If you follow the oilers, it should come as no surprise that EDM will more than likely be without their 1C, Nugent-Hopkins, to start the season and are pretty thin at C already. The 4C job will be up for grabs between Lander and Will Acton. Acton having never played an NHL game.
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Here’s a few possibilities on how I see the F depth chart to start the season:
Hall had this to say about the possibility of playing centre, “I have been told to be prepared to play centre at the start of the year. I’m not sure what Nuge’s timetable is right now…..… I’ve been told to kind of work on my faceoffs and just maybe be prepared to play centre for the first four or five games, which is fine by me. I’ve always taken the side that if the coach wants me to play centre, then I will, but my preferred spot is left wing for sure.” Hall was 54.7% in the dot this past season, and while there’s more to playing C than winning draws, he’s the best option EDM has outside of free agency. Hemsky on the first line with Hall-Eberle allows EDM to pump his numbers and raise his trade value to potentially deal for a 3W capable of playing tough minutes with Gordon while keeping the Perron-Gagner-Yakupov line together to develop some chemistry. I put Ryan Hamilton in as he seemed to succeed under Eakins in Toronto and I’m going to go on a limb and say Eakins had something to do with the signing and doesn’t plan on having him in OKC.
Hall-Arcobello-Eberle was a line in OKC when Nuge was injured/playing at the WJCs. Arcobello had a 1 game callup this year where he was near ineffective, but it was his first NHL game so I’ll cut him some slack. Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky is a line capable of playing some fairy tough competition although we wouldn’t expect Hemsky’s offence to flourish or his value to skyrocket.
The third, and final option, seems a little less realistic. Gordon doesn’t belong on a scoring line, Yak doesn’t belong playing any defensive minutes, and Gagner doesn’t get to develop anything with his rightful wingers. Don't forget the 2Cs and 2Ws who have yet to establish themselves as NHL regulars.
I think #1 is the most likely scenario. Have 6 top 6 players in the top 6 (haw). While Hall isn’t a natural C, he’s a better option than Arcobello, who will more than likely be a career AHLer, and Gordon, who belongs playing tough defensive minutes and shouldn’t be counted on for offence.
Here’s a couple possibilities on how I see the D depth chart to start the season:
This seems like the most obvious scenario. Smid-Petry have handled the load of playing opposing top lines the past 2 seasons. It’s easy to forget Justin Schultz is only going to be a sophomore, but he’s going in to his 2nd season and while I think he can get there, he’s not a top pairing Dman yet.
Grebeshkov/N Schultz-J Schultz
This could happen if Belov and/or Grebeshkov impress. Belov was a top Dman this past year in the KHL and Grebeshkov had 39P in 72GP for EDM back in 2009. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that one could arise as a top 4D.
Option #2 is a less likely scenario. While Belov had an impressive season, it was on a bigger ice surface, and his other seasons seemed pretty average. Also, even though Grebeshkov was a top 4 guy in 2008-2009, it’s unfair to assume he’s still at that level. I expect them to be fine bottom pairing guys, so option #1 seems realistic.
Estimated depth Chart to start the season:
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