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Oilers to Ice Slightly Unexpected Lineup in Opener Against Canucks

The Edmonton Oilers are making a change to their top six ahead of their opening game versus the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesdsay.

The Edmonton Oilers’ official lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks is set and some fans are reacting with a bit of head-scratching. After signing Zach Hyman to a seven-year deal, and under the assumption he would play with Connor McDavid on the top line, he’s not with either McDavid or Leon Draisaitl to open the season.

Related: Oilers’ Zack Kassian Status After Nasty Fall During Preseason Fight

The Oilers’ top six is still dangerous. It’s perhaps the best top six in the NHL. Still, it’s a bit of a surprise to see that head coach Dave Tippett is going back to his duo of McDavid and Draisaitl before the season gets underway and the team struggles, if they do. A strong preseason record with some early chemistry is taking a back seat to Tippett going with a duo he knows. Essentially, he’s not taking any chances and making the top line of McDavid, Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi as dangerous as it can be.

Meanwhile, the hope is that Hyman can find chemistry with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto. Nugent-Hopkins needs to take another step forward 5-v-5 and Yamamoto is hoping he can bounce back after a less-than-stellar 2020-21 NHL season. Tippett must believe the hard work and grinding ability of Hyman will mesh well with those two.

Oilers Top Six forwards Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman, McDavid, Draisaitl

In the bottom six, Zack Kassian is out. He’s been skating with the team, but the Oilers are taking a cautious approach after he hit his head on the ice during a preseason fight. The third line will consist of Ryan Foegele with Derek Ryan and the recently signed Colton Sceviour (1 year, two-way deal worth $750K).

The bottom line will see the red-hot Brendan Perlini with Kyle Turris and centered by Ryan McLeod.

The blue line pairings aren’t a shock as they’re staying the same as they were most of the preseason. Darnell Nurse skates with Tyson Barrie, while Duncan Keith is slotted beside Cody Ceci. Kris Russell will play with Evan Bouchard on the third pair.

Goaltender Mike Smith gets the start in net.

Next: Maple Leafs’ Opening Day Roster & Probable Line Combinations

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  1. Pingback: Hockey Jesse Puljujärvi starts the season in a real supermarket – Pledge Times

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