Starboard, 11-12

The Edmonton Oilers on RW in 11-12 could be very, very good. A full season by the still young Ales Hemsky, along with a step forward from Jordan Eberle and a full season of Linus Omark establishing himself as a potent offensive player sounds like fun.

Ryan Jones is going to have a helluva time getting even strength minutes for this hockey team. Injuries will no doubt impact his playing time, but Jones is in tough (on either wing) based on the men who play his position for the Oilers.

EVEN STRENGTH TOI/G & 5X5/PTS 60
  1. Jordan Eberle 14:27/1.79
  2. Ales Hemsky 14:16/2.88
  3. Linus Omark 12:42/1.78
  4. Ryan Jones 10:52/1.38

The first thing we notice is Hemsky’s monster number at EVs this season. According to behind the net, he ranked third overall in the NHL with that number (40+ games) and the names around him roll off the tongue as the best and most recognizable names in the game. Eberle and Omark had fine debut seasons, but the exciting part is that they are back for another year; Eberle should improve based on experience and in Omark’s case I think it’s a matter of more exposure. How they kept this talent on the farm for 5 freaking minutes is beyond me.

I should mention Gilbert Brule here. I’m not going to list him because frankly I don’t know that the Oilers can count on him for 11-12. There were times this past season where the team was shorthanded due to injuries and at the last minute Eberle was unable to play. I think it’s a very difficult injury to deal with for everyone, and that the club will err on the side of caution. Meaning? I think he might be a candidate for LTIR until completely recovered, and it’s anyone’s guess as to when that might happen.

PK TOI/G
  1. Ryan Jones 2:07
  2. Ales Hemsky 0:47
  3. Jordan Eberle 0:40

I think Jones will get lots of time here again in 11-12. Reasons include the same coach who gave him almost 3 hours on the PK last season is going to have a hard time getting him icetime at EVs and PP; it’s the role available to him at this position; Renney and the staff clearly felt comfortable with Jones in that role last season. I do think that Hemsky, Eberle and even Omark could help on the PK and will probably get a spin again this season (LMHF#1 in the comments below suggested “I’d use Eberle, Belanger, Paajarvi, Horcoff and Hemsky on the PK. By the end of the season I might even use Omark and Hartikainen”) but the Oilers will run them hard at EVs and PP.

PP TOI/G and 5×4/60
  1. Ales Hemsky 3:13/3.47
  2. Linus Omark 2:38/3.35
  3. Jordan Eberle 2:32/3.92
  4. Ryan Jones 0:50/3.63

I’ll start by saying that Hemsky’s number does not reflect his established level of ability in this area. Here are his 5×4 numbers going back a few years:

•06-07 5×4 per 60m: 5.45
•07-08 5×4 per 60m: 5.93
•08-09 5×4 per 60m: 5.00
•09-10 5×4 per 60m: 4.71
•10-11 5×4 per 60m: 3.47

I think the Oilers will have Hemsky on the #1 PP but that both Omark and Eberle will get significant time. If we can agree that the six most skilled forwards in 11-12 will be Hemsky, Eberle, Omark, Hall, Smyth, Gagner then those players should be on the ice most often (RNH will be the other center, suspect he’ll get quite the push if he shows any kind of acumen; I think the 6 listed here would represent the best chance to score with the man advantage).

Right wing is a key offensive position for the Edmonton Oilers this season.

With that as the backdrop, which of the three “PP quarterbacks” (I’ll count Hemsky, Omark and Gagner) would you consider most worthy of #1PP time? Or should it be two? All three? What about RNH? Who would shoot the puck?

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