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Sports Should Edmonton Oilers go nuclear to fix their lack of depth scoring?

11:41  29 october  2019
11:41  29 october  2019 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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The Edmonton Oilers are having a tough time scoring goals and they need to find the fix as soon as Oilersnation is a fan site with no direct affiliation to the Edmonton Oilers , Oilers Entertainment The depth of this team is weak and if Leon or McDavid miss 3-4 weeks due to an injury the Oilers will

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If fans of the Edmonton Oilers know one thing, it’s that the team’s depth forwards aren’t scoring.

How dire is the situation?

Edmonton has eight wins in 12 games, so it’s not panic city. At the same time, the team has put up two stinker games out of the last three, games where aside from the team’s top attackers hardly anyone was getting anything done on offence.

Simply put, Edmonton has a talent deficit. It needs to inject its bottom two lines and third defensive pairing with more speed and skill. Edmonton is starting to get out scored, and it’s been getting out chanced from the start of the year most games.

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Edmonton has been able to muster 128 Grade A shots (hard or dangerous shots on net from the inner slot), while the Oilers have given up 136 such shots. That’s translated into 37 goals for the Oilers and 33 against, partly due to the sniping efficiency of James Neal, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid and some strong goaltending from Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen.

Those things might not go away many nights, but if they’re missing Edmonton is going to again stink out the joint many a night.

The only remedy is for more players to get more Grade A scoring chance shots, which will lead to more goals.

Right now three players — Draisaitl, with 32 Grade A scoring chance shots, McDavid and Neal, with 22 each — have more such shots, 66, than all the other players on the team combined, 62.

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There are at least three options for addressing this issue and we’ll dig into each one:

Hold Steady

Under this option the Oilers would essentially stick with their current roster, but inject more speed and skill into the line-up through careful roster tweaks.

  • Insert Gaetan Haas, a centre who at least has NHL-plus speed, into the line-up, likely sitting Jujhar Khaira, Tomas Jurco or Markus Granlund. Khaira isn’t scoring and he’s generally not coming close to scoring, with just two scoring chance shots all year. Granlund and Jurco aren’t doing much better.
  • As soon as possible, get Joel Persson back in the line-up, sitting Brandon Manning. A huge part of the Oilers problem remains puck-moving. Right now when Manning and his partner Matt Benning are on the ice, the team’s offensive creativity dries up.

Aggressive Changes

  • Insert Haas and Persson ASAP.
  • Move Ethan Bear to the top power play unit replacing Oscar Klefbom, and see if his superior point shot and strong offensive IQ make an already dangerous unit that much more deadly.
  • Call up one of Kailer Yamamoto or Cooper Marody, two strong attackers at the AHL level, to spice up the second line.

Nuclear Option

  • Make all the same moves mentioned above, but take even bolder steps.
  • Call up both Yamamoto and Marody, putting one on the second line with Neal and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the other on the third line.
  • Trade Jesse Puljujarvi for help on the wing. I’m personally against moving Puljujavi, preferring to let him play out the year in Finland before any final decision is made. This would both maximize the return the Oilers will get for him and it also leaves open the possibility that Puljujarvi changes his mind and decides to try again in Edmonton in 2020-21. At the same time, Joakim Nygard showed strong indications he can fill this role as second line winger before he got hurt, and there’s also Yamamoto or Marody, who might get the job done. But trading Puljujarvi now, at least in combination with other assets, could bring in a decent second line winger or third line centre for the Oilers, and that’s got to be tempting.
  • Call up Caleb Jones, a strong puckmover at the AHL level, and insert both him and Persson into the line-up, sitting Manning as well as Matt Benning. Jones would man the third-pairing with Kris Russell, with Persson and Klefbom together on the second unit. This would give the Oilers at least one strong puck-moving d-man on the ice at all times.

What would I do? I’m inclined to go nuclear, save for one thing, the Puljujarvi trade.

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Edmonton’s going to be prone to stinker games until it more fully addresses the talent deficit on the bottom two lines and bottom-pairing defence.

If there are ways to address that without major surgery on the team, why not give them a go?

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