From Martin Marincin to Joey Laleggia, the Edmonton Oilers have drafted 9 defensemen since 2010. Two are in the pro feeder system, several more graduate this spring and still others may spend a year in college or Europe. How are the Oilers going to graduate these kids in an orderly fashion?
(Marincin photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).
Here are the 9:
- Martin Marincin (fall 2013 will be in year 2 of his 3-year entry level deal)
- Brandon Davidson (fall 2013 will be in year 2 of his 3-year entry level deal)
- Oscar Klefbom (begins his 3-year entry level deal in the fall)
- David Musil (begins his 3-year entry level deal in the fall)
- Martin Gernat (finishing up his WHL career, a priority signing for the organization)
- Dillon Simpson (emerging NCAA talent)
- Joey Laleggia (same as Simpson, just a tick below due to one dimensional skill set)
- Erik Gustafsson (drawing positive reviews for his play in Sweden)
- Kyle Bigos (Mountain man is a college senior)
David Musil-Ready for Pro
THE 7 POTENTIAL NEW PRO’S 13-14
- D Oscar Klefbom (11, 0-3-3 SEL). The prize in the system, as long as he’s healthy. Oiler fans currently watching Jonas Brodin perform in Minnesota may feel Klefbom can step in next fall and play. That’s probably close to correct, but Brodin did spend some time in the AHL and I think it’s wise to assume the same for Oscar.
- D David Musil (53, 9-22-31 WHL). Musil is a steady defender who has long since mastered the junior game. I think the Oilers might fast track him, although there is no hurry for them to do it based on the current NHL depth chart. The only issue is footspeed at this point; other than that he’s a very good defender in need of pro experience.
- D Martin Gernat (19, 1-8-9 WHL). Lost much of the season to surgery and recovery and looked a little rusty when he first came back. Now? Gernat is really playing well, making good decisions defensively and has become extremely aggressive in the 1+ season of WHL play we’ve seen him. Oilers will sign him, I can’t see this guy getting away (he turns 20 in April).
- D Dillon Simpson (32, 3-17-20 NCAA). This guy is having an excellent year and moving up the UND depth chart. Has played in all the games this season and is having a terrific year on the PP (2-10-12)–he had almost identical PP numbers last year in 42 games, so his final numbers in the discipline should end up being a nice step forward. His scouting report was somewhat vague in terms of his puck moving ability, but the Oilers appear to have something here. Just turned 20, is eligible to play one more year of college.
- D Joey Laleggia (31, 11-14-25 NCAA). Numbers are off slightly this season but he’s clearly a solid puck moving defender. I’m not certain what the club would have in mind for him, but a team that has Reijo Ruotsalainen and MA Bergeron in their history probably isn’t afraid of some chaos. He will be 21 in June but has two more years of eligibility.
- D Kyle Bigos (23, 4-7-11 NCAA) . big man (6.05, 230) has had injury issues of his own but I think he should be considered a lock for a contract this spring. The Oilers are a team that has plans to be bigger and this guy could be a stand in for a remake of Princess Bride. Bigos is 23 and a senior.
- D Erik Gustafsson (45, 7-15-22 Allsvenskan). Began the season 27, 3-5-8 and since then he’s humming along at a 18, 4-10-14 clip. He’s 20, I don’t know that there’s any pressure to sign him this summer but he might be ready to help.
The real problem is getting these guys to the NHL without losing games as they learn on the job. I think Marincin is a pretty important player to watch in this process, as the Oilers patience with him might mean they back up the prospects long enough for them to mature. What does that mean? Fewer seasons like the early NHL career of Ladislav Smid.
A guess might be that they graduate the blue to the NHL like this:
- 2013-14: Oscar Klefbom
- 2014-15: Martin Marincin, David Musil
- 2015-16: Martin Gernat, Dillon Simpson
- 2016+: the rest.
Something like that. It’s tough, though.Very tough.
Punch Imlach led the Leafs to the Stanley in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967.
- Imlach talking about fall 1968, just over a year after leading Toronto to the Stanley: I moved in a lot of guys, especially on defence. I knew I was going to give Mike Pelyk a lot of work, Jim Dorey was a real tough egg from Tulsa and he was going to get a shot at it. Another tough guy was Pat Quinn, and a real surprise in camp was Rickey Ley, a junior from Niagra Falls with no pro experience. So we had all those guys, plus Tim Horton, Marcel Pronovost and Pierre Pilote.
They fired him the following spring. Rookie defensemen are coach killers.
Imlach with the original Buffalo Sabres