Today, we feature a big, physical penalty-machine who struggles with positioning in the defensive zone and has trouble making crisp passes to get his team out of trouble. I could have sworn that I wrote about Theo Peckham already! I jest. Colten Teubert does have his problems, and many of them are similar to Peckham's, but he's also made some important strides this season, which is why he's moved up so far on this edition of the Top 25.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Drafted||Year||Ben ||Bruce ||DB ||Derek ||Jon||Ryan||Scott|
In the summer, both Jonathan and Derek had him outside of the top twenty-five altogether. Now, no one has him outside the top twenty. That's a testament to the promising results Teubert has achieved in the AHL, and what our panel has gleaned from his first brief stint in the NHL.
When I wrote about Teubert in the summer, I really didn't expect him to get to the NHL this year at all. When he was concussed in the Young Stars tournament, I felt even more confident in that prediction. But then he began to benefit from the misfortune of others: Taylor Fedun was knocked out for the year during pre-season, Ryan Whitney barely played during the first half because of a wonky ankle, and Taylor Chorney was claimed off waviers by the St. Louis Blues. That meant more playing time available in Oklahoma City, and when a spot opened up with another injury or suspension in Edmonton, an opportunity for recall if he performed well.
Teubert has taken advantage. While in Oklahoma City, he's been playing on one of the top two pairings, and the results have been good. When I checked in at the All-Star break, Teubert was +6 during five-on-five play, good enough for second on the team in +/- per game, and led the team in five-on-five points per game. The Oilers have been so impressed that Teubert was the second choice for recall behind the already-seasoned (and now established) Jeff Petry.
But at the NHL level, things haven't gone quite as smoothly. His Relative Corsi (which compares the Oilers' performance with Teubert on the ice to their performance with Teubert off the ice in the games that Teubert has actually played) is decidedly negative (-7.5, third-worst among the team's defenders), and his ZoneShift suggests that the puck is consistently moving the wrong way (42.5% actual zone finish compared to 50.0% expected zone finish, which is the largest negative gap among Oiler defenders). When we look at David Staples' individual scoring chances, we see that Teubert shouldn't be looking at teammates to shoulder the blame: his 21% individual scoring chance percentage is the worst mark on the team. Safe to say that he's not yet ready for the NHL.
His penalty totals are also worrying. At the NHL level, he's taken the second-most penalties per sixty minutes of five-on-five ice time among NHL defensemen. That would be easier to excuse as him not being ready for the NHL if it wasn't also a problem at the AHL level. Taking a look at the penalty totals of OKC defensemen, Teubert stands out:
I've removed all of the coincidental minors here, so these are just minors that lead to actual power plays. If Teubert is looking for areas that need improvement, I'd suggest that staying out of the box is a big one.
I realize that a lot of what I've written looks and sound negative, but that's mostly because of the NHL data. I think we can agree that he wasn't ready. But that would have been an unfair expectation. My expectation for Teubert was a strong AHL season, and he's delivered. There's still a long way to go to make the NHL full-time, a 21-year-old in just his second pro season still has time to get there. I don't know that he'll make it, but I am confident that he'll get chances; we haven't seen Colten Teubert's last NHL game. Long-tem, I think it would serve his interests to spend the rest of this season working on his positional game and reduce the number of penalties he takes in the AHL. If he can do that, and works hard over the summer, I expect him to come to camp next year an improved player who will mount a significant challenge for a spot on the Oilers' roster.