Oiler fans who have watched the team for years can see a painfully obvious woe or two (or three or four). One of the most obvious issues is having an ill-prepared or ill-constructed defense corps. As we close in on another season, I find myself once again being optimistic, but I have to caution myself when I look at the team–or more specifically, the defense corps. One issue is the lefty-righty balance–or as Lowetide has nicknamed it, the Leftorium. Although I find this a pressing issue, this post is about the lack of experience on the back-end.
What comes to mind is the idiom “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” Bringing a knife to a Gunfight is defined by the website Using English as “They are very badly prepared for something.”
This post isn’t about any one player. It is more about the construction or about what is currently lacking. Here is the current cast of characters on our top 6 that we have right now.
Name Age Height Weight (Lbs) NHL GP
Davidson 25 6’2 209 63
Fayne 29 6’3 212 385
Klefbom 23 6’3 209 107
Larsson 23 6’3 205 274
Nurse 21 6’4 205 71
Sekera 30 6’0 201 567
The average for these six defensemen is 25 years old, standing 6’2.5″, weighing in at 206.83 pound, and 245 games of NHL experience. There has been improvement on the team in terms of size, weight, and compete level. The downfall, in my opinion, is experience and handedness.
Can the Oilers play proven top 4 defensemen 60% of the time and make a run for the playoffs with the current lineup? It depends on your definition of proven. If you read Darcy Mcleod’s post on this, it will shed a lot of light on where I am coming from. I have always used 3 full NHL seasons as proven for NHL defensemen. I intend to wade into this again down the road, but any road you take considering experience with this defense corps as we see it, is not ready to compete for the playoffs this year.
What we need in order to hit the next level is painfully obvious to me. A right shot defenseman, who can play top 4 minutes, also plays the powerplay with proven success, and has gone through their growing pains. We can all make our lists because there are some players who we have seen blogged about many times who can fit our needs. Is Chiarelli willing to pay the cost to acquire what is needed? (Are the fans?) How about the waiver wire? The waiver wire usually doesn’t fit the experience level, but it might fix the lefty-righty balance. I am thinking Colin Miller in Boston or Ryan Sproul in Detroit.
What will happen? Will the Oilers pull off a major trade for an experienced right shot powerplay defenseman? Or will the team bring a knife to the gunfight?