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Splitting up the Oilers Top Line

Is it time to split up Edmonton's top line of Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic?

It's not that this line hasn't done what it's supposed to do, it's that the other lines just don't seem to be clicking. There may be a need to kickstart some of the other Oilers production.

Photo by Lisa Gansky

The Argument For

While keeping up with his speed can be a real challenge, everyone seems to benefit from playing with Connor McDavid.  The Oilers have at least two other forwards who have a proven track record of production including Patrick Maroon and Benoit Pouliot.

If moving one of those two players up to the line where McDavid is and moving Lucic down a notch, would this spark a guy like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jesse Puljujarvi? Perhaps and if the Oilers second and third lines continue to not contribute, there may not be a lot of other options available.

The Argument Against

A player like Benoit Pouliot doesn't deserve to be promoted. He certainly hasn't earned it with his questionable play and, as Todd McLellan called it, stupid tendencies. His exact words were:

“We have some foundation and fabric things that we have to continue to fix. Stupidity is one of them.”
It can also be argued that Lucic is meant for that top line and taking him off of it jeopardizes the success that first line has had to date. Perhaps this is true, but is one lines success more important than two lines if a change can bolster the second and third lines with a little adjustment? It's a risk and I can see why people might be against taking it.

What If

What if the Oilers continue to win but struggle in those victories? What if the Oilers start to see a few losses due to a lack of production? When does the coach make a change?

To me, one more game is all I'd give it. I'm not big on a the "Mac-T blender" that often came with his coaching and new lines every game. There has to be an honest effort to let these players build chemistry with one another.

But five games into a season is enough time if two-thirds of your top two lines aren't doing much of anything.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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