5 takeaways as Oilers shuffle lines ahead of Nashville trip

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 07: Assistant coach Jay Woodcroft of the Edmonton Oilers takes part in the morning skate at Prudential Center on January 7, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 07: Assistant coach Jay Woodcroft of the Edmonton Oilers takes part in the morning skate at Prudential Center on January 7, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next
Edmonton Oilers Evander Kane
Oct 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane (91) skates during warmup against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

2) Increased expectations for Kane

Evander Kane has had a tough start to the season, highlighted by being last on the team with a -5 plus/minus rating. Aside from some strong physical play, he’s been effectively a non-factor on the ice.

Of course it’s still extremely early, but Kane is not back to the excellent form he displayed prior to his wrist surgery last season. He’s capable of so much more, but needs to prove it once again.

In this respect, no one stands to benefit more from the line changes, than the 2009 fourth overall draft pick. How could he not improve, playing alongside McDavid and Draisaitl?

At the same time, this question also has another possible outcome, where Kane fails to deliver. If this is the scenario which plays out you have to wonder what the future holds for him, but we’re confident he will flourish alongside his superstar teammates.

In this respect, the 32-year-old sounds similarly confident in playing with McDavid and Draisaitl. Speaking to the media after practice on Monday, he said:

"“I’ve played with them together the last couple of seasons. We seem to all work well together and know how each other plays. I think we can hopefully generate some more opportunities off the rush … and when we get into the other team’s end, just be hard around the net and get open for those guys.”"

Oil On Whyte
Oil On Whyte /

Want your voice heard? Join the Oil On Whyte team!

Write for us!

3) Out of the top-six

While Kane gets to remain on the first line with McDavid, Connor Brown isn’t so fortunate. He similarly hasn’t done much through the first two games, as evidenced by no points, just two shots on goal and a -3 plus/minus rating.

Once again, it’s important to stress Brown has been putting the hard work in. He’s just not producing, resulting in unintentionally compromising McDavid’s impact on the game.

What’s somewhat surprising about this, is because of the history between the two. They previously played together for the Eeeri Otters and had developed a solid chemistry along the way.

In this respect, Brown is still good enough to return to being a complimentary top-six player, but for now he must prove himself on the third line. Also, it has to be considered he’s still working his way back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which limited him to four games last season.