In a previous post I talked about the trade between Tom Gilbert and Nick Schultz. Now I'm going to reveal to you why the Oilers did it!
The trade was a result of dealing from a position of strength while shoring up some weaknesses. Many observers believe that the rise of Jeff Petry brought about the exit of Gilbert. Oilers and fans have been waiting patiently and it appears Petry has emerged as a top pairing defenseman. Yes, he still needs to move the puck a little faster but that will come with experience. Petry's biggest stride is his greater awareness in the defensive zone. With his size and speed, Petry is no longer a defensive liability. A fast, big and physical defenceman that can quickly move up into the play. And lets not forget about his booming shot that the Oilers can use on the point. This sounds a lot like a top pairing defenceman to me.
The emergence of Petry means the Oilers won't be desperate to sign a Ryan Suter or trade for a Shea Weber. I'm still not against the Oilers acquiring a top pairing defenceman but it's no longer a number one priority. Even more promising is the Oilers won't have to rush the development of highly regarded prospects: Oscar Klefbom and David Musil will now have to compete for an NHL job. There is a forgotten man that I believe the Oilers will be slotting into the line-up next year.
Taylor Fedun will be next year's Bill Masterton Winner. He will be at training camp this fall, barring any more unforeseen mishaps. Just a few weeks ago Taylor started skating again and has now started his training. Fedun is now working with the Oilers skills and skating coach which means he's in the last stage of rehab. No he won't be practising any time soon but he has six months to get ready for camp.
So here's my question! Why did Steve Tambellini trade Tom Gilbert?
Tambellini believes Fedun is that prospect already in the system that is NHL ready. In fact, Taylor Fedun was pencilled in for the home opener before his season ending injury. Steve must have received some promising news from the doctors and training staff last week to go ahead with our only deadline trade.
The free agent signing of Taylor last year was originally a depth move for the organization. Nobody, including management, expected him to compete for a job at training camp. Fedun did more than compete, he won the job.
It really isn't all that surprising when you look at his past accomplishments. Taylor came into camp as a four year graduate of the Princeton Tigers. Over four years Fedun had twenty goals and sixty-eight points in the ECAC. That's an average of 0.54 points in 127 games.
Season GP G A PTS PMIN
2007-08 Princeton 32 4 10 14 32
2008-09 Princeton 35 3 12 15 50
2009-10 Princeton 31 3 14 17 34
2010-11 Princeton 29 10 12 22 38
Season GP G A PTS PMIN
2002-03 Wisconsin 39 7 13 20 36
2003-04 Wisconsin 39 6 15 21 36
2004-05 Wisconsin 41 8 9 17 48
2005-06 Wisconsin 43 12 19 31 32
By the numbers the two players are quite similar. They play the game with an offensive flare. They can skate and move the puck. Where they are different is Fedun has a nasty streak that Gilbert never developed. Of course the biggest difference is Gilbert has six years of NHL experience.
The jury is still out on Taylor Fedun. There is a chance his injuries may never fully heal. And there is the possibility that Fedun may never develop into a top four defenceman.
Tambellini is a calculative person. He's not a man who will take a risk without calculating all the possible scenarios. Taylor Fedun is one of those scenarios.
Here's hoping that next season is a kinder one for Taylor and the Oilers.