3rd Line: Joensuu-Gordon-Yakupov
One of the greatest surprises for Oilers’ fans so far this training camp is the play of Jesse Joensuu. Not only is he proving he can be a physical force on the Oilers third line but he’s been producing in the offensive zone with 3 goals and 4 points in 4 pre-season games.
Spreading out the scoring is a great tactic by Eakins, if it works. All early indications are that it will and again, providing their exhibition success carries over into October, this line will be another threat for the Oilers to use during any game.
We know Yakupov can score and Joensuu is giving fans hope that he is the real deal for a third line checking/role player. Gordon will give the line some grit and defensive strength, rounding out what could be a shut down line with the ability to chip in on the other side of the puck.
It will be interesting to see how long Yakupov remains on the third line this season. If the Oilers struggle in October then look for the not only the lines to shuffle but for Yakupov to jump as high as the first line. Gordon and Joensuu appear to be locks for the third line throughout the year and could have a rotating right winger.