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Top 10 Oiler Stories Of 2011-12: #7 - The Emergence Of Jeff Petry

After a short hiatus, the list is back on.

Oh, that defence.

When you lay it all out on paper, it’s really not so much different from any other year.  You’ve got your typical, run-of-the-mill issues.

  • Tom Gilbert getting traded,
  • Ryan Whitney’s ankle,
  • Ladislav Smid’s neck,
  • Andy Sutton’s suspensions,
  • and Cam Barker’s…well, Cam Barker.

To say that this year has been tough for defence is again an understatement.  A healthy defence corps is passable.  When any (or several) of the options above occur, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

A look at why Jeff Petry has made the grade comes after the jump.

Petry who’s matured into someone who’s ready to be a top four guy for these Oilers.  While that revelation might not sound like the greatest achievement in the world, Petry is an important part of this ‘rebuild’ thing management is so wild about.  I believe you’d go on and call him a ‘core’ guy.

Petry is a full time NHL blue liner. The Oilers know it, too. In 2010-11, Petry split his season between the NHL/AHL. This year, he spent 73 games in Edmonton while picking up 27 points (2-25) in the process.

Right now, Petry is an every minute kind of guy.  If you d0n’t count the games that he’s getting hit in the face with the puck, he’s clocking in 23 or 24 minutes a night, up three or four minutes from the beginning of the year.   I’ve said on more than one occasion that you don’t need to be a wizard to play defence on this club.  Not being a liability is the biggest concern I have.

He can bang, he can PK, and he can look like he belongs on the power play.  He’s consistent in his play, and that only looks to improve as he continues to mature.

Next to Ladislav Smid, I believe this club has a tandem.

Photo courtesy Oilers.NHL.com

A healthy Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry are good.  Wouldn’t surprise me at all to see both on the same line again come opening night in October.  Petry is a free agent come July 1st.  The Oilers would be foolish to do anything other than to re-sign him.

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