How Dangerous is the Oilers New Third Line? | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

How Dangerous is the Oilers New Third Line?

The Edmonton Oilers posted their projected lineup for tonight's game against Arizona and it's one of the stronger lineups Edmonton has iced all season.


This is no knock on Anton Slepyshev who has played extremely well for the Oilers since being promoted. That said, this set of 12 forwards could be Edmonton's strongest to date. It brings back Mark Letestu and Benoit Pouliot, both of whom deserve to be in the lineup.

It also sits Matt Hendricks who made his return a few games back but hasn't exactly found his groove. He's going to get a chance to rest and watch. Pouliot, who was scratched as a result of the combination of some poor decisions and some returning players, slots back into the lineup with something to prove on the third line.

Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports


The Third Line

It's Edmonton's third line of Pouliot, Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula that has me the most intrigued. This is a mix-match of skill, size, power, two-way hockey sense and experience. Pouliot, in particular, is a better hockey player than he's shown to date this season.

Can Pouliot find a player with whom he has some chemistry? Is that player the powerful and productive Draisaitl? Leon has 16 points in 21 games and eight points in his last five. Meanwhile, Caggiula has two assists in his three games for Edmonton this season and has the speed and skill to make this a potent group.

All three have the ability to create a cycle and hold possession. It should make it interesting in a match-up tonight against an Arizona squad that doesn't have three lines that can match the three Edmonton could ice at any given moment.

Arizona

Edmonton heads into Arizona having won three in a row. The Coyotes on the other hand have struggled. Now 6-10-2, this "should" be a contest that favours the Oilers. I say should because Arizona's record against the Oilers of late is staggering. Arizona has a point in every game against the Oilers for 23 straight games. They are 24-1-4 in their last 29 games.

The biggest factor will be the Oilers ability to draw penalties and capitalize on them. Arizona has the fourth best penalty kill in the NHL at home, but the Oilers power play is clicking. If Edmonton can manage the status quo, they'll be good. If for some reason they regress into the power play that went 0-for-12, they could have some trouble.

This is the first of five games this season against the Coyotes and starting off on the right foot is paramount to setting the tone in this series.

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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1 Response to "How Dangerous is the Oilers New Third Line?"

  1. Big game no doubt. Smith is gonna come back down to earth this year dealing with our new oilers squad

    ReplyDelete