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?

  • I would like to see lines of

    Hall – Nuge – Yak

    Pouliot – Draisatl – Eberle

    Perron – Arcobello – Purcell

    Hendricks – Gordon – Lander/Pitlick

    This should spread out scoring and possession players among the top 3 lines so that teams have troubles line matching their best against our weakest defensive players.

    It still gives us a 4th line that can tread water against tough competition in dreadful zone starts.

    • hallsyoilerforever5

      Gotta say I like those lines also. I had said early in the summer that playing Yak with Hall and Nuge should jump start his season and give him some confidence. The one thing I really love to see are projected line without the possession black hole of Gazdic there. Play Gazdic less and watch the shot differential get better.

  • Jaxon

    I know this will most certainly get slammed and maybe rightly so, but I’ve done a lineup based on scoring balance, size balance, and last season’s WOWY production.

    Line 1A: Hall / Arcobello / Perron

    Line 1B: Pouliot / Draisaitl / Eberle

    Line 1C: Yakupov / Nugent-Hopkins / Purcell

    Line 4: Lander / Gordon / Setoguchi

    I’ve projected signing Setoguchi who has some good speed and offensive skills and could play up and down the lineup if needed. I’ve put Lander and Setoguchi with Gordon so we don’t have to see Hendricks, Gazdic, Joensuu or Pitlick in the lineup. It would be a great place for Lander to learn Gordon’s game and Gordon could remain aggressive on the D zone dot with Lander there to take over when he gets booted. I’ve swapped sides for Yakupov and Perron. I think I remember reading somewhere last season that Yakupov had posted good numbers on the left side. Anyone know where I could source those numbers for both Perron and Yakupov when they played off their usual wing? Line 1A is absolutely tenacious, Arcobello’s passing skills and checking would be a great fit with Perron and Hall. I like Draisaitl surrounded by Pouliot and Eberle. It could help Draisaitl’s confidence by feeding Eberle and help his overall game with Pouliot, another big skilled high draft pick. Yakupov may find his game with Nugent-Hopkins and Purcell. I like the idea of Nuge feeding Yakupov. Eakins could roll these lines all night long and most, if not all, teams would have trouble keeping up with them. Who do you put your soft minutes guys out against? When do your 3rd and 4th liners play against this lineup? Maybe against Gordon when he goes out for D-zone starts, but then they’d be wasting their offensive zone starts with 4th liners against Oilers who are adept at getting the puck out and getting off for top 9 players. This is true 3 balanced scoring lines with each getting about 13-14 minutes per game at evens and with Gordon getting a lot of D zone starts again and daring other teams to put their worst lines out in Edmonton’s zone to give their top players a rest.

    • Spoils

      this post is a perfect example of how hammered some of us are on the Oilers Kool-Aid at this point in the summer.

      A rookie as #2C, Arco as our first line Center, Yak on left wing…

      We just aren’t properly assessing our guys against other teams’ players. Nuge versus Kopitar or Toews? Tough gig, but that is the reality.

      We NEED TO SIGN A #2C.

      -love what Arco did when he stepped in for Gags, but he will likely be light on O.

      -loving Neon Dr Drai Red Barron in principle, but he’s a rookie.

      -Gordon is great, but fourth line great.

      -injury risk

      etc. etc. etc.

      if we have to face just one of these realities we are sunk. we are forcing too many things to go right.

      not a good recipe.

    • Spoils

      This is quite possibly the worst line up I have ever seen. You put our best center on the third line and an AHL smurf sized center on our first line? And to back it up you use scoring balance, size balance, and wowy production? He’s a stat for you…last place! That’s where we’d finish with a line up like this. Absolutely rediculous.

    • In a tough minutes role I thought Hendricks was great last year and complimented Gordon very well.

      Sure, he is not going to light it up offensively and is over paid for a fourth liner but he is the one player I would 100% have on that line. The other wing is vacant at this point and has several possibilities.

      • Jaxon

        Yeah, your’e probably right on Hendricks. I’m hoping Lander can bring his AHL game to the NHL this year and it would be great to have him play with Gordon. Lander may be in line to take over from Gordon at some point so I think it makes good sense to get them some time together. If they don’t grab my hypothetical Setoguchi, then maybe Hendricks plays the off-wing and Lander can still play left. I think Lander’s AHL-NHL equivalency form last season works out to something crazy like 49 points, which I think is unrealistic, but if he even brings a fraction of that and plays well defensively (which we know he can), it will be deemed a success. I have him above Hendricks just because the Oilers need to find out if he can bring it if given another chance. Plus it may allow them to dump Hendricks’ contract before the trade deadline or next summer.

        On my highly trashed lineup, I just read a comment from Woodguy over at Lowetide that sorted players by 1st assist from last 3 years with at least 2000min 5v5 TOI. Purcell was 11th on the list, so Yakupov with Nugent-Hopkins and Purcell may really be deadly. Could see Yakupov make a huge offensive leap and Nuge and Purcell are both strong enough defensively to cover up for some of Yak’s holes.

        http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/ratings.php?disp=1&db=201114&sit=5v5&pos=skaters&minutes=2000&teamid=0&type=individual&sort=ifassists60&sortdir=DESC

        I see from our 2 comments that spreading out the offense is not so popular on here, haha.

    • Spoils

      this post is a perfect example of how hammered some of us are on the Oilers Kool-Aid at this point in the summer.

      A rookie as #2C, Arco as our first line Center, Yak on left wing…

      We just aren’t properly assessing our guys against other teams’ players. Nuge versus Kopitar or Toews? Tough gig, but that is the reality.

      We NEED TO SIGN A #2C.

      -love what Arco did when he stepped in for Gags, but he will likely be light on O.

      -loving Neon Dr Drai Red Barron in principle, but he’s a rookie.

      -Gordon is great, but fourth line great.

      -injury risk

      etc. etc. etc.

      if we have to face just one of these realities we are sunk. we are forcing too many things to go right.

      not a good recipe.

    • Zarny

      Put the bottle down and back away slowly.

      It’s best case scenario to think either Arcobello or Draisaitl can survive as a 2C.

      To suggest any C other than Nuge can play top line minutes makes Sarah Palin sound logical and intelligent.

  • 916oiler

    Hendricks is a pile of hot water garbage. What did he do last year to earn a spot on the fourth line? Hendricks, Joensuu, take a hike. Steve Pinizzotto deserves his place on the fourth line. He’s 2x the player than Hendricks. I know its the fourth line, but Hendricks is much worse than a fourth liner

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Hendricks rallied the team a little last year. I noticed that after he joined the line up, they displayed at least a modicum of push back. In fact, I remember him fighting someone (can’t recall who) after they were down two goals early in the first. As he was skating to the box, he went by the Oilers bench and you could see him pumping his fist and yelling at the boys to wake the frig up. He got an extra 2 for unsportsmanlike, but that kind of thing has been lacking on this team for years. It’s also part of the reason he was given an A after like five games in the orange and blue.

      I want to see Pinizzotto on the 4th as well, but Hendricks isn’t exactly a dead weight out there playing on the 4th.

  • Serious Gord

    Lowetide:

    “Now that Leon Draisaitl is signed, we can begin talking about possible linemates.”

    So you just shrug and let oilers management off the hook going into the next season weaker down the middle than last year?

    Later you say “..the Oilers need to acquire a veteran center to run with Perron and Purcell, and then open the third line auditions..”

    HArdly strong criticism of something that if it remains unaddressed between now and the start of the season is a major failure of mgmt.