The Edmonton Oilers have been using NCAA hockey to procure talent on and off for about one decade now, Ty Conklin signalling a ‘once a year or so’ commitment to signing undrafted college men. It’s galling because it works and they should do it more, but one of the areas Craig MacTavish appears to be very aggressive is college recruitment.
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER THIRTEEN ON THE LIST
- December 2004: C Jesse Niinimaki
- December 2005: C Jonas Almtorp
- December 2006: D Bryan Young
- December 2007: L Liam Reddox
- December 2008: L Slava Trukhno
- December 2009: L Phil Cornet
- December 2010: C Ryan Martindale
- December 2011: L Tobias Rieder
- December 2012: L Tobias Rieder
This looks like a dog’s breakfast, but I bet they end up sorry Rieder was dealt and Reddox had the looks of a possible player for a time. Still, the Oilers prospect depth chart hasn’t been so deep that we expected 13 significant names, even in the golden era. 1970′s Habs had lists 13 deep, Bruins too, Islanders maybe. I can’t imagine an established team ever having that many again, and bad teams play their lottery picks out of the box nowadays.
WHAT THEY SAID WHEN THEY SIGNED HIM
- Fedun talking about Fedun: “I think the positives in my game are good first pass out of the D-zone and, this year, I had a chance to play the power play.”
- Rick Olczyk talking about Fedun: “We’ve been targeting Taylor for a couple of years … strong kid, fierce competitor, good leadership on and off the ice. And he’s obviously a smart kid. He’ll be fine (if he doesn’t make it to the NHL) coming out of that school. We’ve got room for him in Oklahoma City, the rest is up to him.”
WHAT RENNEY SAID JUST BEFORE THE NYSTROM IDIOCY
Fedun has been very good. There’s a level of maturation that’s allowed him to stick around and deal with everything that’s going on in an adult type of way.
POINTS BY DISCIPLINE
|TAYLOR FEDUN, 12-13 AHL||70, 5-14-19 .271||70, 3-5-8 .114||70, 0-0-0||70, 8-19-27 .386|
|TAYLOR FEDUN, 13-14 AHL||13, 1-5-6 .46||13, 2-4-6 .462||13, 0-0-0||13, 3-9-12 .923|
Fedun can move the puck, and this season he’s posting superior numbers at even strength and on the power play. Combined with his defensive abilities he’s certainly a solid option for recall, and you could argue he’s a little better than that right now. There will be a time when the kids mature and Fedun is #12 on the depth chart, but for me he’s shown to be better and more consistent than some of the guys who have been in Edmonton this season. Fedun’s NHL numbers (4, 2-0-2 -1) show some nice offensive potential should he get another chance later in the season.
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2011: 21
- Winter 2011: 25
- Summer 2012: NR
- Winter 2012: 18
- Summer 2013: 12
- Winter 2013: 13
The injury buggered up the progress, but when he hit the outskirts of Oklahoma City things began to work as planned for him. Fedun will have to battle the oncoming rush of prospects but he’s overcome a lot already, and like Arcobello, betting against him is probably a bad idea.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW
- Jonathan Willis: Fedun has been a reliable defenceman in Oklahoma City this season, playing with different partners in different situations but delivering the same level of play seemingly every night. I’ve been tracking some statistics I put a lot of weight on at home games this year, and by those numbers Fedun stands out:
- On-ice Fenwick (shots and missed shots) plus/minus: +77/-53
- Zone Starts: 22 offensive zone, 42 defensive zone
- More Willis: To put those numbers in an easily understandable form: Fedun has been leaned on heavily in a shutdown role, taking to the ice a lot of times when the puck is 200 feet from the opposition net. Despite that, The Barons have out-shot their opposition by nearly a 3:2 margin with Fedun on the ice in the seven games I tracked.
- Willis Willis: This is what a player winning an NHL job looks like. Injuries or poor play open the door a crack, and the player forces the issue not by being just okay but by being so good that he can’t be ignored. Mark Arcobello did it earlier in the year, and Taylor Fedun’s doing it now.
Taylor Fedun is 25 now, he lost a season (and really two, because Fedun basically made the 2011-12 team) and is in a fight for that RH slot on the third pairing. That spot has belonged to (at various times) Nick Schultz, Corey Potter, Phil Larsen, Denis Grebeshkov, Anton Belov and Taylor Fedun for four games. It’s not going to get any easier in 2014, as the club has more men knocking and apparently some of those lefties can play right side, too.
In ranking Taylor Fedun #13 overall, I’ve placed him behind the following defensemen who are playing either in OKC or Edmonton:
- #2 overall Oscar Klefbom
- #4 overall Martin Marincin
- #7 overall Anton Belov
- #9 overall Martin Gernat
I think Fedun can pass Belov and Gernat depending on injury, but he’ll need some luck to have an NHL career. It is not a strong bet to make, but the look of the Oilers blue line is likely to change in the summer and he may have a better opportunity when the dust settles. Fedun could also find a home elsewhere in the NHL, he’s certainly been good enough to get everyone’s attention.