Jeff Petry. I had planned to talk about how he has slowly, but surely, made his way up the depth chart on the Oilers, but lately the talk among the faithful has turned to trade speculation. The management in Edmonton is frothing at the mouth at the developing defenders the team has on the farm, and although many of them are barely NHl’ers, if at all, they may move up the depth chart far enough to supplant Petry. The team is still in tough for a second line centre, and Petry may be the key.
Petry is a breed of defender that is quite competent, but rarely sets the tone in a game. He has found himself solidly in the top 4 pairings throughout his career, but he still has flaws in his game that are amplified by the lack of a true top 2 defender in Edmonton. You can see his ceiling, and you keep hoping that he will burst through it.
It may be that he, too, is on his way out. It’s a bit risky. The Oilers are not exactly rife with NHL ready d-men, and sending the second in the last calendar year away via trade seems a tad foolish. On the other hand, the Oilers do have Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin and Keith Aulie, but while they are all talented young fellows, I’m not sure they are exceedingly better than Petry.
Our friends at the Bleacher Report did a fascinating comparison of Drew Doughty and Jeff Petry back in 2012. Interestingly, they were incredibly close statistically.
Salim Valji writes in his piece :
This is the sexy stuff: Goals, assists, points. Doughty averaged 17.90 five on five minutes per game, while Petry averaged 17.21 minutes. Accounting for ice time differences such that both players were on even footing, Doughty averaged 0.96 points per 60 minutes of even strength play. Petry averaged 0.91 points per 60 minutes of even strength play. The main difference between the two is that Doughty is more of a shooter as seen by his 168 shots compared to Petry’s 111.
He went on to show how they are statistically in a dead heat in terms of defensive stats as well. Fast forward 2 years and Doughty is a two time cup winner who is now considered one of the best defenseman in the league. During this year’s cup run, critics often spoke of how he was so impactful, making so many small plays that helped to get the puck out of their zone, sparking plays in the other direction.
That’s all you can ask for a d-man. Petry? While he is a solid blue liner, he is not the game changer a top two defender should be. Package him with future draft picks, a lower end prospect and eat a bit of salary and you may get a piece back that you can use now to enhance the offense.
(I am on break for a few days, but will have more Oilers Madness later this week!)