WWYDW: The Blender

The Oilers had an incredibly disappointing start to their season on Saturday in Gothenburg. After flying through the pre-season, the team came out flat and got completely smothered by the Devils. It’s just one game, though, right? No need to hit the panic button, right?! It looks like Todd McLellan disagrees.

That’s right. The McBlender is out and the lines are being shuffled. Kyle Brodziak, who had a bit of a slow game against New Jersey, is out. JJ Khaira is in his fourth line centre spot and Drake Caggiula enters the lineup as the fourth winger. Jesse Puljujarvi has also been shoved down to the fourth line with Khaira and Caggiula while Tobias Reider and Zack Kassian have been bumped to play with Ryan Strome. The top-six has remained intact.

McLellan jumbling the lines should come as a surprise to no one. He was messing with lines in the third period of the season opener, he did it all year last year, and he was notorious for doing it when he was the coach of the San Jose Sharks, as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture bounced all around the lineup and Brent Burns went back-and-forth from forward to defence.

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That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. How would you handle the lines after Saturday’s disappointing showing? Do you think it’s too early for McLellan to whip out the blender?

Small group of Oilers players to start voluntary workouts

Personally, I’m disappointed the coach is already making changes to the lineup after one game. It’s the beginning of the season and players need time to sink into their roles. After last year, Ryan Strome talked about how it was difficult to bounce around the lineup because it didn’t allow him to work his way into a niche. Now he’s in his second game and he’s already playing with a new pair of wingers.

The biggest issue here, in my opinion, is the handling of Jesse Puljujarvi. He looked excellent in the pre-season but wasn’t really a factor in the team’s first game. As a result, he’s found himself on the fourth line with a winger playing centre and Drake Caggiula, who was one of the team’s biggest offensive anchors last year.

What say you, Nation? Is McLellan too hasty with these changes to the lineup? How long should he let players operate in their roles before making changes? How would you organize the lineup?

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  • Randaman

    Fire the coach? Fire the GM? Trading players for unfair value hasn’t worked. Overpaying on contracts hasn’t worked. I’m all out of options unless someone wants to trade #29 for a true #1 RD?

  • BlackJesus

    You can spin the forward lines all you want the biggest problem with the Oilers is the defense, the lack of anticipation and discipline.

    Since the Oilers lack depth.
    Then back to

    All they have to do is play short shifts, repeat this sequence and play the trap when Nuge-McD-Leon line isn’t out

  • Abagofpucks

    The sky is falling the sky is falling run for your lives awwwwww RUNNN.
    Lmao after 1 game jeeze get a hold of yourselves, will it be a struggle to make the playoffs likely, but i still think the boys can do it.

  • chezzychez

    We had a revolving door of coaches for years and it killed development of a number of our young players. We just got new coaching staff to help out Todd. Lets wait 20 games and see how they do together.

    • That's My Point

      Waste a quarter of the season on an experiment?
      If it’s not working change it IMMEDIATELY, in the same period if need be, that’s how good coaches adjust.
      And if it’s working don’t try to fix it, LEAVE it alone.
      If Todd’s not going to adjust the lineup to try and win, adjust the team without Todd and let whoever is left coach to win.
      This is the BIG league, can’t cater to little Johnny anymore, this is win at all costs with other teams just not the Oilers.

  • PleaseWinOilers

    I would fire the GM and everyone in the front office.
    That’s not really answering the question because I don’t have an answer. That roster is hideous though.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    I understand some fans thinking that Jesse to the 4th line is punishing the kid. I offer a different perspective: TM needs more from his bottom 6 and the shuffling on lines 3/4 isn’t entirely based on individual performances from game 1 (except maybe the lineup insertions/deletions). Face it, the dude is on the hottest of hot seats – win now, or he’s fired.

  • Just facts

    Before jumping to conclusions it might be helpful to get some facts about what is actually happening. Spector notes that the coach said no decisions on lines have been made and that rather than demoting Jesse to the 4th line with Brodziak out, JJ has been promoted to 3rd line centre with Strome down to the 4th line. As Spector says a bit of shuffling in practice the day before a game may just be the coach sending a message that there is not going to be a lot of patience if performance doesn’t improve.

  • Rufio Barcoli

    The coach is out to lunch.

    Oilers will be 1-8-1 or 2-8-0 in the first 10 and then Toddy will be showed the door. His coaching is best compared to an ashtray on a motorbike.

      • TruthHurts98

        Short leash???? Hah! He and PC should have been canned ages ago. So no, they want to draft top 5 like normal. Bruins top line is going to have a hay day with our defense and goaltending tomorrow night. Nothing changes until the idiots running this team are fired. I don’t know how much longer Connor will put up with this excrement.

        • Kepler62c

          To suggest anyone in an NHL organization, even ignoring the fact the Oilers are an organization with Connor McDavid, WANTS to draft in the top 5 at the start of a season is ridiculous and a pathetic criticism of the team. Regardless of their skill, every coach, GM, Assistant GM, scout, etc. etc. etc. in ANY NHL organization is doing their best to ensure success on the ice.

          Of course, as seasons go on you can reasonably argue a GM or scout doesn’t mind getting a higher draft slot once his team is eliminated — but we are one game into the season and you spewing that the coach and GM want a top 5 pick?? Simmer down.

        • Frank Rizza

          Last week they were all predicting playoffs. Today everyone should get fired and the team sucks. I’m an Oiler fan too but holy f*** it’s only one game! Let’s calm down! There is 81 games left and the best player on earth plays for our team.

  • Spoils

    remember when the McDavid Draisaitl line was sooooo good you couldn’t possibly break it up?

    I think we may need to move RNH over to Draisaitl’s wing – not yet, but that would be my next shuffle. Think of it like ideal seeding of teams – one semi-final has the top seed and the #4 seed, the other has #2 and #3…

    heck, the biggest benefit might come from RNH’s defensive prowess (for reference please watch the first NJD goal)

  • Elgando

    He’s a smart coach but the tinkering should have been done in the pre season, not now. What message is it sending to Jesse? One bad game and it’s over for you?… Back to the fourth line?! I’d he didn’t perform well, maybe we can push start him be playing on the first line instead of the fourth..

    • Mitchvar9412

      Sorry, accidentally clicked trash it. I meant to click the other one. I agree with this point. Why run solid, unchanging lines during preseason and then one game in change them right away. Makes no sense.