Edmonton gave up its 2006 1st round draft pick in the Roloson trade, and so started with a 2nd round pick in the draft. With this pick they selected Jeff Petry out of the USHL. Not much was known about him at the time. In fact almost nothing was known about him, or the league he came from. But heres what McKeen's magazine wrote this about his playoff performance this season:
Jeff Petry (Edm), D, Des MoinesThis is looking like a great pick by Lowe et al. Its looking like he could have top 2 upside in the NHL. The USHL is not as strong as some leagues but has produced offensive defenceman like Matt Carle and Brian Lee along with top prospect forwards like Kyle Okoposo and Martin Hanzal.
The best defenseman in the league will play for Michigan State next fall .. is a great skater that is elegant on his feet with an effortless and powerful stride in all directions .. dangerous when he decides to skate the puck up the ice but does not do so enough, as he is always aware of his defensive responsibilities .. hands are soft and his skill set is underrated .. vision is top-notch, as he makes a great first pass or can quarterback the powerplay .. owns an accurate 98 mph slapshot that is the heaviest in the league .. often elects to take a little off his shot to release the puck more quickly with his fine wristshot and does a good job of keeping it low and on the net .. has a great head for the game at both ends .. more physical this year and uses his great lateral mobility to line up a stiff hip check time to time .. savvy one-on-one defender, as he uses his reach well and maintains proper body positioning at all times .. gap control is flawless .. still could stand to add some bulk to his lanky frame, as his upper-body strength is just average for a player of his height .. backbone of this team and is a true leader .. poised and can change the pace of the game to his liking .. an astute selection by the Edmonton Oilers.
If Petry can have a strong next couple seasons at Michigan State the Oilers could be well stocked with excellent two-way defenceman. Gilbert, Grebs, Chorney, Petry, Smid are all 24 and under showing top 4 upside. What used to be one of the most shallow positions in our system is starting to look pretty promising.
For all those who bash Lowe, you have to admit the guy can draft defenceman.
Edit to add: Here is a list of all the players drafted out of the USHL.