Red Wings: Jordan Oesterle, Detroit’s Seventh (Or Eighth) Defenseman

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Left defenseman Jordan Oesterle was one of the Detroit Red Wings offseason free agents signings made to shore up team depth. How effective will Oesterle be as the team’s seventh/eighth defenseman?

Age: 29
Left Defenseman
First Year With the Red Wings
Stats Snapshot:
Goals: 1
Assists: 10
CF%: 46.1
Pts/60: 0.9
ixG: 2.5
GAR: 1.4
(Advanced Stats Courtesy of Evolving-Hockey)

Last Season With the Arizona Coyotes

Oesterle has spent the last three years with the Arizona Coyotes. Last year, he played a role very similar to Jon Merrill and Patrik Nemeth’s in Detroit: a pure defender that plays it safe on the blue line. However, there is almost no offensive upside with Oesterle. He put up paltry numbers last season and failed to drive any sort of offense (46.1 corsi-for percentage last season). His bread and butter was making very few defensive errors. Oesterle’s stay-at-home defensive style is very similar to what Jeff Blashill asked of his defenseman last season.

Best Case Scenario This Season

Oesterle ends up as the go-to fill in for the Red Wings. When one of the team’s starting defenseman needs a rest or ends up injured, Oesterle is the first scratched defenseman called up. When playing, his safe play meshes well with his given pairing and the defense doesn’t miss a beat when he’s slotted into the lineup.

Worst Case Scenario

Oesterle ends up surpassed by other depth defenseman on the team like Gustav Lindstrom or even Luke Witkowski. He sits out a majority of the season and is only used if injuries necessitate it.

The Prediction Part

Oesterle is going to do exactly what he was signed to do. He’s not going to blow anyone away; there’s not going to be a specific game where he steps up and endears himself to the fans. But there’s a reason Steve Yzerman signed him: he’s a low-flow, low-ceiling type defenseman. When he’s asked to fill in for an injury or gap in the roster, he’ll do it with safe play and efficiency, which fits Blashill’s game plan perfectly.

Probability of Becoming a Trade Deadline Target: Almost None

The reality is, Oesterle’s role on the team won’t attract much attention in the league. He’s going to be a depth defenseman on a mediocre/bad team, that’s not likely to garner many calls at the deadline. Unless he ends up filling in on one of the team’s main defensive pairings, Oesterle won’t do enough to get trade offers at the deadline.

The Bottom Line

In the grand scheme of things, Oesterle is not playing a very big role on the team. He was signed as depth on a defense that is trending up, so all that can be asked is competence when given a spot on the roster. However, he could see a larger role on the team if there’s any movement at the deadline. The Michigan native likely won’t be a key part of the team, but his role as depth could be important on defense that is trending upwards.

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