Discussing the Oilers offseason, line combinations and Jussi Jokinen on The Lowdown with Lowetide (TSN 1260)

jussi-jokinen-2016

I joined Lowetide this morning on TSN 1260 to talk all things Oilers. Clip is below and starts around the 25 minute mark.

Topics we covered:

  • Oilers off-season moves so far and why they should be doing more.
  • The addition of Jussi Jokinen and his potential role. I also wrote about the signing at The Copper & Blue.
  • Potential forward line combinations for the fall.
  • Adding an experienced defenceman like Cody Franson this summer.
  • Leon Draisaitl contract.

With forward line combinations, I like to view things as pairs first, similar to what Todd McLellan has talked about in the past. I like the idea of wingers being interchangeable depending on the opponent and the game-state, and it makes a lot of sense. I also like the idea of three quality lines and would try to balance out skill as much as possible to overwhelm opponents.

Pairings:

  • McDavid/Maroon
    • Over 700 minutes together at 5v5 last season, and they posted a 62% GF%, and a 53% CF%.
    • Even without Draisaitl on the wing, they still did well – 191 minutes, 66.7% GF%, and a 53.8% CF%.
  • Draisaitl/Lucic
    • On the surface, this pair might not be too appealing. In 209 minutes together, they posted a GF% of only 41.2%, outscored 10-7. They may have been impacted by some bad luck as their PDO sat at 96.6.
    • Their CF% was a pretty decent 52.8% together. However, it may have been McDavid’s influence. Without McDavid, in 134 minutes, they posted a pretty weak 47.5% CF%, and a 40% (!!) GF%.
    • Ready to drive a line, Leon? 😉
  • Nugent-Hopkins/Jokinen
    • Both players can play against top lines, and I think they’d make a good tough-minutes tandem. RNH can use the help (he wasn’t very good in terms of shot-share last season), and I like the idea of having someone that can take draws on the same line as him.
  • Letestu/Kassian
    • Both players are valued by the team. Letestu for his scoring on the powerplay. And Kassian just recently landed a three-year deal.
    • Both players posted poor shot-share numbers at 5v5  last season. The only two players that Letestu did well with last season was Lander (123 minutes, 50% GF%, 50% CF%) and Kassian (314 minutes, 55% GF%, 49.2% CF%).
    • Hendricks was often their linemate, and was a bit of a drag on their shot-share. Without Hendricks, in 184 minutes, Letestu/Kassian posted a GF% of 50% and a CF% of 50.3%. Not too shabby. This should be a better fourth line with Hendricks moving on. My guess is Brad Malone gets a long look.

Wingers that will likely get longer looks:

  • Strome
    • My expectations are really low. He can play center, but only against lesser competition. And he can play wing, as a complementary guy in the top six. He’s coming off of a pretty bad season where he was healthy-scratched at times. I suspect he might get a long look on the top line. Mostly to make us feel better after losing Eberle for him.
  • Puljujarvi
    • He hasn’t shown enough at the AHL level to warrant a long look, but there’s the whole draft pedigree thing. Hoping he makes the transition, but I always prefer letting guys simmer in the minors first. I can see him getting ice time with Jokinen, but not sure he’d be able to handle the tough minutes.
  • Slepyshev
    • Skates well and loves to shoot. He’d my pick for the second line with Lucic and Draisaitl. And seriously, give this guy some powerplay time on the second unit.
  • Caggiula
    • I’ll be honest, I’m not completely sold on this player. His production was pretty poor at 5v5. As long as the Oilers keep him on the wings and not at center, he’ll be okay. Not bad on the penalty kill last year either.

The other wingers that are likely to get a shot: Khaira, Pakarinen, Malone, Rattie and Yamamoto. Should make for some good competition in training camp, especially in the bottom six group which was terrible last year.

Data: Hockey Analysis

 

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