Maroon McDavid Draisaitl
Lucic RNH Caggiula
Jokinen Strome Puljujarvi
Slepyshev Letestu Kassian
- This forward group brings back some continuity from last year so that the Oilers can jump out to a fast start and ring up some wins early in the year. The top line was so dominant at the end of the year so it makes sense to continue that chemistry. The RNH centred line is seen as a matchup line to play against the opposition’s top line to shut them down and also provide some offense and intangibles. The soft minutes line centred by Strome could get some favorable matchups and the addition of Jokinen cannot be underestimated in giving that line some stability. The 4th line will be seen as a pure defensive zone matchup line doing the heavy lifting out of their own zone. Slepyshev can be interchanged with Malone if more face-off prowess is needed.
- The defense corps follows in line with the forward group in continuing with the chemistry developed from last year. Sekera is a huge loss in the beginning but they’re counting on internal development from Nurse and Benning to at least challenge for a top 4 spot until Sekera comes back. Auvitu can be inserted for Gryba’s spot to bring more offensive flair to the back-end to get the puck quickly out of the defensive zone up to the forwards.
Maroon McDavid Caggiula
Lucic Draisaitl Strome
Jokinen RNH Slepyshev
Malone Letestu Kassian
- Few changes to the forward group that provides a more well-balanced approach to the attack. The shutdown line stays relatively intact with Malone checking in and Puljujarvi is given a few months to play in the AHL to further get his bearings in the NHL sized rinks. He can be one of the first call-ups if/when an injury occurs. Caggiula is inserted onto the top-line for his scappiness and his speed on the forecheck that was noticeable in the Anaheim playoff series. Also he has a quick release when he gets the puck as that line has a tendency to over-pass at times. Draisaitl and RNH both centre lines that have both 2-way ability and can chip in on offense on a regular basis. RNH and Jokinen seem like a good duo to stay together even in special teams situations in PP/PK and they could have the most minutes of any forwards in any given night. This lineup could be best served on the road when match-ups aren’t in their favor and McLellan can send out any one of these lines.
- This defense corps has an NHL veteran on each pairing and again follows in line with balance to bring the puck up the ice in any situation. Larsson can provide the defensive stability that he offered to Klefbom last year, but this time to Nurse who will be expected to take a step forward. Klefbom has a couple of years under his belt and it is his time to provide that stability to Benning who is no defensive slouch himself. The 3rd pairing is a very mobile pairing and it takes away from the need for Russell to be a puck distributor and instead focus on his defensive strengths while Auvitu carries the puck out of the zone.