Harken with me back to the late days of February, 2011. As the Oilers front office entertained trade offers, and fans pondered the fates of Hemsky, Penner, Vandermeer, Jones, Smid, and a few others, seething in the tradeable stew were also some minor leaguers. As the trade deadline came and went, the blockbuster deals for Edmonton seemed completely lopsided in favor of their opponents, but were in step with what higher management had attempted to do all along – rebuild with youth.
Shawn Belle, who’d played a colossal two months of American League hockey, was the first (unless you count Jacques) to be called-up to the Oilers when the injury bug bit the Oil. He mumbled and stumbled in the NHL, came back to the minors, and never caught fire again. Insult to injury continued as Belle would be snake bitten by the injury bug leading up to the trade deadline. He’d eventually be sent packing to Lake Erie in a trade for Kevin Montgomery. Fans took to the internets to discover whom this character was, and the trade seemed harmless, and quite frankly an upgrade in health and potential hockey smarts on defense.
Next came the waggish trade of Dustin Penner for Colten Teubert plus a first pick in 2011 and a conditional third in 2012. Although the Penner trade was shocking given his performance as an Oiler, the picks made sense in the minds of Tambellini and company who are seemingly ready and willing to trade good players in the moment for future potential. As a minor league birdwatcher, I immediately said “Colten Who?”.
Thus the crux of uncertainty began. Teubert left Manchester and the LA Kings organization for the green pastures of Oklahoma and Oilers affiliation. Some consider Colten Teubert a polorizing defensive player. Oilers fans are curious about his play, and some are convinced he’s a contendor for a big league spot in the upcoming season, while others toss him aside as that guy that was thrown in with the Penner trade mishmash.
From first hand experience, through almost two months of play, I indeed have “seen him good”. Teubert is tough as nails, beefy, and strong. He has a howlitzer of a shot that is deadly accurate. Unlike Kevin Montgomery, who is more finesse and smarts, Teubert is the brawn. And I like this kind of defensive player, and the up-side that he brings.
So I took the time to unleash the AHL Live video highlights of Mr. Teubert. I set out on this film study journey with an open mind, and an overwhelming sense of hatred for the AHL Live feed, even the highlights. I indeed liked Teubert’s game out of the gate, but how would it hold up in hindsight? Sit back, grab a bucket of Pop Secret, and enjoy the Colten Teubert rewind.
Keep in mind that I’m watching the highlights. These are primarily during high end scoring chances. If Teubert was not featured in any highlights during that game, I completely ignored the games. Thus, some of the dates are missing.
March 4th – First Goal
We got a great look at the rocket shot of Teubert as he scored his first goal as a Baron. Brad Moran wins a faceoff in the opposing end, puck squirts out to Teubert, who catches Moran screening the goaltender as he slaps a shot around the Abbotsford goaltender (who never saw the puck coming). A mighty shot that surprised even me. He looked rusty in the defensive zone while paired with the other newcomer Kevin Montgomery, but he deserves a grace period with his new team.
March 5th – Second Goal
Teubert again would score a long distance shot from nearly the same offensive blue line as the night before. However, this time he managed to steal away a two-on-one break for Abbotsford by barely getting his stick between a pass. He played better in the defensive end as his TOI went up even without the OT period tacked on. However, we start to see a trend in puck management that slides towards ugly.
March 8th – On The PP
Teubert gets some time on the PP unit as he whisks a pass to Richard Petiot who dials one in from 20 feet out. Suddenly it feels as if the Oilers have gained an offensive-minded defender, but hold your horses.
March 11th – Over Commit
On two occasions, Teubert over commits to a man in front of the net and forgets to watch the puck. At least two times this leads to opposing goals. However, we begin to see Teubert as the muscle-bound pusher that we expected him to be. And it was needed, as the Barons win in overtime.
March 12th – Disappearing Act
The Barons look tired and defeated as they suffer a lopsided blowout. Missing too is a certain defenseman. Although, the entire team apparently gave up halfway through this endeavor, so the blame is all around. Yet, I like my young prospects to show promise even when the team is on the skids. Unfortunately this was not the case for Colten on this evening.
March 16th – Along the Boards
A thrilling game that wasn’t so thrilling for Teubert. At one point, along the boards, he gets stood up by an incoming forward who is able to get the puck centered. This set up a scoring chance for the opposition. His movement away from the puck is confusing, even to his pair in Kevin Montgomery. The two nearly collide in full-stride at one point.
March 19th – Twin Towers
The towering twosome, Teubert and Plante, get some playing time together. Sometimes it works, at others it goes horribly wrong. It works when they defend well on the PK, and end up loosening the puck long enough to hit a Barons forward who’d eventually score short handed. It doesn’t work when both guys get beat, and neither is able to recover.
March 26th – Oops
In a key divisional matchup with the Houston Aeros, the first goal of the game Teubert puts the body on the opposing forward right in front of the net. The pesky forward breaks loose, heads behind the net, while Teubert looses sight, and the puck graciously hits “his guys” stick for a quick goal. As the push towards the playoffs continues, Teubert’s time on ice dwindles slightly, and his role as an even strength third pairing is vivid.
March 27th – Progress?
With Plante and Teubert paired together again, we see, maybe for the first time, that Teubert can move the puck well when he wants to and needs to. It was actually the seasoned defenseman that got nailed in this one. However, neither Plante for Teubert were able to thwart an Aeros defenseman who stormed past both of them to score the game winner. Ugh. At this point, we’ve seen enough of his game to know what tools are in the bag.
April 1st – Pounding
The Baons obliterate and embarrass a really bad Rockford team. With a 7-0 win everyone had a good night including Colten. On the fourth goal, both Teubert and Plante did an NHL-like job keeping the puck in front of center ice as shot-after-shot-after-shot bombarded the Rockford tender.
April 2nd – Shift
Kevin Montgomery steals the limelight away from Teubert in this one, and really all other defenseman as well. Teubert sees his first and probably only pairing alongside Richard Petiot. The duo is not great, but not terrible either. Yet both are key to preventing a late 3rd period surge as the Barons get a shutout against the tenacious Texas Stars.
April 8th – Rest
After nearly a week’s rest, Teubert and the Barons continue to surge as they are on pace for a playoff position. On the opening goal, Teubert and Plante manage the puck well keeping it in front of them for a solid :90. Then the penalty kill unit heads to the ice, including Colten, and they look limp as Houston forwards out hustle them in front of the net. He’d later redeem himself on the second half of a late power play by pushing the puck up ice quickly.
April 9th – 2 More To Go
Just two games remained in the regular season, and to begin the game Colten Teubert nudges the puck to Plante to shuffles it around the boards which quickly turns into a scoring opportunity for Milan Kytnar. The Barons, well really Jeff Deslauriers, would keep the tough Stars off the scoreboard. Teubert blocked at least 3 shots in this game, and the defenders only let 22 shots make it towards the net.
April 10th – End On The Road
To make room for the new Baron, Martin Marincin, Colten Teubert would be placed with Kevin Montgomery. This old pairing didn’t show well as the Aeros scored virtually at will. No toughness, no stoutness, and beyond slow – the Barons, and Teubert, were in cruise control heading into the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Calder Cup Playoffs
A nagging upper body injury would only allow COlten Teubert to make haste in two playoff games in a very good best of seven series with Hamilton. He did register 5 shots and ended dead even on the +/-. In the two games he played, the Barons lost a close, well-fought game and won a tight, disciplined shots on goal fiesta. The pool with which we saw him swimming in during the playoffs was rather shallow, but above reproach.
In the end. Not only do my eyes hurt from watching AHL Live game highlights, but my mind is working overtime. Teubert seems to fall in the good when team is good, and bad when team is bad category.
The correlation between the teams success and his personal success are somewhat appropriate given a) his newness to the club b) his youth. Like his most seen defensive pair, Alex Plante, Colten Teubert appears to be the prospect that NEEDS a breakout season “or else.”
As the 2010-11 season progressed, we (and by we I mean Barons and Oilers fans) all assumed Alex Plante would get better with time. As House of Pain once said, “Like the cream of the crop, I rise to the top”. However, he never really full blossomed. And his time might be quickly evaporating as an Oiler.
Teubert is in the same class. He’s played enough professional hockey at this point that the turn towards improvement is needed. Given the hightened awareness during the Penticton Prospect Tourney, even he had to understand that the almight eyes were watching. Unfortunately, he got bruised. Getting plastered in a fight became an eventual nose breakage and ticket home.
As the Oilers/Barons seasons near closer and the camps begin, Teubert will be a Baron once again. He’ll have to prove his worth like the Jeff Petry’s of the world have done so beautifully.
Oilers fans demand that he be better probably because the deep welp left when management sent away Dustin Penner for The Nuge, and Colten Teubert. In the back of minds you hear, “He has to be good” or “Please, be a diamond in the rough”. This has a lot to do with the forward strength of an NHL club that is so young, coupled with the lack of defensive upbringing in the minors. Great forwards, poor goal tending, sub par D men make for irritable fans. And unfortunately for all of us, Teubert is not the answer…at least for now.