Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 

Potential Playoff Sleepers For The Edmonton Oilers

July 25, 2020, 6:02 PM ET [7 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
We've now seen the Edmonton Oilers practice for over a week and despite the fact that these are scrimmages at a lower tempo, we can still glean a few things from the team and see which players are standings out.

Clearly the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are going to produce big numbers for the Oilers in this playoff series. Today I wanted to instead take a look at a few players who could be counted on as surprises for the Oilers against the Blackhawks and beyond.

JAMES NEAL

With 104 games, no player on the Edmonton Oilers roster has appeared in more playoff games or has more points. Neal started out the season with 9 goals in 8 games and then as the season continued he began to decline. His last goals were a hat trick on December 31st. Now Neal comes into a playoff series well rested without the injuries that plagued him in the later part of the season.

As of right now, Neal seems to be locked in on the fourth line, alongside Jujhar Khaira or Gaetan Haas with Alex Chiasson but I could see him be elevated in the lineup when the series gets tough. Look for Neal to also contribute big on the top unit powerplay.

ANDREAS ATHANASIOU

Major questions still surround Athanasiou. He started this training camp in the top 6 but once again moved down onto the third line with Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald. That in and of itself may feel like a disappointment but it doesn't mean that the speedy winger won't have an opportunity to be useful in the lineup.

In a long playoff series, teams need skilled players in their bottom six to outproduce the oppositions bottom six. The Blackhawks for example have a young and inexperienced bottom six and a player like Athanasiou could be primed to fully take advantage of that. Confidence may be the key to unlocking AA and if he can get on the board early in the Hawks/Oilers series he could be a true sleeper.

TYLER ENNIS

Ennis was a steal of a deal for Ken Holland. The 30 year old winger is making $800,000 and was acquired for a 5th round pick at the trade deadline. Ennis had a strong opportunity late in the season with McDavid and made the most of that chance. With the most recent lineup shuffle, Ennis is now playing alongside Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto.

While not as skilled as RNH, Ennis does play a similar game and moves his feet well. All Ennis needs to do on that line is get open and into position to score and he can be a brilliant complimentary player.

PHILIP BROBERG?

Yes I know the irony of writing this after my last blog wrote about how he should not see a single playoff game. Since writing that blog, Broberg has continued to play well and is officially joining the team once they enter the bubble. It's still highly unlikely that he will play but if he does, his skill and rookie adrenaline might be enough to let him thrive in the short term.
Join the Discussion: » 7 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Sean Maloughney
» Leon Draisaitl Wins Hart and Ted Lindsay
» In No Particular Order: Athanasiou, Ekman-Larsson, Koivu
» Prospect Profiles - Dawson Mercer and Seth Jarvis
» Let's Talkarov About Askarov
» Are There Any More Bjugstad's Out There?