This Year's Defence vs. Last Year's Defence


via (What are the odds Aaron Ekblad is drafted 1st round by the Oilers in the upcoming draft?)

2012-2013 Defence and Goalies

Nick Schultz
Ryan Whitney
Corey Potter (33 games)
Ladislav Smid
Mark Fistric
Justin Schultz
Jeff Petry
Theo Peckham
Devan Dubnyk
Nicolai Khabibulin

2013-2014 Defence and Goalies

Nick Schultz
Corey Potter (12 games)
Ladislav Smid (traded)
Justin Schultz
Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin
Andrew Ference
Phillip Larsen
Anton Belov
Taylor Fedun (4 games)
Dennis Grebeshkov (7 games)
Brad Hunt (3 games)
Devan Dubnyk
Ilya Bryzgalov
Jason LaBarbera

Why are the goals against the Oilers this year so much higher than last year? (173 vs 137 goals against after 48 games) While forwards, especially centers, play a significant role defensively, obviously the defensemen and goalies are the prime suspects. What do you think are the major contributors to the defensive woes of the Oilers this year?

Here's my two cents...

1. Jeff Petry's defensive game has fallen off the wagon. After 48 games last year Petry finished with a +/- of 1. This year his +/- is -17 after 50 games.

2. Goaltending, especially, earlier in the year was poorer. Devan Dubnyk early in the year got off to quite a bad start. Some suspect it may have been his brand-new baby or maybe just bad luck.

3. The 'swarm defense' trial by Dallas Eakins at the beginning of the season was a huge mistake that still may be leaving Oiler players confused at times.

4. Oilers are lacking non-aged veterans with 5 - 8 years experience in the league who are in their prime. This year is made up of more young relatively NHL inexperienced players (Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, Jeff Petry, Anton Belov, Phillip Larsen) than last year.

5. Shaun Horcoff played a bigger and more effective role as a defensive high-minutes center last year than his replacement Boyd Gordon has this year without adequate compensation by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and and contributed more defensively to the centers position.

6. Guys like Mark Fistric, Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, and Nick Schultz albeit unable to adequately fill top-defensive roles on the 2012-2013 team brought significantly more experience and were closer to their prime as players (5-8 years in the NHL) than the current defensive core. Nick Schultz is a year older and a year farther past his prime and the rest of the defensemen are gone. Interestingly, Mark Fistric has found what appears to be a full-time role on the Anaheim Ducks as a 5-6 defensive defenseman and is obviously doing quite well. Perhaps Fistric was a bigger loss than realized.

What else do you think has been a major contributor to the much higher goals against record this year than last?

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