LEON’S WINGMEN

draisaitl capture 1

Now that Leon Draisaitl is signed, we can begin talking about possible linemates. Although Edmonton doesn’t have many centers applying for NHL work, winning a job at center with the Oilers practically guarantees a very nice set of wingers.

BOARDWALK AND PARK PLACE

The Oilers top wingers are Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. It’s extremely likely the duo will team up with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins again in 2014-15 to form a top flight trio:

  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played 776:52 minutes at 5×5 with Jordan Eberle in 2013-14, scoring 9-15-24
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins played 682:47 minutes at 5×5 with Taylor Hall in 2013-14, scoring 7-11-18

Source

MARVIN GARDENS AND VENTNOR AVENUE

David Perron certainly established himself as a quality winger in 2013-14 — a young center like Draisaitl would do well in getting a chance to play with him. Teddy Purcell was acquired over the summer, and he can play with skill and deliver offense.

This is a veteran combination, with whom Draisaitl would be expected to perform and produce. I’m not certain playing him this far up the lineup is a good idea.

TENNESSEE AVENUE & ST. JAMES PLACE

The third trio is damn good, and that’s the truth. Offseason signing Benoit Pouliot has been effective in several NHL cities, most recently playing a third line role very well in Manhattan. Nail Yakupov is a young, raw winger with crazy skill, and as Bruce McCurdy keeps saying the German’s ability to protect and pass complement the Russian’s rocket in theory.

It might be a deadly combination against the soft parade.

MY OWN THOUGHTS

I think the Oilers need to acquire a veteran center to run with Perron and Purcell, and then open the third line auditions up to Boyd Gordon, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander.

  • Boyd Gordon isn’t an offensive dynamo, but he’s a reliable soldier who might be able to chip in on offense while combining with Pouliot to mentor the young Russian.
  • Leon Draisaitl has some terrific puck skills, but can he keep up? We’ll find out at training camp, and if he can wheel then Edmonton should be able to form a soft parade line around him. That line is going to have to cash sufficiently, though. There’s a risk here.
  • Mark Arcobello had half a season with the Oilers and did a lot of things well. He can mark his man, make a pass and keep up. I don’t think he’s going to beat a goalie clean with his shot, so the goals are going to be tap-ins and they are not going to come fast and furious. He scored 4 goals on 70 shots in the NHL a year ago (5.7%) and scored at a 9.32% per shot rate in his last full AHL season. I believe he’s going to be shy offensively.
  • Anton Lander is kind of the forgotten horse in this race, but he enjoyed a solid AHL season and could recover his career with a strong 2014-15. The Oilers see him in a utility role: Dallas Eakins: “If (Lander) is going to play here, he has to be able to play
    centre, he has to play left-wing and he has to play right-wing. He has
    to be able to step in on the power play and kill penalties. He has to be
    able to wear a bunch of different hats.”

POSSIBLE LINE COMBINATIONS

LEFT WING  CENTER RIGHT WING
TAYLOR HALL RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS JORDAN EBERLE
DAVID PERRON LEON DRAISAITL TEDDY PURCELL
BENOIT POULIOT BOYD GORDON NAIL YAKUPOV

That’s how I see it, with Matt Hendricks subbing in for Yakupov on tough zone starts or when the Russian struggles.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

NO COUNTRY

I have a feeling Edmonton signed their second-line center today. It’s a big damn risk, but if it pays off the club will have kept their young defensive prospects, next year’s first-round pick and all those terrific wingers.

Do you agree?

  • camdog

    If Mact goes into this season with the group of centers, he’ll be managing the team the exact same way Tambelinni did, which is exactly what he did last season. Let’s wait and see if the young players take the team to the next step and if they don’t lets get a high draft pick. GM’s have changed, some of the young guns are ageing, but the management style remains the same.

  • camdog

    If Mact goes into this season with the group of centers, he’ll be managing the team the exact same way Tambelinni did, which is exactly what he did last season. Let’s wait and see if the young players take the team to the next step and if they don’t lets get a high draft pick. GM’s have changed, some of the young guns are ageing, but the management style remains the same.

    • 2004Z06

      Another dumb comment, yes because he never addressed every need in less than two seasons Mac T is garbage, as well I would love to know the “wait and see” bs you are talking about.

  • Britts94

    Hendricks came in last year and really gave the team a push in the right direction. IMHO he should be seriously considered being given the “C” for the team. All he did was stick up for his teammates and fire up the guys as soon as he got here. He reminds me of a quicker version of Jason Smith. Hendricks is exactly what this team needed, a little c*ck and balls.