Continuing on with our look at the turnaround for the Barons this season, the defense is probably the least-affected group, as there will be probably only one new face on defense. After the logjam at defense towards the end of last season, most of the faces will be at least somewhat familiar this season. The losses of Richard Petiot, Kevin Montgomery, and Jake Taylor mean that the Barons will be without much of their prior veteran leadership this season. To help supplement that, the Oilers signed Corey Potter to a one-year deal. Potter counts himself among the few Oilers battling for an NHL roster spot however, so there is a good possibility that Potter will find himself in Edmonton this season at one point or another. Also fighting for that spot are Jeff Petry and Taylor Chorney. Signed towards the end of last season, Taylor Fedun will make his debut with the Barons this season.
I'll go ahead and start with Taylor Fedun, as he's definitely slated to play in Oklahoma City. Fedun was signed by the Oilers in March following the end of his senior season with Princeton University. In four years with the Tigers, Fedun played in 127 games and scored 68 points. In his final season, Fedun played in 29 games, the lowest single season total of his NCAA career and scored 22 points, his career high. In two games with the Oilers in Penticton, Fedun posted a +1 rating, and played marvelously. He moved the puck well and defended with finesse. He was the best player on the ice at times. Taking a quick look at his stats, I could see him slot into a scoring defensive pair and playing on the power play.
Corey Potter spent the majority of last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, scoring 37 points in 75 games. Potter played one game with Pittsburgh at the tail end of last season, when he saw 16:43 of ice time against the Ottawa Senators. He's scored 28 goals and 111 assists in 321 AHL games, boasting a point per game average of 0.43 over his AHL career. He's considered to be a dark horse at Oilers' training camp this preseason, as he's looking to grab the seventh D-man position at the expense of Chorney and Petry. He's been a top-pairing defenseman in the AHL, so Potter would add good veteran leadership with the Barons, as well as both power play and penalty kill play.
Colten Teubert played 20 games with the Barons last season, and barring unforeseen circumstances, should start the season in Oklahoma City. Teubert, a former first round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in 2008, is ranked lower in the Top 25 Under 25 than I would have had him, came to the Barons as a result of the Oilers' trade of Dustin Penner to the Kings. In those 20 games, Teubert showed well, and announced his arrival with a goal in his first game with the Barons. A strong defensive force, Teubert will be the top defensive defensemen for the Barons this season, if not one of the top in the league. He's currently suffering from a broken nose and concussion-like symptons stemming from a fight at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, so we'll have to see if the after effects of his concussion will affect his play at all this season.
Although he is signed by the Oilers, I imagine that Martin Marincin will be headed back to Juniors this year. It's possible that they may have him turn pro this year, but he would probably spend most of his time in Stockton if that were to happen. It's also possible that they keep him on as a seventh defender, but that would depend on what the Oilers decide to do with Brandon Davidson in my opinion. If they sign Davidson, I can see him as the seventh defender over Marincin, based on the small sample size I've seen of both players.
Despite becoming a younger defensive corps, there's a lot to look forward to with this year's group. Bryan Helmer returns to guide the team with a strong leadership role, and with Alex Plante back for his third pro season, there is a lot of potential this season. I think the defense will be one of the better groups among the West division this season.