The Edmonton Oilers have a lot of nice pieces on their current roster, but the 2013-14 was a learning experience. For everybody. GM, Coach, franchise player, role player, butcher, baker and candlestick maker.
DALLAS EAKINS ROSTER USAGE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER (F)
- Eakins gave a zone start push to all of the reasonable options. Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, Perron, Gagner. That’s the heart of the order folks, and he gave them the at-bats with men on base.
- It is true, and it follows, that opposition coaches also made sure their best personnel were out there against the heart of the order. This is textbook stuff, but it’s important to establish what actually happened during the season.
- Boyd Gordon earned every damn dollar. He’s a man. Love that guy.
- Ryan Smyth, in his last season, delivered in his role—and it was not an easy one.
- Matt Hendricks was a welcome addition. Whatever he delivers in the future, he played well as an Oiler in year one.
- Tyler Pitlick shows up in a tough part of the graph. Interesting.
- Anton Lander has a nice blue bubble and he certainly didn’t get a push, but I’d like to have seen his zone starts on that 4line for awhile longer. Again, and not to drive home a point that’s driven deep, I just don’t think they see him as an option.
- Mark Arcobello. In the words of Stephen Stills, there’s something happening here. I’m not saying he’ll score 50 points, but he could be a very useful NHL player.
RALPH KRUEGER ROSTER USAGE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER (F)
Interesting to compare. Eakins got Boyd Gordon instead of Horcoff, but he also used Ryan Smyth more productively. Ralph appears to have gotten some softer minutes for Yakupov, but one suspects he would have asked more of him as they progressed together.
- How do you feel in general about Eakins handling of the forwards?
- Is there anything obvious he was doing wrong?
- Was it wise to flush Smyth after this season?
- Should the Oilers acquire a veteran winger for Gordon/Hendricks foxhole?
- Is it worth it to consider finding Hall a stronger, more mature center, and using Nuge with Perron/Yakupov?
Vollman Sledgehammers are the brainchild of Rob Vollman, and available here).