Break it Down! – Defense (2013/14 Edition)

By , September 16, 2013 12:01 pm
Our big free agent acquisition

Our big free agent acquisition

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:


LD/RD
Smid/Petry
Ference/Nurse
Schultz/Schultz
Belov/Grebber Grabber/Klefbom/Marincin/Potter

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).

Strengths

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.

Weaknesses
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.

Could Use
We picked up some 3/4 guys, but now I think the organization needs to put a focus on drafting a stud d-man.

Finally
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.

One Response to “Break it Down! – Defense (2013/14 Edition)”

  1. Racki says:

    Ference was second pairing there, for the most part. I am pretty sure we’ll still have Smid/Petry as top pair, and Ference will be towing Schultz around in the d-zone.

    As far as the third pairing, I’m really pulling for Belov to be worth all the hype. There isn’t much that jumps out in after the Ference/J. Schultz (aside from maybe Nick Schultz). Most of the d-group after Ference-Jultz are risks that we’re hoping will work out.

    Unless maybe Philip Larsen (whom you seem to have forgotten) surprises, I’m thinking bottom pairing will be Nultz with Belov, and Grebeshkov riding the pine / making the odd appearance.

    Klefbom should be sent to the AHL as soon as possible.. not that he’s bad, but it’s unrealistic to think a guy who missed almost an entire year of hockey can jump right into the NHL. Marincin and Nurse don’t seem quite ready, but I’m guessing we’ll see a short preview of Nurse before he’s sent back to the Soo.

    I think there’s some good potential that can come out of the D in a few years, but right now, the NHL guys are just going to hold the fort. Ference really should add some depth to this team though that will give a lot more confidence for the guys in net. Nick Schultz might be underrated as well. He doesn’t have the best contract, but Dubnyk definitely appreciates his D-game. So we’ll have Smid / Ference / Schultz to play strong defensive games, with Petry (somewhat of a hybrid), Justin Schultz, and .. Belov?.. to play a more offensive game. Each pairing should have a reliable guy who can play stay at home , as well as a guy with some offensive abilities.

    I hate to say it, cause it always seems to be a jinx, but this is looking like a much better team. A coach who coaches an “NHL” game (even though he has no NHL head coaching experience) and demands hard work, a GM who is willing to plug holes (the last one is still trying to determine if we need to replace Souray), some complimentary forwards plus a strong offensive talent added (Perron), good pairings of D, although no true number 1 pairing, granted, a reliablle starter (arguable) with a strong backup….. this is much better.

    There will be problems though, I’m sure, but MacT seems willing to adapt.

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