Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Edmonton Oilers New Line Combos, What I'm Thinking

The Oilers have shuffled some lines today and there has been some interesting changes, and some that are not.

The Oilers Twitter account released these lines;

Paajarvi Horcoff Hemsky
Penner Gagner Eberle
Hall Cogliano Brule
Jones Fraser Stortini/MacIntyre

Now, nobody knows for sure if these will be used on Thursday, but if so, I like the top two lines and not so much the bottom two. Let's take a look.

Paajarvi Horcoff Hemsky - Wow! This could actually be a legitimate NHL 1st line. We all know the Horcoff/Hemsky love affair that has gone on for years, so we really don't need to break that down. They will work. Paajarvi and Hemsky had some time together in preseason and they had some good chemistry. Horcoff being the pro that he is, I'm sure will find chemistry with Paajarvi much like he did with Eberle and to a lesser degree, Hall. This line will work as a unit. I can hardly contain myself to see these guys in action.

Penner Gagner Eberle - While I don't love this line, I do like it and think it will work. Penner has shown that he can play with Gagner. They play well together. Jordan Eberle is the wild card here. How will he play with Gagner? How will mesh with Penner? On paper, this is a good mix. The shooter (who can make plays too) in Eberle, the playmaker in Gagner and the big body/shooter/playmaker in Penner. If this line works, the Oilers have two great top two lines.

Hall Cogliano Brule - For the love of... why is Cogliano still the center? His scoring chance ratio, along with Brule, have been atrocious so far. Last game alone Cogs was 0/6. Brule? 0/8. So why keep these two together? Why keep Mr. ICan'tWinAFaceoffCogliano as the center? If you feel like this line needs to be together, fine. But it should be Hall/Brule/Cogliano then. They will still get outchanced, but at least Brule will win some draws and that's better than what's going on there now. Here's a question, if those two get killed like that on a nightly basis, how is this progressing Taylor Hall in his development? It's not is it? I hate this line. Hall would have a better chance at succeeding by playing with Jones and Fraser over Cogliano and Brule.

Jones Fraser Stortini - I'll be honest, I don't mind the 4th line. I like Jones and Fraser. They have been pretty decent (but could be better). I'm not fond of the Jones/Fraser PK duo though. I think they get too much time and with the Oilers PK being 26th in the league, maybe Jones/Fraser need less time?

SO SMART GUY, WHAT LINES WOULD YOU GO WITH?

Fair question. I can honestly answer, I don't know for sure. I like the new top two lines, but this is what I came up with as an alternative;

Hall/Gagner/Hemsky - Not as good as the new 1st will be, but I think it would still be a good line. On the plus side, wouldn't this give Hall a good shot at being able to play his game and not be center of attention? On the minus side, very small line.

Paajarvi/Horcoff/Eberle - Horcoff and Eberle work really well together. They just needed a different LW. In comes Paajarvi who is bursting at the seems to get a chance in the top two. He's ready to improve and he now has the (no goals) monkey of his back. I'd like to see this line together to see what they can do.

Jones/Brule/Penner - You can't deny the chemistry that Penner and Brule had last year. Penner makes Brule (like everyone) a better player. Brule played some of his best Oilers hockey on a line with Penner. Take Pens away, Brule disappears. Plus with the Jones energy added in, this could be a real solid 3rd line if they can all work together. How can you not try this line?

Cogliano/Fraser/Stortini - Honestly, once the Oilers send a goalie down, they should bring up Reddox. He's flying down in OKC and he just might be the spark the Oilers are lacking on the 4th line. Maybe if Cogliano sat once in a while or found himself on the 4th line like Gagner last year, he'd improve or change? If you ask me, a Reddox/Fraser/Stortini line could be pretty darn entertaining.

So there you have it. What would you guys do?

-Written by Smokin' Ray-

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