh, Cam Abney, Samu Perhonen, Travis Ewanyk) but there’s also skill available (Ryan Martindale, Jujhar Khaira, Daniil Zharkov) depending upon the quality of the draft crop.
My understanding of this year’s draft is that it is rich in quality, so my feeling is that the organization has missed an opportunity in terms of giving Stu MacGregor a bullet in the chamber. Your view may vary depending on your opinion of the Oilers draft history.
speeds mentioned this below, but the Oilers could turn around and deal Fistric at the deadline should they choose. This is the kind of player who always has value at the deadline.
Fistric is UFA this summer, but is not the priority signing that Ladislav Smid will be, and Ryan Whitney could be beyond Smid territory if he’s completely healthy. Should the Oilers sign Smid and Whitney, they may not sign Fistric. The incumbent blue will include the unrelated Schultz brothers, Jeff Petry and Peckham along with Klefbom, Marincin and the other prospects who are knocking on the door.
If the Oilers spent a 3rd rd pick in a deep draft for 4 months of Mark Fistric, I believe we’ll look back on it and say it was not a good value deal. If Fistric comes in and settles down the third pairing, is effective in his role and can help the PK and GA, then the bet could be covered by signing a reasonable deal to keep him here in Edmonton.
I think the pairings might look like this:
My thanks to Jon and Tyler for sussing out the RH-LH details this afternoon.
Fistric is a favorite player type of mine in one-way: despite being massive and a big time hitter, he rarely takes those dumbass penalties that do immense harm to their team. Fistric’s youtube highlights are full of legal and effective hits, and he certainly has an ability to clear the crease and intimidate opponents.
I believe EDM needs to make sure Ryan Whitney is back to normal, but once that is established we can safely say the club has reasonable quality and depth on the blue line. Should Whitney not be completely healthy, then we’re back to needing a legit top 4D.
All that said, I like the trade. It gives the team better balance leaving the station, a chance to rehab Theo Peckham before deciding whether to send down Corey Potter or keep 8D. I don’t think the Oilers should stop shopping though, and would like to see them pick up Thomas Hickey on waivers if Peckham is out for any length of time.