When it comes to quality additions over the summer, the contest for Oiler winner comes down to David Perron versus Boyd Gordon. Perron’s offense and agitating have been terrific, but Boyd Gordon has been a perfect fit and more.
WHAT DID THE OILERS NEED HIM TO DO?
They needed Boyd Gordon to be the man in the middle. Penalty-kill, own zone starts, tough opposition, take care of Luca Brasi when needed; he’s done it all so far and then some. Gordon’s appeal is that he can plug into any line needed and deliver as required. He’s been a delight offensively as a for instance, while also delivering in areas like penalty-kill and faceoffs. Boyd Gordon, perfect fit.
Gordon has severe zone starts, is facing tough competition and has been a Godsend. Jordan Eberle is the only forward able to post a blue bubble and Ryan Smyth is having a nice season. A bit of a zone start push for Yakupov, no? Perron, Hemsky, Nuge, Hall, they’re all bunched together there in what seems to be a team with three two-way lines. As good as Gordon has been, he needs some help over there in the shutdown quadrant. I expect Smyth and Perron will mosey over as the season wears along.
FORWARDS EVEN STRENGTH TIME ON ICE
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 17:00
- Taylor Hall 16:59
- Jordan Eberle 16:32
- David Perron 16:24
- Sam Gagner 15:47
- Ales Hemsky 14:29
- Mark Arcobello 13:41
- Nail Yakupov 13:11
- Ryan Smyth 11:44
- Boyd Gordon 11:22
- Ryan Jones 9:14
- Jesse Joensuu 8:14
- Will Acton 5:34
- Luke Gazdic 5:33
Coach Eakins is rolling those kids pretty strong and didn’t waste any time getting Gagner into the deep end either. Hemsky rounds out the top 6F TOI at even strength (this is nhl.com) and then Arco-Yakupov are the bridge players to the 3 and 4 lines. Smyth-Gordon are playing close to 4 minutes a night each on the special teams but they can play a little less at evens if the top 2lines are pushing. Jones/Joensuu are the utility forwards and Acton-Gazdic give the team a Toronto Maple Leafs ‘Mama, we’re all Crazee Now” feel.
CORSI ON (BTN)
Eberle’s the only Johnny Cash so far this season, but bench press is second and all of Perron, Hemsky and Nugent-Hopkins are below -5. After that, we have Gagner, Smyth, Yakupov, Hall and Jones in the ‘they need to post blue bubbles’ pile and then after that you’re either Boyd Gordon or we’re not happy.
QUALITY OF COMPETITION (BTN)
I don’t think there’s much surprising here, would have thought the Nuge and Gagner’s numbers would be switched but then again Gagner was playing with Hall much of the last 10 games. Perron and Hall are having nice seasons considering, Smyth too imo. This team would have done Yakupov a massive favor by giving him a veteran like Horcoff (and or Kulemin) in an effort to improve him quickly. I wonder how much Hall and Ebs were helped by Horcoff? Some of that contract money might be well spent by spoiling old #10 next time they’re in Dallas. The toughest CorsiRel belongs to Gagner, who was well short of 100% these games. I think that’s on the coach—and it definitely had an impact.
- Taylor Hall 2.32
- Mark Arcobello 2.25
- David Perron 2.22
- Jordan Eberle 2.16
- Ryan Smyth 1.92
- Will Acton 1.70
- Ryan Jones 1.62
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1.58
- Boyd Gordon 1.39
- Ben Eager 1.19
- Ales Hemsky 1.13
- Luke Gazdic 1.08
- Sam Gagner 0.79
- Nail Yakupov 0.67
- Jesse Joensuu playing Teemu Hartikainen 0.00
Hall’s Hall, he’s always pushed the river at even strength. Arcobello has been solid this season and is miles more productive than Gagner (although Samwise is getting his points and chances—he’s not there but is close). After that, Perron & Eberle are having fine starts and Ryan Smyth is playing well thank you; Will Acton has been making some use of those 5 minutes a night and then we’re down to wondering a little about Nuge and a lot about Hemsky, Gagner and Mr. Yakupov.
We can make reasons for all of them, but Sam Gagner hurt the team coming back too soon, Hemsky isn’t earning 5 large at even strength and Yakupov needs to have more games like Tuesday. Understand, I love all three players but if we’re being honest this disaster of a season falls on some forwards as well as the blue and the goalie and the coach and the general manager.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
- Matt Henderson, Hockeybuzz.We’ll preview the Oilers-Panthers are try to find a #1 defenseman not named Ehrhoff.
- Rob Soria, Oil Drop. We’ll talk about keepers for next year and Bryzgalov’s debut.
- Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. The Bruins side of the Seguin-Eriksson deal and the 2014 draft.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Nurse for the WJ’s and the 2014 draft.
10-1260 and @Lowetide_ we’ll also talk Grey Cup!