LAST SPOT ON THE MAGIC BUS (AGAIN)

A year ago, we were talking about the one open spot among the Oilers top two lines: 2RW. Today, on the eve of training camp, 2RW stands as the unsolved mystery inside the top 6F.

  • Five of the top 6F one year ago: Hall, Pouliot, Nuge, McDavid, Eberle.
  • Source
  • Five of the top 6F one year ago: Lucic, Pouliot, McDavid, Nuge, Eberle.

WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?

A year ago, the skill 5×5 minutes (with skill C’s) went like this:

Connor McDavid

  • Jordan Eberle 364:14
  • Nail Yakupov 205:19
  • Zack Kassian 38:32
  • Teddy Purcell 13:10

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

  • Jordan Eberle 349:09
  • Leon Draisaitl 99:57
  • Teddy Purcell 90:16
  • Nail Yakupov 82:30

Leon Draisaitl

  • Teddy Purcell 509:06
  • Jordan Eberle 128:03
  • Zack Kassian 92:58
  • Nail Yakupov 78:38

HOW DID THEY PERFORM?

  • Jordan Eberle—8-8-16 (2.63) with McDavid; 7-6-13 (2.24) with Nuge; 0-1-1 (0.47) with Draisaitl
  • Nail Yakupov—2-7-9 (2.63) with McDavid; 1-1-2 (1.45) with Nuge; 1-1-2 (1.52) with Draisaitl
  • Teddy Purcell—6-12-18 (2:12) with Draisaitl; 0-1-1 (0.67) with Nuge; 13 minutes with McDavid
  • Zack Kassian—2-2-4 (2.58) with Draisaitl; 0-1-1 (1.55) with McDavid. 8:42 with Nuge

Quick notes:

  • I have mentioned this before, but Yakupov’s numbers with McDavid should not be ignored.
  • Jordan Eberle takes a lot of guff over dusting off the puck (he was hurt folks!) but the man performed very well with McDavid and Nuge.
  • Teddy Purcell is a good hockey player, solid with Leon.
  • Zack Kassian with Leon looks pretty damned good, something to consider when formulating lines.

RANKING THE OPTIONS

  • Eberle is the gold standard here, and the one player who can play with more than one center and deliver.
  • Yakupov was terrific with McDavid, and the Nuge and Leon offensive numbers were not so bad we should consider either man a poor choice
  • Nuge-Nail is not good in possession, never has been. I would suggest this is a poor option.
  • Zack Kassian plays well with Leon. Small sample size but worth consideration.

SOOOOOOO…..

  • McDavid—Yakupov
  • Nuge—Eberle
  • Draisaitl—Kassian

Thoughts? I know Jesse Puljujarvi is going to come along and win one of these jobs someday soon, but for now, what do you think of this trio? Assuming Peter Chiarelli plans on bringing the current group to camp, this alignment may be the best available.

Note: I know you are thinking ‘give it up, Lowetide! Nail doesn’t deserve McDavid’ and I get it. Understand completely. I would suggest McDavid—Yakupov has nothing to do with the Russian deserving to play with 97, but it has everything to do with making decisions based on winning.

Three scoring lines. It is there. Nail with McDavid. Sing it with me.

  • bazmagoo

    No matter how it plays out I really like the depth and size Chiarelli has put together on offence. My top 9:

    Pouliot – RNH – Eberle | Lucic – McDavid – Yak | Maroon – Draisaitl – Kassian/Puljujarvi

    Ideally I’d like Nuge to be playing against the other teams top line, and McDavid and Drai being somewhat sheltered by playing against the 2nd/3rd/4th line if possible. Dr Drai should be played at center imo.

  • Will

    I like the idea of Yak with McDavid for two reasons:

    first, it’s not just McDvid, it’s also Lucic. If Lucic can’t get that kid playing the right way, no one can. Yak responded very well to Roy giving him the business after every shift. I can see Lucic doing the same and actually helping the player develop. I know weird concept for the Oilers.

    The second reason I like the pairing is just what you said, eventually Puljujarvi is going to come along and take a spot. So Yak With McDavid increases the kid’s trade value. Or it allows chemistry on that top line if they decide they’d rather save some cap space and trade Eberle.

    At the very least I would like them to try Lucic, mcdavid and yak.

  • Oiler Al

    Yak needs to play with Roy, Yak needs to PLay with Connor, Yak this, Yak that…… Yakitty Yak, go the KHL and dont come back.

    Yaks problem is that he has a hockey IQ of a lizzard and he’s watched too many Ovechkin highlights.

    He is still on the team because he was hand picked by Mr. Katz.

  • hockey1099

    Putting Yak on line one is not about winning. Having Yak on your team is not about winning. Ship him out and get a better RW. Not hard to find a better RW than him.

  • CMG30

    T Mac needs to assemble the lines to give the Oil the best chance of winning. If that means Yak lines up with McDavid then so be it.

    Like Clint Eastwood said: “Deserve ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.”

  • Oilers R mopar

    I was a huge yakapov fan when we drafted him. But to me he never really caught on to the NHL ! He still competes like he is playing in Juniors ? I do agree that it seems he has been watching way to many Ovechkin replays.. He floats around a lot and when he does skate its along the blue line or outside the danger zones. Would love to see him compete finally. But more then likely will see him defect instead back to Russia where he will make millions being an average player. Sorry yak but you need soft minutes in the NHL. So third line is your place til you prove otherwise. Go Oilers Go !!!!!