Edmonton Oilers elevate Evander Kane to second line against Toronto Maple Leafs

Photo credit:Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Ten-game winning streak be damned, the Edmonton Oilers are mixing up their lines.
The dynamite top line of the Oilers will remain in tact, but the second line has a new look to it with Evander Kane being elevated up the lineup. He will skate alongside Leon Draisaitl and Warren Foegele, while Ryan McLeod has been dropped to the third line.
There, McLeod will center a line with Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan, while the fourth line will feature Adam Erne, James Hamblin and Connor Brown.
Kane has found himself lifted up the lineup after spending the last number of weeks on the Oilers’ third line. There, alongside Ryan and Brown, there were more than enough struggles as they got consistently outscored while Kane’s production fell off a cliff.
And while that’s understandable given the black hole Brown has been for the Oilers this year, and Ryan doesn’t have much in the way of offensive chops, Kane was unable to drag them into the fight.
The second line is a trio we have seen in a brief sample earlier this year, playing just under 24 minutes at 5v5 together. While outscored 2-1, they controlled 60.71 percent of the shot attempt share, 70.98 percent of the expected goal share, and 72.73 percent of the scoring chances.
Historically, there’s been issues when Kane and Draisaitl have played together. Prior to this season, they had seen 522 minutes of 5v5 time together, controlling 50 percent of the goal share, 47.84 percent of the shot attempt share, and 44.89 percent of the expected goal share. This year, however, there’s been a shift.
They’ve played 223 minutes together at 5v5, 92 of which came with Brown on their wing. While those minutes were putrid, the 130 minutes they have played without Brown on their line has been surprisingly strong. They’ve outscored opponents 7-5, controlling 53.7 percent of the shot attempt share, 56.47 percent of the expected goal share, and 52.45 percent of the scoring chance share.
It’s a tough matchup tonight for the Oilers taking on the Maple Leafs, and this new look bottom-nine is going to need to cash in.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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