Talking Oilers, player development and defence rosters on Lowdown with Lowetide

Mr. Allan Mitchell (aka. Lowetide) invited me as a guest to his show this morning to talk Oilers and specifically the defensive rosters before and after Pronger. We talked about a recent article I wrote (Pre and Post Pronger) and dug a little deeper into the Oilers current method of developing defenseman. The full radio interview is here, starting around the seven and a half minute mark (suggest reading the above article first):

A couple of notes I wanted to add:

  • The Oilers had a fantastic 2005-2006 regular season. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. 😉
  • Between 1996 and 2006, the Oilers made the playoffs seven times out of nine seasons. That’s nine tight playoff races, while playing in the toughest division in the NHL. More on this “Golden Era” here.
  • After Pronger left, a bulk of the minutes went to a 20 year old Ladislav Smid and a 23 year old Matt Greene. A big reason why they may have had to play in the NHL was because the Oilers didn’t even have their own AHL affiliate in 2006-2007.
  • The team did smarten up and partner with the Springfield Falcons in 2007. But nothing worth mentioning came out of the Falcons era, which ended in 2010. The Oilers went on to partner with Oklahoma City, which they’ve relied on to produce some notable players like Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander, as well as coach Todd Nelson.
  • I mentioned that I wanted to see Marincin and Klefbom spend just a little more time in the minors before taking on full time gigs with the Oilers. I’m a fan of both of these guys, but there’s a lot of benefits to developing at ages 21 or 23 in the minors. Plus, the Oilers are going to hang way too much responsibility on these guys, which will likely stifle their development. If for whatever reason the club elects to keep these guys in the NHL, there has got to be a huge push to land a couple of defensemen this summer who are in their prime (300+ NHL games, aged 26-29).
  • Regarding Smid’s decline as an Oiler, I highly recommend checking out this piece by Jonathan Willis. I was a fan of the guy, but it was clear that Smid struggled without Jeff Petry as his partner. Both Smid and Matt Greene were guys who I thought would’ve been reliable defenders had they been handled properly at an early age.

A big thank you to Al for having me on his show. I’ve been a long time listener and reader of his work…definitely one of the best guys covering the game.

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