I've voiced my disapproval a number of times already this summer over the Oilers centre depth. Even if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is healthy, the Oilers are short on pivots. If he's not able to begin the season, they are woefully inadequate. A number of alternatives that don't involve adding another centre have been proposed, but nearly all of them leave major holes in the lineup. Below are three lineups based on the alternate proposals:
Option 1 is simple - move the centre depth chart up a slot to fill in the Hopkins' slot, leaving Anton Lander playing tough minutes between Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky.
Option 2 is the building consensus - move Taylor Hall to the middle and slide Yakupov to the left side, and leaving so much on Boyd Gordon's plate.
Option 3 moves Hall to the middle, but creates a tough-minutes line with Smyth, Gordon and Hemsky and uses Toni Rajala in a soft minutes role with Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov.