The Oilers added forward Benoit Pouliot to their roster today. At 6’3, the former New York Ranger looks to slot in on the third line. He had a career high 36 points in 2013-14.
The Oilers are banking on growth from the winger, who was overpaid in term. The Oilers did okay on money, with only four million in cap space required but paid dearly in term, with a five year commitment.
The Oilers were in dire need of a better third line to round out the top 9 and this player is a solid addition. Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED claims claims that Leon Draisaitl is certain to start the season as third line centre, so it’s feasible that Pouliot, Teddy Purcell and David Perron will slide up and down the line up to create room for the teams smaller, skilled forwards.
The key piece remaining for the Oilers is the center position. Three good centres remain: Marcel Goc, Mikhail Grabovski and David Legwand. Should the team secure one of them they will be in good shape come fall.
Pouliot brings some size and toughness and appears to be entering his peak, scoring 15 goals with the Rangers. He can give the third line secondary scoring power, while giving Dallas Eakins options throughout the top 9.
Based on this the Oilers forward depth looks like this:
Hall – RNH – Eberle
Perron – ??? – Yakupov
Purcell – Draisaitl – Pouliot
Hendricks – Gordon – Pitlick
EXTRA FORWARDS: Pinizzotto, Arcobello, Lander
Looking at that, this top 12 is much better than anything we have seen in recent years, especially if the team signs one of three available centres.
I would normally bristle at Grabovski slotting in on the second line, as that still leaves the top 6 quite small, but he plays dirty and hard, and the new power forwards can move up and down.
It remains to be seen how the Oilers fill the Gagner sized hole. Oil On Whyte will keep you in the loop!