#17 PROSPECT (winter 2012): COLTEN TEUBERT

In ranking Colten Teubert #17, it is with the acknowledgement that he is extremely likely to play more NHL games than some of the prospects ranked ahead of him. This top 20 values a wide range of skills over one dimensional types, and guys like Teubert get squeezed. The ranking should not be taken as reflecting a downturn in value or future. Colten Teubert is on the verge of an NHL career and it could be a long one.

When we saw Colten Teubert in the NHL last season, it was pretty clear he was not ready for prime time. Understanding he’ll spend much of his time on the 5-6 pairing and in an enforcer role (similar to Theo Peckham’s current job), Teubert has to close the gap between himself and a replacement 5-6D/enforcer to make the grade–and he has to stay healthy. With Andy Sutton looking like he’s wrapping up his career with an injury, and Peckham coming off a season of struggle, the time could be now for Colten Teubert. As for what he is as a player, I go back to a quote from his AHL coach when Teubert was an LA King prospect:

  • Mark Morris:“Like most guys who enter the American Hockey League, the biggest challenge is making the reads. He is a strong skater, so if he makes a poor read he has the ability to eat up ground and shut people down. What I like about him is that he seems to get a piece of somebody every time he is on the ice, and he is a hard guy to play against. At times when he handles the puck, he might not make the best choice, but he keeps the game fairly simple. He is an old school defenceman in my books; the type of guy that everybody will appreciate over the course of time.He’s not going to wow you in the beginning, but I think over time he will prove that he is a force to be reckoned with and he can be a reliable, dependable defender.”
  • Morey Gare after his trade to Edmonton: “We like a lot of things about his game that we’re kind of lacking with our organization. He has good size and strength, good mobility, we like his physical game and his toughness. Most importantly, his willingness to be involved physically in the game and to be hard to play against. We see him as more of a defensive defenceman who will be able to contribute some offence. He moves the puck well, too. We’re really drawn to the whole package.”
  • The Hockey News: Teubert is a classic defensive defenseman who excels in the shutdown aspect of the game and plays with a pretty wide mean streak. “He’s not as polished as [Luke] Schenn, but he’s meaner than Schenn,” one scout said. “He’s a nasty guy to play against.” One scout said Teubert might tumble on draft day because he can be a little erratic and compared him to Bryan Marchment. Another scout wonders what all the fuss is about with Teubert. “I think he’s a little overrated,” the scout said. “He has pretty average hockey sense. He has good size and mobility and he competes, but I think his hockey sense keeps him from being a top pick.”
  • NHL Director of Central Scouting EJ McGuire“Colten is a smooth skating defenseman, who can skate the puck out of trouble and can jump up the ice with the puck. I like Colten for a lot of reasons, but most of all for his ability to take charge of the game. He projects as a support three or four defenseman, at least initially in the NHL, with a good offensive upside who won’t hurt you on defense.”

SUMMER 2012: #16

WINTER 2012: #17

There has always been a place for tough defenders like Colten Teubert. The problem is that many of these player types lose their careers to injury before they can mature and play NHL defense well, and others never learn–its the difference between 5 years experience and 1 year’s experience 5 times. Teubert has a lot of scouts in his corner, and now two AHL coaches who sing his praises. Whatever the gap between promise and delivery, that’s the timeline for Colten Teubert’s arrival.

#17 ranked prospects on December lists:

  • December 2004: L Alexei Mikhnov
  • December 2005: L Alexei Mikhnov
  • December 2006: C Jonas Almtorp
  • December 2007: G Jeff Deslauriers
  • December 2008: D Johan Motin
  • December 2009: D Cody Wild
  • December 2010: L Teemu Hartikainen
  • December 2011: D Dillon Simpson
  • December 2012: D Colten Teubert

Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.

Sometimes this player type ends up as Jason Smith, other times Matt Greene and still more often Sean Brown. I think Colten Teubert has a very good chance to play a long time in the NHL, but how far he moves up the depth chart depends a lot on his ability to stay healthy and learn the game at the NHL level. I’m not aware of any system that allows us insight into which one he’ll be, that’s for the future. As it is, the fact that he’s #17 on the current top 20 suggests the Oilers have been swinging for the fences in other areas–possibly because they have a few one dimensional “sure things” like Colten Teubert. I don’t think its a question about Teubert making the NHL, the question is how many useful jobs will he be assigned when he arrives.

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19 Responses to "#17 PROSPECT (winter 2012): COLTEN TEUBERT"

  1. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Maybe it’s just the Regina Pats connection, but Jason Smith is an interesting comp. Certainly their 18- and 19-year-old seasons in Regina are not dissimilar when adjusted for era. Obviously Oilers fans would be thrilled if Teubert developed into Gator II, but we have to bear in mind that Oilers traded for Smith when he was 25 while Teubert was acquired when he was just about to turn 21. So we’re going to have to endure way more of the growing pains even if he does develop into such a player. (And even at 25, Jason Smith still had enough rough edges that Leafs gave up on him.)

    Watch that video of the hit on Baertschi, though, and tell me it didn’t make you think of Gator at least a little bit. And man oh man, could these Oilers use “a” Gator.

    I’ve taken my share of abuse for it already, but I maintain this is one guy where patience is a must. Sometimes one just has to be prepared to wait. The lockout-strengthened AAAAHL is the perfect spot for Teubert to be at the moment.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: I think waiting on defensive defenseman is kind of like waiting on good defensive catchers. Teubert looked overwhelmed last season, but put him out with a good veteran partner and I think some of those wrinkles iron out. We’ll see, agree patience is required.

  3. DeadmanWaking says:

    I recall on trade day Woodguy had a small melt-down because LA had so many other plums. I thought that was a bit like being disappointed with your date because when you brought her home, you discovered her sister/roommate was twice as hot (Seinfeld: The Switch). I wondered if Teubert would forever wear the mantle of what we might have had instead. First impressions are a funny business.

    Back then, the ANP rollback was a bitter pill, made twice as bitter by receiving a slow-cooker in return. “Oh, but it will sweeten the lock-out.” For some reason, no-one volunteered that comfort at the time.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Lots of Oiler kids in action tonight, Dillon Simpson is the first to post a crooked number–a PP assist for UND versus Laleggia and Denver.

  5. Traktor says:

    Dat feel when I’m looking at prospects for the upcoming draft the first week in December.

  6. RexLibris says:

    I’m with Bruce on this one. The Gator comparison is pretty much what I’ve had in mind with Teubert for awhile now. And like the man said: patience. Teubert may not be anything terrific right now, or perhaps even in two or three years. But I’d suggest that, barring injury, he could become one of those nasty, dependable, shut-down d-men in his late 20s that every team loves to slot in the second-pairing. Those guys save coaches’ careers.

    I noticed Rieder didn’t dress for Kitchener tonight. That foot thing must still be acting up.

  7. oilersfan says:

    I really can’t understand the lack of respect Teubert gets. This guy is trending like Smid, Smith and Robyn Regehr. He is exactly what the Oilers will need when they are ready to contend. I have not watched his games this season in OKC but based on the game reports on COH he consistently is one of the better defenders. He is still filling out his frame, can skate, and is mean. Once he gets his reads down and works on some other defensive subtleties I think he will be a good third pairing guy who will graduate to be a good second pairing guy. Barring injury I bet he plays 1000 games in the NHL, probably 1000 more than Laleggia, Roy and Moroz put together.

    I don’t see how he is lower than any of those three LT, makes no sense at all.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Oilersfan: It isn’t a lack of respect, and if you could guarantee me that he’s Jason Smith 2.0, then Teubert would be much higher on the list. However, the range of skills this player has means he has to be a quality defender (MUCH better than we’ve seen) in order to take on a useful role.

    As for Laleggia, Roy and Moroz, they are perfect examples of my point. Laleggia gets the nod because offense is harder than defense (harder to score than defend), Roy has a chance to be an NHL starter (valuable item) and Moroz could be that PF Edmonton has been seeking (showed some nice things tonight, as an example).

    I like Teubert. Honest.

  9. wuthering says:

    Teubert’s skating ability exceeds any of Gator, Peckham, or Greene (though Gator was a decent skater). This alone might guarantee him a few seasons in the NHL. His gap control is still a work in progress, and there are lots of spaz-attacks in his own zone. I feel his hockey mind needs to catch up to both body and skill-set. I think Gator II fits perfectly: elbows up and off the glass.

  10. PaperDesigner says:

    I would like to think the Oilers got Teubert because that was all the Kings were willing to throw at the Oilers in addition to the first and third rounders. I certainly hope some of the other players were flat out not on the table. If all you were going to get was the eventual Klefbom pick and some spare parts, so be it. If the Oilers asked specifically for Teubert to “address an organizational weakness in size and team toughness”, well, God help us all.

    I think Teubert is the least interesting prospect in the Oilers system. Low ceiling, is playing all right, but nothing guaranteeing future NHL employment, very basic player types. Seriously, every other player has some intriguing stories to track, even the seemingly dull ones. Kyle Bigos? Can he skate at pro, and what kind of effect will he have with his mammoth size at the next level? Curtis Hamilton? Can he get his career back on track and eventually evolve into a Pisani type? Kristian Pelss? Can the Latvian Waterbug buck the odds to make it as a fourth line energy player? There are so many stories, so many intriguing scouting reports, the majority of which are destined, as always, to end in disappointment. Colten Teubert? Uh, well, he’s pretty big. And he played with Eberle. And he’s a defenceman, so we’ll know on him in about three years.

    Can anyone name a prospect in the system less interesting than him?

  11. leadfarmer says:

    Whoever that last scout the Hockey News interviewed, is dead on. Hire that guy.

  12. Lowetide says:

    In regard to Teubert’s footspeed, he’s extremely likely to lose some of it before he establishes himself as an NHL defensemen. Blocked shots, knees, its a dreadful position for keeping speed–especially the way Teubert plays it. Fighting increases the possibility of hand injuries, etc.

    I’m not saying he can’t stay healthy through age 27, but am suggesting history tells us he’ll lose a few things along the way.

  13. DeadmanWaking says:

    Yesterday I declared that I’ve come to an understanding of the NHL lockout dynamics that works for me. I’m not going to push the keyboard away quite so abruptly as Philip Roth did recently, but I’m definitely moving the pot to a back burner.

    Players starting to ask uncomfortable questions of NHLPA’s leadership, Peter Adler reports

    Adler is the voice on the blogosphere I find least copacetic to my own perspective. If Adler were a marriage counselor, I wouldn’t take my marriage there. Some marriage counselors are touchy-feely pragmatic and actively promote reconciliation as a desired outcome; others figure that there are structural issues underneath the surface conflict, and how (or whether) these are addressed determines if the relationship can be restored to a viable path. I would choose the second kind, if I went at all.

    Adler’s comments this morning make me wonder if he’s ever spent five minutes in a theater watching a dramatic production. Inevitably there will be three people on the stage where two characters have a secret (or semi-secret alliance) but one of them has acquired a surprising new piece of information that changes everything which however is not yet known to the other, but they can’t leave the room together to exchange this piece of information without revealing the extent of their alliance to the third party in the room, who functions within the nemesis quadrant. Usually the person with the least information also has a divine gift for unwittingly digging the hole deeper and deeper, and the knowledgeable half of the alliance gets caught up in an increasingly baroque network of lies and misdirections (which takes the rest of the play to resolve).

    Fehr is certainly looking at the deals tendered by the NHL with an eye to the next negotiation cycle. He could open his strategic blueprint to the members of the NHLPA via their private and exclusive Facebook page. All 1005 smartphone toting members would be careful to click on “logout” after every session and clear their browser history caches. None of them ever cheat on their wives.

    Does that sound like wise transparency?

    These documents are hard to read, much less interpret. Some of the players will get strange ideas about the implications. Fehr won’t be able to respond: “the future won’t break that way, because of strategic factor X, which I’ve been careful to downplay in negotiations to date, for fear of waking the NHL up to detailed nuance Y”. It’s not like you really think the league doesn’t notice the detailed nuances. But it’s a bag of cats, and there are many nuances to think about, and maybe a few fall between the cracks if you don’t paint them in neon.

    It’s a real risk when you choose your leadership that your leadership starts to play for their own glory. This structural transparency problem could be seen coming seven years ago. In Britain during the Viking era, villages would often hire German mercenaries to provide defense upon the next Viking invasion. Half the time the mercenaries in residence discovered they could extort the town very effectively, that it was better to run from the Vikings when they finally showed up than risk the ultimate sacrifice (a sizable fraction did both). Which character aspect of drunken German mercenaries in residence was so hard to foresee? Your daughter’s virtue? Fuhgeddaboudit.

    Oh, the Vikings are coming and our mercenaries have all run off! How come we didn’t know? Yeah, and what a great time you picked to float this question just as the Vikings are massing outside the flimsy gate listing demands.

  14. Lowetide says:

    I approach the lockout like this: if I were a player, the one thing I’d want is the right to make up my own damn mind. Fehr appears to be quite transparent, so if there are questions then its on the player to pursue them. And I don’t for a minute buy that these guys won’t speak up–hell, Hamrlik already has plus a teammate.

    On the other hand, owners have a right to speak up when their industry has gone sideways. I’m sure there’s much muttering about losses in PHX (I assume that’s a shared cost) and other items along the way.

    I just have a feeling the players will pay for it, seems they always do. I could see the NHL folding a couple teams, that kind of thing.

  15. Bruce McCurdy says:

    PaperDesigner: I think Teubert is the least interesting prospect in the Oilers system. Low ceiling, is playing all right, but nothing guaranteeing future NHL employment, very basic player types. Seriously, every other player has some intriguing stories to track, even the seemingly dull ones. Kyle Bigos? Can he skate at pro, and what kind of effect will he have with his mammoth size at the next level? Curtis Hamilton? Can he get his career back on track and eventually evolve into a Pisani type? Kristian Pelss? Can the Latvian Waterbug buck the odds to make it as a fourth line energy player?

    So “can Curtis Hamilton evolve into a Fernando Pisani type?” is an interesting question, but “can Colten Teubert evolve into Jason Smith type?” is a boring one? Alrighty then.

    Seems to me the Next Gen Oilers could use both types of player, and a few more besides.

  16. PaperDesigner says:

    Bruce McCurdy: So “can Curtis Hamilton evolve into a Fernando Pisani type?” is an interesting question, but “can Colten Teubert evolve into Jason Smith type?” is a boring one? Alrighty then.

    Seems to me the Next Gen Oilers could use both types of player, and a few more besides.

    I don’t think his upside is that high. I believe he might be a sixth or seventh defenceman, if all breaks right, which I think is the least interesting player type in hockey. There’s also draft position to consider–someone else’s mid first round pick may be the least interesting pedigree–not the glamour or expectation of a top five or top ten pick, but not far back enough to be a bit of an underdog story (I think you could make the case that even second round picks are underdogs).

    Teubert is playing his third pro season, and is still not considered a given for immediate NHL employment on a team with questionable depth there. I don’t think, frankly, that he is tracking that well. I think he is tracking okay enough that we may have another Sean Brown.

    Which is why I would much rather hear about Rieder, Khaira, Zharkov, Simpson, Marincin, or just about anyone else.

  17. Bruce McCurdy says:

    PaperDesigner: Teubert

    Well, I guess LT has 19 other threads for you to hang around in then. Sounds like this one is the perfect storm of boringness.

    For you. I as an old goalie have all day for stay at home d-men, but realize they take a number of years, and often 2 or 3 teams, before they finally emerge.

    I don’t think Curtis Hamilton is tracking all that well either, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit tracking him. It’s rarely a straight line for any of these kids.

  18. Radman says:

    Successful teams need players like this. He and Peckham are in line to be the next Andy Sutton. Advantage Tuebert as the better skater. World junior experience…check. Junior team captain…..check. Has shown willingness and ability to ride shotgun for the stars……check.
    My hunch is you will see him as a pairing with Nick Shultz sooner than later.

  19. mc79hockey says:

    I really can’t understand the lack of respect Teubert gets. This guy is trending like Smid, Smith and Robyn Regehr.

    Smid had 142 games in the NHL at this point, on a defence corps that sucked, but not as much as the Oilers group did last year. Smith had 43 games and was a full-time NHLer at 22 – it’s not Teubert’s fault that there’s a lockout and you can’t hold that against him but I don’t know anyone who had him down as being in the NHL this year even though, again, the Oilers defence will probably suck. Regehr had 205 NHL games at this point, despite breaking his leg.

    So I’ve got exactly no idea what you mean when you say he’s trending Smid, Smith and Regehr. He’s actually trending more like a million guys you and I don’t remember because they had short careers and then disappeared.

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