The Edmonton Oilers top scorers at even strength are an interesting bunch. Injuries have impacted the team and continue to make things difficult, but the 5×5 scoring among the department of youth has been incredible:
- Leon Draisaitl (20) 4.35
- Connor McDavid (18) 2.72
- Taylor Hall (24) 2.67
- Benoit Pouliot (29) 2.16
- Nail Yakupov (22) 2.02
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (22) 1.56
- Oscar Klefbom (22) 1.42
Helluva list. Jordan Eberle isn’t registering yet (his goal was on the PP) and of course Leon can’t stay at 4.35/60 forever. However, Connor McDavid will be back at some point and that should help Yakupov again. Edmonton plays tomorrow night and they badly need 5×5 scoring.
Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell Pouliot-RNH-Eberle Hendricks-Letestu-Yakupov Will be top-three lines tomorrow. Lander/Korpikoski-Miller-Pakarinen,
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) November 17, 2015
It looks like Todd McLellan is about to reward Teddy Purcell for his fine recent performances with a sustained trip up the depth chart. That’s some prime real estate for the veteran and well earned. Leon and Hall are performing magic tricks most nights and Purcell has really good possession abilities and passing skills. I like the bet, looked good on the weekend.
Nuge is only 1.56 at 5×5 but back to his witchcraft on the 5×4 (5.64/60) so maybe we’ll see a spike at evens as they bring back the top line from a year ago. Sometimes revivals turn out, others not, but Eberle did seem to have a little more jump on the weekend to my eye.
Nail gets Letestu and Hendricks, and at first blush that might seem like a tough hand to play. That said, I like the Purcell bet and Nail hasn’t been driving the ball like he was earlier in the campaign. Hey, I also understand McDavid is missing, but Nail can do some things all by his lonesome and this might get him started. Letesu is not without skill, you know.
LARIONOV LIKES MCLELLAN’S STYLE
- Igor Larionov: “Todd is a different breed, a different coach, and he’s the guy for Nail. He knows what to expect, how to push the buttons to get him going. It looks like they have a nice bit of understanding how to get the best out of Nail. Watching the games now you can see he’s matured, he’s calm, making good decisions, putting up points. His heart was always there and he’s playing 100 percent every night.” Source
McLellan appears to be one of those guys who gets along with everyone—boring!—but very effective and we should be thankful for quotes like this one. SO many of the quotes over the last few seasons—Quinn’s Barbara Ann Scott shot at Lubo, MacT’s if you have to ask the question—showed players and management at cross purposes. It is such a pleasure to see these quotes and imagine a team pulling in the same direction.
Anton Lander is looking like a guy “in the mix” for a seat in the pressbox. Those two penalties the other night in the third period are probably going to bite him in the ass, perhaps tomorrow night. As more men get healthy this is going to be an issue for the Swede. Anders Nilsson will start.
First look at defensive pairings at #Oilers practice: Nurse-Sekera, Klefbom-Fayne, Davidson-Gryba, Ference-Schultz & Reinhart rotating in
— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) November 17, 2015
The top two pairings look like they’ll remain, I like both of them. I expect we’ll see Davidson—Gryba as the third pairing (betting against the big man now seems unreasonable) and I think we could see Griffin Reinhart sent down tomorrow (if they activate Schultz) or the next day. Don’t bet the house though, they could surprise with the demotion (Nurse, Davidson, Lander) or make a deal.
I got an email today in regard to Griffin Reinhart, asking if I thought Darnell Nurse had passed him on the depth chart. It’s a tricky question, because of course he has, and yet one can never be sure. When Peter Chiarelli acquired Griffin Reinhart in the summer, he was fairly vehement about the young man being read for the NHL.
- Peter Chiarelli (on his believing Griffin Reinhart being an NHL defenseman right now): “That’s fair. There’s a little bit of lead time that he has to get up and running. He has to make our team. We’ve got 8 or 9 D who are challenging. I believe he is, yeah. What I saw from him in the Memorial Cup. I know his year last year wasn’t great and there’s reasons behind that and that really is—not excuses—but there are reasons that explain it. But what I saw in the Memorial Cup is that you’ve got a player here who can dominate, that can lug the puck, and that can make plays. And for a bigger sized man, he can move well, and I would expect him to be in the top 4 at some point.”
That runs counter to what many Oilers fans thought about Reinhart at the time of the trade. In the Darnell Nurse RE during the summer, I wrote the following:
- Where does Nurse come in? I think he spends a little time in Bakersfield, but not bloody long. Honestly, I think Darnell Nurse might be in the top 4D by the end of next season. What he’s done so far tracks extremely well, he’s got a chance to be very good—I mean top pairing good. Source
Darnell Nurse is currently inside the top four now, well ahead of any reasonable bet. That Brad McPherson item comparing names like Alex Pietrangelo is looking like a wiser piece every day. And yet…..the Oilers may decide that Nurse is the guy to draw out. It could happen. Asking Nurse to play with Sekera is a risky play, whereas asking Griffin Reinhart to run on the third pairing is less of an item. When the club activates Justin Schultz, we’ll know. Based on actual on-ice performance, you cannot tell me with a straight face Darnell Nurse is the outside man on this roster.
And it’s been that way since summer.
Swear to God.