If you stare at the Oilers “A” and “B” rosters from yesterday from the correct angle, it’s easy to convince yourself we’re looking at a fantastic future—but for crying out loud don’t stare at the defense! It will only come to a bad end.
ESTIMATED DEPTH CHART BASED ON YESTERDAY
Reader beware: We are now entering the world of farce, where the writer attempts to trick you into believing we saw something concrete, something of value, based on the way defensemen lined up yesterday. Foolish attempt, even more foolish if you believe it. Still, I love my lists.
- Andrej Sekera—Mark Fayne (top pairing Team “A”)
- Oscar Klefbom—Justin Schultz (top pairing Team “B”)
- Andrew Ference—Nikita Nikitin (second pairing Team “A”)
- Griffin Reinhart—Eric Gryba (second pairing Team “B”)
- Darnell Nurse—David Musil (third pairing Team “B”)
- Brad Hunt—Jordan Oesterle (third pairing Team “A”)
If we assume the top two pairings make it for sure, then the middle two would appear to be fighting over the final three jobs, no? The easiest demotion is Reinhart—no waiver worry—but we’re getting ahead of ourselves, all will be known in due time. I count Nurse at about No. 9, is that fair? One suspects he beats the daylights out of Hunt, Oesterle and Musil but that still only gets him to No. 9. He’ll need some luck and lots of reliable shifts, but in terms of physical ability there’s a golden opportunity here.
LITTLE ARROWS FOR A BIG MAN
I always count arrows, good or bad. Little tags of information come drifting in and our brain does collect them (the brain is amazing) but I like to write things down for posterity. Among the good arrows for Reinhart this fall:
- He’s close to NHL-ready or already there. Not much to do before graduation now.
- There’s an enormous need for defensemen in Edmonton.
- He can play RH side.
- He is one of three men in the running for seven jobs who was procured by Peter Chiarelli.
- He is in excellent shape based on anecdotal information (McCurdy).
- His father, a former NHL player, can guide him through a lot of NHL land mines.
- The competition, while substantial, have issues of health, effectiveness, or experience.
- He is paired with an NHL defenseman at the start of camp.
Reinhart’s ability to help on the PK could also benefit him as the Oilers get closer to cut down day. There’s no doubt in my mind the young man played some tough minutes in Bridgeport:
- Michael Fornabaio on his role in the AHL: “He did get some second power-play time and maybe a little bit on the first unit when guys were out, but yeah he was on the top pairing and playing against the other team’s top line. Got a lot of PK time as well. He was playing against a lot of the top players.” Source
- Corey Pronman: “He’s high-end defensively, and average offensively, which is still a pretty good player. He performed well versus men this season in the AHL and could make the Oilers very soon.”
- Peter Chiarelli: “He’s ready to play and he’s going to be a very good part of our D.”
That’s the bet. The only men standing in Griffin Reinhart’s way are Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference. The only man who can catch him from behind is Darnell Nurse. The only outside force that could hurt him is the bonus structure of his contract. Chances of making the team from the start of the season? 60%. Why the increase? He’s slotted alongside Gryba, it’s easy to project them into the opening night roster from where he stands today—an injury to anyone gets him on the roster and it’s unlikely he’ll make the team only to sit in the pressbox.
One question we can’t answer today that is going to be fun to track: IS Darnell Nurse a better NHL defense prospect than Griffin Reinhart? The things that we value on this blog (okay, I value) suggest Nurse is the better prospect, but a slimmed down, skating-for-weeks and ready steady Griffin may make this contest more interesting than previously thought.
An assortment of thoughts expressed on this blog the night of the trade:
- Bag of Pucks: Chiarelli gets the best player in the deal, fills his biggest need with a player who fits the core age wise, and fast tracks the return on the draft picks. If you don’t like this deal, you’re too enamoured with lottery tickets.
- Lead Farmer: Smart move by the Islanders. We were so worried about being fleeced by the Rangers we got taken by the other New York team. That is a good return for a rapidly declining asset and a reason you pick Dmen high. You think Yak has that much trade value.
- Tarkus: So the Oilers would rather grab their token Oil King by dealing a couple early picks rather than just drafting one.
- Traktor: Parise 2.0
- Su_Dillon: The icing on cake would be trading Marin in for a 5th (which basically happened)
- Bill Needle: These forwards who’ve gone in the draft since the trade would have a tough task. They’d have to break into the top 6 (eventually) that’s pretty much cemented in place with young guys with better pedigrees and more NHL experience and have long-term contracts.
But a mid-first and a high second-rounder is a huge price for someone who isn’t guaranteed to be an NHLer.
- Oilswell: Oilers paid full price but this deal fits the pattern I thought made sense before the draft.
- G Money: I don’t really know much about Griffin Reinhart, other than he was terrific for the Oil Kings, and then went fourth overall to the Islanders. So I don’t know if this is a good trade or a bad trade.
Fabulous comments in this thread, worth a re-read if you have time. Edmonton got a 52% chance of a top 4D in exchange for a 24% chance of a top 6F and a 12% chance of a top 6F. They also moved up the timeline of the development curve on their end. I like Reinhart, he was a bull in the Memorial Cup. My opinion of the trade is here.