Joined Lowetide this morning on TSN 1260 to discuss the Oilers. Full audio clip is below starting around the 8:00 mark.
With McDavid coming back in, I’d prefer to see him reunited with Yakupov and Pouliot. The trio was one of the best lines in hockey before McDavid got hurt and posted a 52% Corsi For percentage in their time together (Source: Puckalytics). I thought Yak looked like a different player with McDavid, very active, especially in the neutral zone. I’d rather have seen Eberle pushed down to play with Letestu and Kassian (who as a pair have done very well so far since Kassian was called up). Looks like the coaching staff see otherwise and have slotted Eberle with McDavid, which you can’t go wrong with either. The fourth line looks like a mix of Lander, Hendricks, Pakarinen and Korpikoski. Fully expect Gazdic and Klinkhammer to be waived, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Gazdic stays and Lander is shipped out instead.
The defence is looking mighty weak and won’t look any better unless Sekera-Fayne are split up. The Oilers bottom four are Nurse and Reinhart on the left side, and Schultz, Clendening and Gryba on the right side. Among those five, I cannot find a combination that I like. Fully expect Schultz to be shipped out sooner rather than later with Clendening sliding right into his spot and paired with Nurse.
One player who I hope gets an extended stay in Edmonton is Pakarinen. He’s been a good depth winger with a tendency to shoot the puck, something McLellan has been preaching since his arrival. This season, among forwards who have played at least 20 games, Pakarinen is only behind Hall, Yakupov and Purcell when it comes to individual shot attempts per 60.
Pakarinen is an RFA this summer and qualifying him should be a no brainer. In a perfect world, he’d replace Korpikoski who has been dreadful this season, but is still being paid another $2.5 million next season. Unfortunately, Pakarinen will continue fighting for ice time, but should be retained as a good depth winger.
One thing that I’ve been spending more time on are the numbers being posted by the Oilers prospects in Bakersfield. A great website that captures some of theses stats is Prospect-Stats.com. Sean Tierney, who writes for Hockey Graphs and Today’s Slapshot has been nice enough to put together and publish team dashboards recently. Below are the Condor’s goals-for relative to teammate stats, 5v5:
We knew LaLeggia has been having a good season. Just didn’t know it’s been this good. Happy to see Musil on the plus-side, hopefully he gets some time in Edmonton before his contract is up. By this measure, Oesterle hasn’t been playing at a level I was expecting, but he’s still a prospect at this point. We know Reinhart hasn’t been great, but I think he’s almost guaranteed to be on the roster before guys like Musil and the rest.