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) /
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Nov 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55) celebrates with Edmonton Oilers center Ryan McLeod (71) after Holloway’s goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports /

4) The best line through two games

Sticking with the third line, this has arguably been the top forward unit for the Oilers overall in the two games versus the Canucks. More specifically, Dylan Holloway, Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele.

Holloway was one of the few players who impressed in the opening game, while McLeod had already established himself last season as the Oilers’ legit thirde-line centre option. Meanwhile, Foegele’s play through two games has been rewarded with a move into the top-six.

About the only negative — if you want to call it this after just two games — was the lack of points production by the third line. However, this is something which would have resolved itself over the course of the season, and indeed will do as and when Holloway, McLeod and Foegele play together again.

In this respect, for what it’s worth, the trio had a combined 60 points during the 2022-23 regular season. Foegele led the way with 28 points in 67 games, and he should do well alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman on the second line.

5) The captain speaks

McDavid was understandably asked about playing with Draisaitl specifically. Speaking to the media after Monday’s practice, he said:

"“When we’re both playing together, we have the puck a little bit more. We do a good job of getting the puck to each other. Obviously he’s one of the best passers in the world, if not the best. So you just have to get open and he’s going to find you, and he usually does, so that’s kind of the main difference.”"

The three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner was also asked about the difference between a mid-season losing streak and one to begin the campaign. He said:

"“You want to get off to a good start and we haven’t, but it’s two games. If we win (on Tuesday) night, it leaves us at 1-2, which is what we were last year too. Not the best start obviously, not what we’re looking for, but Saturday is something to build off of and we’ll look to continue that (against the Predators).”"

Everyone concerned knows McDavid looks comfortable no matter who he lines up with. However, Oilers fans should anticipate even more fireworks with him playing more alongside Draisaitl.

Next. Top 3 Oilers duds in home opener versus Canucks. dark

Overall, there are more positives that negatives about the line changes by Woodcroft. As always though, the games aren’t played on paper, and it will be interesting to see how effective the reshuffled forward units are on Tuesday night, versus the Predators.