Break it down! – Defense

By , August 24, 2009 1:12 pm
Penner needs all the padding he can get

Penner needs all the padding he can get

This is the second among a few recurring posts where I break down and discuss different parts of the Oilers and how I think they are going to perform this coming year, their strengths and weaknesses and where we could use some help. First one is here.

This is the best defense group we have had in a long long time. Gilbert and Grebber Grabber are perfect examples on why we should hold on to the young guys on forward. When they get some experience they are golden. The top four are one of the best groups in the league if you ask me. There is lots of talent bubbling under too.

Lets take a peek at what we have on D:
L/R
Gilbert/Souray
Grebeshkov/Visnovsky
Smid/Staios

Extra
Strudwick

Thats a pretty defense core.

Strengths
Strength of our defense is that it is a solid group. You have the hammer back there, who pounds the puck, smashes faces and makes the ladies wet. Three solid d-man that can move that puck well (isn’t that what every team wants, just one?) in Visnovsky, Grebeshkov and Gilbert.

The group is split between experienced and youth which is a good mix.

Smid is a scrappy player, and looks to be getting better every time he steps on the ice.

There is also a lot of talent coming up in the minors. When Staios is out we have Peckham who can step right in and replace him. Then Chorney et al.

Weaknesses
Staios is overpaid. And losing a step which is a damn shame because he was “Steady Steve” for so long.

Money. I didn’t include the salaries above, but there is 23+ mil invested in defense. 41% of the cap. That is not a good thing. One of the above is going to have to be traded.

Could Use
Need a Jason Smith. Not only was he one of my favorite players, but he was tough, did the dirty jobs and stopped other teams from scoring. A pure defender would stabilize the defense and would allow us to shop one of the top 4 for not only cap relief but in order to pick up that forward we need.

And Finally
As I mentioned in the last breakdown, I love this team. But I am pretty sure that my rose colored glasses are not making this defense look prettier than they already are. And with the talent we have coming up, I am happy with the defense. I won’t be terribly surprised if one gets moved for the reasons mentioned above, but I would prefer one of the older players over the younger ones obviously.

11 Responses to “Break it down! – Defense”

  1. Racki says:

    I’m going to post something down the road later… but after doing some research, Staios and Smid are a horrible pairing. No surpise, I’m sure.. however Souray and Smid have been statistically good together. Some new (well, old, kind of) d-pairings I’ve been tossing about.. will post this later.

  2. Steve-O says:

    Staios and Smid in my world see 4th lines…so they are fine….FUCK YOU RACKI!

  3. Horpensky says:

    I love our D core, I really don’t know how we’re going to keep it all together for another season.. with Peckham ready to burst in and Chorney is just another few more years away.

  4. Racki says:

    haha, settle down, Steve-O. Seriously though, Staios just does not babysit Smid very well. I know it sounds weird, but it looks like Gilbert and Smid are an even better pairing. Yes, flame away, you effin bastard.

  5. Dallas says:

    Lmao Steve-O ain’t afraid to speak his mind with you hey Racki. I dunno if that is your pic I’d be a lil intimidated lol anyway I agree I definetly think we could move one of Souray or vis I’m still not sure which cause vis is sooo good with the puck and has pretty good point shot. And souray has an absolute Bomb from the point. They both have such great elements to their game. I just would not want to see any of the young-uns traded Smid included I heard a good pot comp for him this weekend in Albelin on lowtide this weekend. I actually think Lubo would get us possibly the best return though.

  6. Racki says:

    Steve-O and I work together in the real world, and we’ve said worse to each other. He just gets all riled up when he knows he’s wrong :P

    And no, that’s not my pic. I look much less intimidating. That’s a character by the name of Racki from the cheesy 80s hockey movie called Youngblood.

    As for Souray/Lubo being moved, I would only be content with that happening if we picked up a strong shutdown defenseman. Someone who can also replace Souray’s toughness. They can be pretty hard to come by though. I really wish the Oil would have spent some cash on Nick Boynton though and then worried about moving someone after.

    Honestly though I’d like to see both of those guys stay here.

  7. NorwegianOiler says:

    Hey Racki! (Compliments to you for creating a easy-to-read and interesting site)

    Quick query, are we too quick to judge defense and offense separately? The focus on individuals seem to totally eclipse the team-oriented spirit hockey is really about, in my opinion, as we continually judge teams individual by individual. That, in turn, might be a product of our time, and is by no means directed as criticism towards you (or anyone in specific).

    Like Pat Quinn said, defense is not up to the defensemen alone, it’s a team effort. Which is why, for example, Columbus can appear to be a very solid defensive team – without any real stars on the back end, because they defend en masse. The Oilers’ defensive corps is certainly above average in terms of individual skill, but can they be a part of a true team defense? :D

  8. Racki says:

    Hey N.O., good to see you here.

    I do agree with your team defense concept. This is something that the Oilers were once good at. However, I think the players best in that role have been traded away (this is a good reason why I want to see a defensive-minded player like Betts or Malhotra signed here). Columbus actually had gone out and picked up some quality 2-way players for depth, in the past in Malhotra, Peca and Vermette (to name a few). I really wish Tambellini would treat our bottom six (in particular) the same way. The bottom six is a perfect area to improve defensive ability, and help out the back-end. However I think Tambellini sees it more of an opportunity to develop our young kids into those kinds of players. On one hand, that does sound great if it works, but on the other hand, I wonder if it *can* work.

    We shall see.

  9. Scarriere says:

    “and makes the ladies wet”. I laughed hard on that one.
    I was offended when you told Racki to eff-off until he explained. He’s a cool dude and if he’s your bro’ , you must be too.
    I like your writing Steve-O.
    It’s good to see some of the people from the oilers site here. Hopefully we all stay positive. As you’ve mentioned, we do have a team to be positive about.

  10. chucker says:

    Looks pretty good to me. I do think Smid doesn’t get the credit he deserves given the limited role he’s been given in the past. Pairing him with Grebs or Souray would make sense to me. He’s really a top four guy IMHO. A nice luxury for us for now.

    As for Staios, well, I’m hoping for a bounce back year. That’s all you can hope for I guess. Hopefully he does well and that salary doesn’t look as bad as it is, but we’ll see.

    As for the team defense; We’ll see what happens with the bottom six guys. I think Renney will have a lot more responsibility focussed on the bottom six than even MacT did. I’m very interested to see what the new coaching staff does with basically the same team. Should be interesting.

  11. Racki says:

    You would think that MacT of all people would have been all about the bottom six guys. Instead, I think he was all about making his bottom six into top six players, rewarding them with extra ice time for back checking all the time, or making nice shot blocks. Those guys bust their asses for a reason. Because if they don’t, they’re gone. I’m a firm believer that there are 20 skaters in the lineup for a reason. Everyone is useful in their own element. But that’s where they should remain. None of this Reddox on the top line stuff.

    As far as Staios, I think he has his uses still. I still contest that Staios and Smid do not work now, and probably never will. Perhaps you are right though that pairing him with someone in the top 4 would do Smid some good. I have done some number crunching though and, believe it or not, Souray and Staios were pretty effective at both ends together. I know this sounds weird, but I was thinking of Gilbert and Smid together. They didn’t see enough ice time to grade them, but they played well together for the ice time they got.

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