I always liked the St. Louis Blues. Their uniforms were cool and they had a personality (the Blues, along with the Shero Flyers, wanted to kill you) that was personified by the Plager brothers. Billy, the youngest, was more a skill type defender and not tough like his older brothers. Bob was the guy who played before expansion, which in the early days of the era meant he was better (I have no idea if that’s true, it’s just that was the rule. Original 6—better!).
The Edmonton Oilers have several young defensemen on display at the NHL level now, and they could end up being the group we observe for the rest of the decade. Jeff Petry arrived early, Justin Schultz a year ago, Martin Marincin a few months ago, and Oscar Klefbom this week. The Oilers have Dillon Simpson (more on him in a minute) and Darnell Nurse on the way, and in pro hockey and a tier below these men are fellows like Brandon Davidson, David Musil and Martin Gernat.
That’s a large department of youth.
I believe there’s a very good chance Ekblad falls to the Oilers. The Sabres have a plethora of young blue and could use an elite-level center (Reinhart). Buffalo could trade down (say with Calgary) to block the Oilers, but those kinds of moves are much talked about but rarely happen. King’s point about Schultz (he mentioned it in another tweet) is that Schultz will get paid because boxcars but the defense is and may continue to be wobbly.
The Oilers love Schultz, this much we know.
The point by King is well made, though. Among Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse and Ekblad (and Simpson) the defensive side of the game contributes a lot to their value. I’d count a few of these men as “two-way” types but Klefbom would certainly be more of a defensive defenseman. If he spends 15 years in the NHL and doesn’t exceed Jason Smith’s peak season boxcars, can anyone be surprised?
Dillon Simpson’s college career is coming to an end, I’m anxious to hear he has signed with the Oilers. This guy may have the talent to force himself into the mix sooner than later. It’ll be interesting to see the numbers he signs for, too. Travis Ewanyk signed for $670,000 plus $215,000 in signing bonus money (and $30,000 in performance dollars, $60,000 AHL salary) and is a decent comparable. Ewaynk was taken 18 spots before Simpson, so logic would dictate that (all things being equal) Simpson would be a little shy of those numbers. My guess is he signs a significantly superior contract.
David Perron returns to St. Louis tonight, says he’ll be nervous. The Perron acquisition is one of MacT’s best roster moves this season, despite the price. He’s a fun player to watch, what with his weird angle goals and pissing off the opposition. Fun player, great add. His goal the other night is a perfect example of the things he does well. Drive to the net, stick down. No fear. Hell, strike that. He pursues the opposition into the scoring areas. A wonderful player.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN 1260. Lots to chat about, and the guest list is a moving target. Scheduled to appear:
- Dennis King, Oilogosphere icon. We’ll talk GM meetings, and that item Dennis tweeted about the Oiler blue.
- Neal Livingston, Tend The Farm. OKC Barons in a death struggle for the playoffs, Oil calling up their best. Neal vents, 10:25.
- Corey Pronman, king of the prospect writers, ESPN and Hockey Prospectus. The 2014 draft is coming into view, we’ll get an update.
- Aaron Bold, Edmonton Rush. The winning streak is still rolling, we’ll talk to Aaron about this dream season.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!