It could be a false alarm, it could be a mirage, it could be any series of cliches I’m not thinking of right now, but the Oilers top line of Hall, Eberle and Nugent Hopkins is looking fierce as of late. With thirteen points in two games, the public has taken notice at how the trio is starting to play a more complete, two-way game.
Taylor Hall has been racking up points all season. While he was bleeding chances the other way, he’s now showing a conscious move towards defensive play. Whatever it is that Coach Dallas Eakins is feeding them, it seems to have finally digested. Sadly, this is happening with just a few games left in the season. But if they should continue to put up points, we may be able to confidently say that they are beginning to get the system. It would be fortuitous, as the “kid” line becoming an intimidating two way threat would give the Oilers a more secure arsenal. One fewer line to worry about for management, the better.
Taylor Hall is once again in the Top 10 in league scoring as well. He has been skating like a man possessed, and has been getting chance after chance lately. I think he is beginning to draw his linemates into the play in more substantial fashion, leading to the sudden upsurge of effectiveness against Western Conference teams. It shows that should the Oilers roll out lines next season that play with passion and determination, and have a bit more size and grit, it will foster open areas on the ice. When the Oilers young stars are given room on the ice to get creative, the points come, and they come in droves.
Obviously, having one effective line isn’t enough. Defensively the Oilers require major improvement, and it can’t all come from the farm. Oscar Klefbom has looked good thus far in his time as a call up, while Martin Marincin has been the best defenseman on the team as of late, and the only plus player to boot. But, Darnell Nurse may need one more year in the minors to get seasoned, while its not a guarantee that Aaron Ekblad is an Oiler at this year’s draft.
One can dream about the still latent potential of these players. On a rotten team, with little defensive acumen, Hall can rack up nearly eighty points without blinking. Add in a Ryan Getzlaf type of player who can open the ice to let him run wild? Is 90, even 100 points out of the question. Even Eberle and RNH are over 53 points, on pace for 65 and 58 point seasons respectively.
It’s a positive thing in a season full of negatives.