Edmonton's Defense - Worse than Switzerland?

Edmonton rolled six "defensemen" last night, presumably because they couldn't find a 7th one inside the organization.  Here's the painful truth:


Name TOI NHL GP Age Draft +/- per 82
Gilbert 26 239 27 4th -4.9
Strudwick 24 612 34 3rd -8.4
Peckham 23 22 22 3rd -16.6
Chorney 21 25 22 2nd -40.2
Motin 14 1 20 4th -9.3
Arsene 10 3 29 N/A -3.5


The +/- is either their career NHL +/-, or their AHL +/- over the last two seasons.  Not a lot of NHL experience and lot of negatives...

And here's who Switzerland played on D against the US last week:


Name TOI NHL GP Age Draft +/- per 82
Streit 29 342 32 9th -3.2
Blindenbacher 21 26 9th 10.3
Seger 20 32 N/A
Sbisa 12 47 20 1st -12.5
Furrer 11 25 6th
Weber 11 8 21 3rd 14.8
Diaz 10 24 N/A


Mark Streit's abilities are well-known and Severin Blindenbacher is the #1 defenseman for Farjestad in the Swedish Elite League.  Switzerland clearly outclassed the Oilers with their top pairing.  I don't know a lot about Mathias Seger, but he seemed to go out for a lot of D-zone draws against the Americans.  The Swiss league doesn't seem to like +/- so we can only assume he's the best defenseman in Switzerland, and better than Theo Peckham.  If Taylor Chorney, he of the ridiculously bad +/- in the AHL, was on the Swiss team, we can be sure he'd play less than 23 minutes.  Hell, he'd play less than the 12 minutes Luca Sbisa - who has a better case to be in the NHL - played.

The bottom of the defensive crew is a toss-up.  Johan Motin obviously has room to improve, but he was a pretty marginal player with Farjestad last season.  Yannick Weber falls in the same boat.  I know very little about Switzerland's other two D, but I can only assume that they wouldn't get abused any worse by Jonathan Toews than Dean Arsene did last night.

Bottom line: the Edmonton Oilers managed to put together, for one game at least, one of the weakest defensive corps imaginable.  With Jonas Hiller in goal and a slight edge on defense, I'd imagine that Team Switzerland could beat last night's Oilers 60-70% of the time.

A word to the wise: when your defense is either racked with injuries or not very good to begin with, it's a bad idea to trade away your top two defensemen and have to spend a day waiting for their replacement (Ryan Whitney) to show up.  Ouch!

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