I will resist all temptation to make a Harry Potter reference and talk about the magic he brings to this team (maybe I just failed, in this statement). But let’s just say that Corey Potter has been a welcome addition to the team.
Tom Renney definitely had a hand in the decision for the Oilers to sign elder rookie Corey Potter. I have to say, right now Renney is looking like a genius here, so far. It’s early on, but Potter has fit in very well. He’s averaging a shade under 19 minutes per game on the blue line, including a team leading 4:07 min/game on the powerplay. Now, the powerplay is a pretty cherry way to pad stats and protect a player. However, he’s fit in well so far, earning a couple of assists in 3 games. He also leads the team for defensemen in team PP goals for (meaning that he’s been on the ice for the most goals for on the powerplay). It is way too early to get too wrapped up in numbers just yet though, but they are trending the right direction, which pleases me.
For a guy who has only logged 9 NHL games previous to coming here, he’s got a calming presence back there. It might be that he’s not really a young defenseman, being only 1 year younger than Ryan Whitney and Tom Gilbert. So why didn’t he break into the NHL yet?
Well, that’s the nature of the business. One man’s “junk” is another man’s treasure. It’s another example of a Jason Smith type here. Tom Renney mentioned that he was a victim of the numbers game in New York. Sometimes a good player fits your needs… sometimes he doesn’t! The same can be said for some of our forwards here. The Rangers just didn’t have the need for a guy of his type, it would seem, nor did the Penguins (that shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise).
So to me, yes, he has earned a job here. I’d say he has stolen it from one of our more promising defensemen in Jeff Petry.. at least temporarily. That is simply because Petry does not need to go on waivers to be re-assigned to the Barons (which Dan Tencer figures will happen soon). But really, Potter didn’t earn the job by default. He’s earned it by playing a solid, safe 2-way game. He can make a good, crisp pass, and he can defend his own zone. He’s reliable. He’s also a right-hand defensemen (something I typically covet, because they can be hard to find at times). He’s something I’d say we currently need right now.
Corey Potter makes $525,000 and he brings much of what our better d-men do. Let’s hang on to him for a while and see what he has to fully offer this team. Kudos to Tom Renney for recognizing a good player caught up in the numbers game.