BLEW BY YOU

I spent part of today trying to remember the last time I felt the Oilers were completely set on defense. You know, 6 guys who could play, maybe a prospect or two on the farm who could be asked to fill in for injury. I found it! And it was awhile ago.

The 1998-99 Oilers blue consisted of:

  • Boris Mironov (25:55)
  • Roman Hamrlik (23:49)
  • Janne Niinimaa (23:54)
  • Tom Poti (19:33)
  • Marty McSorley (16:58)
  • Frank Musil (14:21)
  • Sean Brown (12:14)

Now they traded BoBo (doesn’t everyone love BoBo? I miss him) but brought in Jason Smith. There’s some real talent there, some outstanding youth–and lots of chaos–but great skill. You might choose the Stanley spring defense, but that group ran a green Matt Greene out there a lot. A lot.

I know we’re in a lockout, but we know a little more about Justin Schultz. I think we can safely say he’ll be better than Poti was (98-99 was his rookie season) and I do think that Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry and Schultz the elder can help an NHL team. How many of the current Oilers blue can play 24+ minutes a night? Oilers in 98-99 had three of them, followed by a rookie with puck moving ability and then two old timers to settle things down and a tough son of a gun in Sean Brown.

Current Oilers do have an older timer (Sutton) and a tough son of a gun (Peckham), but again I ask “how many of the current men can play 25 minutes a night?” How many are capable–today–of playing EV, PP and PK? How many are capable of stepping into a feature role?

I’ll say Jeff Petry and I think he’s arrived.

And maybe Justin Schultz. Now. Today.

Schultz was named AHL player of the week today, after an outstanding pro debut. I don’t know that he’s going to anchor the blue for a decade, but I do know that any discussion about easing him into the top 4D on this team borders on knee slapping hilarious. Justin Schultz is among the best defenseman on this team the moment Gary Bettman’s face clears his ass.

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27 Responses to "BLEW BY YOU"

  1. DSF says:

    The Oilers are a couple of injuries away from disaster…just like always.

  2. Lowetide says:

    I’d say less than that. Whitney at 60% isn’t going to help, and that means they’re one injury to Smid or Petry away imo.

  3. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide,

    I think he meant that we’re a couple of injuries away in the other direction.

  4. DSF says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lowetide,

    I think he meant that we’re a couple of injuries away in the other direction.

    I don’t think that means what I think it means.

  5. mps91 says:

    DSF:
    The Oilers are a couple of injuries away from disaster…just like always.

    I agree. If management doesn’t make a deal to bring in a real D before the season starts (assuming this lockout ends at some point) that is the surest indication they’re accepting another losing season. Hoping whitney can be healthy again this year, while already being thin at the position are a surefire recipe for disaster.

  6. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    I’d say less than that. Whitney at 60% isn’t going to help, and that means they’re one injury to Smid or Petry away imo.

    True.

    Makes you wonder why they’re reaching for “power forwards” at #32 while there are still skilled defensemen on the board.

    (Matt Finn – 12GP 5G 7A 12P +10)

    I guess you can never have enough wingers :)

  7. Lowetide says:

    Finn was high on my list, and off to a nice start.

  8. nelson88 says:

    13-14 is going to be very enjoyable. more hockey. the canucks window growing ever smaller if not entirely closed. less trolls.

  9. RexLibris says:

    Are we undervaluing Ryan Whitney?

    I think there has been speculation that the lockout has allowed Taylor Hall additional time to heal, yet that additional time to rehab and adjust doesn’t seem to be mentioned in relation to Whitney.

    Maybe I’m blinkered here (quite possibly) but if the Oilers’ defense can afford to have Whitney on the 2nd pairing, and he is at near-100%, then I would say our defense is improved. Not deep, mind you, but improved.

    Yeah, I would have liked Finn. Or if they were set on a winger, why not Frk?

  10. DSF says:

    nelson88:
    13-14 is going to be very enjoyable. more hockey. the canucks window growing ever smaller if not entirely closed. less trolls.

    There’s always the year after next.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Rex: Whitney looked very challenged when he came back, and he isn’t playing now (that I’ve read). So, we have to assume he’ll once again have some catching up to do when the season begins. Hope I’m wrong, but this is a major career-altering (possibly) injury we’re talking about.

  12. PaperDesigner says:

    Lowetide:
    Rex: Whitney looked very challenged when he came back, and he isn’t playing now (that I’ve read). So, we have to assume he’ll once again have some catching up to do when the season begins. Hope I’m wrong, but this is a major career-altering (possibly) injury we’re talking about.

    It would be nice to know what, exactly, is left in the tank for him.

  13. Melman says:

    Yes, they need another legit D, but the prices this summer were grossly overinflated so you have to give ST credit for not trying to fix the problem by screwing the team capwise.

    Once/if the games start we’ll find out if in fact he has a plan with the D. There is a lot more intel on the current group of prospects at all positions which should lift the paralysis and facilitate a trade.

    I think the majority of teams are in deep if one of their top 4 go down

  14. Gerta Rauss says:

    They absolutely need 1 more Dman capable of playing top 4 minutes.

    I was encouraged by Tambellini saying-again-that they were still looking to trade for a D man, and this was just before the lockout started Sept 15. I’m not sure how much trade activity there will be if the season does in fact start Nov 2, I would guess that most teams are going to be doing well just to get their shit together on such short notice.

    I love Whitney and hope he returns to something resembling his established level of ability,but it’s a bad bet to expect him to do just that.

  15. Traktor says:

    DSF: True.

    Makes you wonder why they’re reaching for “power forwards” at #32 while there are still skilled defensemen on the board.

    (Matt Finn – 12GP 5G 7A 12P +10)

    I guess you can never have enough wingers

    Just as bizarre as Toronto drafting defensemen with their top 2 picks when their 1st line center is Tyler Bozak.

    Mikhail Grigorenko – 12 10 14 24 +11

  16. Johnny says:

    Speaking of Ryan Whitney not playing, and having to play catch-up, what is Jeff Petry’s story???

    That guy needs to be playing hockey as bad as Gagner, Ebs, Hall etc….

  17. Lowetide says:

    And Dubnyk.

  18. Traktor says:

    The player I’m most surprised about not playing is Peckham.

    Maybe nobody wanted him in Europe.

  19. Melman says:

    Traktor,

    double thumbs up for both points…except that in Ontario Bozak is a STUD

  20. PunjabiOil says:

    Yes, they need another legit D, but the prices this summer were grossly overinflated so you have to give ST credit for not trying to fix the problem by screwing the team capwise.

    Rozsival was available for 1 year, 2M.

    There was the opportunity to sign him, and cut loose Peckham.

  21. Traktor says:

    Do we know that Rozsival would sign in Edmonton for 2M though?

    Perhaps he gave his agent a list of 8 teams.

    I’ll take Schultz and give the off-season a 9.5/10

  22. VOR says:

    I am having trouble buying into the ongoing meme about our defence. The only issue long term is the health of Whitney and signing all our free agents. As things stand even with the one legged Whitney we are still better than Carolina was at the start of 2005-2006 or Tampa Bay was in 2003-2004 pre-trading for Sydor.

    Smid, Petry, and Whitney all averaged over twenty minutes last season, Nick Schultz was very close and the young man tearing up the AHL is going to need serious ice time to develop. Andy Sutton played significant minutes last year and probably will again.Then we have Peckham, Potter, Fedun, Teubert, and Marincin who will presumably play at least some NHL minutes the next time there is NHL hockey. Klefblom and Musil will start needing ice time next year as well.

    Rozival probably wouldn’t have signed here because at best he would be fighting for 3/4 minutes and more likely would have be relegated to third pairing.

  23. Marc says:

    Friedman is back!

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opinion/2012/10/30-thoughts-huge-week-ahead-in-nhl-lockout.html

    A couple of good notes on the Oilers in there, but the most interesting is probably:

    ‘Then there’s Justin Schultz. Oklahoma City tracks individual player plus/minus for scoring chances. “After Friday night’s game [a 5-2 win over San Antonio], assistant coaches Gerry Fleming and Rocky Thompson said Justin was a plus-10,” head coach Todd Nelson said. “Then they said, ‘We’ve never seen that before.’ I haven’t either.” ‘

    Apparently OKC track scoring chances in a similar way to Staples in the Journal.

    And Schultz is some sort of scoring chance god-being.

  24. dessert1111 says:

    The lockout potentially solves this D problem, or at least speeds up the process of making them good. I think by next year they will be pretty good with some rookie mistakes and by 14-15 a very good D. This year would have some good arrows but like everyone else says an injury away from potential disaster. But really…

    Klefbom – Schultz
    Smid – Petry
    N Schultz – Fedun
    Sutton

    With Marcincin and Musil ready for callups looks like a potentially dangerous D to me. You can swap Potter for Sutton if you like or even Peckham or Teubert if they turn it up. Lots of options for 6/7 as always, depending on who improves and plays well, but the 1-5 slots are filling out which is what’s important. Yes they could use another top-pairing guy but maybe Klefbom or Petry is that guy, I’m pretty sold on Schultzt as one of those guys at this point.

  25. DSF says:

    Traktor: Just as bizarre as Toronto drafting defensemen with their top 2 picks when their 1st line center is Tyler Bozak.

    Mikhail Grigorenko – 12 10 14 24 +11

    It was odd picking Reilly at that spot but it appears Burke thinks JVR can fill that spot.

    Not sure about that.

  26. uni says:

    The Mitch Moroz pick at the top of the 2nd round is pretty much just stupid any way you look at it. It had to be an organizational mandate otherwise I can’t believe Stu would deviate that far off the board.

    Matt Finn was one of about 4 or 5 good players that should have been taken there instead and I’d have been happy with Finn. Still pretty annoyed at that wasted pick, and I thought they couldn’t have done any worse than Abney and Ewanyk.

    Reilly looks like a solid prospect, but Grigorenko is a solid top 2 pick, I don’t get how the hell Toronto could have passed on him. For that matter I still can’t believe that Grigorenko fell all the way to 12th. Colorado must be kicking themselves, they could have had Forsberg or Grigorenko fall in their laps as well as a high 2nd round pick but ended up with Varlamov instead.

  27. Melman says:

    You know hockey is losing fan interest when it’s been at least 3 weeks since an “I think Tambi blew the draft by not trading back into the top 4 to take Grigorenko” post

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