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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  • 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.

  • 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

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 .

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.)

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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???

  • 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.

  • 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!!