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Oilers Reunite One of the Top Lines in NHL Last Season

Affectionately referred to as the DRY Line, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto were among the most productive lines in the NHL to finish the 2019-20 season. Their results were top notch and their being divided during the play-in rounds last year was one of the reasons Edmonton failed to move past the Chicago Blackhawks in a short series.

Yamamoto had been called up from the AHL last season and in 27 games had 26 points. Draisaitl said he absolutely love playing with the feisty forward, which is why the two were slotted together this season. Nugent-Hopkins, meanwhile, was elevated to the top line with Connor McDavid in an attempt to balance out the scoring a bit.

Nuge has had a decent season with 19 points in 24 games, but the Oilers inability to score in two straight games against the Toronto Maple Leafs has head coach Dave Tippett looking for solutions. At Tuesday’s practice, the trio was back together.

Related: Oilers’ Chiasson Facing Possible Suspension Following Leafs Game

As noted by Zach Laing at Oilers Nation, those three played 318 minutes at 5×5 last year and were the NHL’s most productive line. They scored 28 goals and allowed only eight against — a 77,8 GF%. Their underlying numbers were tremendous and while what happens in practice doesn’t necessarily guarantee a change will be made for Wednesday’s game, it’s logical to assume Tippett will give that line a go.

This Should Wake Up The Offense

While the Oilers are still very much in the playoff hunt, something needs to give when it comes to the team’s offense. They’ve been stagnant over the past two games and specifically, this could wake up Yamamoto who has not produced at nearly the same clip as last season.

Kailer Yamamoto Returns - Edmonton Oilers
Kailer Yamamoto Returns – Edmonton Oilers

He’s got 11 points in 24 games and moving Dominik Kahun off that line and replacing him with a more well-rounded Nugent-Hopkins could open up the door for Yamamoto to get more creative.

As for Neal being on that top line, it could be partly because of the brewing situation with Alex Chiasson’s hearing with the NHL or it could be because Tippett felt Neal is a shoot-first player that could pot a couple of goals, helping spark the scoring.

Next: Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen Backs Coach Tortorella

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