#5 – The Powerplay
Last season the Oilers had the eighth best powerplay across the league. Truth be told it was one of the sure fire ways that the team would score given the struggles they encountered during five-on-five. The man advantage will once again be key for the Oilers this year and given the core group of players that drove last year’s power play are back again this year, Edmonton should once again be ranked near the top of the league in this category.
Not to sound like a broken record but the loss of Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could handcuff the power play to start the year. Currently Mark Acrobello is getting the opportunity one second unit centreman with Taylor Hall taking his top line with Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth on the first unit.
Both units have featured a forward on the point during recent practices in David Perron and Nail Yaupov. It’s understandable why Eakins would want both players out there with the heavy shot of Yakupov and Perron’s ability to quarterback the man advantage, but this strategy can be risky against an aggressive penalty kill that likes to pressure.
Regardless, adding Justin Schultz to the top unit will only provide further ammunition and when combining all the above points, the Oilers power play will once again be feared by opponents. It will also be one of the key’s to the Oilers success this season.