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?
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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