THE REALLY REALLY GIFTED KID LINE

It was a fun day to be an Oilers fan, as we got to see Todd McLellan run the troops through their paces and use the universal language of hockey (WHERE would the industry be without the F-Bomb?) to begin a ‘culture change’ in the organization. I wrote about the need for two-way players today over at ON and for me Todd McLellan’s search over these weeks will involve finding responsible players.

Anton Lander took his time to emerge as an NHL player, you could make the case he didn’t show his entire arsenal until January 2015 (5.5 years after he was drafted)—but I would counter that the blame lies in an organization unable to differentiate between an emerging talent in need of seasoning and a player who had taken a significant step forward and stood out in a (very) short sample size. As it stands, Lander looks like a key component on the 3line for 2015-16 (although this is early days) and if he can hold that job Edmonton has a major issue solved.

Leon Draisaitl has several things that make him unique among Oilers forwards. Although I would count passing as his main strength, Edmonton has so many of them now it will (literally) make our heads spin. Leon’s size, strength, puck protection ability and determination are things that stand out and it’s little surprise Todd McLellan was on him right away as a possible option.

Nail Yakupov is the prime candidate for “shooter” among Edmonton’s forwards and it’s something Todd McLellan clearly values. That is NOT the sum of Yakupov’s game (he’s an excellent passer and can bring a substantial physical game—ask the Jets!) but could be a big part of his value this season to what could be an emerging line.

5×5 shots per 60 (Oilers forwards 2014-15)

  1. Nail Yakupov 8.43
  2. Taylor Hall 7.55
  3. Matt Hendricks 7.18
  4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 7.10
  5. Jordan Eberle 6.33
  6. Teddy Purcell 6.23
  7. Source
  • Todd McLellan: “The interesting line for me is that Draisaitl-Lander-Yakupov line. If we can get them gelling and playing the right way, they can be very dangerous. That’s a goal of ours anyway.”

I imagine a lot of what will be required is finding the soft parade for this trio. At home, that’s an easier item, but on the road there may be some heavy shifts and some difficult nights. Anton Lander’s role on this line should not be underestimated, it’s a major increase in prominence for the young Swede. I’m absolutely thrilled with the possibilities for Yakupov, who should also get a power-play push based on those shooting numbers.

It’s been a good day.

Photo by Trevor Wear. All rights reserved.

written by

The author didn‘t add any Information to his profile yet.
Related Posts

57 Responses to "THE REALLY REALLY GIFTED KID LINE"

  1. Ducey says:

    It’s been a good day.

    Well put.

    I’ll wait ’til they string about 14 of those together before I get excited.

  2. jp says:

    That’s shockingly good news to hear Drai-Lander-Yak is being immediately considered as a priority option! Unicorns anyone?

  3. slopitch says:

    The top C for Sweden at the worlds who is good both ways.
    A #3 overall with skill, strength, two way play and can also play C.
    A #1 overall Russian with a deadly snipe.

    Not a bad fit for Yak at all.

    And that’s the 3rd line!

  4. Hammers says:

    Love it my answer to all of those 3 .

  5. Hammers says:

    What maybe good is both Drai and Lander ca take face offs hopefully in that .5 range .that will help and both will be feeding Yak. Big spoon I hope .

  6. ASkoreyko says:

    Gregor posted over at ON that NN was already showing signs of not training hard this summer. Given the popular thought around here that Chia will start eliminating his VP’s of ********** as he starts evaluating their abilities to evaluate talent if I were MacT I would be pulling on the sweatpants and going for 6AM runs with NN.

    I know it is one small minor observation on the first day of camp, but if I were the Oilers management team I would be MIGHTY unhappy with how NN has shown after essentially being called out this summer. Seems like he might already be planning his return to the Motherland next year.

    One would imagine the noose gets tighter around MacT’s neck with each exhausted stride.

  7. Spoils says:

    LD looks like he has taken a very solid step forward. I wonder what his ceiling looks like?

    In 4 years or so with a peaking McD, a 27yr old Hall, a mature Nuge, and a Kopitarish LD we could have 4 guys in the top 10… If Nail is getting fed steady backhands, would 5 be too much to ask for?

    spinning drunk on Kool Aid. just praying I don’t get too much of the blues on opening night.

  8. Woodguy says:

    jp:
    That’s shockingly good news to hear Drai-Lander-Yak is being immediately considered as a priority option! Unicorns anyone?

    Unicorns?

    Never heard of em.

  9. jonrmcleod says:

    So it would seem all signs are pointing to Draisaitl making the team?

  10. leadfarmer says:

    ASkoreyko,

    I’m shocked people are surprised. This has been Nikitin for over two years now. At some point you need to say that’s his baseline. Like I said before if he’s in our top 4 this season, the season is lost.

  11. Ryan says:

    ASkoreyko,

    When is the next buyout window?

  12. Ryan says:

    Woodguy: Unicorns?

    Never heard of em.

    Looks like TMac saw Lander good at the worlds.

    There goes my bet with Pouzar.

  13. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:
  14. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Also, get your plastic flask before the first preseason game.

  15. Woodguy says:

    JD¡™ David O’Connor’s Reel:
    Also, get your plastic flask before the first preseason game.

    Ceramic is best.

  16. Woodguy says:

    leadfarmer:
    ASkoreyko,

    I’m shocked people are surprised.This has been Nikitin for over two years now.At some point you need to say that’s his baseline.Like I said before if he’s in our top 4 this season, the season is lost.

    The upside of this is maybe Howson’s job hinges on Nikitin playing well.

  17. ASkoreyko says:

    Woodguy: The upside of this is maybe Howson’s job hinges on Nikitin playing well.

    Maybe this will finally be the LT 3 for 1. MacT, Howson and NN for anything. I like it!

  18. Edmonton Oilers Training Camp Links and Previews! - Beer League Heroes says:

    […] Lowetide loves the Draisaitl-Lander-Yakupov line and gives us another classic here. […]

  19. Doug McLachlan says:

    ASkoreyko,

    Why wait until next year?

    Assign him to the ECHL affiliate in Norfolk. Perhaps he chooses to go back to Omsk. Suspend and free up the $ to get into the waiver game as we approach Oct 5th.

  20. John Chambers says:

    I’ll be happy if they send Nikitin to the ECHL and have Reinhart start on the 3rd pair with Gryba.

    This is why that trade wasn’t an overpay – we need a D NOW who is young, physical, and on a great contract. Otherwise we’d be pushing Nurse into the lineup and he needs 20-40 games before he’s here for good.

  21. jp says:

    Woodguy: Unicorns?

    Never heard of em.

    It’s OK.

    They haven’t been seen that far north in 25 years.

  22. ASkoreyko says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    Only if we can send MacT and Howson down to Norfolk as well.

    It seems pretty amazing to me that NN knew this was his last shot at the NHL and appears to be taking it so lightly. Then again we could be extrapolating way to much from one note from Gregor.

  23. Магия 10 says:

    ASkoreyko:
    Doug McLachlan,

    Only if we can send MacT and Howson down to Norfolk as well.

    It seems pretty amazing to me that NN knew this was his last shot at the NHL and appears to be taking it so lightly. Then again we could be extrapolating way to much from one note from Gregor.

    Would be more interested in Bruce’s observations.

  24. MOAR WINZ PLEEZ says:

    I feel a little schizophrenic right now; so incredibly excited for the season to start but at the same time dreading it… remember how giddy everyone was the lockout year? I know this is a different group and, well, Mcdavid, but I can’t help but want to curb my enthusiasm. The sting of bitter disappointment just doesn’t go away that easy.

    I keep telling myself this year will be different.

    It will be, right?

  25. russ99 says:

    Maybe I’m being a bit curmudgeonly today, but I’ll take a winning hockey team over unicorns any day.

    We’re still in the West, still have to play a ton of tough road games in the Pacific and we need real progress.

    McLellan sure seems to be just what these guys need, that’s very positive.

  26. Woodguy says:

    russ99,

    Maybe I’m being a bit curmudgeonly today, but I’ll take a winning hockey team over unicorns any day.

    You know you’re worried about a 3rd line consisting of:

    1st overall pick
    3rd overall pick
    Sweden’s 1C from the World Championships.

    And they’re the 3rd bloody line!!!

    Unreal amount of forward talent.

    Crazy.

    Unicorns.

    WWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Woodguy says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    ASkoreyko,

    Why wait until next year?

    Assign him to the ECHL affiliate in Norfolk. Perhaps he chooses to go back to Omsk. Suspend and free up the $ to get into the waiver game as we approach Oct 5th.

    Can’t loan players who are not on ELC’s to the ECHL:

    From the CBA:

    13.10 Recognition of Minor League. For purposes of this Agreement, except as expressly set
    forth in Article 9, Minor League club shall only include any club in the American Hockey
    League.

    13.11 No Loans to East Coast Hockey League. A Player who is not in the Entry Level System
    may not be Loaned to the East Coast Hockey League without his consent.

  28. Doug McLachlan says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks WG.

    Fair enough. Don’t like the idea of sending him to California as a reward so explain that while he is being sent to Bakersfield it is NOT to join the team but to save the $950K on the cap. The AHL is for development and rehab. NN doesn’t fit either category. NHL career over so can collect his $ from the gym, on his couch or in Norfolk – if he consents.

    Still hope that is enough to trigger a run for Russia but I doubt it.

  29. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Doug McLachlan: Still hope that is enough to trigger a run for Russia but I doubt it.

    Yeah, I don’t think spending 7 months in Bakersfield to earn $4.5M will make Niki bail for the homeland.

    Stockton spits, sure.

  30. Doug McLachlan says:

    JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel,

    Perfect! Assign him to scout Stockton.

  31. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Re: Nikitin. I’m not going to say I told you so, so instead I will say it was time to look for another option ages ago. Cannot be counted on. Here’s Reinhart’s big chance.

  32. Lowetide says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Re: Nikitin. I’m not going to say I told you so, so instead I will say it was time to look for another option ages ago. Cannot be counted on. Here’s Reinhart’s big chance.

    I’m not sure there were 10 posters who thought the Nikitin hire was a good one. That said, we have one anecdote, and even though I’m very much in the thumb’s down camp, I hope he turns it around and has a good season. EDM needs him badly.

  33. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Lowetide,

    Oh, what I meant wasn’t going that far back. I agree most people here were against it at the time of the signing.

    I was referring to the changing discourse over the course of this summer where the math suggested NN wasn’t so bad and thus he would be alright this year and so a lot of people became optimistic about him.

    I just said you can’t count on him. Back issues, etc., you can’t count on him to be reliable at this point, whatever the math may say.

    That’s all I meant.

  34. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Магия 10: Would be more interested in Bruce’s observations.

    Thank you.

    I’m too stubborn to write him off completely, he ain’t worth $4.5 MM but maybe he can help the ball club. Thought he looked pretty alright today.

    Although if those reports are correct that he didn’t train well this off-season, then he’s an idiot. A *rich* idiot, but an idiot all the same.

    Still, I remember hearing lots of reports about people like Ales Hemsky that tended to stretch the truth if not worse. Where is the line between speculation and fact?

  35. J-Bo says:

    So happy that Mclellan is heavily considering the Drai – Lander – Yak line! It made me cranky all summer LT when you consistently made line combinations contrary to this option. I know you just didn’t want to put all your eggs in the basket you really wanted, but I hated it anyways! Woot Woot! Hoping Yakupov explodes this year!!

  36. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide:
    McCurdy had a great day. He was the bomb

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/todd-mclellan-takes-centre-stage-as-edmonton-oilers-main-camp-finally-gets-going

    Thanks, LT, it was a busy but fun day. Not to be repeated, alas, I had to win a lottery to get in & it’s damn tough to do that more than once!

    Got lots of great feedback from folks, including the above comment. Much appreciated.

  37. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    That was a terrific write-up today. Just got home and read it. Very enjoyable. Thank you.

  38. Bruce McCurdy says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    That was a terrific write-up today. Just got home and read it. Very enjoyable. Thank you.

    Thank you kindly. I was keen to see McLellan in action, and got 2 eyes full & 2 ears full today. Seemed to be harping on all the key points, not overly harshly/unfairly but very much on point. The players know who’s boss already, was very apparent within 10 minutes of them taking the ice. Details will be identified and attended to, is the strong impression I got.

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Love that pic up top, btw. Total Eclipse of the Goaler. All you can see is his 5-hole. (& guess where Leon put it?)

  40. Lowetide says:

    J-Bo:
    So happy that Mclellan is heavily considering the Drai – Lander – Yak line! It made me cranky all summer LT when you consistently made line combinations contrary to this option. I know you just didn’t want to put all your eggs in the basket you really wanted, but I hated it anyways! Woot Woot! Hoping Yakupov explodes this year!!

    And we have to be careful because unicorns are rare. I’m so encouraged by McLellan’s thinking though, he’s damned aggressive. This is an aggressive bet imo, a smart one but I don’t think Tom Renney would have been this creative.

  41. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Love that pic up top, btw. Total Eclipse of the Goaler. All you can see is his 5-hole. (& guess where Leon put it?)

    I love the photo. When Trevor sent it to me I was thrilled! That’s an amazing moment right there.

  42. Bank Shot says:

    If this line holds through to the regular season they are probably getting the soft parade and they need to be killing it.

    Draisaitl and Yakupov were getting the gravy minutes for hours last season and did nothing with it.

    The Oilers need to capitalize on those situational advantages so I hope Todd will mix it up quickly if it isn’t working again.

  43. Yeti says:

    Lowetide: And we have to be careful because unicorns are rare. I’m so encouraged by McLellan’s thinking though, he’s damned aggressive. This is an aggressive bet imo, a smart one but I don’t think Tom Renney would have been this creative.

    It’s an aggressive bet, and one that puts quite a bit of pressure on young McDavid. There’ll be precious little shelter out there if Drai-Lander-Yak are getting the choice ZSs and matchups. Interesting times. He’ll have to break himself into the NHL at the deep end.

  44. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    On conditioning etc.

    13. Very interesting word got out that Boston’s three first-rounders —Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn — failed their conditioning tests. As a former NHL strength coach once said, “Failed tests only get out when the organization wants them to get out.”

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/30-thoughts-what-voynovs-return-to-russia-could-mean/

  45. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The context of this conditioning talk is always the following for me:

    1. The team is trying to send a public message about commitment, work ethic, etc.

    2. A narrative has taken hold on a player and it is easier to see evidence of the narrative than a counter-narrative. Clean eyes are a hard thing to find in hockey.

    3. The player’s work ethic maybe fine, but he some variety of factors (body type; demeanour; etc.) make him present as Lackadaisical.

    4. The player has a flawed work ethic, but we’ll likely never know the truth of this one way or the other.

    The thing is the following. Work ethic is one of those things that every non-hockey player can relate to. We all, in our daily lives, reward ourselves and others positive thoughts when we see people work hard and try to improve. And, we scorn those we feel aren’t trying to improve and aren’t working that hard.

    It’s one of the reasons many fans prefer the Tie Domis of the world to Phil Kessel.

    Two examples.

    Gregor two years ago ripped Gernat for not working hard in the offseason. he implied Gernat’s character was flawed. I asked him what the evidence for this was. He got testy and said it was obvious because Gernat, despite his size (re: height) was so skinny. I suggested this wasn’t much of an argument. It’s pretty easy to imagine an wisp of a fellow like Gernat busting his ass off in the gym all summer and not exactly emerging in the fall as a stout power lifter might. Gregor told me he had no other evidence than his visual assessment and that of those around him. They saw a skinny kid and said… bad work ethic.

    You may also recall the Oilers ripped Marincin for a bad work ethic after they insisted he gain weight (something I imagine was harder for him as a skinny fellow than most) only to whine he was out of shape when he did gain weight.

    All of which is to say, this kind of talk is too fraught for this fan to take seriously. I simply don’t trust the sources of information.

  46. stush18 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    It’s Boston being idiots again. I read online about this too that a lot of junior players fail their physicals in the first and second camp, especially if they weren’t in great shape to begin with.

    Just like in real life, the demands after school become greater, and usually only the elite level prospects have the conditioning .

    Sweeney is killing it in Boston.

  47. leadfarmer says:

    Actually he was a big target on this and other blogs. Most people disagreed with the price but liked the player, except those of us that lived in Columbus and watched him play were wondering why people wanted him. Like I said at the time I don’t think I would offer him the 1 year 2 mill contract he’s going to be asking for, so you could only imagine my shock at his contract.

  48. jp says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Nice write up Bruce. Too bad you can’t attend every day!!

  49. book¡je says:

    Hey Woodguy, any idea why LT waits until half the day is over before he posts his first post?

  50. wheatnoil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    This is an extremely strong point. Nikitin may or may not have a good season but I don’t think we can judge his preparation for it based on one comment by Gregor (or anyone else not from the organization). Even when it’s from the organization, it sheds light but may not be accurate.

  51. Pajamah says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    “Speaking with Gregor”

    “Got testy”

    You don’t say?

    I know LT can’t say anything in fear of Gregor shoving him in his TSN1260 locker. He’s a bully. And he is at least 4.2 Spectors out of 5.

    Its LT, Stauffer, and ridiculous Don Cherry clones who spend more time arguing with the fan base than actually doing their homework.

  52. Магия 10 says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Still, I remember hearing lots of reports about people like Ales Hemsky that tended to stretch the truth if not worse. Where is the line between speculation and fact

    Just north of easy narrative. Thanks for the detailed reports from the ice.

  53. Lowetide says:

    Pajamah:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    “Speaking with Gregor”

    “Got testy”

    You don’t say?

    I know LT can’tsay anything in fear of Gregor shoving him in his TSN1260 locker. He’s a bully. And he is at least 4.2 Spectors out of 5.

    Its LT, Stauffer, and ridiculous Don Cherry clones who spend more time arguing with the fan base than actually doing their homework.

    Nah. My relationship with Gregor has always been very good. Stauffer too, for that matter. We disagree on lots of things but that’s kind of true of everyone.

  54. Kmart99 says:

    I’m curious to see how McLellan will match lines and assign ZS. I don’t want the Lander line having to deal with any top 2 D men, ever. I’m not so concerned about them getting stuck out against higher end forwards because of how strong Lander’s D is, and because of how much Drai seemed to help possession last year let alone this year. My fear is the shifts where those three end up against top D men and just can’t create solid chances for…. Confidence is a huge part of this game and Duncan Keith can end that real quick. Playing 28min/night, I imagine the top pairing will be playing exclusively against our top two lines. Puh-lease let Lander pick up where he left off, let Yak finally bounce back, and let Draisaitl create some offense.

    It seems likely, based on practice and comments, that the 3LW job is Draisaitl’s to lose. He appears much closer to ready than he was last year, but the pressure for that line to produce offense is very real and will be an essential part of this team winning more games than they had in the past. I kind of hoped Drai would see 20+ games in Bakersfield first, so here’s hoping he’s more ready than I thought.

  55. Kmart99 says:

    Pajamah,

    I don’t know about Cherry, but LT and Stauffer definitely do more than their share of homework. When it comes to doing homework and research, I’d argue LT does the most. He posts an insane amount of articles, many of which require countless hours of research. Especially regarding prospects.

    Gregor, JW,Staples(as misguided as he may be), Bruce, and LT are unrivaled in this regard IMO.

    Still love Ireland, Matty, G Money, Woodguy, and Arch, but when it comes to sheer volume and frequency of hockey posts and research, I’m not sure you can ever say LT doesn’t do homework.

    Rex, well, I don’t frequent FN nearly often enough to assess. But his posts on here are great!

  56. Lowetide says:

    Kmart99:
    Pajamah,

    I don’t know about Cherry, but LT and Stauffer definitely do more than their share of homework. When it comes to doing homework and research, I’d argue LT does the most.He posts an insane amount of articles, many of which require countless hours of research.Especially regarding prospects.

    Gregor, JW,Staples(as misguided as he may be), Bruce, and LT are unrivaled in this regard IMO.

    Still love Ireland, Matty, G Money, Woodguy, and Arch, but when it comes to sheer volume and frequency of hockey posts and research, I’m not sure you can ever say LT doesn’t do homework.

    Rex, well, I don’t frequent FN nearly often enough to assess.But his posts on here are great!

    One of the things I’ve learned over these years is that people filter things through a different lens, and many who hear the radio show comment to me about things that have long since been understood. I don’t think Pajamah was taking a shot at me (or Bob, or even Don Cherry folks) but rather commenting on the world as he sees it. I’m fine with being thrown in with Bob.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!
© Copyright - Lowetide.ca