When Taylor Hall returns should he play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

Jonathan Willis
November 10 2014 04:53PM

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It isn’t at all uncommon for teams with two great forwards to play them on separate lines. Pavel Datsyuk has played 4,500-odd minutes for Detroit over the last five seasons; only a third of them were spent on the same line as Henrik Zetterberg. It’s a similar story in Chicago, where Jonathan Toews has spent about 40 percent of his time playing with Patrick Kane and the other 60 percent playing with someone else.

Taylor Hall is one of the best players in the league, but for the last couple of seasons he’s been the only great forward in Edmonton. Now, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is showing signs that he may be ready to take the jump. That leaves Dallas Eakins facing the same choice that Mike Babcock and Joel Quenneville face: Does he keep the duo together, or split them up?

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GDB 15.0: The Early Hole

Jonathan Willis
November 09 2014 12:37PM


The Edmonton Oilers are in New York to play the Rangers on Sunday. A win tonight would move them to 2-2 on their current five-game road trip and give them a much needed boost up the standings. A loss, on the other hand, would make it all too easy to dismiss Friday’s win as an aberration and bring yet more pressure down on the coach and general manager.

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Iiro Pakarinen & Winning an NHL Job

Jonathan Willis
November 07 2014 09:51PM

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Good enough simply isn’t good enough for a young prospect trying to earn a spot in the NHL. The rules are a little different for high picks, who have enough cachet to survive simply surviving, but for the majority of players trying to force their way into an NHL job it’s necessary to steal it from someone else and that typically requires more than passable play.

We’re still in early days, but Iiro Pakarinen looks like a player who might be able to deliver that.

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Holding the Blue Line

Jonathan Willis
November 06 2014 09:43PM

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The Edmonton Oilers weren’t very good against Boston on Thursday night, and a big part of the problem was an inability to hold their own blue line.

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WWYDW: The Long-Term Defensive Depth Chart

Jonathan Willis
November 05 2014 04:38PM

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Over the course of the Edmonton Oilers’ error-prone rebuild, two positions have been and remain particularly weak: centre and defence. The centre position has been debated to death, but less time has been spent discussing the defence, which general manager Craig MacTavish took some pains to address in the summer.

How should the Oilers proceed at the position, both in the short- and long-term?

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