BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

Lowetide
July 26 2014 09:26AM

eberle common1

The Edmonton Oilers are a team badly in need of secondary scoring. The top line is the marquee item, but would Dallas Eakins be better off breaking up the line and trying to find two units that work?

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

In a recent article, Travis Yost had a look at the fine work Jim Nill is doing with the Dallas Stars. He quotes Nill in the article discussing roster makeup and lines:

  • “The roster assembly is really going to be something we find out in training camp. Right now, we’ve been playing a little bit of fantasy hockey before the hockey actually starts. We’re trying to figure out where everyone fits — the right ice time and stuff. The thing about Hemsky is that we had him targeted before we picked up Spezza. We wanted someone to complement the first line. We had some players that played with Hemsky previously — during our exit interviews, those players thought he would be a great fit with the team. Great passer, high-end skills. Seguin and Benn are really known as shooters — their niche is great shots. Hemsky’s a guy we targeted anyways. We’re going to come to camp now and Lindy and his staff are going to put it together.”

Source

Great passer, high-end skills. If only the Oilers could find a guy like 83. If we take the Oilers top nine forwards and filter that group through what Nill is saying here, can we break up the 1line and come up with two scoring lines? What would it look like?

OPTIONS

If we're going to talk about breaking up the top line, let's begin by discussing Taylor Hall, and who plays well with him. Via Hockey Analysis, here's a ranking of how well Taylor Hall scores by teammate (2013-14, this is 5x5 points per 60 minutes):

  1. Nail Yakupov 3.76
  2. David Perron 3.06
  3. Jordan Eberle 2.96
  4. Mark Arcobello 2.92
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2.55

Heavy small sample size alert in regard to Hall with Yak (No. 4 scored seven points in about 111 minutes) and Mark Arcobello (4 points in 82 5x5 minutes).

Source

What if the Oilers tried that? What if Dallas Eakins took the top pair (Nuge and Hall) and married them to David Perron? It could be deadly. Or, Nail Yakupov? That's a tough matchup for the young Russian in terms of quality of competition, but he can shoot from anywhere and the other two are brilliant passers.

Then again, what do we do with Eberle? If you move him off the 1line, who does he score well with 5x5?

  1. Nail Yakupov 2.48
  2. Taylor Hall 2.17
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.93
  4. David Perron 1.18

Same source as above, and of course these are all very small sample sizes we're discussing here.

TOP 2 LINES

  1. Hall-Nuge-Yakupov
  2. Perron-Draisaitl/Arcobello-Eberle

Eberle doesn't show well with Perron, but the former St. Louis Blues winger posted 2.07 5x5/60 with Eberle in 203 minutes this season. The Oilers spread the wealth, give Yakupov an excellent chance to succeed, and two veteran mentors for Leon the Great.

AND they still have Pouliot and Purcell left over for another line. 

  1. Hall-Nuge-Yakupov
  2. Perron-Draisaitl-Eberle
  3. Pouliot-Arcobello-Purcell

Thoughts?

    C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
    Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
    Avatar
    #51 Gk1980
    July 26 2014, 09:21PM
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    Maurey wrote:

    Hall / Arcobello / Perron

    Yakupov / Nugent-Hopkins / Eberle

    Pouliot / Draisaitl / Purcell

    Galiardi / Gordon / Mueller or Setoguchi

    What! This is loco! Galiardi, setoguchi and mueller aren't even in the oilers!!!! How is this possible!?

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    #52 Aitch
    July 26 2014, 10:34PM
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    Gk1980 wrote:

    What! This is loco! Galiardi, setoguchi and mueller aren't even in the oilers!!!! How is this possible!?

    With Rexall brand "Magic Mushrooms" anything is possible!

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    #53 Jayz
    July 26 2014, 11:01PM
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    No. Do not break up 1st line unless Leon pushes RNH down to second line. I always seen RNH as our version of RoR anyway. Think and dream big .

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    #54 etownman
    July 26 2014, 11:46PM
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    Not good LD! These guys love playing together & produce when they do! This was proven at the end of last year & they put top lines on other teams on their heels. I would predict they will all be pt/game players if they play the majority of the season together & are first line PP!

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    #55 Oil hope 111
    July 27 2014, 08:10AM
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    @Jayz

    Hall nuge. Eberle Perron arco yakupov Pouliot draisatl Purcell Hendricks. Gordan gazdic /pinnizotto

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    #56 El Peterson
    July 27 2014, 08:29AM
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    1st line-Pouliot/nugent-hopkins/eberle- this line is defensively responsible and would have a big winger who can go to the net. 2nd line-hall/Arcobello/yakupov-this line would have good scoring potentail and a playmaker and defensively responsible centre, which hall and yakupov are not.

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    #57 K_Mart
    July 27 2014, 10:28AM
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    Dan 1919 wrote:

    Yeah this definitely isn’t a new idea. Eakins talked of splitting the kids into groups of 2 last year before the season even started, and he did.

    What we found out was that Taylor Hall was the actual driver of the limited offence the Oilers produced. Whoever Hall played with excelled, when baby Nuge and little Ebs lost their best friend to another line, they started to slump.

    Should note that Perron seemed to always play his consistent game and didn’t need Hall as much as the other guys though.

    Both Nuge and Ebs are paid just as much as Hall, there should be a lot of pressure on them this year to take the team and lead them night after night. Not have a couple good games, then slump for a period of time and watch the media blame the third and fourth line while the top paid players get away with it.

    Not saying they have to score 50 goals a piece, but they need to take a stronger leadership role this year. They should be able to play on a line without Taylor Hall and still produce consistently. It may still be that the best line for the team is to have them together, but they should still be able to produce if asked to play with others too.

    There’s plenty of team’s top paid players in the league that produce night after night and don’t have as skilled as wingers as Hall next to them.

    This

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    #58 Maurey
    July 27 2014, 10:35AM
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    @Gk1980

    It's a simple concept to grasp. Galiardi, Mueller and Setoguchi are all unrestricted free agents that are probably quite attainable. And probably cheap too (1.0m to 1.5m) at this stage of the summer. Galiardi has decent possession numbers and has some scoring ability. They all have decent size and scoring potential and are looking to make a comeback season. Galiardi and Setoguchi are both from Alberta so Edmonton may just be at the top of their list so maybe they'd sign for a hometown discount. I would rather have them than Hendricks or Pitlick any day. Plus they can play up and down the lineup as needed. As for the rest of my lineup, Hall had great numbers with Perron and Arcobello and Perron did not perform well with Eberle while Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov did. So by the evidence presented in the article my lineup makes sense. I know it seems hard to fathom Arcobello on L1 and Nuge and Ebs on L2 but I think you would find teams having a hard time matching lines. And although it puts all of the Oilers newfound size on one L3, I think surrounding Draisaitl with the vets makes good sense. Any one of the 4 lines could exploit weak competition, something Gordon, Hendricks and Pitlick can not do.

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    #59 Spydyr
    July 27 2014, 11:21AM
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    Thoughts?

    With a raw 18 year old rookie as your #2C and Acro as your #3C it is pretty easy to project another early end to the playoff race.

    I would put the over under at December 1st as the date all hope is lost.

    It beats last years late October.

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    #60 Dave
    July 27 2014, 09:25PM
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    The problem is that Hall/RNH/Eberle do tend to play quite a bit together. In 2013-2014 they weren't together all that much - Hall started at center and then basically played with whoever was in a slump to try and get them going. And then right at the end Eakins put the line back together and they instantly clicked and slaughtered their opposition, including a very impressive spanking of Joe Thornton's line against San Jose.

    I could see giving Yak some occasional duty on that line because there is plenty of evidence that Eberle doesn't play better if he gets too much ice time, whereas I think Nuge and Hall can handle a bit more ice, but it would be foolish to chase a hypothetical better combination of players when 2 years of experiments have failed, and when Hall/RNH/Eberle is so incredibly deadly. Keep them together, let them dismantle the opposition, and figure out a way for everyone else to win the battle against the opposition's second best players.

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    #61 El Pindo
    July 28 2014, 10:00AM
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    Two RH shots on second line and two LH shots on first line? Split it up, keep the one timers open

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    #62 916oiler
    July 28 2014, 10:36AM
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    Yak on the first line would be too tough in terms of competition (at this point). I'd much rather see him sheltered until he finds his stride at the NHL level.

    I also would be hesitant to pair him up with our shiny new German rookie...who is shiny, and new.

    Maybe we could build a fort on the bench made up of broken sticks and icy hot to SHELTER them from tough competition?

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    #63 Stubblejumper
    July 28 2014, 04:04PM
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    I posted a comment on this issue back on July 22nd.

    IMO Oilers need to get away from the "one-big-line" Hall-Nuge-Ebs fetish...other teams know if you shut it down you beat the Oilers 9 times out of 10.

    A more balanced approach would see tandems with interchangeable parts for the third piece depending on the line matchups, size/skill/speed of the team being played. Perhaps something like:

    Perron-Nuge-xxxx xxxx-Hall-Eberle Pouliot-Draisaitl-xxxx Hendricks-Gordon-xxxx

    Yakupov, Purcell, Gazdic, Pitlick/Lander/Arco etc to slide in with each pairing interchangeably depending on best match-ups for each team being played.

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    #64 Stubblejumper
    July 28 2014, 04:06PM
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    Easier to read:

    Perron-Nuge-xxxx
    xxxx-Hall-Eberle
    Pouliot-Draisaitl-xxxx
    Hendricks-Gordon-xxxx

    Comments are closed for this article.