A lineup projection done by fantasy hockey site Daily Faceoff projects the Edmonton Oilers to play right-winger Jesse Puljujarvi alongside Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The days of McDavid and Draisaitl playing together appear to be over, and the Oilers are better for it. Adding Kahun will allow head coach Dave Tippett to play @Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with McDavid. Nugent-Hopkins spent most of last year with Draisaitl but played with McDavid in the playoffs. They dominated possession vs. Chicago (54.07 CorsiFor%) but had 44.44 GoalsFor% thanks to putrid goaltending (.808 on-ice SV%).
The real question is: who will be the RW on this line? It could be anyone from Puljujarvi to Zack Kassian. No player played more with McDavid last season than Kassian, but with new-found scoring depth, perhaps he is better suited for a rugged, bottom-6 role. James Neal, who also played with McDavid quite a bit in 2020, is a candidate as well, but he too is probably better in limited minutes with PP1 time. In a perfect world, Puljujarvi brings new-found confidence back to North America and slides right in with RNH and McDavid. He led Karpat in goals (24) and points (53) and is the type of player that could make this one of the best lines in hockey. – Daily Faceoff
The projection makes sense to me. Puljujarvi is a player who needs to play with high-end offensive talent and he will be able to find that on a line with McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins.
McDavid plays incredibly high-event hockey and with Puljuarvi having refound confidence after his time in Finland, he should be able to come into Edmonton and provide a much needed offensive spark to the lineup.
While it would be foolish to do anything than make sure Puljujarvi comes into camp to earn the spot, I don’t see any reason why that won’t happen. Puljujarvi is highly motivated to come back to the NHL and that’s why he signed the deal with the Oilers. He wants to come back and prove the naysayers wrong.
With Nugent-Hopkins there to help with more of the two-way game and defensive zone responsibility, it should help to open up the ice for this trio to do some serious damage.
Daily Faceoff projected the full Oilers lineup to look like this:
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