You can almost taste how badly they want that puck... Mandatory Credit: Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

The Depth of D

I started writing this article before the trade happened today, and now it feels slightly more relevant…

It’s been a few days since Sutton was signed to an extension, and I still don’t know what to think. Sure he’s played well for the Oilers, and yes he’s saying all the right things about wanting to stay, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a good presence in the locker room and a help for the kids. At the same time he is at best a bottom pairing d-man, and the Oilers have a plethora of those right now. Besides Sutton there is Corey Potter, Theo Peckham, Cam Barker, and if this was a good team, Jeff Petry. In my opinion that’s five guys that should be fighting over 2 spots on the roster, and one in the press box. Even if you think Petry is ready for top four play, that’s still four players for three spots, and we still need to bring in a legitimate top pairing player. So while I like Sutton, I worry that the Oilers plan on letting either Barker or Peckham go and leaving the other 7 as is. So what would I like to see happen? I’ll tell you…

Like everyone I would like to see the Oilers get a top defenseman (either by trade or free agency) to play with Ryan Whitney. Alternatively I’ld be fine with them trading Whitney and bringing in two top pairing dmen. A second pairing of Smid and Gilbert would be fantastic, and then Petry on the bottom pairing with whoever is left. As I see it there is no room for at least two of Sutton, Potter, Peckham, and Barker. Since the Oilers just signed Sutton and Potter to contract extension one would assume that they are safe, but you never know.

I hate losing players for nothing and I don’t see a point in trading one of those guys for a 4th round pick at this stage in the “rebuild.” What I would hope is that two of those guys are used in a package to bring in real defensemen. Maybe package them with Hemsky, or with some prospects, or both, but do something.

Other random thoughts:

Why is Khabibulin playing so much right now? Three straight games is crazy for an aging veteran that isn’t in the long term plans. There are only two reasons I can think of that make sense to me. One is that Dubnyk is nursing an injury, but I would think they would say something if that was the case. The other is that they are showcasing him for a trade. As much as I would love that to happen I seriously doubt that anyone would want Khabby right now with one season left on his contract. If he was UFA this summer then I could believe it but…

A trade, there’s been a trade! I have no opinion of the trade of O’Marra for Rodney. I thought O’Marra was decent depth, but I guess they wanted more offense from the back end in OKC.

I must admit that while I don’t always agree with Jeff and Grant, I do agree with their side of the bet with Gregor. Hemsky on his own will not get a first round pick. I personally hope that both sides are wrong and that Hemsky is packaged with some spare parts for a solid defenseman, but that’s likely a pipe dream. I’m thinking Hemsky for a 2nd rounder and a depth prospect (say someone playing in Europe, or still in the CHL).

After Hemsky the Oiler currently on the roster that I think is most likely to be traded is… Peckham. Followed by Paajarvi, though I think that would be a big mistake… As for players not with the big club… You never can tell, can you?

Next Oilers Game Full schedule »
Wednesday, Oct 2222 Oct7:30Washington CapitalsBuy Tickets

Tags: Ales Hemsky Andy Sutton Cam Barker Corey Potter Jeff Petry Ladislav Smid Magnus Paajarvi Nikolai Khabibulin Ryan O'Marra Ryan Whitney Theo Peckham Tom Gilbert

comments powered by Disqus