Yesterday we talked about “championship” calibre forwards and I suggested Edmonton had 6 at or on the way to that level (Hall, Nuge, Yak, Ebs, Hemsky, Gagner). I also suggested Magnus Paajarvi is close to joining that group, but we don’t know if he’ll occupy a scoring line or a 2-way trio. Today, the defense.
ZONE STARTS DEFENSE
There’s very little gap between the top 6 defensemen, no push, no real shutdown duo. Coach Krueger may be matching in other ways, but it isn’t zone start and the 5×5 TOI is pretty close too.
CORSI REL DEFENSE
There’s nothing really to say here.
So, when we ask the question “can the Oilers win a championship with X player in Y role” I get the following:
- Ladislav Smid as top 4EV and PK D: Yes. Laddy’s faults are with the puck, but he’s really established himself defensively.
- Jeff Petry as a top 4EV and PK D: Yes, and I believe he could help on the PP if required. RH shot adds to value.
- Justin Schultz as a top 4EV and PP D: Oh yeah, PK too eventually. He’s had issues this season and is -12 but he’s a part of the foundation.
- Nick Schultz as a top 4EV and PK D: I don’t think he has enough left to be part of the good times.
- Corey Potter as a top 6EV and PK D: No, although Jon Willis’ piece at ON yesterday makes you wonder a little.
- Ryan Whitney as a top 6EV and PP D: No. He may recover but Edmonton doesn’t have the depth to find out.
- Mark Fistric as a depth D: No. I think the Oilers need a player who can fill more roles than 5D, enforcer and PK.
So. They have three. The Oilers are not yet halfway home in regard to building blue. This from an organization that found Jan Hejda hiding under a linden and got him for basically nothing, and now they’re having a helluva time cobbling together 7 guys who own skates. Why?
Because the team was in rebuild mode. Surely, SURELY that ends this summer.
The other item for the Oilers is that the defensemen they need is the ‘complete’ defender who can play in all situations and anchor the top pairing against the Z’s and the Toews and the Sedins and the Kopitars.
Is that Petry? Is that Schultz?
Or do the Oilers badly need to procure that player from outside?