Principe's Blog: Line Them Up
|Taylor Hall has been skating with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky.
With Oilers training sessions broken into three different groups it's kind of like Edmonton has three number one lines. Taylor Hall with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the middle of another Ryan named Smyth and Jordan Eberle. Then a couple of Swedes in Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark with Shawn Horcoff. Seeing those combinations makes you wonder if they are close to being the actual lines or just a way to start. Might be a case of a little of both.
Taylor Hall is your number one left winger and Ales Hemsky is your number one right winger but is Sam Gagner your number one centreman? I say quite possibly he is. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins when he makes this team won't be quite ready for #1 status at centre. Shawn Horcoff has been #1 in the middle but it might be time to give Gagner a good long look at what he can do with this prime position. If that commitment is there then he could ask for no more help than to have Hall and Hemsky to his left and right to prove that the 2007 first rounder can do it and do it now.
Finally it may seems a little strange to go with Shawn and the Swedes as another unit but I think the trio could work together. I'm expecting Magnus Paajarvi to really break out this year and show even more of his offensive upside. Linus Omark has shown he has a lot of the above but might be a little lacking when it comes to playing the other side of the puck. Voila in steps your best defensive forward and to this point your best faceoff man. The more Paajarvi and Omark have the puck the more I think it will lead to Horcoff showing his offensive side and moving him back into a point per game area.
This week Edmonton plays 5 pre-season games and it's where we'll find out how the lines are shaping up but this is a real good place to start. I leave you with a question if you were Tom Renney what would your lines be? Nice to be back writing and I'll be blogging on the Oilers website every Monday. Have a good week.