If the Edmonton Oilers can find internal solutions to any potential depth issue before this year’s NHL trade deadline, that would be a huge win for the organization. With questions about the goal and depth issues on the left side of their blue line, having to find an effective center of depth would be problematic, if not nearly impossible, given the limited space GM Ken Holland has to work with.
This is one of the reasons why Ryan McLeod’s emergence as an NHL player is a big plus. Even though it’s still early days and McLeod could have bumps along the way, the quick center is starting to look like he’s catching the pace of the game in the NHL. He scored a great goal in Saturday’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks and he now has two this season. He’s starting to play a bit more in different situations (including the shorthanded) and he’s been propelled to the third line in the absence of Derek Ryan who is struggling with concussion issues.
Ryan will be back and the debate over where his location will be will be real. If McLeod can continue to grow as a player, the Oilers’ third line consisting of Warren Foegle, Zack Kassian and McLeod could be quite effective and Ryan as a fourth line center is an ideal choice. From there, Edmonton will have to find the right mix on the fourth line.
With Devin Shore out for some time, the current options are Kyle Turris, Tyler Benson, Colton Sceviour and Brendan Perlini. None have really grasped their respective place on this line. The Oilers could use some size and speed, and a scribe wonders if Dylan Holloway is the right fit.