Yesterday, Oil on Whyte profiled new Oiler Benoit Pouliot. Today, we look at his former teammate in Tampa Bay, Teddy Purcell.Despite his cute and cuddly name, Purcell is actually a very large man who also brings some scoring acumen with his lanky frame. He, Pouliot and new draftee Leon Draisaitl are part of a new wave of big bodies who are now part of the organization and are designed to create room for more scoring opportunities for the dynamic forwards the Oilers possess.
Year after year, we have seen Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle wow fans with their dazzling skill. But, those years have also been rife with overall failure as a team. The solitary reason was a poor supporting cast, most of whom were diminutive forwards who lacked commitment. Now, it could be argued that if they all played like Mark Arcobello that may not have been a big deal. Arcobello hit, got gritty, was a good playmaker and never let his effort wane. Other smaller players who are now gone, though, like Ryan Jones and Sam Gagner just weren’t fierce enough on a nightly basis.
Of course, it is well known that Teddy Purcell that came to Edmonton as part of the Sam Gagner swap. In making the trade, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish lost no offense; Purcell has very similar totals to Gagner. Sure, the second line center position remains in limbo, but the move makes Edmonton a better team.
Purcell also has strong possession numbers, and possession strength is one of the main factors MacTavish was looking for this off season. The Oilers have featured players in the past that were explosive at times, but lacked consistent play. Purcell will help in bringing not only the “size”, but also the ability to keep the puck in the offensive zone, where more is liable to happen considering the core that the Oilers have. Truly, along with David Perron, the Oilers are essentially set as far as forwards are concerned. It isn’t a stretch to think that as he joins the young forwards, Purcell could set or surpass his career highs.