Petry Gaining Traction

This is Jeff Petry. The young defender is enjoying a very nice start to this season at Michigan State. His boxcars (11gp, 1-9-10 +3) are excellent and a brief glance under the hood shows good things (reading game reports reveals he seems to be playing against the tougher opponents) and average things (that +3 comes on a team that is +11 right now at even strength).

Either way, Petry is a player who will show better in this winter’s top 20 (he was #7 last December but slipped all the way to #19 in the June ranking) and things are looking up. He won’t be the #1 defender on the list though, as nagging concerns about foot speed and coverage gaps remain.

While it is important to remember with these kids that their powerplay totals (especially the blue) won’t exist for several years once they’re in the NHL (if ever), Petry is building a nice resume in this department.

Petry’s powerplay numbers (0-5-5) and even strength numbers (1-4-5) are about equal at this point in time and those kind of PP totals 11 games into the season are very impressive. When Tom Gilbert was at the same point in his college career (third year, junior season) he went 5-5-10 on the powerplay and 3-4-7 at EVs.

Jeff Petry turns 22 in December, long in the tooth for a college player and not terribly far from free agency (he’ll have to sign a standard entry level college contract). I’m not certain of how much value their is in keeping him in college for another season. Whatever his negatives there appears to be enough positive for the Oilers to get things started as soon as possible.

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28 Responses to "Petry Gaining Traction"

  1. Baroque says:

    Another thing to note about Peaches is that he has had to assume a leadership role for MSU this year as their defense is him, two sophomores, and THREE freshmen.

    As the lone upperclassman, he has to show the youngsters how to play more than he has when there was a more experienced blueline for the team.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Good point, and that should not have been a problem last season (2 junior's and a senior). A lost season, that one.

  3. kanadienkyle says:

    I am cautiously optimistic about Petry, having only heard good things from former coaches, etc.

    About 22 being long in the tooth, I expect we see more and more college prospects coming out in the 22 to 24 range as college coaches keep their recruits in junior longer and longer.

    They, like their NHL brethren, want to keep their jobs and are forced to keep pace with the trends, which is to have freshmen come in at 19, and more than likely 20, unless the player is all world.

    The ripple effect here is that players who want to make the leap are switching commitments left and right for teams that will take them early.

  4. Lowetide says:

    kanadienkyle: The real issue with the age of the college kids comes with the free agency question. Tom Gilbert (as an example) turned pro at 23, raced through his entry level deal and then cashed in. The Oilers were forced to pay extra to buy some of his free agent seasons.


  5. Traktor says:

    Do you have a couple links about the foot speed thing?

    I have watched a few MSU games over the years and he struck me as a very powerful, fluid, effortless skater.

    Sometimes bigger players with longer strides create the illusion of being slow. I think that might be the case here.

    I think will all know that different players develop at different rates so we should be careful about using age as marker with some of these college kids.

    If an 18 year old puts up numbers in D1 then it's pretty reliable but I wouldn't be so quick to limit expectations of a late bloomer either.

  6. Woodguy says:

    Oilers just recalled Arsene

  7. Schitzo says:

    Hey LT, I noticed the MPS tracker just dropped from +3 to EV without a change in GP. What's up?

  8. Woodguy says:

    General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have recalled defenceman Dean Arsene from Springfield of the American Hockey League.

    Arsene, 29, has two assists and 29 PIM in 15 games this year with the Springfield Falcons. The Murrayville, BC native played the past six seasons with the Hershey Bears of the AHL before joining the Oilers organization. He enjoyed his best year in 2006-07 with the Bears where he had 15 points (3G, 12A) and 187 PIM in 61 games.

    Arsene, who has won two Calder Cups, will be looking to play in his first career NHL game Sunday when Edmonton takes on the Atlanta Thrashers.

    29 years old and is going to play his first NHL game.

    Good for him.

    Did Lowe scrape a little of his "finding NHL defenseman where no one else seems one" pixie dust out of the bottom of his ear canal again?

    Hope so.

  9. Baroque says:

    Good point, and that should not have been a problem last season (2 junior's and a senior). A lost season, that one.

    I don't remember where I heard it – probably during a weekly college wrap-up of some sort, so no link – but starting with this year the coach changed his systems a bit, putting in more of a breakout pattern like the Red Wings use. Maybe the change in system agrees with him and fits his style of play better so he is more comfortable?

  10. kanadienkyle says:

    LT, agreed on the issue of the accelerated rise to the big contracts.

    Do you think this issue will ever be addressed? I know college coaches are really upset about what they perceive as poaching of players due to the NHL cap.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Kanadien Kyle: I think it'll be solved at some point, but can't say how they'll do it. If I recall correctly, college kids signs 2-year entry deals instead of the three year deals.

    So, maybe they change in to 3-years, then force a second deal for 2-year with arb rights but no free agency. So a team could have their rights without UFA until year 5 is complete.

    Traktor: I tried googling it but all we can see is Prendergast calling him a horse. As for how he looks now, well lordy he should the guy is a man at this point.

    The AHL is a different league though, and the NHL is a trip to the moon from there. Alex Plante looks like someone put a fridge in his pants this season.

    As for Arsene, great news for him. I mentioned this possibility here:

  12. PierreMcGuires Ghost says:

    Interesting analysis of what "ails" him at this point. The guy has got enough footspeed to do things at the NHL level, and I take anyone's critical analysis of a D-man's gap control with a grain of salt when you play without a red-line on big rinks in US college hockey. In my estimation, give him a pro year to work on that, then get back to me on these alleged "flaws".
    I will say this tho – I have heard more than once his drothers might be to stay out East, as his family, college, friends, and life have been out there from day 1. Springfield might work to start (provided we are still farming there), but I wonder just exactly what he will feel about being in Northern Alberta & having a Canadian zip code when the time comes.
    Food for thought.

  13. Lowetide says:

    Well he doesn't really have a lot of choice (we're not talking about Eric Lindros here) so it would seem he's destined to play at least a few seasons in the far North.

    As for your other comments, I certainly agree that "saw him good" is a dangerous way to go when assessing prospects. However, it's been my experience that Oilers prospects get way more hype than deserved.

    Perhaps Petry is the exception. We'll see.

  14. kanadienkyle says:

    PM's Ghost, the Oilers have a good reputation within the USHL, where Petry played junior. I bet its not much of an issue. Also, like LT said, he likely doesnt have a lot of leverage.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    Interesting note on Sam Gagner selection:

    "But, in 2007, they went in knowing they needed a centre and took Sam Gagner rather than winger Jakub Voracek, who was almost a dead-heat with the scouting staff."

  16. Cory Klein says:

    That quote really gets to me. Both players are exceptional talents but drafting for need is silly. In this case the players were a toss up according to the scouting staff, so it's less of an issue.

    I'm sure we can all go into the what-ifs, and the Sam is great but size… but I don't really care about that. It's the strategical short-sightedness that irks me.

    I really wish KLowe would be assigned to scouting defenseman and nothing else. Also, I've lost faith in our current GM, he does not seem to have the stones required. It seems our strategy is ultra-conservative and then a little bit further.

  17. HBomb says:

    The thing that makes me most upset about that Matheson article? The fact that he tries to justify Moreau and Staios as somehow still being important parts of this team.

    The second anyone is willing to take either of those contracts on for a draft pick, you do that deal and don't hesitate even for half a second.

  18. Asiaoil says:

    I'm very skeptical of Petry – could see him getting lit up worse than Chroney did last year in the AHL. Gilbert was a late bloomer but was very solid at the same age – so I'm not sold on the comp. Longterm who knows.

    As for the Gags draft – how in the world did we need a center in 2007? We had Horcoff, MAP, Nilsson, Cogs, Schremp, Reasoner and I think Stoll was still in the system. Perhaps we needed a veteran center – but that's revisionist history. I liked Voracek more than Gags then – still feel the same today – but that's not slagging Gags as he's a fine player but too much like our other smurfs.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Asia: Agreed. If Petry becomes what KP says he is then he's going to have to go a ways. This season we need to remember he will be more mature (and experienced at this level) than pretty much every player he'll line up against this season. Here's hoping it's the real deal.

    As for the Matheson item, I didn't read or see anything along those lines at the time and this might be a case of convenient memory. I wonder if Guy Flaming knows anything about that?

  20. Asiaoil says:

    LT – you know I'm fine with drafting BPA – but if you follow this strictly then eventually it creates a situation where you have to trade assets that you have in abundance to address weakness in the roster. Seems like the present and past GMs didn't read that note :(

  21. FlamingPavelBure says:

    On the Voracek vs Gagner topic:

    Both have similar stats this season and seem to be growing at the same pace.

    Let's not forget before the draft that samwise had 30 something more points than Voracek, even with the conditions the 2 feats we're realized, it can play on your mind.

    As for the size, i don't think it would make such difference, as Jakub's not very physical anyways.

    On a sidenote, i liked Sam so far, reacted well to the 4th line debut, and looked good on every night where he had the 1st center role.

    Anyone thinks Brulé deserves more icetime and regular PP?

    He evolved into something pretty good. I think he permits us to trade Cogliano away, Brulé is playing better, more physical and is bigger.

    PS: Any update on Robert's concussion?

  22. jon k says:

    If anyone is concerned about MPS' production dropping off, it might be prudent to look at his game-by-game production last season.

    He scored the vast majority of his points in the first 20 games of last season, and I think coincides well with his drop in rankings for the draft.

    We should hope that he isn't now suffering the same drop in production as the season wears on.

    Regarding Petry I still think that he might not be getting enough credit. He's a guy with size, skating, and some good overall ability at both ends of the ice. That's something we haven't seen in our prospect pool in some time. His proportional contribution to total team offense has increased year over year and combined with the glowing "seen him good" reports I think there's good reason to look forward to him turning pro.

  23. jon k says:

    Bure: Just because Voracek isn't physical doesn't mean his size doesn't provide advantages at the NHL level. He bulls his way through defenders quite nicely and protects the puck well at the NHL level.

    Considering this team's current inability to maintain puck possession in the offensive zone, a player like him would seem quite handy right now, no?

  24. Dennis says:

    The older I get, the more I get used to the idea that it takes a tonne of games before a tonne of dmen are fit to watch/and or believe in.

    Of course, that never makes it easier to watch;)

  25. PunjabiOil says:

    I also wanted Voracek at that time, and think he'll have a better career than Gagner.

    Gagner had everything going right for him. Great team, top coach, a number 1 overall draft pick on his line, and ~55% of his production on the powerplay. Good player, no doubt, but his ceiling is questionable and he still hasn't appeared to have taken the next step in development. Still time however.

    Voracek, on the other hand, was playing in a foreign country. His 86 points in 59 games lead was 27 points ahead of the next leading scorer. Voracek also went on to post 24 points in 12 playoff games. If what Matheson is saying about the scouts wanting Voracek over Gagner, I'm not surprised. Kevin Lowe's apparently had a fetish for Sam Gagner wanting to play in a Canadian city, and the home country bias eventually lead to the selection of a [slightly] weaker player.

  26. PunjabiOil says:

    Also note Kostitsyn was the 2nd leading scorer for London in Gagner's draft year, and Gagner finished 3rd.

  27. PierreMcGuires Ghost says:

    kanadienkyle, the Oil having a good "rep" at the USHL level really doesn't do alot for me, to be honest. Gagner, Potulny, etc have all played there, yadda yadda… but the real crux of this issue isn't the Oilers – it is Petry being a born & raised eastern boy, his family still being there, and their personal preference. Like I said, it will be something to keep an eye on – especially given the route he is taking and the massive problem his second contract is going to help create in retaining him afterward.
    Add in that family wildcard, with dad now working for the Detroit Lions and being something of a local legend in Detroit, having your kid at Michigan State (and Des Moines) before that is easy. Edmonton, on the other hand, will be an entirely different world for the Petry family.
    He might be an Oiler, eventually. The rhetorical question is, how committed is he to being an Oiler long-term? Only time will tell.

  28. Lowetide says:

    How about we find out if he's anything at all before we fret about him not playing for the Oilers. Maybe he'd prefer Europe? Is that east enough?

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