Are These Really the Oilers Line Combos?

Bob Stauffer, host of Oilers Now, recently tweeted out the line combinations HE would like to see in the preseason. See Below.

So since he’s left it up to us to give him his opinion, let’s do that!

*Just a precursor before we do get started, I’m including a few HERO charts from @mimicohero in my post today. I’ve had to resize them a bit to fit them in, so if you want a closer look, just click on the image and a larger one will appear. I’m not really happy with how they turned out but it is what it is and I’m hoping you can see past the aesthetics. Thank you!*

Line 1

Taylor Hall – Connor McDavid – Teddy Purcell

I see what the thinking is here. Put a veteran onDashboard 1(5) the wing to insulate McDavid… We know from this tweet that this was always part of the plan. But I wonder if that was the plan before McLellan was hired?

I don’t like it and I make that judgement based on the eye test. Purcell’s style of play is too soft and his 125 hits over the course of his 9 year career confirms that. Compare that with Nail Yakupov who’s racked up over 200 hits in 3 years!

Yes Purcell is a big body and he has pretty good hands for man of his size but I don’t like him on that line.

Contrary to my feelings his HERO chart tells us something a bit more optimistic.

From that angle we can see highlights in his playmaking (first a/60) and his possession for (CF60 +/-). Unfortunately there are a couple of blemishes. His goals/60 is terrible and I’m not a fan of his CA/60 +/-.

What I’m reading from those two stats, and please correct meDashboard 1(6) if I’m off base here, is that he can’t score at the NHL level and he has a tough time when the other team has the puck.

I guess this sort of line combination is betting on the Oilers having puck possession the whole time…

I’d rather see someone like Eberle. Check his HERO chart… WOW!

Not a lot to complain about there. I mean if you were trying to throw a line out there that would keep the puck, wouldn’t you want this guy?

I imagine that we’ll see a line featuring Hall, McDavid, and Eberle at some point. It’s inevitable. But if a deal could be made I’d be looking at trying to acquire someone like Mark Stone out of Ottawa or Kyle Okposo from the Islanders to fill in on that right side.

Line 2

Leon Draisaitl – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle

Why is this line the 2nd line? Or is it 1b? The key to this line is Jordan Eberle. He’s a Dashboard 1(7)possession driver according this his HERO charts but why not Pouliot instead of Draisaitl? The chemistry is undeniable from last season.

His chart also tells me that he can put the puck in the net. Something Purcell cannot do but unlucky for everyone, Pouliot plays the left side. I wonder aloud for you all if this could be amended? One would think that a veteran like Poo could switch sides no problem, right? If so, he’d also be a candidate for the 4/97 line.

Now one question I’m wondering about here is where is Nail Yakupov? Why isn’t he featuring on any of the top two lines in Bob’s foreseen lineup here?

I wrote here about how I thought this was the year for Yakcity to break out and I still believe that but I also mentioned if he was buried on the 3rd line that he was most likely finished as an Edmonton Oiler. There are players in the minors like Iiro Pakarinen or Anton Slepyshev, players on the team like Rob Klinkhammer or Lauri Korpikoski that are much better suited for 3rd line duty. Or is it that Nail Yakupov is being viewed in the same light as say Nino Niederreiter before he was dealt to the Wild?

Line 3

Benoit Pouliot – Anton Lander – Nail Yakupov

As a fan of watching young players, this line looks really fun to watch. Earlier above I said that Yakupov would be finished as an Oiler if he was deployed on the 3rd line. Well this line looks like a safe one for Yak but why not add Draisaitl? That’d be a pretty damn sexy line to me and one that I think could be quite effective. Draisaitl’s size, playmaking ability, and penchant for rushing the puck like a runaway locomotive perfectly compliments Landers defensive bulldog-like style and Yakupov’s shot. I have zero problems with this combination.

Another reason I like this line is that I feel Draisaitl was just getting into the rhythm before he was sent back to the WHL, Lander was putting up pretty good numbers after he was called up and Yakupov really settled into his role during the latter stages of the season.

If this were a soft zone starts line, I think that would be the proper deployment procedure for it.

Line 4

Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Lauri Korpikoski

Get your grind on! Good Lord! This 4th line could rival that of the once famed bruins 4th line of Dan Paille, Greg Campbell, and Shawn Thornton. But alas the numbers do not like these guys at all…

Dashboard 1(10)Dashboard 1(11)

Apart from Letestu, Hendricks and Korpikoski are struggling to stay in the league. I haven’t watched a lot from the newly-acquired Finn so it’s hard for me to judge. I love the style of play and the leadership that Hendricks brings and Letestu I’ve seen very little of but the numbers fall in his favor.

I mean this is all without looking at Rob Klinkhammer and Luke Gazdic. But if the team was serious about getting out of the Western Conference’s outhouse, they should be eyeing up players like Sean Bergenheim and Lee Stempniak to round out the bottom 6.

Dashboard 1(12)
Why is this guy unsigned? Is there some sort of competition between him and Cody Franson?
Dashboard 1(13)
You know Lee, Edmonton isn’t that far from Winnipeg and it’s way cooler!


I think all of us Oilers fans are in agreement that until the defence is settled this is a team that will continue to struggle. So we might not even see some of these forwards past Christmas anyhow. Friends of BLH, Oil on Whyte, penned a piece covering such a scenario here. Thanks to Sammi Silber!

Thank you for reading and I truly hope you enjoyed the post! When you get a free moment hit us up on Twitter or Facebook or bet yet, BOTH! And if you’re feeling a tad chilly this winter but feeling the need to break out that old SEGA Genesis and play some NHL ’94, do so with a 16-bit Superstars T-Shirt! You can find them at our shop here!

To close out this discussion, I’d like to ask you how the lines for the Oilers should look this season? Would you trade anyone or sign any free agents? Let me know in the comments below!

Take care!


Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Mark

    So you talk about the lines he suggested but you mess up two of them. Reading issues?

    • Beer League Hero

      Thanks for reading and commenting Mark. Good shout! I could’ve sworn I read those that way. Ah well! You live and you learn! I’ll amend accordingly.

      Thanks again!

  • Corey Mitchell

    I’m actually a fan of Purcell being on that top line with Hall and McDavid. He’s played with high end players before (Stamkos) and I think he benefits from being the odd man out. While he doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with Hall and McDavid on the rush, he has a very good shot. He could potentially catch teams focusing on Hall and McDavid, and sneak in late on the rush, finding himself open in prime scoring positions

    • Beer League Hero

      All excellent points Corey but I’m sure Yakupov and Eberle have better shots than Purcell. And what happens when they’re caught on the counter-rush? That’s not the place where Purcell is going to help. In fact when the other team has the puck, he hurts the team more than he benefits it. If the Oilers are going to have someone with heavy feet on that line, he should be able to contribute on the defensive side of the puck. Pouliot is a good in-roster option. I think Mark Stone is going to be an amazing hockey player going forward and I think I’ve made it my mission this season to will the Oilers into acquiring David Backes. I love his snarl, his size and his leadership.

  • Sean

    If you wanted to give the Oilers three scoring lines who present a similar enough threat that it wouldn’t matter who the opposition focus on, this is pretty good set of lines. I could see McLellan using something like this on the road.

    • Beer League Hero

      Hi Sean! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      I agree, a tactic like this would present some real issues for the opposition. Gets you excited for the next 5 years, right? I’d still like to see some muscled added. Tom Wilson, David Backes, Andrew Ladd?