The Oilers Left Wing Depth Chart


Last season, Taylor Hall started at centre, and that left the Oilers’ left wing an ugly mess. Ryan Smyth was penciled in on the first line, David Perron slid in behind him and after that it was utter chaos.

Help is needed, but the position looks significantly stronger now than it did out of training camp last season.

The Givens


Taylor Hall is the best player on the team, a legitimate No. 1 left wing in the NHL, and the player right now who looks like he’ll end up being the most significant Oiler for the next decade.


David Perron – who can also play right wing and may find himself over there – is a really nice fit on the second line. He adds an element of sandpaper the Oilers haven’t often had, he combines scoring touch with defensive ability, and all of it comes on a bargain contract.


Matt Hendricks, despite his impressive contract, is not a third-line player because he’s a where-offence-goes-to-die winger. But watching him late last season it was easy to understand why the Oilers added him – he brings a physical conscience and defensive play and he’s an excellent option for a tough-ish minutes fourth line (i.e. a line that starts shift after shift in the defensive end of the rink).



There is a need for a third-line left wing, ideally somebody who could add some size and defensive awareness to a scoring line playing somewhat protected minutes. Looking at Oilers past, Magnus Paajarvi wouldn’t be a terrible fit for the job; for that matter, Dustin Penner wouldn’t be an awful choice either (and of course there are plenty of others who haven’t played for the Oilers who might fit the bill). This is a player that Craig MacTavish needs to add via either trade or free agency, because there really isn’t an internal candidate.


I’ve put Luke Gazdic in this category because if the Oilers are going to run a fourth line with any kind of real responsibility, his place is difficult to determine. He’s big and he can skate and he can hit and he fights, but he’s a one-dimensional player. He’s bad in the defensive zone, prone to poor coverage and giveaways, and he’s bad in the offensive zone, too. If the team wants to employ a fighter, he can do that job, and everything anyone’s ever said publicly suggests he’s a great guy to have around the team. He just shouldn’t be playing regular shifts, and this is especially true if the fourth line is expected to contribute more than “energy.” 

So What Happens?

Craig MacTavish3

My bet is that the Oilers add a useful winger during the offseason for third-line duty, bump Gazdic down into the spare forward role (plugging him in when injuries hit/when they feel they need an enforcer) and otherwise maintain the status quo. Hall/Perron is a really nice one/two punch, Hendricks brings some nice points to the fourth line and with one more guy this collection could be excellent. .


  • John Chambers

    Now that I’m out of my playoff pool I just want draft, trade, and free-agency season to begin!

    This is the summer the Oilers will pull off some incredible deals adding top-drawer players and turn the corner to be a championship-caliber club.*

    *i have been hoping this for so long it’s sad to admit.

    • nuge2drai

      Already, we’re back to over-expectations in the off-season!

      Starting with the 2014 entry draft, the Oilers don’t have either a second or third draft choice. After the 3rd overall draft position, their next choice is around the 87th position. It isn’t impossible to pick a prospect that has NHL attributes, but it is highly unlikely, particularly when the team has so many positions to fill now.

      On trading, what assets do the Oilers have? Nix on the five young untouchables. Gagner will garner next to nothing. Do they trade Perron? Don’t think so. What would they get for prospects? Probably over-age, over the hill NHLers with big contracts.

      As for free agency, there does seem to be some NHL forwards here. Unfortunately for the Oilers, they have to pay hefty premiums and long term deals to attract them, e.g. Ference.

      For the time being better to forget about the Oilers and enjoy the coming summer. Things are looking up for the Esks.

    • nuge2drai

      I too hope…

      But being realistic, hell will freeze over before this management crew does anything significant (and I mean a good player not false misplaced excitement for another Hendricks or Gordon).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Once the 3rd line LW is brought in, this group seems set. Other than goaltending, this is the one area on the team that looks the way it should.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Seems to be a suitable punishment for a team who sold the best player to ever play this game. Wandering in the desert…

    Just to be clear. After suggesting these required trades, do we have to submit a new roster lineup for others to critique? Just want to have the ground rules established before the festivities begin.

        • John Chambers

          IMO, Kulemin is able to slide on to line 2.

          Kulemn Grabovksi Yakupov would make a nice second line.

          Kulemin and Grabovski are rumored to want to play with each other. The year Kulemin and Grabo played together, i believe Kulemin scored 30 goals and Grabovski about 60 points.

          We have to overpay for free agents. We need to get upgrade. I mean, Gordon ideally is on our fourth line and he’s getting 3 mill. Just the way it goes.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    why do us fans settle on 4th liners trying to fit the bill? we need guys like jussi jokinen and the like. stop saving Katz’s money for him and lets build a real team.not to long ago we were offering sheets to nylander,vanek,etc…now we have some stars and we’ll settle for winnik? he can help but we need some support for our stars.we need some 2nd line experience not retreads like paarvii.bring in legit 55 point men and I don’t care about their cap hit

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Can we trade Strudwick for Sutherby?

    Oh…wait, sorry, wrong thread

    I thought this was the place for outlandish trade proposals. My Bad.

    Carry on gentlemen.

  • nuge2drai

    I could not disagree with you more on Luke Gazdic……..yea he is not an offensive world beater, but look at who he was playing with.

    I suspect as a supporting cast on a skilled line he would create much more space and time for his team mates. The problem is the Oilers have no ” system” of play that caters to players like Gazdic and a coach that will not put players in positions to succeed. He instead does the opposite and put players in positions that showcase their weakness……….just look at all the stats for players not named Hall and Eberle.

    Gazdic would look good on any team in the NHL and I suspect most teams would covet this type of player.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Elliotte Friedman of CBC: It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Penguins tested James Neal’s trade value. Kris Letang’s health scare may keep teams away.

    That’s from

    What would everyone here think of a Neal-Eberle swap.

    Sideways move offensively and we get size. Eberle is no slouch and may mesh well with Malkin/Crosby

    Hall Nuge Perron

    Neal Draisaitl Yakupov

    Hall – 6’1 201 lbs

    Nuge 6’1 180lbs

    Perron 6′ 198 lbs

    Yakupov 5’11 186lbs

    Neal 6’2 208lbs

    Draisaitl 6’2 209lbs

    That’s from the Oilers official webpage too.

    I wager that Yakupov adds a few more pounds as well. Once he’s matured he likely plays at 190-193lbs. I still think we see Hall at 205 to 210 in his prime since he has a big frame.

    That’s not too bad in the size department. If Draisaitl is not ready to go, I guess keep gagner or acquire grabovski or slot in Arco.

    • Word to the Bird

      James Neal has more points, is more physical, bigger size, and paid less. Why on Earth would Pittsburgh do that? I’d love that personally but theres no way that would happen.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Fair question. Neal isn’t as creative as Eberle, and maybe he doesn’t need to be. But if Pittsburgh wants to shake things up then that’s pretty good value in my opinion.

        I should’ve clarified that it wasn’t a one for one swap but the main part of the deal such as:

        Eberle + pick/prospect for Neal (not a first)

    • Quicksilver ballet

      My thoughts exactly.

      Kulemin and grabo could mentor Yak a bit. Grabo is a better skater and quite creative in finding the open man. Less thinking and more shooting for Yakupov and Kulemin.

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      Signing these two would be best for the development of Yakupov – and for this rebuild to mean anything Yakupov is crucial.

      This would also slot Perron onto the third line and open up Gagner for a trade- ideally for a 3rd line center with size(Umberger)

      Hall Hopkins Eberle

      Kulemin Grabovski Yakupov

      Perron Umberger Stempniak

      Hendricks Gordan Pitlick

      This would be the best Oiler lineup in a long time. If we draft Ekblad our D will be set for years, if we draft a Center we can properly develop the player while Grabo and Umberger are on the team.

  • Word to the Bird

    Marcus Filigno should not cost much in a trade . D.Stafford on l.wing might also be worth while in trade with Buffalo . They might even throw in Scott or Konopka for toughness . Probably depends on whether Buffalo also gets N.Y.I. first round pick this year . There , we have some new names to toss around – like the Oilers tossed salad of players .

  • Sevenseven

    Free agency is really sounding like one of the only options to fix this team. Left wing is the deepest on this team imo. I love perron, and we got him for cheap. I know im going to get trashed for this but maybe the oilers should entertain offers for Perron. His value might not get any higher. Buy low, sell high. Free agent left wingers are easier to come by then 2c or top pairing d. If the oilers make themselves a little weaker on the left side, but bring in a great d or c, would you make that trade?

  • nuge2drai

    We need size and skill. How about Kulemin Reinhart and Yak. I would love Ekblad to fall to us but my mock draft has it Ekblad ..Bennett..Reinhart. Reinhart is 6’1 and will be close to 195 by training camp. This would be a sheltered third line that would help Yak on the defence side.. and Reinhart to help on the offense feeding Yak for 40 plus goals.

    Put Hendricks, Gordon, Arco on the tough zone 4th line that will pop in the odd goal and help increase the Corsi. Trade Gagner Klefbom and the 2015 pick for Hanzal or someone close.. and sign Vrbata. My starting lineup..





    That lineup up front will change the Cosri big time. With any luck we see a fast graduation of Yak2 or Khaira. Size and skill on each line.

  • Reg Dunlop

    ‘he’s a one-dimensional player. He’s bad in the defensive zone, prone to poor coverage and giveaways, and he’s bad in the offensive zone, too.’ This comment applies equally to Yak yet because nobody wants to admit he’s looking very much a draft bust of Daigle proportions, nation citizens see him as a second line wing and Gazdik as a spare part.

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      I’m sure you were singing the same tune last year when Yak City lead the team in scoring as a rookie.

      He had a bad sophmore year, give the kid a break. Maybe instead of blaming the player blame the coach.

      Every player regressed under Eakins.

      Eakins is notorious for tearing players apart and building them back up.

      I guess step one is complete.

      • Reg Dunlop

        I believe that I have been consistant in asserting that Yak was and will continue to be the wrong draft pick. He does not fit; blame the ‘hockey is Canada’s game’ mentality if you choose. As for blaming the coach,how many coaches do the oil have to burn through before the true coach-killing nature of these brats is recognized?

  • Reg Dunlop

    I’m going to get reemed for this, but Heatly would be an ideal 3rd line LW.

    He’ll likely come pretty darn cheap. He could be a good vet mentor for either Draisaitl or Bennet if we draft one and stick him at centre on the 3rd line. From there I’d try and look to free agency again and pull out a decent second line RW, and bump Yak down to the third line.

    This leaves a grinding, defensive responsible wing to be found for fourth line RW, which could be had with a guy like Downie, or any number of players.

    That way you could give the tough defensive zone starts to the fourth line, give tough competition to the top line, and give the soft parade to our third line.

    Hall, Nuge, Ebs

    Perron, Gagner, Vrbata

    Heatly, Draisaitl, Yak

    Hendricks, Gordon, Downie

    That to me is about the four most complete lines the Oilers have had in a long long time.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Brad Treliving comes into Calgary and an emphasis in his first interviews is that you can’t survive in the West without a heavy team.

    The Oil can immediately start to beef up by taking Nick Ritchie the heaviest LW in last four years who just happens to have potted 39 goals this year. What is the NHLe on that?

    We would have our comparable to Bickell or J Benn.

    We would have chance at heaviest productive top six player, meaning an attempt at having the best of a type of necessary player.

    Given Ekblad and Bennett will be gone, anyone else is not likely to get us dominant player by type.

    I’ve seen Draisaitl live and the speed of play drops when it goes through him. Good shot, but release is slow. Saw him win one draw against Oil King all night. Hmmm…