RE 10-11: Taylor Chorney

The Edmonton Oilers need some of their good young D prospects to turn into actual NHL players. Taylor Chorney is one of them, and in fact has the second best draft pedigree of the group. Chorney has also flown more sorties than any of the other kids and probably has more offensive upside. What he doesn’t have is a strong pro resume or any kind of solid foundation to build on. For this reason, I think there’s a real chance Chorney spends a lot of 10-11 in the minor leagues.

•Boxcars: 42gp, 0-3-3
•Shots: 35
•Plus Minus: -21
•Corsi (Rel): -13.1 (6th best on D)
•GF/GA ON: 15-34
•5×5/60: 0.20 (5th best on D)
•5×4/60: 2.40 (2nd best on D)
•Quality of Competition: 4th toughest among D’s
•Quality of Teammates: 4th best among D’s
•Cap Hit: $942,000

  1. What do these numbers tell us? Two things: Chorney wasn’t ready and the coaches are idiots. Chorney, a raw rookie clearly over his head, endured the toughest zone start among defensemen and top 4 minutes in terms of difficulty and pairing. And although these numbers don’t include Staios, Visnovsky and Grebeshkov (since they were dealt away) Chorney was in fact facing very tough opposition in his first full season. Incredible. At what point does a drowning man learn to swim? Added to it, the veteran Chorney played with (Strudwick) posted a poorer relCorsi than the kid. It was basically a wasted season for the young defender.
  2. How could these numbers be better? The Oilers could have used him differently. This was hideous, and the guy who coached the blue either didn’t recognize it, chose to ignore it or felt this was the best way to develop this player. Either way it is crazy. Absolutely crazy. Chorney played in good luck in terms of SP behind him, otherwise it could have been worse.
  3. Did he do anything well? His powerplay number was good in a very limited sample, but Chorney’s going to need to survive defensively for a couple of years before we can talk about him contributing on the powerplay. In training camp (the last two seasons) Chorney has played with a more capable veteran and had more success.
  4. Is his lack of development similar to Cogliano? Yes, a little bit. They both skate well and look like hockey players, but lack both size and “hockey sense” beyond what they do when in possession of the puck. Both were drafted coming out of the lockout at a time when NHL teams were convinced the rule changes were going to reward speed and mobility. Both will have more chances to establish themselves in the NHL after leaving the Oilers organization and both may be better in their 30′s than their 20′s.
  5. What can they do with him? Send Chorney to the minors and have him learn the game at the pro level. He was pure chaos and his positioning was not good. We can blame the coaching to a large extent, but Chorney had some defensive issues in the minors too. He needs to learn to play the pro game, and his lack of size is going to be an issue.
  6. How important is he to the organization? Since the turn of the century, the Oilers have used exactly 2 picks in the annual draft top 40 on defensemen (Chorney and Alex Plante). Chorney is going to get passed by a lot of defensemen here in the next little while (unless the club gets super stubborn on him) if he can’t show a lot more in training camp. I would suggest that the Oilers will probably elevate Peckham above him and wouldn’t be surprised to see Plante and Petry called up before him. There’s also the possibility of the club dealing Chorney and giving those precious minutes to another prospect in the system.
  7. What if they pair him with someone like Vandermeer? If the Oilers could run them out for 15 minutes a night against the soft parade the numbers would certainly be better after this season. It probably depends on his confidence. After last season, it is probably a good idea to send him down and have him regain his game before calling him back up during the season.

Prediction for 2010-11: 34gp, 1-4-5
Last season’s disaster may mean a new start in the minors

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