I think Tippet is a competent specialist, all his moves are always to the point. The third game you will see will be for the Oilers. The first three really drove the rivals. The second three, and in particular Hopkins was a pale shadow, Kahun is not a top6 player for a contender. McLeod needs to strengthen the center of the second three, we shift Hopkins to the flank, so it will be better. The bottom threes should be mostly big guys with playoff experience that's a fact. So Archie's third triplet, Haas' versatile right-grip center, will be useful and Chiasson has done well in the first two games, he is a tough, tenacious and experienced fighter. Neil showed nothing, was too slow and completely useless in the playoffs.
Fourth three: You need to return Shor to a useful player. In the center, Haira showed himself quite well. Kassian after injury, but he is a fighter, will still be useful in the forecheck.
On the first two games, there are no questions about defense, they showed themselves well. No substitutions are needed, all the guys are experienced.
Smith today, and in the first game dragged him several times, plays well. Of course, the butterfly launched by him in overtime is offensive, but excuse me, if the team never scores in four periods, it is not ethical to kick the goalkeeper.
Tippet is archaic, but the same goes for Edmonton's entire management system. No modern considerations to even the simplest of baseline data are made. It's a collection of 'hockey men' and the Old Boys Club. Very few thought-out decisions are made by this organization: Russell is a detriment in his own zone. Barrie cannot play defence. Bouchard is this club's top prospect and they elected to bench him for the majority of the season. What had Kassian done to deserve that much term? It's a bunch of yes-men with no higher level thought at play. The Oilers are lagging in an ever-modernizing league. Nothing's changed since the late 2000's here.
We know that RNH does not work at even strength alongside McDavid and that the Oilers are far too easy to defend when Draisaitl and McDavid form the top line for the majority of the game. I don't necessarily like Kahun as our #1LW, but it's been a necessity. Who else plays there? Neal can't keep up, Benson's a minimum of 7 days out, Tippett won't play Ennis or Nygard for some reason, and none of Archibald, Kassian, or Khaira have the skill to play on that top line. McLeod could be an option but the organization has been dead-set on his playing down the middle that they likely would never entertain the idea. The Jets' active sticks have stymied the Draisaitl-McDavid pairing but the Oilers forwards were at peak effectiveness when the two played on separate lines. Nugent-Hopkins and McLeod don't have what it takes to kickstart Yamamoto on their own. Any deviation from this top-six is detrimental, both in terms of what we see on the ice and in the analytics.
I'm taking Chiasson out of the lineup because of his speed and for Tippett to optimize his powerplay: Chiasson hasn't been awful but he's not good enough to be the go-to net front presence on that powerplay when Puljujarvi makes the unit vastly superior. Speed and utility go for Kassian and Neal either: both men have been invisible. I didn't notice Kassian was even playing last night until I saw him standing around after a post-whistle scrum. Something's wrong with the man, be it physically or psychologically, and right now his place is not in the lineup. Haas has more defensive utility and penalty kill application than Kassian does. I suspect there's more offense to give from Haas right now than what we're seeing from Kassian. Until he throws a big hit or does something useful, I wouldn't have Zack in my lineup.
Shore is one of the league's least-productive forwards. He bleeds chances against. I don't mind him as the 13th or 14th forward as insurance, but I don't understand why Oilers fans think him a necessity for the everyday lineup. He doesn't particularly do anything at all except play in his own end. The Oilers need to play a solid 40+ minutes in the Jets' end in games 3 through 6.
Barrie has been sluggish since about mid-April and his game has regressed substantially. He's hesitant with the puck and his passes have been errant recently. I'd take him out strictly for a maintenance day and to give Bouchard a taste. The blueline pairings are merely optimized for a puck-mover and raw defender to exist on each pairing. Koekkoek's been refreshingly decent and I would rather leave him in the lineup, but the Oilers need Jones' ability to distribute the puck more than Koekkoek's rounded style. If Edmonton can pull ahead in this series and Kulikov needs a rest, I'd happily entertain Slater back into the lineup. If he comes at a similar price-point next season, I'd even offer him another year.