Sometimes it’s really easy to fall in love with a particular player on your team. Sometimes its a guy who drops the mitts (MacIntyre) or scores that big goal in the playoffs (Pisani), maybe its a legit star (Hall). As Oiler fans, we have been guilty sometime of even doing it to players who quite frankly havent done much to deserve it. I think Petry is one such player, and I think we should re-evaluate exactly what this player is.
Jeff Petry is a fine young man by all accounts. Slightly bigger than average at 6’3″ and 200lbs, he can skate pretty well too. He was taken relatively high in the draft at 45th Overall by the Oilers in 2006 and developed in the system until his full-time graduation to the club in the 2011-2012 season.
Despite only becoming a full time NHL player just 2 seasons ago Petry has climbed the Depth chart of the Oilers to arguably it’s top spot, paired with Shut Down defender Ladi Smid. Obviously his offense is his bread and butter, right? No. In 156 NHL games he has scored 6 Goals, 36 Assists for 42 Points. Petry is more of an “All Around” type of player. He isnt overly anything. He isnt particularly physical, but he hits. He isnt an offensive dynamo, but he isnt a black hole either, he isnt a shutdown defender, but he finished +1 on the Oilers this past season.
Given all that, I think the love he gets is a little over-stated. Petry is not a bad player and he could very well develop even further to be quite good, but he isnt there yet. If he is in your top pairing, there’s a problem with your defense. Jeff Petry wouldnt crack the top 4 of any of the remaining Playoff teams, and yet he is looked upon as a part of the rebuild for the Oilers.
But Petry isnt so good, or so young, that we should be looking at him as an integral piece of the future. He is a good but not great player playing over his head. The fact that he became the ice time leader for the Oilers is more of an indictment on the job Tambellini did assembling a team than it is a reflection of where this young Defender should slot into an NHL club.
Quite honestly, if Petry is one of the players you have fallen in love with as an Oiler then you might be in for a ride, because if the Oilers want to Upgrade their D its him that other GMs will want back in return.
Imagine a scenario where the Oilers trade for Keith Yandle (its just pretend). The Coyotes are somehow convinced that Yandle needs to go. They arent just sending him away without getting something back. Maybe the Oilers offer a young forward that is attractive to Phoenix, but that doesnt fill the gap on Defense. Sure they might also ask for a prospect like Gernat or Marincin, but that wont help them right away either.
Petry is inexpensive, an actual NHL player, and young enough to still become something more than what he is today. Those qualities will make him desirable to any GM that needs something back that can be inserted into a lineup if they are moving out a high end defender.
I hope you havent fallen in love with Petry, because I think he will be wearing enemy silks before the end of the summer.