Break it Down! – Defense (2011/12 Edition)

By , September 13, 2011 11:34 am

Lets hope we see lots of him beating people up this year, and less of him letting Horton hit him.


Continuing on with my series of posts that break down the Oiler’s different areas, today we look at the defense.

This years edition of the Oilers defense will be bad. Maybe not the worst we have ever seen, cause that is a pretty special group, but it’ll be pretty bad.

Lets take a look at what we have so far:

LD/RD
Gilbert/Whitney
Peckham/Sutton
Smid/Barker
Chorney/Petry/Plante

That group seems to be kinda weak to be honest. I see Gilbert and Whitney doing well. Smid and Peckham should be decent (Smid will be the same always I think, and I’m kinda worried Peckham will take a step back early in the year), and while I like them both as players personally, they might have to play above their levels on this team.

No Strudwick, that’s a plus, but we can’t count it out 100% until he gets offered another position elsewhere.

Sutton…I’m not big on Sutton. He should slot in as the 7th d-man in my view. Basically where Vandermeer should have been last year (man will I miss Vandermeer…that Lucic brawl was sweet). And Barker…fingers crossed that Barker finds some magic and starts to earn that draft pick. Although, you’re probably going to see another Foster in there.

Chorney is waiver eligible? So he’ll stay up I bet.

Petry and Plante both need more time in the A to get better I think.

Strengths
Gilbert and Whitney are good.

I said it last year, and this year seems the same. A real tough group.

The pipeline looks sweet. Too bad it’s a few years away.

Weaknesses
Much like last year, I see no 3/4 defensemen in the group. A couple 1/2 guys and then a whole lot of 5/6/7 guys.

Even though I said above that the prospects look good, there is very little depth at the NHL level right now for when injuries occur.

Could Use
A couple 3/4 guys. Good defensively, and can chew up big minutes.

Finally
I don’t think this group is very good. This will be part of the reason that the Oilers miss the playoffs. Considering we have a plethora of forwards, I’d like to see one flipped for help in the back end.

10 Responses to “Break it Down! – Defense (2011/12 Edition)”

  1. Racki says:

    Can’t say I disagree with any of this. Although I am not a fan of the Whitney/Gilbert pairing. I still think we need a better RHD for eating up the big minutes. But we’ll see.

    I also think Sutton SHOULD be a 7th D. I also noticed that the Chorn-dog is waiver eligible. I really think Petry should be up here ahead of him and likely will eventually. My bet is that Chorney does eventually get pushed through waivers after a short preview, unless he really shows some good signs that he’s come a long ways. I thought last year though that the short preview we got of him before being hurt was promising. Anyone that can play with Strudwick and not completely fall apart has to have something going for them… :P

    But really, the biggest part I agree about is we need to flip some of the forward stock to get a stable d-man. I think the Oilers really have it in their heads though that they want to be able to allow room for Petry, Marincin, and the other D-prospects to get their way into the system. But I think they should earn their way in slowly and not be forced into it by an inevitable injury.

  2. NorwegianOiler says:

    It’s a bottom 5 blueline in the NHL, I am afraid. Besides Whitney I don’t think there’s anyone that can pass for a #2 defenseman, let alone the #1 type. Gilbert may masquerade as a #2 at the peak of his game, but generally he’s a second pairing guy. The limit for Smid and Peckham seems to be second pairing too, but I’m still concerned with their consistency and them being overworked.

    Barker is a project at this point. I don’t mind the addition he makes, but he can’t really be relied upon greatly at this point. Sutton’s footspeed is gruelling, will he be near-Strudsian in his step? Ugh.

    Poor blueline, few offensive options, too many slotted for bigger minutes than they should.

    We need some serious overachievement from the group as a whole to be competitive. Will be fun to watch Petry, Peckham and Smid develop further though.

  3. Racki says:

    One issue that I have with our D is I think we have several guys that can play the 2nd pairing D. Most of them are also left handed D. Our options on the right side are VERY slim now. There are guys playing their “uncomfortable” side. Some guys can do it fine, others struggle with it.

    I also haven’t ever been 100% sold on Whitney. I think he’s played as well as any of our D though and I think I’d consider him our best D… but I think he’s a bottom-end top pairing. The blue definitely needs a lot of work.

    As Steve-O said, we’ve got some good players in the cupboard, but they’re still a ways off. I’ll “let” Tambellini evaluate the start 10-ish games or so, but after that I think he should think about what to do to improve that area as it will be weak for a couple or more years if we remain status quo.

  4. NorwegianOiler says:

    Yeah, there have certainly been stretches when Whitney has looked like a 2nd pairing guy too – during the later periods of his Pens tenure (as I can recall) and his time with Anaheim wasn’t a success either. Nevertheless, he seems like a solid fit in Edmonton and has all the tools to be a top pairing guy. If only, as you say, a bottom end one.

    Trouble is, however many defensemen we have in the system, none are top pairing material any time soon. There’s just not that elite guy there as it seems and even if there is he’s well hidden and thus years of development away. There’s depth, sure, but dispersed among second level talent.

  5. Racki says:

    Yah definitely, N.O. … we sorely lack that high-end d-man. I flip flopped all over the place when it came to our #1 pick, but I definitely wouldn’t have been too upset if we picked up Larsson for that reason (although I will say that picking the BPA with #1 is the right thing to do though… not by need).

    At any rate, we did it with the Blues once…. I would love to see us get Pietrangelo out of there. That would probably be my first choice, given age, current contract, potential, him being a right handed D, plus my usage of “saw him spectacular in Junior” :P. I think he has the toolset to build around and have been very keen on him since his Junior days. Available? Oi… first instincts would say absolutely not. But you never know. Stranger things have happened. If we offered up Gagner and a younger D, perhaps we could make that happen. Yes, I am driving the “Don’t trade Gagner” bus regularly. But there are players I’d trade him for.

    There are also the rumors (false as they may be) around Bogosian. That would be another choice, but a little further down the line for me. It’s the right idea, however.

    Tambellini said though that he isn’t going to get us another veteran d-man.. but I never take a GM’s word at any sort of face value. Plus, he might not be interested right now, but might be a month into the season.

    Really though, an elite d-man is what this team needs and would make this team a LOT better in the end.

    My wishful thinking lines should we trade Gagner+ for Pietrangelo:

    Hall-Horcoff-Eberle
    Smyth-Belanger-Hemsky
    Paajarvi-Lander-Omark
    Jones-Brule-Eager

    Whitney-Pietrangelo
    Peckham-Gilbert
    Smid-Barker

    Sounds alright. Not spectacular, no, but I wouldn’t mind it at all.

  6. zackman35 says:

    Agree with almost everything in the article. The Title should be “Break Down Defense!” though. :razz: The only thing I disagree with is the ratings of the players. Whitney #1D/first pairing when healthy, Gilbert second pairing, Smid/Petry (potentially) arguably second pairing, the rest 5/6/7.

    The Oilers blueline is not strong enough to compete with most others teams offense, let alone playoff contenders. The Forwards look pretty good this year, we could definitely make our mark and start becoming an offensive threat, however I think it will be another year before we can taste playoffs, especially with this defensive squad.

    And Racki, I’m going to have to agree with you on the availability of Pietrangelo but disagree with your trade proposal on this one. It would take a lot more to get Pietrangelo in an Oilers uniform than Gagner+. It would most likely start with an Eberle or PRV+Hemsky for them to even consider a deal. Although I see good in Gagner, he is no where near the value that Pietrangelo is to St. Louis.

    I agree we need an elite d-man, preferably up and coming/young but unless we draft him it will probably take one of three: Hall/Eberle/PRV to aquire him. Schenn, Dougthy would be nice to have on the team but wouldn’t be worth the picks or $$$ in my opinion. Ideally I’d like to see the Oilers go hard after Weber in the off-season next year (even with our luck with UFA’s Edmonton will start to look pretty good with the core here) but I have a feeling that he’ll find himself playing for a team like the Wings. Bogosian seems like he’d be an expensive project, he could be good.. but I don’t see him being elite, or as good as his draft pedigree had placed him.

    If the Oilers aquire an elite d-man it will be a blockbuster trade involving one of our young up and coming stars, they still could acquire a #1 pairing d-man for Gagner+ but he wouldn’t be elite. I don’t mean to bash you Racki, those are just my thoughts as a whole with the Oilers d-man situation.

  7. oilinblood says:

    i enjoyed the article, although i disagree. loved the link! i enjoyed the 2 hits of penners and then the nasty fight. that was one of the memories i carry of that year.
    i did notice this link next to the lucic fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXB8CDkmygA&feature=pyv
    i love the collegehumor site.

    i still believe in barker,and sutton isnt mobile,but i have said before that i wish our system adapted a bit to play a full 5 point press defensively. i believe if we are to have any success we will have to bring our forwards back further and not put so much onus on a single outlet pass. most of the good teams can play a solid 5 point press and work the gaps to get out with speed. Relying on whitneys thread passes is a way to 30th place. shut the opposition down as a group and get it out as a group.

    btw -i am not a gambler even when drinking the free booze (i just go to and stay at casinos to drink and look at tits…and the wife does the same)- those 40 -1 odds at vegas against the oil… how do i place a bet? It would make the season far more interesting to put 1k down on the oil.

  8. zackman35 says:

    OIB, instead of throwing your money away on the Oilers this year (I’m assuming they have to either place first in the division/conference or win the cup), why not place a bet on the Lightning/Wild or even the dreaded Leafs? I’m not sure how the odds play but don’t throw your money away, I’d much appreciate it instead, it would put a dent in tuition! :razz:

    Or look at investing it in LuLu Lemon, I would personally invest here but like mentioned earlier school tuition binds me. Seriously though, I think it’d be worth looking at. And hey, the investment goes to making girls butts looking… Well you know.

  9. Racki says:

    zackman35:
    Agree with almost everything in the article. The Title should be “Break Down Defense!” though. :razz:The only thing I disagree with is the ratings of the players. Whitney #1D/first pairing when healthy, Gilbert second pairing, Smid/Petry (potentially) arguably second pairing, the rest 5/6/7.

    The Oilers blueline is not strong enough to compete with most others teams offense, let alone playoff contenders. The Forwards look pretty good this year, we could definitely make our mark and start becoming an offensive threat, however I think it will be another year before we can taste playoffs, especially with this defensive squad.

    And Racki, I’m going to have to agree with you on the availability of Pietrangelo but disagree with your trade proposal on this one. It would take a lot more to get Pietrangelo in an Oilers uniform than Gagner+. It would most likely start with an Eberle or PRV+Hemsky for them to even consider a deal. Although I see good in Gagner, he is no where near the value that Pietrangelo is to St. Louis.

    I agree we need an elite d-man, preferably up and coming/young but unless we draft him it will probably take one of three: Hall/Eberle/PRV to aquire him.Schenn, Dougthy would be nice to have on the team but wouldn’t be worth the picks or $$$ in my opinion. Ideally I’d like to see the Oilers go hard after Weber in the off-season next year (even with our luck with UFA’s Edmonton will start to look pretty good with the core here) but I have a feeling that he’ll find himself playing for a team like the Wings. Bogosian seems like he’d be an expensive project, he could be good.. but I don’t see him being elite, or as good as his draft pedigree had placed him.

    If the Oilers aquire an elite d-man it will be a blockbuster trade involving one of our young up and coming stars, they still could acquire a #1 pairing d-man for Gagner+ but he wouldn’t be elite. I don’t mean to bash you Racki, those are just my thoughts as a whole with the Oilers d-man situation.

    You’re not “bashing” at all. Disagreeing with me is acceptable (*bans your ip*). Hhaha Seriously, it’s not like I expect people to agree with everything I say. You raise very good points. I put a lot of stock in Gagner though, and when I say plus, I’m referring to giving up one of our more touted d-men (ex. Jeff Petry). You are probably right though that it would still take more than that, but I guess I was banking on Doug Armstrong being an easy to fleece GM. lol Pietrangelo is young and has a lot of promise, so you are right, it SHOULDN’T be easy.

    Hall and Eberle are 100% untradeable, imho. So I wouldn’t consider them for anything (well crazy deal for Ovechkin types aside :) ). Paajarvi.. I’d put him on my almost untradeable list. So perhaps the Pietrangelo deal is a pipe dream, but I still have faith that a collection of our young up and comers not in the NHL (excluding RNH) and either a Gagner or Hemsky might get something done. I think it’s too early for St. Louis to make the deal though, given that Pietrangelo is still on his ELC until the end of 12/13. So really, it’s wishful thinking, and I know it :P

  10. Mr.Majestyk says:

    zackman35: . Seriously though, I think it’d be worth looking at. And hey, the investment goes to making girls butts looking… Well you know.

    Lulu’s are always worth looking at, but best when someone’s wearing them;)

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