With opening night just one week away, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft is still considering what pairings to use on the blue line.
RD Evan Bouchard is being tried next to Darnell Nurse during training camp, to see if the Oilers can create a sort of super puck-moving duo. If Jay Woodcroft approves of this partnership after training camp is done next week, we’ll be looking at a new top pairing going into the season.
This would move Cody Ceci out of the top pairing right D position. The logical place for him would be Bouchard’s former spot on the second pairing, right? Well, that brings us to something else being tried in preseason – Philip Broberg next to Mattias Ekholm.
The idea behind this pairing is Ekholm can continue on in the tradition he’s been maintaining his entire career, of mentoring younger players and making them better. In Nashville he did it with Roman Josi and Seth Jones, two players who turned out awfully well.
Even in the brief time Ekholm played with Bouchard last season, the Sweden native certainly helped his teammate’s game, especially defensively. While I personally think it would be premature to simply gift Bouchard that top pairing spot at this point in time, there’s no doubt there is some appeal to playing the two best puck movers on the team together.