The problem with that assessment is what we've seen out of the blueline thusfar: Out of position and off sync
Our D line has a hard time carrying it into the neutral zone and transitioning up. Thus, a handful of rookie forwards isn't really preventing the D from doing its job.
The transition game is not just about the D. Oilers had ZERO puck movement in the first period last night against the Flames (who forechecked relentlessly) then suddenly became the Detroit Red Wings in the second and third.
What changed? The forwards supported the D-men during the breakout. Oilers have tons of puck-moving D, but they couldn't do their job because the forwards in the first period were leaving them high and dry going all over the place.
Originally Posted by futurcorerock
On top of that, the rookies are getting no minutes to speak of. Hitch has been playing Voracek, Dorsett, Filatov and to a lesser extent Brassard as if they were 4th liners.
Long story short: This isn't Kane & Toews 2.0. Hitch has the leash on all of the rookies and is pulling the chain. The Veterans aren't covering for them.
4th line minutes is exactly the problem - the vets have to play tough tough minutes which wears them down - defensive zone face-offs, PK minutes, minutes against the Thorntons of the world, etc.
The current Oiler kids no longer get soft minutes (PP, offensive draws, against 4th liners or scrubs) and play against some decent forwards + D-men now.
We're only a couple games in... I expect our rookies will see a substantial increase in their minutes as the season goes on... Voracek and Filatov have never played a game in the NHL (prior to this season) so as impatient as we all are, it DOES make sense to ease them in.
Only 1 assist so far from Klesla, thats almost as crappy as Russell. Thing of it is, Klesla/Hejda seemed like a nice combo last year, and hell even OKT/Russell was a decent bottom pair. Maybe people are playing scared because they actualy have some depth to challenge them now ? I dont know what is going on but something needs shook up. I dont see Klesla sitting though even with the russell like numbers he is putting up