Oilers Extend Lennart Petrell
The Oilers announced today they have resigned depth forward Lennart Petrell to a one year extension.
In and of itself this might not be the best move. But, the more troubling thing is the fact the 29th place team who has climbed from the depths of back-to-back 30th place finishes seems determined to bring back the whole team.
Up front the team has Hall, RNH, Eberle, Hemsky, Jones, Horcoff, Petrell, Eager, and Belanger signed. Gagner is a RFA and should get a contract if he is not traded for defensive help (or worse magic beans draft picks). Smyth was offered an extension back at the trade deadline, but contract talks have stalled since. Honestly I cannot see the team bringing back a better player than Smyth in free agency. Eager has publically stated he wants to return in an article on oilers.nhl.com.
Knowing how Tambellini gets so flattered by guys who like his vision (Sutton) he will get a contract. That leaves essentially press box seats for Paajarvi and Hartikainen to fight over. On D the situation is similar with Smid, Whitney, Schultz, Sutton and Potter on one way deals. Petry (RFA) will no doubt be signed, while Pekham (RFA) could get a contract and we should not be concerned if he is claimed on waivers. Tambellini has stated Khabibulin will be back (one tear rolls down my cheek), and Dubnyk (RFA) deserves shot to start.
Now you could say the depth guys can just be pushed down if better players sign but as always the Oilers are right up against the 50 player cap so space is limited. I can only pray that the Oilers don’t mess up and draft someone not named Yakupov first overall.
Back to Petrell. The guy was a 27 year old rookie last year who supposedly made the team for his defensive acumen and grit. In fairness he hit a lot, leading the butter soft forward corps despite ranking deep down the time on ice chart. As for his defense the Oilers were outshot 28.3 to 21.6 shots/60 mins with Petrell on the ice. He did start in his own end a little more than his fair share with an Offensive Zone Start of 48.7%, but he was playing essentially fringe NHL’ers like himself with a Corsi Rel QoC of -0.8. He ranked in with an On-Ice SV% of 91.2% slightly below the average of 91.7%. Between getting outshot and more of the shots going in than average when he was on the ice, I fail to see how he is a defensive stalwart.
He helped on the PK….as the 6th most used option on the 14th ranked PK in the league….that is worth something.
With Petrell on the ice, the offence was anemic with an On-Ice SH% of 5.0% (average player 7.7%). Maybe you could make an argument his teammates held him back as he had an individual SH% of 11.1% but I would bet that will regress next season. Essentially you are left with a guy who popped 4 goals to go with 5 assists in 60 games, but you would expect to be a minus player at even strength (-1.4/60 mins last season). Not the Oilers biggest problem, but also not a part of a viable solution.
If there is one saving grace about the signing, it is that Oilers fans can enjoy another season of tweets by @SHorcov, the Russian parody of our dear Kaptain.