As the Edmonton Oilers prepare for the upcoming NHL season, I think this is the best top six the Oilers have had in a long time. While we can assume what the top two lines will look like in my opinion, I think it would be beneficial for Jay Woodcroft to pull out the blender often to change things up.
Edmonton Oilers Starting Top 6
Here is what most people, including myself, think the top two lines will look like on the season’s opening day.
Hyman – McDavid – Brown
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Kane
The reason why this makes the most sense for day one is Hyman and Brown are the quicker of the wingers. I liked the Edmonton Oilers game better when Hyman was with McDavid last season vs seeing Hyman with Draisaitl.
As for Brown being on the top line, there is a history of chemistry between the two Connors. When they played together on the Erie Otters when they were both in the OHL. Hopefully, that chemistry can come through in the NHL as well.
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Why Change The Lines If There Is Success?
If these lines do find success and the team is winning why should Jay Woodcroft not just keep it that same? Well, the simple answer is the team needs to be prepared for a forced change.
The 82-game season is a long battle for the whole league, but even more so for Stanley Cup contenders. It is hard to psyched up to play a game in late December against the Arizona Coyotes. If you keep switching up the lines, it makes the players focus more on something within the game if not on the game itself.
If you for example switch Brown and Kane around then Kane is going to want to prove that he belongs on McDavid’s wing. On the other side, Brown will try hard to prove that it was a mistake taking him off of that wing.
Switching lines won’t just stop players from becoming stagnant it will also prep the team for potential injuries. It is very unlikely that all six of these players are going to stay healthy for the whole 82-game season for the Edmonton Oilers. Jay Woodcroft needs to be prepared for a scenario where there are injuries.
Preparing for an injury before an injury happens is just like car insurance. You don’t plan to get in a car accident, but when you do thank goodness, you have insurance. The same thing goes for the Edmonton Oilers, they don’t need to plan for an injury, but if a player has experience in a role they aren’t used to playing it isn’t as big of a concern.
Changing Lines Also Makes The Edmonton Oilers Unpredictable
There is not only an effect internally when you switch up lines but externally as well. Every game the other team does preparation against the Edmonton Oilers. If they have no idea what the lines going into the game are going to be it will be much harder to prep.
A team preparing for McDavid and Draisaitl on different lines is a lot different than a team that would need to prepare for them on the same line. Having questions going into a game is never a good thing, so the more questions the Edmonton Oilers can cause the opposition the better off they are going to be.