The Edmonton Oilers are slowly starting to show up in Edmonton to start getting ready for the start of training camp. As they start to get in the swing of things I am going to do several articles that take a look at who I think should play certain spots in the lineup.
Today I am going to take a look at which Edmonton Oilers defenceman should be the quarterback on the Edmonton Oilers powerplay. For me there is only two options, Tyson Barrie or Evan Bouchard.
Tyson Barrie has been the go to guy ever since he signed with the Edmonton Oilers in 2020. Since then the Edmonton Oilers powerplay has been one of the most successful powerplays in the NHL. The issue with Barrie is he is older and more expensive than Bouchard and his name has been tied trade talks because of that.
Whereas for Bouchard he is the future of this Edmonton Oilers powerplay. He has shown that he has a great mind for offence and has a great ability to get the puck through from the point. For Bouchard the issue is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” as I mentioned above there is no issue with the Tyson Barrie lead powerplay.
As you can see by these numbers Tyson Barrie in his time with the Edmonton Oilers has an excellent on ice expected goals for per 60. Nearly 4 more goals per 60 than Evan Bouchard. That is in a large sample size though.
Barrie has been working with the same 4 other players on the powerplay since he arrived in Edmonton. Bouchard has had minimal time on the powerplay playing with the likes of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Bouchard gets mostly the second unit forward, which is quite a step down in skill from unit one.
I think in order to find out which of the defenceman would make the powerplay better you need to give them both a look with the Edmonton Oilers All-Stars. No offence to Ryan McLeod or Warren Foegele, but they just don’t have the same skill as Draisaitl and McDavid. That’s mostly cause there isn’t many in the NHL that do have that skill.
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Edmonton Oilers Pre-Season
The battle for powerplay defenceman is one that I am going to be keeping my eye on during the pre-season. This is a perfect opportunity to see what the powerplay can look like if you give Bouchard the chance to play with the top players.
If the powerplay looks and preforms just as good with Bouchard as it does Tyson Barrie then I think there is a chance the Edmonton Oilers look to move Barrie. I believe the fact that Barrie is a crucial part to this Edmonton Oilers powerplay is why he hasn’t been traded yet.
Messing with the leagues top powerplay would be a major risk, but if you know that putting Evan Bouchard in has no change on the success there is less risk. There will always be the risk of injury or something unforeseen though.
What I think is going to happen?
I know to most of you my opinion doesn’t really matter that much, but in case it does here is what I think happens with the Edmonton Oilers powerplay this upcoming season.
The Edmonton Oilers will start the season the same way the ended it. The powerplay will look like this:
Nugent-Hopkins McDavid Kane
At some point mid season, I assume December, because for some reason the Edmonton Oilers always seem to dip in December, the Oilers powerplay will start to struggle. When it struggles they will shift a couple of things around to get it started again. I think they will change it to this:
Nugent-Hopkins McDavid Hyman
They will only change two players. The defenceman on the point and the net front player. Even though only two players will be changed out I think these changes will re-ignite the powerplay.
After this lineup works the Edmonton Oilers will look at moving on from Barrie before the end of the season.
I could see him being packaged up with a pick or a prospect in order to bring in a big shutdown defenceman. The Oilers still will need one of that type of player and they will need it before the playoffs.
There is a chance I am completely wrong and Tyson Barrie has another career year here with the Edmonton Oilers. Honestly that would be great news for the Edmonton Oilers, because with his current cap hit and where he plays 5v5 he need to contribute somewhere and the powerplay is his spot.