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Who Plays with McDavid & Draisaitl on the Oilers Top Two Lines?

With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Edmonton Oilers has two of the top players in the NHL. Who should their linemates be this season?

This could be a great season for the Edmonton Oilers. They are within the sights of the oddsmakers for what team could win the Stanley Cup. Some odds put them in fourth place (after the Carolina Hurricanes, the New Jersey Devils, and the Toronto Maple Leafs) to win the Cup.

Those high odds make sense and are bound to happen when you have two of the best forwards in the NHL playing on one team. Those two players are the amazing Connor McDavid and the almost equally great Leon Draisaitl.

Related: Oilers Make Wise Choice to Start Skinner in Goal over Campbell

Given these two great forwards (both of whom will likely center their lines for much of their 5×5 time this season), the top-six units for the Oilers promise to be really strong. Lucky will be the other players who line up next to them on either wing. 

Who should be the other players on the wings for McDavid and Draisaitl – when they center their lines?

Connor McDavid Oilers UD
Connor McDavid Oilers UD

In a recent conversation, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and Jason Strudwick from the ‘Got Yer’ Back Podcast’ talked about just these possibilities.

The Core of the Oilers Is McDavid and Draisaitl

At the core of both the Oilers’ team and this discussion are the power duo of McDavid and Draisaitl. McDavid in my mind is the NHL’s best player. He has speed to burn, playmaking finesse, and a scoring touch that he simply seems able to turn on and off when he decides to go for it. He can skate through an entire team to push one past a surprised goaltender. 

Draisaitl is equally elite in his own way. He’s a horse who adds versatility and strength to the equation. He’s capable of playing as a center or winger and he shares an almost telepathic on-ice connection with McDavid. Their chemistry is the key for line cohesion and offensive wizardry that emerges from it.

Related: Oilers’ Zach Hyman Weighs in on How Good Connor McDavid Is

Who Should Play with McDavid?

Connor Brown

With the arrival of Connor Brown, there’s suddenly another top-six player who can bring more skill and drive to the ice. He can blend offensive power with a defensive ability. He also has synergy with McDavid from many seasons ago when both were youngsters playing junior hockey with the Erie Otters.

That history adds intrigue to the possibility of pairing them together. Brown brings both a scoring threat and the reliability of a strong two-way player. He would help to ensure the top line is well-rounded.

Evander Kane

This is not to forget Evander Kane, who adds a sense of power and nastiness to this mix. Kane was hampered by injuries last season; however, he has shown great chemistry with McDavid two seasons ago during the playoffs. He is physical and unpredictable; and, he seems to give the impression he could snap and come after an opponent with anything he picks up. He also stands up for his teammates, which likely makes him a possibility for the team’s top line with McDavid.

If this thinking is correct, the Oilers’ top line would be McDavid at the center, with Brown and Kane on the wings. It simply could be a really solid top line.

The Members of the Draisaitl Line?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Then, with Draisaitl, there’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (RNH). He’s likely ready to join the dynamic Draisaitl on line two. RNH is also a skilled forward who can contribute offensively while (like Brown) playing strong defensive hockey. His two-way play helps make him an invaluable asset on a top-six line, providing balance to Draisaitl’s offensive flair. He scored 104 points last season, so he’s no slouch as a scorer himself.

Leon Draisaitl Oilers
Leon Draisaitl Oilers

Zach Hyman

The third member of the Draisaitl line, if RNH is on one wing, should likely be a puck digger. And, there’s few better at that than Zach Hyman. He’s becoming everyone’s favorite Oilers player simply because he works so hard. He’s the very definition of a “blue-collar” player.

The Oilers Have Some Decisions to Make in Training Camp

As the Oilers prepare for training camp to begin, their top six is shaping up to become a force. This group could carry the team far into the regular season; and, perhaps, if the team gets good goalie play well into the postseason as well.

While there might be a potential for surprises, the top six of McDavid, Brown, and Kane on the first line and Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, and Hyman on the second line can carry this team a long way.

Starting in a month, Oilers’ fans will get to see how far.

Related: 9 Cool Things About Dave Semenko: Edmonton Oilers’ Enforcer

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