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.


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:

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  • 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



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.


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.

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It might be a deadly combination against the soft parade.


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.”



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



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?

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  • hallsyoilerforever5

    A line of Pouliot, Draisaitl, and Yakupov as the 3rd line looks fine. Shelters them with a veteran who did tell Gregor he loves 2 way hockey which should give experience and help to Yakupov. Yakupov and Draisaitl have been working out all summer long. Building up the duo’s chemistry that will hopefully translate on the ice. I could see Draisaitl dishing pucks to Yakupov for goals easily.

  • Craig1981

    I disagree. I think he is their 3rd and Arco is their 2nd. If Arco can play their like he dad at the start the team has a chance.

    I was really surprised looking at who a lot of teams have as their 2nd line center. Some great teams have unimpressive 2nd centers.

    I think the tenders and defense are as much a question mark as in the 2nd line center.

  • hallsyoilerforever5

    Offensive lines:
    Line 1 : Hall, RNH , Eberle.
    Line 2 : Perron, Arcobello, Purcell.
    Line 3 : Pouliot , Draisaitl, Yakupov.
    Line 4 : Hendricks , Gordon , Lander/Pitlick/Joensuu/Gazdic

    Defensive pairing:
    1: Nikitin and Fayne
    2: Marincin and Petry
    3: Ference Schultz

    Goalies :

    Lander, Pitlick, Joensuu, and Gazdic battling for the last 4th line spot. And unless MacT makes a trade or signs a free agent in somebody like Loktionov, I have Arcobello slotted there.

    • Craig1981

      Agreed. 100%. Size and or skill on each line much like the Habs last year. I would love to acquire a center. I just don’t see it happening without giving up too much. Arco and Perron played real well together and I have to thank Woodguy for giving me even more confidence than I felt I already had in Arco..

  • BlazingSaitls

    OMG ! Wingman, Wingmen….Draisaitl is the….


    The Red Baron was a German fighter pilot during WW I. He is considered the top ace of the war. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1 (better known as the “Flying Circus”)

    Dont worry, the Red Baron wasnt a nazi. He was in WW 1 when everyone was fighting for no reason other than the balkans were a powder keg, much like now.

    I cant wait to watch the Red Baron lead the Oilers Flying Circus to many Stanley Cups!

  • 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.

  • Raider Jesse

    I’d likely run this.

    Hall – Nuge – Eberle //

    Perron – Arco – Purcell //

    Pouliot – Dr Drai – Yakupov //

    Hendricks – Gordon – Lander

    Pitlick – Gazdic

    But in pre-season I’d test this out. Just to see if Hall and Eberle can elevate Arco like they did in the AHL. Maybe he comes in like Desharnais did in Montreal and can play up to his wingers level. Allows alot more offense to spread out on the 2nd and third lines.

    Hall – Arco – Eberle //

    Perron – Nuge – Yakupov //

    Pouliot – Drai – Purcell //

    Lander – Gordon – Pitlick

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    Draisaitl & Yakupov on the same line seems risky. Too much potential chaos, even with a veteran like Poo riding with them.

    Discussing line combos in August is fun but a bit pointless. We can fret over it all we want, but a few shifts into the season and things will inevitably change.

    • Spoils

      I do think it would be very risky but it’s a good way to see the advanced stats put to the test.

      In a sheltered offensive role playing easier 5×5 minutes behind:

      Hall-Nuge-Ebs (top of usage chart)
      Perron-Arco-Purcell (middle of usage chart)
      Hendricks-Gordan-Lander/Pitlick (top-left of usage chart)

      Hypothetically, we should hopefully see Pouliot dominate possession with Draistl and Yak (in the bottom-right of the usage chart)

      However, I’m curious what a combination of Lowetide and Raider Jesse’s lineup would be during the preseason:


      It’s definitely a more balanced lineup but I’m not sure if that’s the best way for the Oilers to succeed…Dellow what say you?

  • Craig1981

    Draisitl, I believe will probably get bounced up and down the 2nd & 3rd lines. depending on the centers they are playing against. Nuge got double shifted lots his rookie season, and according to “analytics”. now that we have to use these numbers lol, according to those numbers coming out of junior, Leon “the Lion” Draisitl should be almost a little ahead of nuge.

    I whole heartedly feel though, that LD and Yak should remain together. we need this dynamic duo to gel together, gets both of their confidence going, once the points start coming in.

    • Chongler

      I really agree with keeping LD + Yak together. Personally….it feels that, while Yak really wants to be a part of the “core” he might feel a bit on the outside looking in. He is a dynamic player who, when depended on has the ability to carry a team, (much of the same can be said about LD). Finding the proper partner to roll with is instrumental to Yak discovering his game and taking the next step…Leon just might be the guy to compliment his playstyle. It would be a stretch to label Yak as LDs mentor, since Yak has yet to find his comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean the two can grow off each other.

      Take the #1 line for example. It’s clear that Hall/Nuge/Ebs have formed that bond and show up each night ready to support one another. The part that I find particularly interesting is that realistically, the 3 of them got to this level together and as they grew, so did their confidence and their level of skill. I see no reason why a guy like Yakupov can’t find the same chemistry with a young, hard-working and focused Draisaitl.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Hall Hopkins Eberle

    Perron Draisaitl Yakupov

    Pouliot Arcobello Purcell

    Top line is elite.

    Draisaitl adds size and hopefully possession skills to the second line.

    Pouliot and Purcell make up for Arcs size.

    We are one Center injury away from a lottery pick.

  • BlazingSaitls

    I disagree you skipped over Kentucky. If Perron and Purcell are Marvin Gardens and Ventor Ave, then Yak and Poulliot have to at least be Kentucky and NEW YORK (total missed opportunity for the monopoly reference.)

  • BlazingSaitls

    You can juggle lines all day long, until this team learns and accepts the concept of playing defensive hockey.. play off will continue to be a mirage in the desert.

    One of the worst minus teams in the NHL.[Lets not blame it all on Dubnyk!]

    Check out +/- on teams in the playoffs, likes of LA Chg,StL.Mtl, Bos, NYR , they don’t score a ton of goals but they all play defsive/team concept hockey. There is no other story.

    PS ; they also have scoring from the backend.

    • oilerjed

      Not to say you are totally wrong about the Oil having to clean up their goals against but coincidentally the teams you mention all have goalies with the top sv% and GAA in the league. This is kind of like the years where Cansucks were “defensive juggernauts”, re: Lou was standing on his head and the team couldnt score more then 2 goals a game. The crappy year our goaltending had more then a little to do with the sad state of our team last year.

  • 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.

    • 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.


        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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Sevenseven

    I would rather see Arco take 2c and make Drai 3c/soft. If Drai makes good in that situation, then move him up. Maybe all the centers get a zone start push from the rest of the oilers lineup improving. Hell, if they arent always in their own zone maybe the 4th line even puts up some points.

  • Serious Gord

    Draisaitl should be perfect compliment to Halls game , and open up space for him where Hopkins does not . Hopkins and Eberle could then move to another line . If Draisaitl is up to his hype , then I see him paired with Hall .

  • Jaxon

    I like
    Da boyz
    Perron draisaitl yak
    Pouliot arco purcell
    Hendricks gordon lander

    I think the best thing to do is shelter yak and draisaitl together. Perron adds two way ability. I also like our second best passer with our best and fourth best shots.

  • Serious Gord


    “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.

    • Sevenseven

      He was a third line winger who ate up soft minutes on a Eastern Conference Champion team. Lets hope the oilers are moving to the point of being a contender, and start placing players accordingly. Maybe not in the center position, but after all these #1 pick wingers, and top free agents, they better show it on the wings.

  • bwar

    So general consensus is that Arco will be the 2C at begin the year unless another trade/signing occurs. Yet Lowetide doesn’t even have the poor guy playing in the NHL.

  • The Soup Fascist


    The Red Baron was shot down by Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip flying in the venerable Sopwith Camel.

    What are they teaching in schools, these days???

  • In an ideal world you could put your best offensive threats that have any defensive weakness on one line and feed them soft minutes all year long.

    I hate this idea because every coach in the league would recognize this line as a huge opportunity and they would try to match their best against them.

    This results in short shifts, less playing time, many defensive breakdowns, and hurts the confidence of these young players.

    If we have the players to make 3 offensive lines that each have a little size and two way play why wouldn’t we?

  • Spoils

    this feels like a straw man argument for why we DO need a #2C.

    the bold move I want to see MacT – convince another team that a paajarvi type guy is worth a perron type guy. and get us a #2C.

    you’ve done great so far MacT… fingers crossed.

  • Zarny

    The Oilers strength is certainly their wingers. Injuries are a reality of sports and the Oilers have the depth on W to compensate when they hit. It also creates competition and allows Eakins to shuffle lines if needed over 60 minutes.

    C is the complete opposite. The Oilers are the antithesis of depth down the middle. Nuge at least gives Edm a high level C many teams don’t have but overall the Oilers are certainly bottom third of league at C and arguably bottom 5.

    And if Nuge gets hurt Arco, Draisaitl, Gordon, Lander etc are the worst group of C in the NHL. It’s not fun to say but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. It’s a best case scenario any of them can survive playing 2C. They would all get completely massacred if required to play top line minutes against guys like Toews, Kopitar, Carter, Getzlaf, etc.

    What the Oilers do about it depends on expectations.

  • Kodiak

    With Gordon taking a ridiculous amount of Dzone draws I don’t see Yak on his wing. I’d like to see:




    Hendricks/Gordon/Pitlick with both Perron and Purcell taking the odd shift on this line as well.

    This would give Draisaitl some big shelter/possession guys and also give Yak some protection with two fairly decent two way players. Give the Nuge line 30% of EV icetime, the Gordon line the toughs and split the rest between Arco and Draisaitl, which would still be a decent amount.

      • 916oiler

        My favorite line-up combo so far. The Gordon line gets designation 4th line but in reality I see them playing 3rd line minutes. Which could mean both the Arco line and the Leon line switching back and forth against soft competition.

        Its not a perfect line-up by any means, but to my eye the pieces are starting to fall together. There are still a few holes, time will tell how they get filled, and at what cost. The key is filling the holes without creating more somewhere else.

  • 916oiler

    “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?”

    Pretty much agreed. I think they slot Arco in on the 2nd line for much of the first half, but eventually slide LD into that role. Either way, I think they definitely plan on promoting LD to the NHL starting this year.

    Get hungry big German, you’re about to get fed some minutes!!

  • 916oiler

    Don’t spread the big guys across lines or we’re gonna be creamed vs. the toughs, especially in our own division.

    Hall – RNH – Ebs – o-zone toughs
    Pouliot – Gordon – Purcell- d-zone toughs.
    Perron – Draisaitl – Yakupov – o-zone soft
    Hendricks – Arcobelllo – Gazdic – d-zone soft

  • 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.