McLeod Helps Oilers' Top Lines Rank #1-2 in NHL by xGF/60
McLeod’s skating is reminiscent of McDavid on the ice, and helps him win puck races or skate out of battles with the puck before even having to engage with defenders. This kind of speed is a huge asset when high-profile threats such as Draisaitl or McDavid are on the ice. This was on full display when McLeod was able to walk out from behind the net with time to line up a top-shelf snipe against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night:
What’s more is that we saw him expressing the poise to make not only that game-winning goal happen, but earlier in the game he set up Derek Ryan from behind the net with a beautiful feed that demonstrates his soft hands as well:
McLeod’s poise in the game versus Toronto was more like what we see from Evan Bouchard on a per-game basis, and is an excellent asset when you have the speed to buy time and space, and make plays. McLeod is the right kind of player for the top six right now. And that’s huge for the Oilers when they have a can’t miss top line that they want to keep together.
Where does McLeod-Draisaitl-Foegele rank, and how about the top line?
As a line, McLeod-Draisaitl-Warren Foegele pairs a top five NHL centre in Draisaitl with two speedy forwards who can win races and cycle the puck with a high degree of success. By eye, this checks out, and the production is there too. The line has played 88:13 minutes 5-on-5 together, posting 10GF, 3GA, for an excellent 76.92GF%. with an impressive 60.08 GF%, they should remain a well-outscoring top six line together; their on-ice 16.39 SH% is probably a bit high overall, as is their 93.48 on-ice SV%, for a 1.099 PDO that will come down eventually.
The McLeod-Draisaitl-Foegele line ranks second in the NHL by expected goals rate, or xGF/60, for lines at 5v5 with 80 minutes TOI, as per MoneyPuck, second only to the Oilers’ top line.
Let them play!
These really impressive results suggest this is the second dominant top six line the Oilers have been searching desperately for all season.
As for the top line, they have played 261:30 minutes 5v5 together, and posted 23GF – 11GA and 67.65 GF% together this year. This is on an unbelievable expected goals share of 72.28 xGF%. Not only is this extremely dominant and good enough to carry a team on their backs, but it ranks them as the #1 line in the NHL this season, as per MoneyPuck.
These are two lines to keep together, unless the wheels fall off or you trade for a top six winger, which might not be necessary. The team may be able to focus on upgrading at other positions with their limited assets and cap available.