The Edmonton Oilers have spent a lot of time building depth on the blue line. To start the year, they will rely on that organizational stability to help fill the void of an ailing Andrej Sekera.
While Edmonton seems set on keeping the same defence corps that got them to their first playoff berth in 11 years, they did sign a number of AHL/NHL players to further add to the blue line. While they are expected to fill the holes in Bakersfield, they can also step up and play stable hockey for the main roster in wake of an injury.
Edmonton signed defenceman Ryan Stanton this offseason, and with his years of experience and ability, he is a dark horse to win a roster spot and stay with the team until Sekera returns.
While the Oilers are relying on Kris Russell to take over Sekera’s spot on the left side, many are not sure he is enough to fill the void. Sure, Russell is a shot-blocking machine and is a solid skater, but he is not completely reliable with the puck and doesn’t play much of an aggressive game. With that being said, many are curious to see if Russell will keep his spot on the second-pairing right side and if Edmonton will call on Darnell Nurse to step up and fight for Sekera’s spot.
If this happens, there is a vacancy on the bottom-pairing left-hand side, and that’s where Stanton comes into play.
Stanton at a Glance
The 28-year-old has four years of NHL experience but hasn’t played a complete NHL campaign since dressing for 54 games with Vancouver in 2014-15. The last time he played in the NHL was when he played one game with the Washington Capitals in 2015-16.
This past season, Stanton played 48 games at the AHL level, split between the San Antonio Rampage and the Cleveland Monsters, racking up two goals and 12 points. He was a plus-19 and looked solid on defence.
The 6-foot-2, 196-pound blueliner is a complete blueliner who plays well at both ends of the rink. Edmonton will surely enjoy his physicality; Stanton is a hard-hitting defenceman who can also block shots and win battles for the puck. During his two-year stint in Vancouver, he registered 190 hits as well as 194 blocks. Not only does he have proven physicality, and not only does he like to play rough, but he has potential to put up points every now and then.
However, considering his overall play, Stanton doesn’t take the best care for the puck and has poor possession metrics. Though he can move the puck out of trouble, Stanton will turn over the puck and does not play a remarkable defensive game. He is also a bit on the smaller side.
Overall, when it comes down to it, the Oilers would definitely benefit from his services if Russell is unable to pull the weight as Sekera’s replacement on the second-pairing. Though he seems like a dark horse now, no one should count Stanton out.