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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW (FE): Secondary Scoring

Welcome, friends, to a Friday edition of WWYDW. It’s the weekly feature that throws out an idea to you the reader and it’s up to you to come up with a solution This week, I wanted to talk about the seemingly endless problem of secondary scoring and what you guys would do to fix it, or at least try to improve the situation.

Looking at the Oilers’ stats page, it’s hard not to notice how top heavy this team is with the bulk of the offence coming from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Those three players have scored 59 of the team’s 114 goals which works out to roughly 52% of the total offence. If you add Alex Chiasson’s 16 goals into the mix, then you’ve got 66% of the offence coming from four players, which is not even within an international flight of being good enough. To put it another way, the last eight goals that the Oilers have scored have come from one of McDraiNuge and that’s a tough way to win hockey games.

At some point, the organization needs to figure out how to get more goals coming in from the rest of the roster or find people that can, and that’s where you come in. I want to know what kind of ideas you might have to try and find more goals, whether that means looking at the trade market, calling someone else up from Bakersfield, healthy scratching a regular skater, more line changes, or anything in between. So far, the Oilers have Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, and Joseph Gambardella up from the Condors though none of them has been able to produce so far (to be fair, Yamamoto is injured), and it seems like something else has to happen. Does that make a trade seem more likely?

LINE COMBINATIONS

If we’re going to avoid trades for the time being, one of the only things the Oilers can do is adjust the lines. And since we love talking line combinations, I’m wondering if there are any improvements or adjustments that you’d make to the current mix to try and balance out the scoring a little bit.

Here are the lines from last Wednesday’s game against Arizona:

Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Rieder – RNH – Puljujarvi
Lucic – Khaira – Spooner
Gambardella – Brodziak – Rattie

Jones – Larsson
Nurse – Petrovic
Manning – Benning

Outside from trying McDavid, Leon, and Nuge on their own lines for an extended look, there hasn’t been too many combinations that we haven’t already seen yet. Yesterday, Gregor wrote about which combos we might see for Saturday’s game against the Kings, but I want to know what you guys think. WWYDW is about your ideas and what you see so maybe there’s something that has been missed, or that hasn’t been tried? Maybe you have the perfect line combos tucked away in that brain bank of yours and now is the time to share with the class.

FISHING FOR SCORING

Since we’ve already seen Peter Chiarelli move pieces out to try and improve the defence, you’d have to think that the same idea will be applied to the forward group eventually. Should he be making trades at this point? That’s a question for another day, but since Bob Nicholson came out and said that the playoffs are basically a finish line for Chiarelli’s tenure as Oilers GM, you know that he’ll be trying to get more moves done to save his job. Does this line of thinking make sense to you?

From this week’s 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman described the situation like so:

When GM Peter Chiarelli says they made these moves with the health of their defence in mind, that says they don’t think they will get much from Andrej Sekera. Surprised they would trade Drake Caggiula. He’s produced on a team that’s struggling to score, and while he may not be a giant, he competes hard. I’m also not convinced the Oilers are finished making moves. There’s a lot at stake. Jesse Puljujarvi’s future is uncertain.

Let’s pretend that Friedman is right and that Jesse Puljujarvi’s name is out there so let’s follow that idea down the rabbit hole a little bit. Personally, I don’t think that giving up on a 20-year-old prospect is a good idea at this stage given the lack of overall depth on the wings and the fact that he’s still such a young guy, but would moving him out bring back the kind of return that can make a positive impact? Would another team be willing to give up anything of value to get the young Finn even though he has yet to establish himself at the NHL level? Would you trade someone else instead? Do the Oilers have enough depth in their system to go out and acquire a winger or two? What about next year’s first round pick?

In this week’s WWYDW (Friday edition), I want to know what ideas you guys have to try and improve the offence?

 

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  • Oilers Nation Citizen

    Here’s how I’d run the horses:

    29 – 97 – 98
    23 – 93 – 39
    22 – 16 – 44
    27 [56*] – 65 – 8

    82 [77*] – 6
    25 – 15
    5 [82*] – 83 [4*]

    Brodziak scratched. Manning scratched.
    Lucic, Gravel and Benning scratched once Yamomoto, Klefbom and Russell are healthy.

  • Hakuna Mcdavid

    This won’t be popular lol but I say trade Nuge. Everyone talks about the team being too heavy, which whatever, but the reality is this team is mcdavid dependent. Nuge might have some value, and could be used to bring in a player who could actually drive his own line or could no doubt play with Mcdavid. I love Nuge, but he isn’t capable of playing the role they need him to. He needs mcdavid to make room for him to have any success. Hypothetical targets could be an artemi panarin, or keep grabbing crap from Chicago. Maybe a debrincat could be shook loose if they still want to win with the team they have in the next 3 years while toews and Keith are still functional. I think Nuge has good value, I think he’s a good player, I just don’t think he fits the role they need him to. (2/3 line c who can drive his line)

    • JimmyV1965

      We need more top six forwards. Can’t see how losing another helps, unless it’s in a package for an even better forward who is signed and has term. Even then, we would still need another forward.

    • Hakuna Mcdavid

      The issue isn’t the top 6, it’s the bottom of the line up scoring. Nuge isn’t a guy who can score against those kinds of matchups evidently. That’s all I’m saying, his talent and ability makes him only useful in specific set ups that the oilers aren’t geared for. Anyway, I don’t think they will move him and I don’t want them to, I would get it if they did though. Move him for a top 6 scoring winger and people stop talking about mcdavids wing as still needing a vacancy, and Zach stone hands doesn’t have to play a role he is not going to be able to play for more than 2 games in a row

    • Oilerup!

      Trading Nuge…. is your last Chiarelli?
      Nuge is arguably one of the best two way centres in the league. But before you get ready to trade him, get your thoughts together regarding who you get back and what difference trading him for something else would do, cuz ….. if he’s gone you just lost a top four scoring from your team!

      • Hakuna Mcdavid

        Based on one what metric is he one of the best two way centers? With or without mcdavid? Take two seconds and look at his deeper numbers. He’s negative in pretty much everything. I like using naturalstattrick

  • Free Bird

    I’m surprised no one else has proposed this, but if I’m the GM trying to make the playoffs to save my job, then why not trade a middle round pick and a contract to St. Louis for Patrick Maroon? Based on recent history, there’s already a good trade relationship between the two teams and with Maroon you’d at least get a winger with a track record of producing on McDavid’s wing, which would give Hitch more options in shuffling the lines and trying to build one more scoring line after McDavid. It’s not ideal as it makes the team bigger and slower when they should be shifting in the other direction, but at least you’re getting one more body that can produce.

  • Arfguy

    Spooner-McDavid-Rattie
    Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson
    Khaira-RNH-Puljujarvi
    Gambardella-Marody-Kassian

    Jones-Larsson
    Nurse-Petrovic
    Gravel-Benning

    Sit:
    Lucic
    Brodziak
    Manning