In the early fall of 2015, Todd McLellan was trying to figure out a way to use his three centers (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl) in the most effective way. His reasoning and his decision, is fascinating these years later.
Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Notes from Oilers’ scrimmage: McDavid flies, Jones adapts, Athanasiou stalls
- New Lowetide: Imagining the city of Edmonton with the Oilers in a deep playoff run
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options over the next five months
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Inside the bubble: Details on where and how NHL players will live in Edmonton
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Marco Sturm on Leon Draisaitl’s evolution and his impact on German hockey
- Jonathan Willis: Evan Bouchard’s AHL debut has him on track to become a No. 1 NHL defenceman
- Lowetide: Philip Broberg fortunate to arrive with Oilers under mature management
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A ‘different’ Oilers initiation leaves Olivier Rodrigue wanting more
- Scott Powers and Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What to know from training camps as Blackhawks and Oilers prepare to meet
- Lowetide: Though shy offensively, Gaetan Haas is an intriguing playoff option
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Setting the record straight: Why Caleb Jones revealed his COVID-19 test
- Lowetide: Zack Kassian’s role on Oilers top line must include responsible play
- Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Connor McDavid in the playoffs?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers get good cap news: Long-term outlook is tight but workable
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s postseason strategy against the Blackhawks
BACK IN 2015
Todd McLellan: “I look at Leon Draisiatl, and in my opinion Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid are going to be #1 and #2 centremen in our organization for a long, long time, they’re that talented and that good. Not that Leon isn’t, but career-wise, he might love to be on one of their wings and playing in the top six rather than maybe being that third-line centre. I think it’s really unfair to peg him there, but we have to look at it from that perspective. [The defensive] responsibilities as a winger are somewhat less, his board work is quite good, and one of the things that impressed me the most about Leon is his ability to play on his backhand. Joe Thornton has incredible eyes and makes incredible passes on his backhand. For a young man like Leon, he did the exact same thing at our summer development camp, which is something I wasn’t aware of.” Source
McLellan ran some interesting lines and pairings in preseason 2015, including a fantastic trio (Hall—McDavid—Draisaitl) in the first pre-season game against the Calgary Flames. McLellan would move Teddy Purcell to the line with Hall-McDavid (trio would go 7-0 Corsi and 2-0 shots) while Leon landed with Anton Lander and Nail Yakupov (11-0 Corsi and 4-0 shots).
Dave Tippett’s first preseason game in 2019-20 saw him place McDavid with Leon and Kassian a trio that has played a lot together since.
Yakimov is one of a pile of draft picks by Edmonton during the past decade who had foot speed as a concern. At last year’s draft, Philip Broberg’s scouting report suggested he was the best skating defenseman available. Edmonton took him. Here are the fast trains in this year’s draft:
- LC Tim Stutzle, DEL. Dynamic player, highlight reel offense. Tremendous skater.
- LC Connor Zary, WHL. Quick, smart two-way center effective across 200 feet.
- RC Seth Jarvis, WHL. Jarvis is a fantastic player, undersized and skilled. Big second half.
- LD Jake Sanderson, USHL. Smart, fast two-way defenseman has complete skill set.
- RC Jacob Perreault, OHL. Skates well, great shot, great numbers, excellent passer.
- LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL. Big defenseman has good foot speed and full skill set.
- LW Brendan Brisson, USHL. Undersized speedster spiked late. Big riser.
- RW Alexander Pashin, MHL. Small winger with impressive skill can score and pass.
- LW John-Jason Peterka, DEL. A speedy winger with skill, survived in a men’s league.
- RC Jean-Luc Foudy, OHL. Speedy center plus skill, mediocre season.
I don’t believe Holland and Wright will draft a defenseman but if Sanderson or Guhle are there it could get interesting. I think Holland will trade in to the second round for someone like Foudy.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning it’s a big day, TSN1260. The Seattle NHL team will be announcing its name. I’m going with Murder Sockeyes! We’ll talk to Geoff Baker from the Seattle Times about an exciting day in franchise history. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will set us up for opening day in major league baseball and we are searching for a Jays guest too. 10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!