We’re beginning to see the transformation of the Edmonton Oilers at center. They’re about to go from an undersized group to above average as a group. It will take some time, as amateur procurement in hockey is a process, but it’s happening all the same.
The team as it currently sits has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander as big league centers. They’ve recently signed Bogdan Yakimov (6.04, 220) and Jujhar Khaira (6.03, 210), plus the Oilers may draft Leon Draisaitl (6.01, 208 at age 18).
Mark Arcobello (5.08, 166) and Anton Lander (6.00, 194) will be more change of pace types, and if Gagner goes (I think it’s likely, even if it’s for picks) you’re looking at a bigger pro group of centermen. Will Acton (6.01, 199), Travis Ewanyk (6.02, 192), CJ Stretch (5.11, 195) offer minor league depth.
NONE OF IT MATTERS
And none of it matters. UNLESS the bigger men can play. Sam Gagner needs to be replaced because he can’t play NHL center, not because he’s under 6.04. If size were the most important thing, NHL scouts would be scouting basketball games for talent. The hope is that all of these big men have enough talent to make the grade as actual NHL players, but we’re not certain that is true. Jujhar Khaira’s size and rambunctiousness married to Mark Arcobello’s offense is a player we can all get behind. Is that player on the roster?
No. No he is not.
The Oilers C depth chart today is:
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Sam Gagner
- Boyd Gordon
- Mark Arcobello
- Anton Lander
The bigger men are on their way. Are they any good?