Two additional defensive signings for the Oilers occurred Saturday that raised eyebrows and forced me to utter words that every hockey blogger never wants to utter, “Who is this guy I have to write about?”. Admittedly, I knew and still don’t know much about either player, and quite frankly, these are fringe signings that seemingly have very little immediate impact on the NHL Oilers. Thus they fall gracefully to the Barons where we get to nurture our unfamiliar relationship.
Lee Moffie, a University of Michigan graduate, is a left shooting defender selected by the San Jose Sharks in the late late rounds of the 2010 draft. He stayed put in the NCAA for two seasons before now landing with the Oilers. The deal was a trade that sent Kyle Bigos to San Jose for Moffie. The trade, although a prospect deal, shed a bit of a dim flashlight into the further direction the Oilers are willing to take. Bigos was a tough, nasty, mountain of man type defender with portions of his game being, how they say, hammy. Moffie, who himself might be hammy, is a different kind of player. A mobile puck defender, still with great size, but a lean towards offensive prowess. That’s interesting enough for me. Likewise, he played for a really good collegiate program. That never hurts. He’ll likely add another piece to the Barons defensive core while the Oilers watch him closely.
Sunday, it was made official, that the Edmonton Oilers had signed Chicago Wolves defender, Brad Hunt, to a two year entry level deal. Coached by Craig MacTavish in 2011-12 season after leaving Bemidji State, this is another left handed defender that creates a logjam of young d-men on the farm. His numbers are good at the collegiate level and his most recent season with Chicago continued that trend in the professional ranks. It’s clear that he’s an assist getter rather than a goal scorer, when it comes to quality offensive defenders. I like that, and I think he’s a good fit within the confines of the two years in Oklahoma City that he’ll likely play.
Here’s the deal with the Oklahoma City Barons potential roster. There are a lot of young defenders out and about in 2013-2014, and they all have similar methods of operation. With the release of Alex Plante and Colten Teubert, puck moving, PUCK moving, PUCK MOVING has become the battle cry for default defenders in the pipeline. Klefbom is heavy. Davidson can be. Marincin isn’t. Fedun isn’t. Hunt isn’t. Moffie isn’t. Musil isn’t. Gernat isn’t. Where do the strong-arm minutes fall? Perhaps to no one, and I think that’s fine. To give the youngsters on the Barons opening night roster a bit of a trial-and-error period is a welcome sight. The “let’s see what they’re made of” mentality might separate the boys from the older boys.
Like the goaltending situation, the Oilers will do the right thing (whatever that means) and sign a vet D as a “presence” in the lineup, much like Randy Jones and Brett Clark became in the middle of the 2012-13 season. Might I suggest Brett Carson from Abbotsford – he’s big, strong, under-30, and a good depth fella. Or how about Nathan Paetsch, who’s a thirty year old who most recently led a defensive core of Grand Rapids Griffins to the Calder Cup? There are a few choices out there that make sense IF this is what the Oilers and Barons agree is needed. I like the prospect route. I see the need for vet on the D. I can swing both ways.