TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL NO. 11: KEITH AULIE

Keith Aulie is a monster on skates—6.06, 228—and has played 136 NHL games. Drafted 101 picks after Alex Plante in 2007, Aulie has some famous items in his back story. For instance, he was part of the Phaneuf to Toronto trade (with Phaneuf) and there was a time when both Toronto and Tampa Bay thought a lot of him.

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  • Keith Aulie on joining the Oilers: “I’ve played a little bit now and watched enough hockey to know that I can contribute in this league and I can be an asset for a team, especially like the Oilers. I think that was the biggest factor coming here, getting an opportunity to show what I can do, because I know I can do it.”
  • The Hockey News on Keith Aulie: Has a calm demeanor, and usually makes the safe play. Skates very well for a big man. There’s also upside here as a physical blueliner. Displays a little all-around ability, as well. Can log big minutes. Doesn’t use his size enough. Needs to improve his coordination, game-to-game consistency and decision-making with the puck in order to make an impact at the NHL level.

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  1. You don’t see him as a regular? No.
  2. Who is in front of him? For sure: Mark Fayne, Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry, Nikita Nikitin, Andrew Ference.
  3. Who else might be in front of him? Martin Marincin, Klefbom and I suspect Darnell Nurse will get 9 games.
  4. Where does Aulie fit opening night? Probably in the press box, maybe on IR and possibly on waivers/OKC.
  5. There’s lots of drama for training camp? The obvious (Fayne-Schultz-Petry-Nikitin-Ference-Marincin-Aulie PB) is the smart bet currently. I think there’s a good chance Nurse gets his 9, meaning they’ll IR someone or choose between Marincin and Aulie. Either way, I think Aulie spends over half the season as the No. 7.

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24 Responses to "TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL NO. 11: KEITH AULIE"

  1. RexLibris says:

    Consider the following.

    Aulie replaces Fraser, for the better.

    Aulie is probably a better bet than Belov or Grebeshkov in that the adjustment to the NHL isn’t there.

    If Aulie is the biggest gamble to add on your blueline, and is being slotted into a role where he will have to earn ice time or be a HS, then you have improved over last season.

    I actually like this young player. He was the Flames’ best prospect before Tim Erixon came along, and was thought of highly enough that the Lightning swapped Carter Ashton (who was trending well as a prospect at the time) for him.

    I’m on board with the 300 games rule for NHL defensemen and Aulie is still well below that threshold and will be playing depth minutes with Ramsay as a coach. I think he could be a very useful player for this roster on limited duty.

  2. WadeRed says:

    RexLibris,

    I’m in the same boat as you, and you stated it well IMO. It was a cheap signing, and his prospect status seemed to be noteworthy in his early years, and although there’s nothing extremely exciting about him as a player other than size, I too believe he could be a useful player even as a #7 D. I agree with LT that Nurse will get his 9 games which will leave MacT with decisions to make regarding what to do with Aulie during that time. But at some point injuries will hit us, and one could hope, albeit a pipe dream at this point, that Aulie could step in and really take a stride as an NHL player given the opportunity, and turn out to be a monster defender. Chara-esk if you will. Unrealistic? Most likely. But I’m hoping.

    And slightly off topic, I really like the size the Oil added this offseason. Even if a guy like Purcell is not known to be a physical player, I hope his size at least makes it harder for others to knock him off the puck.

    No fancy stats to support my response, I’ll leave that to the big boys :)

  3. G Money says:

    Off-topic (well slightly – it does relate to the experience/aging curve for defensemen!) …

    I assume some of you folks here know how to contact Jonathan Willis?

    Over at CoH, he has a post up on the aging curving for defensemen.
    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/08/10/usage-by-age-for-nhl-defencemen/

    In it, he says

    First, I haven’t seen anyone attempt an aging curve for defencemen; unlike forwards, they’re difficult to evaluate solely from points and so tend to get overlooked. I’ve long wanted to use time on ice to create an aging curve based on player usage.

    and

    What was surprising was that in the decade from age 22 to age 32, a defenceman returning to the same team would expect to see his ice-time rise. I’d have pegged late-20’s as the age that stopped.

    In fact, I did do exactly what he’s suggesting, build an aging curve for defensemen using TOI. And he’s actually bang on in his expectation, I found the TOI for defensemen peaks at age 28.

    I was going to publish the work as a FanPost over at C&B, but I got lazy/busy.

    I did post it in a thread here on LT, though. Figured I would send it over to Jon as he might find it interesting.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2014/06/no-memories-hangin-round.html/comment-page-1#comment-319174

  4. G Money says:

    I guess getting Aulie is spiritually like giving Alex Plante another chance!

    Also: still hoping for an Aulie-Fraser tilt someday. The Thrilla in Edmanila!

  5. blainer says:

    I also am hopeful for Aulie. Unfortunately for him he will probably need an injury or some very poor play from one of the main D to get an opportunity.. It takes D a long time to figure out the position at the NHL level but he really believes he has it now. He will have to have a great camp. I have to say we are getting deep at the position with a lot of the younger players pushing and if I was a D coming to camp I would be working my ass off during the off season. Again.. Finally some real competition at camp.

  6. justDOit says:

    After watching Aulie/Myers in the WJCs, I couldn’t believe that Calgary had to add him to Phaneuf for the meager return they received from Toronto.

    G Money,

    Nice one. Considering the possibility that Burke could still sign Fraser before the season starts, you might get your Aulie/Fraser matchup.

  7. VanOil says:

    Aulie will one way or another be are last Marlie.

  8. G Money says:

    VanOil,

    Why do you say that? Have we signed all of them already??

  9. VanOil says:

    G Money,

    If Aulie is great we won’t need any more, If Aulie stinks Eakins voice in the room will be diminished, if he is in the room at all. The only one left the Oilers should want in Gardiner and he is locked up for a few years now.

  10. RexLibris says:

    G Money,

    Are you inquiring as to whether anyone here can contact Jonathan on your behalf, or have you contacted him already?

  11. Lowetide says:

    He’ll be on the Lowdown tomorrow, fyi.

  12. RexLibris says:

    Re: Aulie and Fraser, that is pretty funny. Probably wouldn’t strike a chord with a large section of the population (age and all that), but you have to think Gene would be all over that in his pre-game.

    My guess is that Nurse gets 9 games maximum to start the season while Aulie is IR’d or another defenseman who has suffered a noted injury (please no more Joey Moss Cup concussions!) will be.

    Having Keith Aulie stand in the way of Brandon Davidson, Oscar Klefbom, David Musil and Brad Hunt is not altogether a bad thing. I was genuinely excited to see the Oilers sign him, outside of the usual fan excitement that the addition of new players can elicit.

  13. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide:
    He’ll be on the Lowdown tomorrow, fyi.

    Keith Aulie, Joe Fazier, Mohammed Ali, Mark Fraser, Brian Burke, or Jonathan Willis?

    Context! I need context!

  14. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris: Keith Aulie, Joe Fazier, Mohammed Ali, Mark Fraser, Brian Burke, or Jonathan Willis?

    Context! I need context!

    The thrilla with JonWilla.

  15. Ryan says:

    Lowetide:
    He’ll be on the Lowdown tomorrow, fyi.

    Willis is like found money. :)

    Another blogger who’s gold on the radio…

  16. "Steve Smith" says:

    RexLibris: Keith Aulie, Joe Fazier, Mohammed Ali, Mark Fraser, Brian Burke, or Jonathan Willis?

    I’m prepared to give any one of them a shot as the Oilers’ #2 centre.

  17. RexLibris says:

    “Steve Smith”: I’m prepared to give any one of them a shot as the Oilers’ #2 centre.

    Burke would refuse to wear a helmet.

    And I don’t know that it would necessarily hinder his performance.

  18. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: The thrilla with JonWilla.

    I challenge you to reference that at some point during the interview. ;)

  19. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”: I’m prepared to give any one of them a shot as the Oilers’ #2 centre.

    I don’t think shot means what you think it means.

  20. VanOil says:

    Lowetide:
    Winnipeg finally gets their goalie. Maybe http://www.puckrant.com/index.php/component/k2/item/1224-blog-5-trade-wars-v-clouts-v-lowetide

    If you think Grigorenko can be had for a second round pick the Oilers should move on this now. The Oilers would be stacked a Center for years to come. Still would not fix this years problem though.

  21. Bruce McCurdy says:

    G Money,

    Just catching up today. I have forwarded a link to your comment to Young Willis.

  22. Jonathan Willis says:

    G Money,

    That’s really cool.

  23. matt says:

    Thinking about Aulie as the 6 and Klefbom/other OKC as the rotating 7, I feel bullish about trading Petry for a centre. If there is one to be had.

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