The more time goes by and pre-season games are completed, the more it’s looking like the line of Smyth-Hall and Hemsky could be the Oilers number one line when the season starts one week from tonight. The lack of depth at centre is one thing but the lack of scoring with both Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the shelf is another. In other words, keeping Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall on seperate lines to start the season to help spread the wealth is maybe a good thing. Especially if Eberle and Acrobello can find some chemistry.
Speaking of Mark Arcobello, if you listen to Craig MacTavish speak yesterday afternoon, it sounded as though he will be given the opportunity to fill in for Sam Gagner. At least to start the year. Mac-T said he’s earned a shot to show what he can do and judging by tonight’s lineup, Eakins may be trying to find chemistry by putting him with Perron and Eberle.
By now it’s no secret that the Oilers waived Linus Omark today. Jim Matheson tweeted a great point about the Oilers wanting to get bigger on the wing, something Omark does not bring to the table. Matheson also points out that Ryan Hamilton outplayed Omark during camp and gives the Oilers that grit and size they so desperately need. That line of Eager-Acton and Hamilton could be a fun one to watch. Set the tone boys!
On the back end it’s a young group of defenseman and could be a preview of what the Oilers blue line will look like in a few years. Anton Belov is in the mix for a spot on the roster and his chances were enhanced with the injuries to Denis Grebehskov and Corey Potter, who remain sidelined indefinitely.
The Rangers have some toughness in the lineup tonight in the form of Micheal Haley, Aaron Asham, and Derek Dorsett. With Ben Eager the lone perceived tough guy in the lineup, others like Acton, Hamilton and Jones may have to step up and answer the bell. It may be time to get a little team toughness going.