Who needs constant news on the Oilers new GM, Steve Tambellini, when much more important news has been announced? For those of you who didn’t follow the link, I’ll fill you in: Neil Petruic (in white) has signed a contract with the Stockton Thunder. And you thought Tambellini’s hiring was important.
Here’s what we know about Petruic:
-He played four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was repeatedly honoured as part of the All-WCHA Academic Team. He also served as the team’s assistant captain.
-He was drafted by Ottawa in 2001; Hockey Country said "he is considered an offensive defencemen with questionable defensive and physical skills," which doesn’t seem like a fit with the Oilers organization. Still, the last time he’s never topped 13 points as a pro and never topped 14 as a college player, so I imagine he’s developed into a two-way guy (at the minor-pro level).
-He was a member of two brutal Binghamton Senators teams (Ottawa’s farm team has been miserable since the lockout; nothing prepares prospects for losing in the NHL like losing in the AHL- at least Oilers prospects got to win with other team’s AHL franchises) and had mixed results. In 2005-06 he posted 4 points in 51 games and had an even plus/minus on a poor team; in 2006-07 he posted 13 points and was won of 13 players to finish -12 or worse (-22).
-Last season he won an Italian League championship with HC Bolzano (along with ex-Oiler Chris Hajt).
-He’s 26 years old.
I think that Petruic will be a top-tier ECHL defenseman, and that he likely won’t be able to climb up to Springfield’s roster given the number of legitimate offensive defenseman prospects that the Oilers have.