In the wake of Andrej Sekera’s injury news six days ago, the Edmonton Oilers have added a defender to their NHL roster. According to the club’s official Twitter account, the Oilers have agreed to terms with Jakub Jerabek on a one-year contact.
The 27-year-old Czech blueliner gets a one-way deal from the Oilers. As of this time, there are no financial details available. That said, Jerabek made $925,000 a year ago and is likely to come in under that number this late in the off-season.
Jerabek is a left-shot defender who made his NHL debut last season after one year in the KHL (2016-17) and parts of eight seasons (2008-2016) in the Czech league. He signed with Montreal last summer, but was traded to Washington prior to the trading deadline last winter.
He appeared in 25 games with the Habs, registering 1-3-4 and a -1 rating, while also playing in 17 AHL tilts (1-10-11, +10) before heading to the Caps. With Washington, he registered 1-3-4 in eleven regular season tilts, while appearing in two playoff games and registering a single assist.
Jerabek posted a 49.5% Corsi For, while averaging 16:19 per night in terms of time-on-ice over the course of his 36 games. That said, he did post a positive Corsi Rel, a positive expected GF% and produced decent offense at five-on-five.
Here’s a look at Jerabek’s scouting report via The Hockey News.
Assets: Is mobile and an excellent puck mover from behind the blueline. Can also post excellent offensive numbers at lower levels. Can play a physical brand of hockey, as well.
Flaws: Must prove capable of making an impact in North America, specifically at the highest level. Lacks ideal size for an NHL defender, so he may struggle to play a physical game.
Career Potential: Solid, puck-moving defenseman with a little upside.
Jerabek is a sixth or seventh defender, so Oiler fans shouldn’t expect too much out of him. That said, he’s a solid depth defender who comes relatively cheap, can move the puck and produce a bit at five-on-five. Although he’s a left-shot, Jerabek has the ability to play both sides and provide a littler versatility to Edmonton’s back end.
He’s not really a special teams threat, however, as he was nearly non-existent on the powerplay last season and got minimal penalty killing time. This is a five-on-five option, which actually probably helps his case in Edmonton for playing time.
Overall, this is a low-risk signing that I believe has a really good chance to work out for the Oilers. Jerabek showed well in limited time last year, and his underlying numbers suggest a productive player at five-on-five.
He won’t replace Sekera, but Jerabek is an NHL-level player who can come in and help the Oilers in certain areas. I think this is an astute signing by Peter Chiarelli, and calms the fears of many that the team would overpay badly following Sekera’s injury.