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Is Rich Winter Right, Should The Oilers Be Playing Their Young Dmen?

from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,

Prominent Edmonton player agent Ritch Winter says Oilers coach Tom Renney is making a big mistake by not developing young defencemen like 18-year-old David Musil, 19-year-old Martin Marincin and 18-year-old Oscar Klefboom on the Oilers this year.

Writing on The Agents of Change blog, Winter points out that when Glen Sather led the Oilers to Stanley Cup glory in the 1980s, he did it with a group of young d-men. “Sather’s 1980/81 edition of the Oilers featured 5 defensemen 25 years of age or younger (Kevin Lowe, 21; Charlie Huddy, 21; Lee Fogolin, 25, Paul Coffey, 19 and Risto Siltanen 21). By the time the Oilers won their Stanley Cup in 1984, the team’s top 4 D had more than 1,000 NHL game, and two playing in the NHL as teenagers.”

These current Oilers are going a different route, Winter says. “Not a single regular defenseman under the age of 24. Two playing at 24 in Peckham and Petry. And none, other than Ladislav Smid, showing any sign yet of being a top NHL defenseman.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: rich+winter


Matt Fry's avatar

This is a vastly different team than the 80-81 team.  No one even compares to Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Semenko, Lumley, Mio, Moog.  This team was sixth overall in goals scored and 15th overall in goals against.  Gretzky and Messier are NOT on this team to make up the difference.  Why do they have to play in the NHL to develop? 

I read this blog as well here that kind of if along my line of thinking.


And of course, it’s an agent saying this.  Are these his clients?

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 01/17/12 at 02:03 PM ET

Matt Fry's avatar

I just realized it was the same article.  wink  Yikes.  The whole thing didn’t show up under my other computer.  Or I’m completely asleep today.  Either way, the end sums it up for me.

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 01/17/12 at 02:05 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Knowing the kind of care and steady progression Wings take with their prospects (and especially with defensemen), I dare Winter to pull that shit with the Wings.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 01/17/12 at 04:46 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Dallas was in a similar position fairly recently.  They rushed a number of young defensemen into prominent roles in the season leading up to their playoff run in 08, due to injuries, which seemed to work.  Many (Niskanen, Grossman, etc) played above and beyond their experience level in that playoff (though they were grossly outmatched by the Wings and were helped by standout play from Turco against the sharks).  It backfired in a major way the following seasons, when they would lose Zubov (who accounted for much of the critical ice time for Dallas during all of the 2000s up till 08) and those young guys were exposed.

I see no reason to think Edmonton’s situation would be any different.  They don’t have the goaltending or forwards to cover up for inexperience and they have no one near Zubov’s level to eat up 28-30 minutes while acting as a stabilizing force.

The Wings do have those tihngs (goaltending and experienced defensively responsible forwards) and they still don’t rush defensemen.  Seems like following the Detroit example is just about never wrong.  wink

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/17/12 at 05:48 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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