Sending down Jeff Petry this fall makes about as much sense as sending down Linus Omark did a year ago. There is no way possible to frame the issue in favor of Petry heading to OKC in September. He is not 20, he is not the 7th or 8th man on the depth chart, he is certainly not staring at a resume with blood all over it in the NHL or AHL.
Jeff Petry could make a few hockey clubs, not just the Oilers. Sending him down for any reason–Taylor Chorney’s waiver issue, Andy Sutton’s brick wall hits–any one you can name I own a stronger retort: he’s freaking ready.
NHL Prediction for 11-12: 50, 2-10-12
- I thought he’d have better numbers. I think Barker, Whitney and Gilbert will get a lot of the PP time, so the offensive ability Petry has won’t be in the boxcars this season.
- Did he do well as a rookie last season? He played well, in fact you could argue he should be considered a more suitable candidate for top 4 duties this fall than Barker. Petry faced third pairing opposition with Laddy Smid (52.6%) and Jim Vandermeer (27%) and survived it. In fact, his CorsiRel was in the top 4 range on the Oilers during his 35 games.
- So he won’t play the tough minutes? No. I think the Oilers have Peckham clearly ahead of him in the defensive aspects of the game. Petry may play more minutes, but the top 5D in fact this season are likely to be Whitney, Gilbert, Smid, Barker and Peckham.
- In that order? I don’t think so. Barker is going to have a helluva time with it if his resume truly reflects his abilities.
- Is there a way Petry makes the club out of camp and plays top 4 minutes? Yes, and they both involve Ryan Whitney. First, if they pair Whitney with Petry in pre-season and there’s some chemistry then there’s a chance Petry makes the team and addresses the top 4 problem. It would be heaven sent if he could manage it, because it backs up the rest of the defense nicely. You could go Smid-Gilbert and then Peckham-Barker.
- But that won’t happen? The contracts will do the coaching this fall. Petry–despite being 23–is the obvious choice for demotion because he doesn’t have to clear waivers.
- What would be the ideal way for him to break in? Oh, I don’t know maybe with a veteran NHL defenseman with some miles left to play with him? Oilers need a D mentor with Ryan Smyth’s resume in the worst possible way.
- How much offense does he have, anyway? He went 2-10-12 on the PP in OKC, and 1-0-1 on the PK.That means he was 4-7-11 at even strength in 41 games. He could be a 20 point defenseman as soon as this season if they used him on the PP. He’ll be able to move the puck efficiently by skating or passing once he calms down.
- You didn’t used to like him. The problem with college kids is we don’t see them ever, and honestly Kevin Prendergast never met a prospect who wasn’t Bobby Orr. So I didn’t buy into the hype, but it does appear that he’s going to be an NHL hockey player.
- Good for KP. You bet, send five more.