Continuing on with my series of posts that break down the Oiler’s different areas, today we look at the defense.
This was the problem area for the 2013 Oilers, and will still be the biggest issue for the 2013/14 Edmonton Oilers.
We have some prospect depth, but I just don’t think we have the horses needed at the NHL level.
Lets take a look at what we have so far:
Did we ever shed “talent” on the back end. Peckham, Fistric, Whitney, Plante and Teubert have all been given walking papers, and the cupboard has been filled with some prospects.
I know I said above that we don’t have the horses to compete at the NHL level, but looking at that list it doesn’t look terrible.
I think that the Smid/Petry pairing are good (and if not a true number one pairing, I think they can do the job defensively), and the Schultzes will be better this year. I am somewhat concerned about regression from Justin Schultz, as I am with most young defense but I think that last year started to wear on him and while he may not put up crazy points this season he’ll be better defensively.
Ference is a good 3/4 defense (although I think he was a 5/6 in Boston), but I have no idea who we’ll pair with him. Belov is an unknown to me, and we all know Grebeshkov is a fire-sale in his own zone but can put up some points. Potter has no place on an NHL team, and outside of that we have some of our better prospects (Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin).
I think the strength of this defense is just that it’s steady. Not flashy, but steady. Something to be said for that I guess. The prospects are also trending to be good, but that’s still to be determined.
No surefire top pairing defense. I think the team will compensate for that, however what I wouldn’t do for a Doughty, Pronger, Weber, Suter etc.
We picked up some 3/4 guys, but now I think the organization needs to put a focus on drafting a stud d-man.
I said it last year, and it seems the same to me this year, but on paper that defense looks good but I still feel as though it could use some help.