It’s difficult to separate the three college defensemen from each other until we get a good long look at them. Their statistics are similar, their scouting reports have all kinds of crossover and they are very similar in age.
I think you could bet on any of Chorney, Wild and Petry and have a pretty much equal chance of being correct. Injuries will play a factor in their progress and of course there’s all kinds of luck involved too.
If we make a list of things successful young defensemen display in junior, college and the minor leagues (on their way to the show) each of these players has a pretty long list of positives and a short but important list of drawbacks.
Let’s put each of them on a line (07-08 season) and have a look:
- Wild (Age 20) 32gp, 4-18-22 .688ppg 28pims
- Petry (Age 20) 42gp, 3-21-24 ..571 ppg 28pims
- Chorney (Age 20) 43gp, 3-21-24 .558ppg 24pims
Petry didn’t turn 20 until December but they were all 1987 born so I’ve listed them as 20 year olds. We should note though that Petry is 7 months younger than Chorney. Gabriel Desjardins’ NHL equivalencies (per 82 games) has them pretty close:
- Wild 4-19-23
- Petry 2-17-19
- Chorney 2-17-19
The Edmonton Oilers website has them varying in size:
- Wild 6-1, 183
- Petry 6-3, 176
- Chorney 5-11, 182
which I think is a big part of the negative. Each of these men would have to be considered average or worse in terms of size. I keep reading about Petry bulking up (Michigan State’s website has him at 200 pounds) but if the Edmonton Oilers have him listed at 176 I think it’s best to go with it until proven wrong.
I collect scouting reports (and empty beer bottles, apparently. A big part of my long weekend will be spent traipsing to the bottle return depot) and they are once again similar:
Guy Flaming on Cody Wild: “Wild is a very smart defenseman who is blessed with natural offensive ability. He is an excellent skater with speed and is very active. One of Wild’s greatest attributes is his decision-making capability. While he is sound defensively and is willing to play the body, they are areas that Wild will need to continue to strengthen to succeed at the next level.”
Guy Flaming on Jeff Petry: “Petry is a smart two-way defenseman who is an excellent skater with good mobility, which he uses to shut down opponents. The 6’2.5, 176-pound Petry plays with an edge and can lay out some good hits. He also doesn’t mind battling in front of the net. Offensively, Petry has a cannon for a point shot, but often uses a wrist shot as well so that it does not get blocked and does not allow the goaltender to set up. Petry also uses his skating and stick skills to make accurate passes out of the zone or to skate the puck up himself, which he has the speed and stickhandling to do.”
Guy Flaming on Taylor Chorney: “He is slightly undersized for the defensive position but makes up for it with tremendous hockey sense and puck-moving skills. Chorney is a terrific skater, and is usually a sound positional defender. He plays a very heady game and is mature beyond his years. Chorney is not a physical defender but projects to be a top-four defenseman at the NHL level–mainly because of his sound hockey sense and ability to lead the transition game. He has the ability to quarterback a power play and is a natural leader having been captain at almost every level he’s played including internationally with TEAM USA.”
I always nick Petry because Guy and Kevin Prendergast have not (as of yet) told us what the downside is on the player. There are some reports about high risk plays without the puck, his being a little shy of Chorney as a skater and that added to the fact that he did not reach college hockey until 2 months before his 20th birthday leave me a little suspicious of him. He must have some hitch in his giddyup and until we know what it is then it’s probably best to slot him behind Peckham and Chorney as a prospect.
At a guess, I’d say Wild is going to put up more offense and surprise everyone with his maturity. The young man has 100 college games and a baker’s dozen in the AHL, which compares to Chorney’s 125 NCAA games and Petry’s 42 college contests.
If there were an expansion draft and only one of the three was available I’d pick Chorney, but the fact that it isn’t a clear choice is a credit to Cody Wild. He’s a prospect worth watching. I doubt he sees the NHL this season.