Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Petry, Still My #1 Ranked Oilers Prospect

His stats may not scream "look at this guy, he's a stud!", however playing on a horrible team can do that to a guys stats. 34gp. 2-10-12 30pim. -23 76sog is hardly anything to get pumped about in 95% of cases but the fact remains that he is the 5th highest scoring player on his team and is only 3 points out of 2nd place on his teams scoring list. He has twice as many points and goals as any other MSU d-man and is tied for 8th in team goals with 2.

Petry leads the Spartans with 10 assists. Petry has played in all 34 MSU games this season and has logged some serious minutes in doing so. He is a team worst -23 but that is to be expected when you are your teams top dman on an overwhelmed and over matched team. Now that we have the statistics out of the way, let's talk about what Jeff Petry brings to the table and why I think that his game will translate to the pro game so well.

1)Size and strength
Petry is listed at 6'3" and 200lbs. That is a good size for a blueliner and I have little doubt that as he gets into a pro training system he will bulk up to 215-220lbs. Even at 200lbs. he is a physical force at the NCAA level.

Petry moves very well for a big man and carries the puck like a gazelle up ice. His speed will also allow him to be able to join into the rush but also have the speed to retreat into the defensive zone most times. Similar to Lubomir Visnovsky and Joni Pitkanen in that regard, except he has a way to go in that area before he comes close to reaching their level of effectiveness in that area.

3)Passing ability
Petry is a superb passer and will no doubt end up one day on the Oilers PP if he is brought up through the organization. His ability to break out of the zone with his speed or a solid 1st pass
will make him a formidable opponent of opposing forecheckers.

4)Hard Slapper
Clocked at 95MPH 2 seasons ago, it isn't inconceivable to think that as he adds more strength and mass that he won't be hitting triple digits on the radar gun. He would be a great compliment to either Lubomir Visnovsky or Sheldon Souray on the point. A point man that can pass and hammer the puck is a luxury to have.

5)Newly found Physical play
Petry played with a little bit of an edge last year, this year he is much more able and willing to dish out punishment. In the last game that I saw him play, he had a murderous check behind the net and a heavy hip check that sent the opposing forward back to the bench hunched over. When you can combine size, speed, skill, and physical play you have the total physical package.

Areas to work on

1)He needs to get into a system where he is coached heavily to break him of some bad habits that are accumulated playing in the NCAA. The college game isn't nearly as system oriented as the AHL or NHL. When Petry learns how to pinch and lead the rush effectively at the pro level without costing his team, he will be a gem of a player.

2)Play with skilled players and get out of the toilet that is the MSU hockey program at the moment. Playing another year with younger players and leading the losing charge won't do anything for his development.

3)Add more mass, even at 210lbs. Petry would be a force at the AHL level and maybe even the NHL level. He has the frame for the extra size, the rest is up to him.

1 comment:

BillOGoods said...

Petry is a stud. I hate having to say anything other than that, particularly about a college player, but your post, I think, suggests you didn't see the Spartans play much this season. So, having said that, Petry is not ready to step into the AHL, IMHO. If you saw him play over the course of the season, you would have seen a guy, not crippled by the fact that he didn't have talent around him, but, instead, a guy trying to do way, way to much and confused about his role on the ice. The biggest sign being his inability to control the puck on a power play or make good passes.

Also, yes, the MSU team was way down this season. However, Petry wasn't, again I hate saying this, wasn't a man among men in front of Jeff Lerg. He was getting "run around" in front just like the frosh defensemen.

A fair analysis is that Jeff needs this summer to get his head on right and step in next season as the team leader with a bunch of seasoned and, yes, talented sophs---along with a smattering of junior and senior talent. The big freshman class coming in also has some excellent guys that will step right in.

Last year was an oddball nightmare of injuries and bad acting, but the nghtmare is over. And, just for the record, the player development people for the Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are on record more than once about the excellent development and preparation players get at Michigan State on account of the coaching. So, you shouldn't suggest, if you were even doing so, that coaching is somehow retarding Jeff's development.