NOW IT CAN BE TOLD
While yesterday was a day for the Oilers’ YoungStars to comeback and defeat Vancouver’s YoungStars in semi-dramatic fashion, we got a first look at the lines projected to open camp on Thursday. There are a couple of surprises. Let’s have a look.
ICUMI: Oilers lines to start camp: Maroon McDavid Strome— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) September 11, 2017
Lucic Draisaitl Caggiula
Jokinen RNH Pulju
Khaira/Pakarinen Letestu Kassian
Bring on the bulletpoints.
- A little surprised to see newly acquired Ryan Strome at the top of the list next to McDavid and Maroon. I didn’t see Strome as an equivalent to Jordan Eberle the day he was traded, and I still don’t see him as that today. It might not matter all that much. It’s not even the first day of camp and things can change pretty quick, but if you can get 25-25 out of Ryan Strome alongside McDavid this year, everyone will call that a success.
- BE MY NUMBER TWO: Leon looks to get a chance at running the second line with Lucic and Drake Caggiula, who finds himself in a bit of a higher rent district compared to 2016-17. Milan Lucic will try to bounce back with more than eleven 5v5 points this season alongside Leon, who will need to make it happen down the middle.
- A WHOLE LOT OF QUESTIONS ON LINE 3 - Every time I bring up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, I feel that his time is slowly ticking away in an Oiler sweater. I’m struggling to think that a RNH at 3C will break much more than 40 points this year, and could be dealt for another wholly unimpressive return this offseason. The good news? RNH will slog through the toughs, though it will reflect poorly on his boxcars. This incarnation of the LineBlender™ has him along free agent signing Jussi Jokinen and Jesse Puljujarvi. At just over a million bucks, Jokinen is fantastic value and can play all over the roster, while Puljujarvi will show what he’s learned while in Bakersfield.
- FOUR TO GO - I can get by on this fourth line combination. Letestu is the obvious choice down the middle, a little surprised to see Zack Kassian start on the right wing after signing a three year deal but you can make it work. The left side starts with a Jujhar Khaira / Iiro Pakarinen combo.
- I don’t see how Chris Kelly’s PTO factors into much of this.
- SLEPYSHEV? Where does Slepyshev fit in all of this? He’ll be out for a little while after suffering an ankle injury last week. If he were to appear tomorrow, does he move Caggiula from the top six?
- MOVING DRAISAITL IN STEREO - No matter who starts in that coveted 1RW spot, how tempting will it be for McLellan to move Draisaitl back there when times get tough? I expect to see a little bit of that throughout the season, as 97-29 was a force last year.
- HOW LONG? - Nothing lasts forever, such is true with preseason lines. We could be seeing Draisaitl back on line one or Caggiula up top before too long. Don’t take what you see in a split-squad preseason game as gospel, cause the dice shake often.