Monday, October 24, 2011
Talk About Surprises!
When the Edmonton Oilers signed Corey Potter to a one year two-way deal, it was thought of nothing more then a depth signing for the organization. The former fourth round pick of the New York Rangers, was surely being brought in to help the club down in Oklahoma City and possibly be a short term call up, if the injury bug hit. Obviously, no one let Mr.Potter know what was expected of him.
I have little doubt, that Potter looked at the Oilers depth on the backend and felt he would have a legit shot to make the big club. Couple that, with the fact that coach Tom Renney holds the 27 year old veteran in high regard and I am sure it was a no-brainer for him to sign with Edmonton.
Potter showed up to training camp ready to go and wanting to prove to the Oilers brass that he belongs in the NHL. Throughout the pre-season, he kept his game simple and, more often then not, was positionally sound in the his end of the ice. Add to that, his ability to move the puck and quarterback a power play...I would say you could almost put money on the Oilers giving him a long look. Apparently, they were impressed with what they saw because they broke camp with Potter on their roster, albeit as the number seven guy to start the season.
After sitting out the first two games of the campaign, Potter was inserted into the lineup to face the Vancouver Canucks. He played 19 minutes, was solid in his own end and added another blueliner who could move the puck out of the Oilers zone. To boot, he looked very good on the power play and picked up an assist on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hat trick goal. The coaching staff liked what he brought to the table and Potter has not not seen the press box since. Not only has he become a regular but he's now the lone defenceman on the Oilers top power play unit and finds himself paired with the teams top blueliner, Ryan Whitney.
To say Corey Potter has exceeded expectations, would be like saying RNH has been alright this season. The defenceman has logged an average of 20 minutes a night and has cemented his spot in the teams starting lineup. His play has forced the organization to not only sit Theo Peckham but also send Jeff Petry to the minors and lose Taylor Chorney via waivers to the St. Louis Blues. All tough decisions for the Edmonton Oilers to make but they were the right moves to make. While it has been only fives games, if Corey Potter continues to play at his current level over the next couple of months, the organization should be looking at getting his signature on a contract extension. At what I am sure, will be a very reasonable rate.