When the Oilers traded Dustin Penner to the Kings for Colten Teubert and a couple of picks - including the pick that became Oscar Klefbom - I wasn't very happy, at least partially because I didn't think Teubert was a particularly promising prospect. That he was a high draft pick in 2008 almost made things worse because it gave me that "Smyth to the Isles for FORMER FIRST-ROUND PICK Ryan O'Marra" vibe. Teubert just hadn't progressed all that much since draft day, and even though 2010-11 was his first year as a professional, a second or third pairing role and a couple of healthy scratches in Manchester didn't exactly have his name ringing out in the streets. So it's with some surprise that I'm one of the more optimistic members of our panel on where Teubert stands today.
Previous Rank: N/A
It wasn't all sunshine once Teubert came to the Oilers either. He ended up taking a healthy scratch with the Barons once the post-season arrived, so that makes a second AHL coach who wasn't exactly enamored with his game in the here and now. His -1 rating with the Barons doesn't compare favorably with the other man acquired at the deadline (Kevin Montgomery was +8), which fits with his fifth-place standing in that category with Manchester. There are some things to work on.
But there are also reasons for optimism. The first positive is his play in his last year of junior. When I calculated the quality of competition for Teubert's terrible Regina Pats last off-season, he came out of it looking fantastic:
As you'd expect, he was taking on the best forwards that other teams had to offer, and was one of just two defenders with to outscore the men he was up against. For a guy who projects to be a shut-down defender if he fulfills his potential, that result is pretty important. And while Teubert didn't take a huge step forward when he got to the AHL, that's a very difficult league, especially for young defensemen. It's well within reason to think that the 21 year-old will be much better this year than he was last, especially since his body is still developing. The Oilers have Teubert listed at 6'4'' and 195 lbs., which is big, but probably not big enough to play the way he did in junior, and not as big as he'll need to be to play in the NHL. At the most recent rookie camp, Teubert was interviewed a couple of times, and he seemed well aware of that. This is what he had to say on July 4th:
I'm going to need to gain some weight over the summer, come into camp really strong, and play simple and solid.
And just to prove that the emphasis on strength and weight gain isn't a fluke, Teubert was asked a similar question on July 7th, and came back with a similar answer:
I've got two months here, and I'm going to work hard and try to gain some weight, and really come into camp strong and physically fit.
When Teubert was interviewed on March 28th, this is what he had to say about the weight issue, and how he sees himself eventually fitting on an NHL team:
If I could look to play at a solid 210, I think I'd be happy... I can bring that physical aspect and that leadership... just a simple stay-at-home guy who battles every night and competes for his teammates.
With age, experience, and physical development all very likely to help Teubert to play the game he feels he needs to play to have success as a professional going forward, there's little doubt in my mind that he'll be a signifcantly better player in 2011-12 than he was in 2010-11. With a log-jam of defenders on the right side, and a few players with plenty of power play experience (Helmer, Potter, Chorney), there's going to be a lot of competition for ice time. I doubt he'll see much time on the PP, but I think he'll earn himself a significant role at evens and big minutes on the PK. At this point in his career, I think Teubert can make tremendous progress without playing a minute in Edmonton. In fact, that's exactly what I expect.