You and I have followed these kids from the high school grad and their farm work, and watched them make their first, uneasy steps onto NHL ice. The Oilers have a hideous record for developing NHL defensemen through the system, so about 12 years from now we’ll probably be talking about the best homegrown crop of blue to pass through Edmonton.
NHL GAMES PLAYED BY OILER DRAFT PICKS, BLUE, 1979-2014
- Paul Coffey 1409
- Kevin Lowe 1254
- Tom Poti 824
- Steve Smith 804
- Jeff Beukeboom 804
- Matt Greene 504
- Geoff Smith 462
- Brad Werenka 320
- Francois Leroux 249
- Jeff Petry 236
The current prospect list (Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse, others) should start climbing that list by 2016-17, and one or more should climb into the top five by the mid 2020′s. I’ll write something nice.
Nikita Nikitin was selected in Round 5 of the 2004 draft, he is among the very best players taken in that round. The best player is Mikhail Grabovski but Kris Versteeg has done some nice things too. Mike Brown went in that round, Oilers took Bryan Young (17 games), Jake Dowell has spent time in the NHL. Nikitin, should he be acquired by Edmonton, will give the team more actual NHL experience and that’s a very good thing.
CURRENT CAREER NHL GP FOR PROJECTED OILERS DEFENSE IN 2013-14
- Andrew Ference 831
- Jeff Petry 236
- Nikita Nikitin 206
- Justin Schultz 122
- Martin Marincin 44
- Oscar Klefbom 17
For me, that’s the key to the deal. NHL experience, actual NHL players. We know the kids will play some this year, there are always injuries on defense, but this pushes Klefbom back to the farm, and maybe pushes Nurse back to junior (after 9 games, I don’t see him getting sent straight down).
STILL TO COME (ADDITIONS)
I’ve been beating this drum for awhile, but I think we have to prepare ourselves for some dynamite placed in the foundation. It goes back to last season, when Craig MacTavish brought a lot of people back, and I think he might feel like they fooled him.
In There Will be Blood, I made a list of things we could see:
- Nail Yakupov is or will be available in a ‘impact prospect re-set’ should the opportunity arise. Nail for NY Islanders No. 5 overall, as an example.
- Sam Gagner traded. If MacT is going to build up the middle, moving 89 out of there is job 1. After that, a move to wing is possible, but unlikely unless David Perron is vital to a huge deal.
- No. 3 overall available for the right price. Oilers would trade back, not out, of top 10 overall.
- Jeff Petry is in that exact spot where Oiler draft picks begin to get paid. Many get the bowling pin.
- Martin Marincin is the young defenseman most vulnerable.
- The Pinizzotto contract may end up being a bigger deal than we thought at the time.
- Fewer Grebeshkov-style bets—”hey, he was good 5 years ago and says he’ll get in shape”—a more focused summer ahead.
- Leon Draisaitl.
- Free agency: Mark Spector had a killer article up the other day, based on his and MacT’s verbal I would say the club might go hard after a center (Grabovski, Legwand) and a helpful winger (Kulemin, Winnik, Moss).
I think Nikitin qualifies under “fewer Grebeshkov-style bets” as he’s more formidable than Anton Belov but from the same tree as a player. Remember, MacT is also going to be adding some forwards via free agency this summer, he said 5 additions. It could be more, depending on what happens at the draft.
In Moving Parts I wrote about most of the available players and what we might see in return for them. I included Jeff Petry and Martin Marincin on that list, along with forwards Nail Yakupov, Sam Gagner and David Perron.
Dynamite. Under the foundation. The clock is ticking. I don’t think this team makes it to July 1 as it stands.
- Goal: Ben Scrivens, Viktor Fasth
- LD: Martin Marincin, Nikita Nikitin, Andrew Ference
- RD: Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Oscar Klefbom
- C: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander
- L: Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Matt Hendricks, Jesse Joensuu, Luke Gazdic
- R: Jordan Eberle, David Perron, Iiro Pakarinen, Tyler Pitlick, Steve Pinizzotto