Are three scoring lines realistic?

Thoughts

Can the Oilers succeed with three scoring lines? Many seem to think they can and when the team is healthy Todd McLellan should run duos of Taylor Hall/Leon Draisailt, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins/Jordan Eberle and Connor McDavid/Nail Yakupov.

I see in theory why people are intrigued by this, but I don’t see it being realistic.

The biggest mistake those in favour of three lines make is suggesting the Pittsburgh Penguins had three centres and three lines which led them to two Stanley Cup Finals. It is true they won the Cup, but it was more due to the scoring of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Jordan Staal was the third centre, but he was far from offensive.

Let’s look at their icetime and production during their back-to-back Finals appearances.

2008

The Penguins lost the Stanley Cup final to Detroit, but they still had an outstanding season. During the regular season Malkin led them in scoring.

Malkin: 47-59-106 in 82 games and he played 21:19/game.
Crosby: 24-48-72 in 53 games and he averaged 20:50/game.
Staal: 12-16-28 in 82 games and he played 18:16/game.

Staal scored 28 points, but played over 18 minutes. He was more of a checking centre than an offensive contributor.

Petr Sykora (63 points), Ryan Malone (51 points) and Max Talbot (26 points in 63 games) were regulars on the top two lines. Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis were acquired at the deadline and each played 12 regular season games.

Playoffs:

Crosby: 6-21-27 in 20 games with 20:41/game.
Hossa: 12-14-26 in 20 games and 20:59/game.
Malkin: 10-12-22 in 20 games and 20:47/game.
Malone: 6-10-16 in 20 games and 18:42/game.
Talbot: 3-6-9 in 17 games and 14:27/game.
Sykora: 6-3-9 in 20 games and 14:56/game.
Staal: 6-1-7 in 20 games and 18:15/game.
Dupuis: 2-5-7 in 20 games and 16:13/game.
No other forwards played more than ten minutes/game.

Malone, Staal, Dupuis and Talbot were the four main PK guys, while the other four and Malone were the main PP guys. The Pens did not have three scoring lines.

2009:

The Penguins won the Cup and Malkin and Crosby carried this team offensively in the regular season and playoffs.

Malkin: 35-78-115 in 82 games and 22:31/game.
Crosby: 33-70-103 in 77 games with 21:56/game.
Staal: 22-27-49 in 82 games with 19:50/game.
Sykora: 22-21-46 in 76 games and 16:17/game.
Fedotenko: 16-23-39 in 65 games and 14:06/game.
Satan: 17-19-36 in 65 games and 15:45/game.
Kennedy: 15-20-35 in 67 games and 13:46/game.
Cooke: 13-18-31 in 76 games and 14:12/game.

Kunitz and Guerin were added late in the season and were solid contributors in the playoffs.

The Penguins top-three centres lead their forwards in ice time, but it was due to one of them playing the wing at times and because the Pens lacked any legit top wingers for most of the regular season.

Playoffs…

Malkin: 14-22-36 in 24 games and 20:57/game.
Crosby: 15-16-31 in 24 games with 20:48/game.
Guerin: 7-8-15 in 24 games and 17:01/game.
Kunitz: 1-13-14 in 24 games and 16:54/game.
Fedotenko: 7-7-14 in 24 games and 14:31/game.
Talbot: 8-5-13 in 24 games and 15:13/game.
Staal: 4-5-9 in 24 games and 19:13/game.
Kennedy: 5-4-9 in 24 games and 13:39/game.
Cooke: 1-6-7 in 24 games and 15:09/game.

The Pens added Guerin, Kunitz, Fedotenko and Cooke (Kennedy was the 10th forward in 2008) in place of Hossa and Malone, while Sykora and Dupuis were pushed down to the fourth line and played seven and 16 games respectively. The three centres played the most minutes, but Stall was an EV and PK guy.

Crosby and Malkin carried the team offensively. They combined for 29 goals and 67 points while the other seven top-nine forwards scored 33 goals and 74 points.

THREE LINES A MYTH…

Myths

The suggestion the Penguins ran with three offensive lines and three offensive centres is a major myth. Staal was an excellent third line centre. He could play tough minutes, was big enough to battle other teams’ top players and he was excellent defensively. In the regular season he and Malkin played some shifts on the wing, mainly due to a lack of scoring wingers.

If McDavid and Draisaitl are the offensive centres, Nugent-Hopkins does not fit the mold of Staal. He is better offensively, no doubt, but he’s not as good in faceoffs, defensively nor is he a main penalty killer.

Which line will be the shut down line? If it is RNH, I don’t see Eberle flourishing in that role. I’d want him in an offensive role, so he would move up to play with McDavid or Draisaitl, which is fine, but that breaks up one of the duos so many feel will be the key to the Oilers’ success.

Scoring is not the Oilers’ concern. They are 11th in NHL scoring, and only five goals behind 6th place Colorado despite injuries to Eberle, McDavid, Pouliot and Yakupov. 

Preventing goals is still the major issue, and the only way to acquire a legit top-four defender will be to move from an area of strength — a scoring forward.

Hall and Eberle are better goal scorers than RNH. I see McDavid and Draisailt as better offensive centres, and Draisiatl has not looked overmatched in his own end. His size is a huge advantage for him, and even if you keep all three centres, there is no way I’d move him to the wing and have a smaller centre like RNH engage in tougher battles against bigger centres.

Chiarellli is in a good position. He won’t be forced to make a trade this summer. He can be patient, but when you look at icetime and salary cap, I don’t see all three centres staying in Edmonton long-term. I’d be willing to bet one will be moved prior to the start of the 2017/2018 season.

That gives Chiarelli 18 months to evaluate his team, but even before a trade is made, I don’t see this team running three offensive lines.

Todd McLellan had four centres in San Jose, but Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau played the wing and he loaded up his top two lines. When the Oilers get healthy, I envision McLellan doing that here.

I could see him keeping the Draisaitl line together and ice RNH-McDavid-Eberle as the second line, with RNH taking more faceoffs so McDavid doesn’t add extra strain on his shoulder/clavicle. Pouliot and Yakupov can be your third line wingers, but the theory of three scoring lines is more of a dream than reality.

There aren’t enough minutes to run three lines effectively. McLellan might try it for a short stint, but eventually I see him mirroring what he did in San Jose and putting his best five forwards on the top-two lines and mixing in one of Purcell, Pouliot or Yakupov.\

Parting Shot…

Our good friends at Sports Central are in need of gently used hockey helmets for children. You can drop them off at 11847 Wayne Gretzky Drive (behind the Coliseum Inn) or at any Edmonton and area fire hall. 

DAY 14: MONTH OF GIVING

Thank you to Auto City Edmonton and Oilersnation for their donations and to Jill and Arnold for their bids. We raised $5,800.

Package #1: A one-year membership at Blackhawk Golf Course courtesy of Al Prokop.

Blackhawk873 copy

As a private club usually you are required to buy a share which is currently $25,000, however the club has generously bypassed this so the winner will be just like any other member for a year.

The successful
bidder will receive full unrestricted golf playing privileges for the
2016 season including club storage, locker room access, use of practice
range and short game area as well as clubhouse account for all
purchases. The bidder will also be entitled to bring guests as per the Club’s standard guest policy.

Package #2: Courtesy of Al Prokop & Executive Chef Andrew Fung from XIX (Nineteen).

XIX-Nineteen-Edmonton-1

  • Dinner for two each month of 2016 at the great restaurant
    XIX (Nineteen). 
  • You and a friend will play a round of golf at Blackhawk with Prokop and an Edmonton-based NHLer, either Chimera, Phaneuf or Ennis.

Dinner will include appetizers, entree, desert, cocktails and wine
pairing and can be at the Terwillegar location or their newly
opened restaurant in St Albert, which was recently
recognized as one of Alberta’s top new restaurants. XIX has also received the honor of one of the “top places to eat in Canada” 2014/2015.
 

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out the Christmas Bureau.

Recently by Jason Gregor:    

    • pkam

      So then, who do we trade?

      Nuge? Trashes abound, Eberle? Trashes abound,
      Yak? Trashes abound, Hall? You get my point??

      Someone has to go so we can have a winning TEAM.

      I keep McDavid, Hall, Drai, Nurse, Klefbom and Davidson.

      Everybody else is available in my view.

      What have we won with them? NOTHING unless you want to win the draft lottery every year and that’s getting old. No offence Conner

      • A-Mc

        Don’t have to trade anyone, just get them healthy and start some winning streaks to make the playoffs. The Oilers are starting to finally win and you want to trade the players that are finally developing into good well rounded players? Patience is the key. I remember when the Sedins were 24 and would have traded them as they were not very good 18 goals 54 points and 11 goals and 42 points but the Canucks had patience and they developed into very good players. I’m not suggesting Nugent-Hopkins will be as good but maybe he’ll be even better than the Sedins, and will hopefully win a lot more Cups than the Sedins also.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    In a small sample size, McClellan looks like he prefers some size/physicality on his skill lines. I don’t know if RNH-McDavid-Eberle fits the mold.

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      Why not Eberle,
      Hopkins is a lot better defensively. This is also adding the block he did in the offensive zone.
      Package Eberle with one of our defence pairing (Nikitin, Fayne, JSchultz) to get a LEGIT top 4 defence

    • The_Angershark_Lives

      Nuge doesn’t have to do a gosh darn thing.

      It’s not an indictment of Nuge that we need a defenseman. Nor is it his fault that we don’t have a strong blue-line.

      The Oil needing a defenseman isn’t an outlandish statement. But insinuating that having Nuge is someone preventing us from realizing those dreams is an anti-logical position.

      MAYBE* we need to trade a core forward to accomplish this. But that’s not what your saying.. Is it?

      Maybe people will stop saying silly RNH related things is instead of referring to him as Nuge, we referred to him as “the reigning team MVP”

      • A-Mc

        To trade a core we would need to take sallary back. I honestly think Eberle is a liability in our own zone. He shoots wide trying to pick corners which causes turn overs.
        Khaira in my own eyes has played well enough to be part of the NHL talk. Thats a type of player we need up front. Look at Anahiem for a team thats ready to blow up their roster as the Oilers may be able to swing a deal. Oilers have too many players thats 170 lbs soaking wet. They need size to protect McDavid, RNH, and Hall shouldnt just be the player to battle in the corners.

    • Van isl Oiler

      “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Sheesh! Yes, the one thing you absolutely don’t want in the NHL, a lot of strength up the middle! I wish the commentators would look at what they write year to year. And you don’t have to play shut down minutes when you’re in the fu@&!ng offensive zone!!!!! Argh!!!!!

    • The_Angershark_Lives

      No way in hell Lander makes it before the trade deadline, he is as worthless as they come.
      Maybe some one wants to give us a 6th round pick for him.
      Me and him have the same number of goals this year.

  • Zarny

    Connor Mcdavid nearly overcame the crazy expectations he had on his style of play at the NHL level before his injury, It’s a small sample size but Leon is establishing himself as that big western conference centre. Now i’m not saying it will work and we are cup champs but as far as ceilings go, i can see nuge playing a defensive role just like Staal did but Nugey is also good for 50 points a year. I’ll roll with Leon Mcdavid Nugey down the middle atleast until the contract years come up. I wouldn’t jump the gun and put anything past a team with Connor Mcdavid on it just quite yet.

    • bradleypi

      I like Nuge as well, however assuming he can produce 50+ points in a capacity where you are giving the bulk of the offense and pp work to the other two “top lines” is a stretch.

      • bradleypi

        Yep to this. If he’s giving up playing top-line minutes to Drai and McDavid, then he’ll get the shut-down role which means tougher competition and terrible zone starts, which does not scream big numbers.

        I think everyone may owe Kelly Hrudey an apology when they flipped out when he said Nuge is not a number one centre. According to Gregor, he may not even be a number 2C, he may belong as a number 2 winger.

  • AJ88

    It would be rare, but we need to do something to stand out from all the other 29 teams, eventually the plan is to be elite and to do it we have to do what no other club can do. Three lines each pushing the river, getting 16-20 min each depending on who’s rolling that night.

    The whole idea is that you don’t have a shutdown line, each line is just a head to head match-up that you expect to win. If you can do that you should win hockey games, simple as that.

    The fourth line guys get a couple shifts to cause some bruises and kill penalties.

    Then merge the six pair guys into two PP lines. Drai, Hall and Nuge (on point/ right wall) (with maybe Sekera on the other point and Pouliot in front of net perhaps). Then McDavid, Yak and Eberle (Nurse and Klef).

    Having the three scoring lines is what can hopefully set us apart.

    But reality is that there will always be injuries and so combining into two strong lines will likely be what happens anyways… but if we could have three lines that all push the river then DO IT!

  • bradleypi

    Re: Gregor on the Monday mailbag.

    Did anyone like the nikitin signing? Yes. You did. “I think we can all agree Nikitin got more money than he’s worth but that’s the harsh reality of being a perennial losing organization. Players won’t flock here unless you overpay…I don’t expect him to fix the oilers blue line, far from it, but he has more experience than Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom, and Nurse combined, and that might be the best thing about the signing. It means they won’t rush more d-men. Nikitin is a top 4 dman on an average to below nhl team and right now that is what the oilers are. In 2 years if the young defenders develop into the players the oilers expect them to be then nikitin likely takes a pay cut to play third pairing or doesn’t return. Bye can also play the point on the PP, he has a heavy shot and he shoots left, which is something the oilers need.” From “Oilers Sign Nikitin”- June 25, 2014 Sure sounds like you didn’t mind the signing.

    Jason Gregor July 1,2014: “Mark Fayne at 4 years $3.5 million is a solid signing, but I don’t see him more than a #4 long term. The most important part of this signing is that means the Oilers don’t have to rush their young dmen.” July2,2014: “..I believe he will play a major role in reducing their goals against.” “I can’t recall the last time I interviewed an Oiler who was this confident and understanding about his play in the defensive zone. It’s is exactly what this team needs.” “Fayne excels at one thing, being a solid stay at home dman” So it seems like you had a few ideas on how he would improve the team.

    • Natejax30

      You haven’t noticed? Sorry to say but nobody talks out of both sides of their mouth as much as Mr Gregor. A wonderfully Fantastic man for charity, but the contradictions are becoming laughable at best.

  • Natejax30

    Last year you bellyached all year about the lack of bonafide NHL centremen on our roster. Now that we have some depth there we can’t roll them out as is? Confusing to say the least.

  • Natejax30

    If you move Nuge…who takes on the other team’s #1 lines night after night?

    Draisaitl – yup in 3 years

    McDavid – yup in 3 years

    I really liked the Nuge, Draisaitl, Hall Line – it was fantastic!

    I also really liked the McDavid, Yak, Pouliot Line – it was also fantastic.

    For the remainder of this season, experiment with McDavid and Eberle – if there is a match there…yikes to the other 29 teams.

    Yak can play up and down the lineup – he has for 3 years, and he provides, at very least, a spark everywhere he goes. I wish him and Lander could get something going, that would be the best case scenario.

    Nuge is not tradeable right now.

    And one last OT point, you don’t trade Klefbom for Hamonic, you trade for Hamonic to play WITH Klefbom.

  • A-Mc

    The three pairs each get say 17 minutes a night with Lander and Letestu on the fourth line in a defensive role for 9 minutes a night. If they could make that work it would be dynamite.

  • Petrolero

    i agree with you jason , i comented on baggedmilk this am about watching flames beat Nash and Dallas on road every player buying in including smaller skilled players going to the net screening the goalie 2flames goals last night greasy wrist shots from the point goalie screened.my point only Hendricks does this not sure if it is the makeup of the team or lack of size some of the so called skill players will have to go .Im sure chia can see thie i can see much diff team within 2 years

  • Natejax30

    2 top lines is better than 3 because there isn’t enough ice time to go around. Simple. A physical presence with a bit of scoring touch on the 3rd line is the best recipe.

    I agree Nuge should play wing with McDavid, with Pouliot/other power fwd on LW. Drai is playing great but realistically it will be tough to maintain this pace. If he hits a rough patch, Nuge is great insurance.

    -Still believe Nuge has Pavelski/Bergeron potential if he can put on a few lbs.

  • Ready to Win

    “There aren’t enough minutes to run three lines effectively.”

    I disagree with this. The reason top forwards play 20+ minutes a night isn’t because its the best use of them personally, its because them being a bit tired is still a better option than fresh players further down the roster.

    If PC can find a way to pay three scoring lines then the Oilers may well be eating other teams alive in the third period of the coming years when the opponent’s best players are starting to slow down while ours are still fresh.

    The reason other teams rarely if ever do this is that high scoring forwards are the hardest to acquire and most expensive forwards. The Oilers are already more than half way there having so many scorers in their stable and four of them signed long term for reasonable money.

    EDIT: Also having three lines of good scoring players would be a huge defense against injury.

    • Jason Gregor

      You want Hall playing the same amount of minutes as Pouliot and Yakupov? Explain why.

      Makes no sense to me. Best players play more because it gives you a better chance to win.

      • A-Mc

        If Yak and Pouliot are scoring and Hall/Drai aren’t, then that’s why you play them the same or more than Hall’s line.

        If Yak and Pouliot aren’t scoring, then they drop to the 15-16min/night range.

        No one performs at a high level every night. It doesnt happen. You play the lines that are clicking on any given night and its up to the coach to decide which lines those are.

    • bradleypi

      The reason other teams don’t do this is because they are focused on keeping the puck out of their nets with great defences and solid goaltending. The Oilers aren’t good at that hence why they are bottom feeders. It’s not the eighties anymore. It’s a checking league and the oilers have no checkers. Why do you think the league is always trying to increase scoring? 3 scoring lines is a great idea but I’d rather the oilers find a way to keep it out of their net. If they can do that leon and McDavids line should score enough to win games. Happy holidays!

  • Petrolero

    Nude is the perfect third line center. He is a great two way with defensive awareness and he can score around 50 points in a healthy season. He will not go against the top big centers most nights so he will be a destabilizer. Pair him with pull and korpikoski and you got a fine mix of grit and skill.

    Then use the 4th line as the shutdown line. Khaira le test tube and Hendricks can get the job done as they’ve shown time and again. We know Khatami can fill in at the top as well as Hendricks when needed.

    So really you run 1a and 1b lines, a second line and a checking line. Minutes be dames the pace of the game is changing.

    In the end before you move nuge you move Eberle. Simply matter of versatility. Both make same money similar term, nuge can play center. Nuge alone won’t being you a top 2 d man so better to package Eberle if that’s the route they want to go.

  • Jason Gregor

    Is Yakupovs fate sealed? The kid proved he can play, but it seems like it’s only with certain players. Is he destined to be a third line player? If he is, ok. But I feel biased saying that just because of his draft pedigree- like being 3rd line is shameful. He is a great option to move up when things need to be changed up, but let’s face it, so is Matt Hendricks, and he takes-WINS- face offs. If nuge isn’t Defensive enough to be on a checking 3rd line, then I would argue that Yakupov is less impressive on A 3rd line.

    What has more weight, a few years of incredibly inconsistent play, or Draft pedigree and the few times he’s looked good. His value isn’t that impressive so I would think the Oil may want to put him back with McDavid once they both return, in order to bump value.

    I like yak, but I think that where he sits on the roster could be held by a more versatile player. I don’t think he is without talent, but I do think a new start would be what he needs to succeed. His value is not as high as Eberle or Nuge, but as Lowetide would love to see- a 3 for 1 including Yak, prospect, and a pick for a D man Prior to the deadline, but I would assume that it would be to a team out of the playoffs or yak strait up for someone else’s need of change in the summer.

  • Petrolero

    You spent last year lamenting how weak we were up the middle. Now you want to trade away RNH why?!?!?!? Better stick to your little column, I don’t think any NHL, AHL ECHL, or peewee league is going to offer you a job. Just to let you know, if you’re in the offensive zone, you don’t get scored on a lot.

    • Jason Gregor

      Last year they didn’t have McDavid and had a rookie in Draisaitl who wasn’t ready. Just letting you know Oilers centre depth has changed drastically.

      You might want to look at the teams that win. They have great defence, not just the puck in the offensive zone, because other top teams also have skilled forwards.

      Teams don’t win by just playing offence. Just to let you know.

      • Delete

        “Teams don’t win by just playing offence. Just to let you know.”

        Edmonton Oilers 1983-84:

        314 Goals Against, 3.92 GAA

        446 Goals For, 5.57/game

        It can be done. I’ve seen it.

        • bradleypi

          Ummm it’s kind of a different game now. In case you haven’t noticed, scoring is harder to do in today’s nhl. Hence all the rule changes. And that team had some hall of famers on it. Apples and oranges bro.

          • Delete

            They weren’t Hall of Famers at the time. They were just kids. One had “generational” potential. Sound familiar?

            It’s time to mandate that goalies wear the best equipment that modern technology can give them. With the purpose of protecting body parts. Not to protect exposed areas of the net.

            And yeah, I noticed it’s a different game. Quit being condescending and snotty. You might actually have something positive to contribute to conversations.

          • AJ88

            So you’re saying with four 1st overall picks that none of these will be hall of famers? This team can change the way the game is played and I’m sure there will be a couple of hall of famers from this current team. i.e. Hall & McDavid for sure.

          • bradleypi

            I never said that. But there’s no guarantee that any of these guys are hall of famers. Especially the way their careers have started. You have to win hockey games to get in and so far these guys together can’t seem to get that done.

          • Delete

            It is relevant because the NHL should be aiming for that level of entertainment. There needs to be a movement towards that, and away from today’s “Automated Robotrons on Ice Show.” Craig Button just made that point on your show far better than I can.

            You say in your article that there isn’t enough ice time to run 3 scoring lines effectively. There is the same 60 minutes that there was 30 years ago. The NHL as entertainment is suffocating itself under its own technical proficiencies.

            I don’t have the answers, but I do know that adding more pluggers, checkers and suffocating defensive systems is not moving the game forward.

          • Jason Gregor

            The game had terrible goaltending compared to today, fighting all the time and no video.

            You will never get fighting back. Coaches won’t do away with video and goalie coaches are better.

            Hockey will never be that good again.

            Also, Oilers had two dominant scoring lines and two checking lines. They didn’t have three offensive lines.

            If we want to change the game, I’m all for it, but even when it was high flying the best offensive team ever still ran two scoring lines.

          • bradleypi

            On the ’84 cup team you could argue the Oil had 3 “scoring centers” Gretzky, Messier ad Linseman. Sather traded Linseman after the 84 cup. I guess he didn’t think “3 scoring lines” could work.

          • Anton CP

            The Game had better Goaltending ,there was more fighting,and Roger Neilson hadnt brought video replays mainstream yet.

            Fighting has never left the game.

            Video was available since they began recording games on reel-to-reel.Its never going anywhere,and its nearly always been available.

            Goalie Coaches are only as good as their knowledge of the Eras current trends is,anyone can teach basics from the “book”…lol.

            Hockey will soon be breaking all the Dynasty Records,hopefully its the Oilers doing it.

            The Oilers didnt run 2 scoring lines,they ran a 1 and a 1B,Messier duplicated Waynes dynamic Management with Gretzkys tutelage.Wayne didnt want everyone overthinking the game and trying to do to much so he took Mark under his wing.Guaranteed.

            The BULK of the IMPACTFULL work was done by Waynes Line or Marks line,the Oilers projected a single-line Spear-Tip Process,built leads ,then everyone got nasty.The Hawks are trying to evolve into this management process using the NHS and are doing quite well…lol.

            Everyone else was expected to do EveryMan duties and KISS AT ALL TIMES,making AS FEW ERRORS as possible.

            Moma2s NewAge Hockey System has made it possible for Teams to use a Process which allows ALL lines to produce offense,in the same ways the Dynasty Oilers Spear-Tip lines used to do it….lol.

            If the NHL had not been so wild Gretzky would have rolled 4 lines like he ran his own and we would never have had this chance to evolve today….in todays more tame game using IDA and IDM we CAN run 1-2-3-4 lines like Wayne and Mark ran theirs…..no problems.

            Given the right support the same System the Hawks use which EVERYONE is copy-catting…get this….can be tweaked again to produce increased offense league wide……much much more than the Hawks produce today….IMHO the NHL is about to explode with offense…..IF THIS NEWAGE PHILOSOPHY WHICH EMULATES WAYNES GRETZKYS MANAGEMENT STYLE IS SUPPORTED AND NURTURED.

            The NHS has contributed in impactfull ways to NHL hockey since 2006 and has peripherally contributed to the last 4 consecutive Stanley Cups and it needs to be recognised,supported,and taught to everyone,the NHL should support this,everyone but the Oilers/Kings/Hawks and others trying to hide the datas use….lol…should support this full disclosure.So everyone can find a level playing field.Or the Hawks will continue to ping-pong the Cup with the Kings for 5 more years and they will keep using the subdued less offensive versions until they are PUSHED BACK…..lol… so we all WAIT 5-10 YEARS while Adam Oates and Dellow teach the NHL the NHS in their reformatted methods man by man trying to make a buck…lol.

            If Bettman wishes to leave a real LEGACY,well he will step in and on his way out and CRUSH THE NHSs OPPOSITION AND SUPPRESSORS putting credit where due finally and he will by proxy usher in an entirely NewAge of NHL Hockey like none seen since the Dynasty days…lol….Gary expansion hinges on quality of product…and in the history of the game with the Global recession we are in has there ever been a better time to open up the game offensively….and will you ever see this type of chance again…a generational opportunity to bring in something NewAge and external to the games traditions re-ignite the entire games offense and help keep the expansion dream alive.

            Viv la Oilers!

      • Agreed on your comment regarding defensive need. But here is where I disagree. The Oilers have been signing free agent defencemen from the Eastern Conference. That has to stop. The EC is far infinitely weaker than the WC. Mark Fayne is outclassed in the WC by a fair margin. That is clear. Sekera has taken to time to readjust to the WC. Gryba same thing. His play early on indicated that clearly. Better of late. The Oilers need to get heavier and more physical on their back end.

        The consensus is that JS has been a shade of himself is a truism. Lack of offence given the opportunity on the PP has been a clear indication of his inability to reach the next level. He has no shot that needs to be resected. Lacks compete on the cycle and lacks any truculence at all when engaged by the opposition. He has been the nominee for “goat of the Year” for a while and continues to trend in that direction.

        Mark Fayne is so outclassed in the WC its not even funny. Lacks the foot speed and first pass to compete in the WC.

        The rise of Brandon Davidson is the one thing we can hold onto as a group. his play has been above expectations.Needs more experience and will imo be a solid 4-5 dman.

        Andrew Ference. Buy out.

        Andrew Gryba. I would resign him. Solid 6-7 dman. Cycle breaker.

        Sekera. Playing at a level that we expected to see early on. Needed to time to adjust.

        Nurse. Needs less minutes but until another option bites CHIA in the butt he will continue to play above his age,experience and pay grade.Would prefer to see him play 14-17 minutes a night.

        Chia has cap space and assets come this summer. A deal for a legitimate WC dman this summer is needed.

        Till then the process will continue and the defence will remain a question mark on this teams performance this season.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Pittsburgh may not have had 3 scoring lines when they won but I hope we do.

    Nuge is a pretty good 2 way center. Let his line and the 4th line worry more about defence. Let the Hall/drai and the McDavid/Yak lines worry about putting up the points.

    I want to see us throw money at a free agent d-man while taking advantage of McDavids ELC.

  • Speed Junky

    A year from now, expect a blog on how Gregor believed in 3 scoring lines format.

    Let’s let Chiarelli figure this out. Chiarelli has never built a team with 3 scoring lines. I doubt he will now. He needs time. He will have this team competing, and hard to play against.We don’t have Lowe and MacT anymore.

    I believe chiarelli will have his team in place with defined roles in the near future.

    We finally have a legit GM. We don’t need Gregor and Willis blogs anymore. We have Chiarelli, a winner. A man who will create a culture of winning and hard work.

  • Petrolero

    I don`t care what the Pens did almost a decade ago, the game changes too quickly for that to be relevant.

    Why focus on a `shut down` line when there can be three lines driving possession, scoring changes, and ultimately generating offence.

    If one of these lines can be successful in head to head match-ups with the opposition`s top line, there is no reason to break up three potentially dynamic duos for the sake of a traditional `shut down` line.

    In my opinion all 4 lines need to have the ability to generate momentum, offense, and play solid defense for team success. Some lines will have more offense than others, but all lines need to be competent at all three disciplines.

    This is a foriegn concept to ON, because of, you know, the last decade.

  • Anton CP

    I’m sure you could have three scoring lines. But you won’t have any dmen to get them the puck and you’re gonna be a bad team… Defence wins, simple as that

    • Petrolero

      There was a game when the commentators noticed the Oilers were playing out of their zone by having the forward carry the puck out instead of the d men. I remember it because they won that day and it was a bit of a eureka moment.

      You don’t need the d men to give you the puck every time in order to break out. You just got to be disciplined in your own zone.

      • Simmerdown

        I remember this comment as well. Problem is the Oil are not very good at this. When teams like the Hawks stand on their blue line and keep you out of their zone, it doesn’t work, you loose the puck. When you can’t retrieve the puck after a dump in, it doesn’t work, you loose the puck. When the the a team like the Bruins break up your cycle it doesn’t work, you loosed the puck. When you loose the puck, it generally ends up in your own zone, and when your D suck at being D, it usually ends up in the back of your net. I’m pretty sure it was the last home game against the Rangers that this comment was made. I love the theory, but I don’t see the oil being disciplined enough in their own zone to make this work consistently. I hope I’m wrong!

    • Jason Gregor

      I seem to remember a team, can’t recall exactly what the name was was or where they played that used to win an awful lot of games by outscoring teams. It was a while ago though. Might have been in the mid-80’s or so. They just kept coming at you with speed and skill until you cracked… If only I could place them.

  • NJ

    Not enough minutes to go around is baloney. You have overlap on every PP so if, starting you give all 3 18 minutes with your 4c getting 6. The overlap of minutes would probably allow for 20 19 19 6… More than enough for all of those guys. No problem to move Pouliot with Nuge if you don’t think Eberle can be responsible enough.

    McD Yak X /
    Drai Hall (Eberle)
    / RNH Purcell Pouliot

    Drai line is 1 scoring, RNH plays tough mins and McD Yak get happy soft minutes. Pp gets McD, Drai, RNH, Eberle, Hall mostly, but Nuge kills penalties too so more of Drai and McD.

    All 3 lines score. You can move Pou up with McD and put Hendricks in with RNH … There’s a ton of options IMO. These are just a few options.

  • NJ

    Bloggers need something to talk about on non game days.
    Last year: talk about how to make the team better (better talent up the middle, in goal and on D)
    This year: (with those areas slightly improved and team playing slightly better) talk about how the team makeup needs to change drastically again.

    It’s a process. Let Chiarelli do this.

  • Petrolero

    To summarize: The Pens didn’t have three scoring lines when they won the cup, therefore it is impossible for any team to win with three scoring lines.

  • Van isl Oiler

    We have Nicholson, Chairelli and Mclellan. Our world has changed. Organization and players are changing. We don’t need these blogs to ease the pain.

  • Anton CP

    Just because the team can have 3 capable Cs doesn’t actually means that they have to run 3 lines. As in Sharks model that they ran with Cs on wings and if anyone got hurt that they can quickly turn them back to C. It won’t be set lines and players will likely be moving up and down the lines to keep everything balance.