FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

draisaitl draft board

I’d love to talk to an NHL coach someday about the gift of teenagers forced upon them by general managers. We’re about to see another one, and there’s nothing (apparently) Dallas Eakins can do about it. Who will it impact, beyond the coach? Let’s have a look.

THE CENTERMEN

Earlier today, GM Craig MacTavish—a man who was once gifted with a depth chart at pivot that featured Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll, Mike Peca and Marty Reasoner for most of a season—told a gathered crowd about the wonders of Leon Draisaitl, Anton Lander and Mark Arcobello.

Source

LET’S TALK LEON

The first thing to acknowledge is that he may actually be good enough for
the NHL. He’s outstanding, and the numbers imply impact-player
potential. Leon’s size suggests some form of physical maturity and if he
can play then he’ll certainly be one of the better options for
Edmonton. And if you compare him to recent Oiler picks at even strength in their draft seasons, Draisaitl looks excellent.

  1. 2009-10 Taylor Hall 57, 22-33-55 (.965)
  2. 2011-12 Nail Yakupov 42, 18-22-40 (.952)
  3. 2013-14 Leon Draisaitl 64, 22-37-59 (.922)
  4. 2006-07 Sam Gagner 53, 14-33-47 (.887)
  5. 2010-11 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 69, 20-27-47 (.681)

My objection to the current depth chart (which I think might be Nuge-Leon-Gordon-Arco-Lander) is twofold: they aren’t making the lottery pick work for the job, and it puts Mark Arcobello (probably) in a lesser role. We can pretend Boyd Gordon is going to be the fourth line center, but there’s such a lack of experience on this roster Gordon will play heavy even and penalty killing minutes. From here, it looks like Leon has the 2C job to lose, and Mark Arcobello is his competition (Lander is more likely to win a 4line role).

Is that reasonable? After a season that saw the Edmonton Oilers lose games by the dozens, management is prepared to (once again) march into battle a day late and a dollar short? Why is this happening again? 

YAK AND THE WINGERS

The other concern is what happens to Nail Yakupov in all of this? If the Oilers are going to run a third line as I’ve described above, my guess is it’ll be Gordon with veterans like Benoit Pouliot and Matt Hendricks. If the 1line is Nuge between Hall and Eberle, where does that leave Leon? After all, you’re going to want to give him veteran wingers, and that may mean he gets David Perron and Teddy Purcell.

  1. Taylor Hall—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Jordan Eberle
  2. David Perron—Leon Draisaitl—Teddy Purcell
  3. Benoit Pouliot—Boyd Gordon—Matt Hendricks
  4. Nail Yakupov—Mark Arcobello—Tyler Pitlick

Is that possible? Probable?

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

leon gif

By handing Leon Draisaitl a job before training camp—and based on the depth chart today that’s a defensible statement—the Oilers have added another prospect burden on the coach, who will put more pressure on Nuge and Gordon, increase the chance of injury, and oh by the way Yakupov and Arcobello could and may get squeezed in this situation.

It could work, Leon’s a helluva prospect. I think the smart play here is to add a veteran center, and that may happen early in the regular season. We should be prepared for a 9-game audition from Leon, probably with David Perron and Teddy Purcell.

Note: Jason Strudwick took on this subject from a different angle today, with similar results and conclusions.

His article is here.

  • Spoils

    Can you double shift Boyd?

    Hall-RNH-Ebs
    Perron-Neon/Gordon-Purcell
    Pouliot-Arco-Yak
    Hendricks-Gordon-Gazdic

    So Gordon also plays in Neon’s place for DZone draws. The net effect is Gordon gets more ice time than a 4th line center.

    Also – ideally Yak is on the 1st line PP.

  • Spoils

    here is the full kool aid line up where Neon is rookie of the year and Yak takes a major step forward.

    Hall-RNH-Ebs
    Perron-Neon-Yak
    Pouliot-Gordon-Purcell
    Hendricks/Gazdic/Lander/Arco/Pitlick/Joensuu

    And Yak gets 40goals.

    now. enjoy the kool aid. it is summer and we don’t have to face the horrors of reality for a few weeks.

  • Spoils

    HAving yak on the fourth line is really dumb you are killing his chances of developing this is how i see the oilers lines next year

    Hall-Nuge-Ebs
    Perron-Arco/drai-Yak
    pouliot-arco/drai-purcell
    hendricks-gordon-lander/pitlick/Gazdic

  • Sorensenator

    I have no use for Yakupov, the focus should be making it difficult for Draisaitl to land a spot at #2 C.

    The Oilers collect wingers like it’s their second full time job, they just got two more this off season. Package a winger whose name is not Hall, Eberle, or Perron and get a half decent centreman that can fill a #2-3 roll, we desperately need more competition at this position or we are looking at bottom 10 again this year for sure.

  • OilClog

    In September 2011 I called Stauffer up to debate the merits of having RNH on the Oilers for the 2011, 2012 season. My position was he should go back to junior because while he may put up a few points, he wasn’t going to make the team any better. Obviously Bob disagreed with me. We all know how that turned out as we have Nail Yakupov to show for how much better RNH made the team and I don’t think there is any question he should have gone back to Red Deer to learn how to be a better even strength scorer. The question that needs to be asked is how much better will Draisaitl’s potential 30-40 points make the Oilers? The reality of it is that the Oilers will likely be battling the Flames for last in the conference with or without Draisaitl, so is it not better for him to go back to junior and work on his two way game, skating, faceoffs etc in an environment where he can be successful? I think the team should find out exactly what they have in Lander and Arcobello by having them battle it out for quality scoring line minutes and go traditional with their lineup configuration.

    Hall RNH Eberle -Scoring Line

    Perron Arco/Lander Yakupov -Scoring Line

    Pouliot Gordon Purcell -Checking Line

    Gazdic Hendricks Pitlick -Energy Line

    And let the chips fall where they may.

    I know, Lander on the second line. Some believe a good two way player can make for a more balanced scoring line instead of three pure offensive guys. I tend to agree.

    • Stack Pad Save

      Are you off your rocker?

      The Nuge was dominant as a rookie! He should have won the Calder. Yakupov had a decent rookie campaign and a horrible sophmore. Would you prefer Yakupov back in Jr. picking up more bad habits, playing below his level?

      You have to understand that if the 1st overalls don’t make the NHL they go back to JR. hockey. Jr. Hockey had nothing left for the Nuge or Yakupov. They will only get better against better competition. Unfortuneatly these kids can’t be sent to the AHL where they probably belong!

  • camdog

    We have 5 forwards top 90 (1st line in points last 2 years.)

    #6 Hall

    #25 Eberle

    #66 Perron

    #70 RNH

    #75 Purcell

    Name me the teams that have more, equal, 1 less

    we have 2 top 180 (2nd line) so 7 in top 180.

    #154 Pouliot

    #162 Yakupov

    Name the teams that have more, equal, 1 less

    Arco was 4G 10A playing 24gm @ centre that gets him in a top 100 pace. wen he played centre he was 2.45 EVGA/60 except with Yakupov.

    Hall-RNH-Eberle

    Perron-Arcobello-Purcell

    Pouliot-XXX-Yak

  • Zarny

    @Zarny. Disagree as to how LD is rated as a prospect.Would you say Sean Monohan last year was comparable to LD ? I’d say yes.

    When do you in your opinion allow your best players compete at the highest level in the NHL.

    Why bother drafting a player at 18 at all. When is the right age? 24? The development curve for all players is different. You have to gauge maturity individually and imo LD has shown the mental maturity to compete in the NHL this season.

    But we’ll see what the season brings.