I must admit I am shocked. My shock started yesterday when Taylor Chorney was placed on waivers. Due to the fact that Brule was placed on waivers last week I was significantly less surprised, but the surprise was still there. Like the Brule move, it was definitely the right decision. Although Chorney played better than Brule had (I know, that’s not hard), both Potter and Petry played better than he did. Plus once Whitney comes back there will likely still be one more D-man sent down to OK-city. My main shock is that he was claimed. I had even started writing an article about how I wished that he had been claimed, since I figured there was no chance he would be. So why did I feel that way, and what does it all mean. Well, let me tell you.
Chorney is not an NHL defenseman. Maybe someday he will be, but by that time so will Musil, and Klefbom and/or Marincin and/or others. Right now he is not good enough to be in our top 8, and our top 8 sucks. Sure our D looked OK against the Penguins this weekend, but that’s not saying much when the Pens were without both Crosby and Malkin, and were playing their third game in four nights. Plus while we looked OK, we still gave up 34 shots to a team that had to be tired. Yes many of those came on the power play, but still… Once Whitney returns the D will be better, and I will argue that Gilbert is a top 4 d-man on any team, and even top 2 on some. Smid is also a decent top 4 d-man on many teams, and if he continues to improve will be a solid second pairing player. Petry looks like he has the potential to be a top pairing d-man, but he’s not there yet. The rest are at best third pairing players, or depth players. If Chorney isn’t good enough to make this weak defence, there really isn’t much hope for him anywhere.
Further adding to my shock was that Lowetide and many others had argued that the Oilers should have made a waiver claim on a d-man last week. They further suggested that Chorney should be the measuring stick for such a claim. There were quite a few d-men available that were arguably better than him, but still, the Oilers stood silent. A few of those players were claimed by other teams, but many weren’t. If they weren’t claimed I figured there was no way Chorney would be. Yes the Blues have injury concerns now that they didn’t have then, but he may never play a single game for them. It’s also possible, though unlikely, that he may back with the Barons eventually. I hope he makes the best of his opportunity, and does well, except of course for when he plays us.
The major negative impact this claim has on Oilers is on the AHL depth. While we have some great young prospects, they didn’t do so well in their season opener (though that was just one game). Chorney definitely would have helped improve the Barons D, but losing him may still be the best for them. Why, because it should force Tambellini to make a trade for more defensive depth, and hopefully better depth. It may not have that desired outcome, but I’m one that is hoping that this is the proverbial straw that finally forces things to happen. I had hoped Fedun’s injury would have done that, so I’m not holding my breath… but I am hoping.