Boyd Gordon had severe own-zone starts one year ago, and that’s unlikely to change in the coming season. The Edmonton Oilers will use Gordon as a defensive zone security blanket and a penalty-killing machine. How will they use Nuge? Arco? Leon? Let’s have a look.
EVEN-STRENGTH TOI 2013-14
- Ryan Nugent Hopkins 16:09
- Sam Gagner 15:21
- Mark Arcobello 12:17
- Boyd Gordon 11:27
- Anton Lander 10:38
I think Lander probably makes the team as 13F and sits some nights plays a winger/utility role other evenings. It makes sense that Arcobello’s role increases, perhaps to the point where he plays Gagner’s minutes, leaving his 12:17 to rookie Leon Draisaitl. Perhaps the German rookie can help Nuge with those silly large minutes, maybe not.
Gordon? In his role this season, I suspect his EV minutes will be own-zone minutes, so the fewer the better.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER (CORSI REL)
The C’s on the Sledgehammer are all over the map, which is good because these are clearly defined roles:
- Coach Eakins was giving a major zone start push to the Nuge line, and that’s just good business. For their part, opposition coaching staffs were hammering Nuge with the best available arsenal, and in the west that’s blue steel.
- Gordon is getting the shaft in zone starts, his offensive numbers are going to be hopeless again this season and much of it will be due to his starting on his own 10-yard line every drive.
- Arcobello is in an interesting spot on the graph, he’s at the stepping off point for actually playing tougher opponents. It seems to me the most reasonable bet after Nuge/Gordon is to elevate him into the Gagner role—tougher opposition, while giving Leon the zone-start push enjoyed by 89 one year ago. Fair?
- Lander had tougher zone starts than anyone but Gordon, and he’s the obvious choice to step in for Gordon if something happens. I don’t think Edmonton would run him in as drastic a spot as Gordon, but let’s hope it never gets to that point.
PROPOSED VOLLMAN FOR 2014-15
Don’t you dare show Wanye this horrible graph, he’d shoot me. His ‘paint’ work is the stuff of legend. However, it does work for our purposes, and reflects what we were discussing above. Nuge and Gordon stay where they are, we ask more of Arco in qual comp and he remains about the same/similar in zone starts.
Leon? He joins Benoit Pouliot and (probably) Teddy Purcell in a soft parade ‘perfect fit’ offensive line that (hopefully) delivers more than 30 EV goals.