Should The Edmonton Oilers Go Eleven and Seven Moving Forward?

Edmonton Oilers Bench Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers Bench Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports /

Since getting crushed by the Minnesota Wild last Tuesday the Edmonton Oilers have won two games in a row 4-0. In the Minnesota game we can all agree that maybe the Edmonton Oilers didn’t bring their best effort that game, but the two following games they played better.

Another difference in the two most recent games is the Edmonton Oilers dressed 7 defenseman and 11 forwards. This is against the norm of NHL, but it appears to work for the Edmonton Oilers. They add in an extra defensemen who in this case is Kris Russell and remove the 4th line center.

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Why This A Good Plan For The Edmonton Oilers??

The Edmonton Oilers have what are arguably the two best centers in the NHL. This means if they only dress 3 centers in a game those two get more ice time than they would on a normal night. Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid would have no issues splitting the extra minutes centering that 4th line.

From a team perspective you want to see your better players get more ice time. The more time you have your best players on the ice, the more likely you are to win and winning is the main point of playing the game. So if you can increase your chances on a given night you do it.

On the defensive side of thing, putting in a solid defensive defensemen like Kris Russell is only going to help out in your defensive end. Russell is the best shot blocker in NHL history, having less pucks make it to your goalie is never a bad thing.

Having Russell in the lineup will also take some of the defensive minutes away from the more offensive minded defenseman. Tyson Barrie and Evan Bouchard aren’t terrible in the Oilers end of the ice, but in my opinion Russell is better. On the other side of that coin, Barrie and Bouchard are quite a bit better than Russell offensively (even though Russell did score the other night).

It Is Not All Positives

The con about dressing only 11 forwards is obviously, you have one less forward. If there was to be an injury and something like a fighting major you would be down to only 3 lines. As much as players love the ice time, they need time to recover between shift.

It is fairly unlikely that more than one player would go down in with an injury, but it could happen. In case of being a player short in terms of offense and defense, I would rather have 5 defenseman and 12 forwards over 7 defenseman and 10 forwards.

I guess there would be a option to move one of the defenseman forward and have them play winger in the case of multiple injuries, but that wouldn’t be ideal.

Should They Keep It Going

In my opinion I think they should keep 7 dman, 11 forwards going. The pro of having Russell’s defensive mindset and getting more ice time for Connor and Leon outweigh the risk of being short benched in an injury scenario.

Will Jay Woodcroft keep the 7/11 streak going? I don’t actually know, but I would go by the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude right now if I was him.

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