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BLOG: Draisaitl's shift to centre

Connor McDavid and Todd McLellan look back on Sunday's move to centre for Leon Draisaitl and its affect on the team

by Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

Midway through Sunday's game in an effort to spark his team, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan moved Leon Draisaitl from right wing on the top line with Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon to centre on a line with Zack Kassian and Drake Caggiula. 

 

McDavid was asked about the shift, which saw Anton Slepyshev move up to his wing. 

"That's the beauty of our lineup. Everybody is interchangeable. Leon plays with me most of the year and then he goes back to centre and dominates there. It makes us a little bit deeper. It's good," McDavid stated. 

"You do anything to win the game. Whether you have three points or no points, it doesn't matter. Last night we found a way to do that."

Draisiatl's line ultimately scored the game's only goal when a strong forecheck forced a Sharks David Schlemko turnover onto the stick of Kassian, who backhanded the goal through the five-hole of San Jose netminder Martin Jones. 

"It's a luxury that for seven years we had here in San Jose when I was with this team. You could move guys around but you could always throw somebody back into that centre ice position," McLellan stated, adding that he made sure to tell Draisaitl that it was not a demotion but in fact could be seen as a promotion given the greater amount of responsibility down the middle. 

"When you as an individual answer that call, you're willing to give up your personal accolades for what the team needs. It means you're growing and the team is growing. The organization has a chance to move forward."

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