The Edmonton Oilers will have a new director of the powerplay in Craig Ramsay. A team that once routinely scored more than 80 power-play goals in a season scored 46 and was mid-pack in 2013-14. This team has outstanding talent and should be better with the man advantage, but a lack of creativity going back 10 years or more mean Edmonton is subpar in this category.
I think better times are ahead.
THIS YEAR’S WEAPONS W/LAST SEASON’S 5X4/60 (BTN)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t get a lot of good ink, but he’s still a kid and (as Tyler Dellow coined the phrase) a witch on the power play. Add his linemates Eberle and Hall to the mix, and Ramsay probably has his 1PP trio up front. Among the players he can add to the group:
- Justin Schultz, who can move the puck well but lacks a monster shot from the blue line. His ‘seeing eye’ wrister was the rage in his rookie season but far less effective in year two.
- Nail Yakupov, who has a hammer from the point—the best on the team in my opinion—but lacks the discipline Edmonton’s coaching staff would like to see on the blue line.
- David Perron, a slick puck mover whose penchant for scoring goals from wonky angles became one of the fun things about the 2013-14 Oilers.
- Teddy Purcell, who has had some outstanding offensive seasons and can pass the puck, shoot and be creative with the man advantage.
- Benoit Pouliot, who can be that tower in front of the net to screen the bombs as they arrive from the point.
My years watching the great Oiler teams taught me that power play teams who keep their feet moving and have more than one signature setup are far more successful than the Oilers ‘bring out the giant catapult’ one-trick pony we’ve seen since forever. This is an insane group of young talent, and you can tell they are as blood thirsty for goals as Wayne, Jari, Mess, Andy and Coff were 30 years ago.
So Craig Ramsay, it goes like this: Welcome to Edmonton. Fix everything! Defense first, then the power play. And have it done by October!