Glancing through the Oilers training camp line combinations, there's something almost a little too convenient about how things shake out.
Is it possible that Pat Quinn's tipping his hand with how he's thinking of running his lines this coming year?
The top line of each group is an interesting one, and could plausibly be a set line in the coming NHL season:
- O'Sullivan - Horcoff - Hemsky
- Penner - Gagner - Eberle
- Moreau - Cogliano - Pisani
Meanwhile, the second lines on each group show nine other players who might be in contention for a fourth line role:
- Jacques - Pouliot - Stortini
- Nilsson - Brule - Minard
- Reddox - Potulny - Fretter
Of interest is the fact that Mike Comrie will apparently start training camp on a line between Jamie Bates and Kip Brennan; it's not the most auspicious start for the recent signing. I'd suggest that it's possible Quinn wasn't certain Comrie would be at the camp until he'd already drawn up the rosters for the three practice groups.
The top pairings for each group support the idea that Quinn's running lines he thinks he might use in the NHL this year:
- Souray - Visnovsky
- Grebeshkov - Gilbert
- Smid - Staios
I can get behind the idea of O'Sullivan on the top line, and I think I'm a fan of the Penner/Gagner combination. If Quinn does in fact run with trios similar to these, we might seem a very similar bench strategy to what Craig MacTavish ran with last year.
It should be an interesting camp.