Whenever Boyd Gordon sets up for a faceoff — he has already taken 493 draws for the Edmonton Oilers — Will Acton plays the keen observer.

He watches the veteran centre drop low to the ice, his legs splayed far apart, the execution as consistent as can be.

Gordon is not only the Oilers’ best faceoff man, he is fourth in the NHL with a win percentage of 58.6. Of the 289 draws he’s won, a league-high 52 have been while killing penalties.

“I watch him every game,” said Acton, the Oilers’ rookie fourth-line centre who has won 50.8 per cent of his draws.

“I watch how he approaches the situation and the way he tries to execute. What I envy most about him is just how strong he is in there.

“He comes down, covers the good ice, and it’s as if no one can move his blade. He just pulls it back a foot or two and that’s all he needs. And he’s going in there without a visor on, yet his face is about a foot from the ice.

“He’s willing to pay the price to get it done.”

Gordon is indeed wearing the look of success. Aside from the nick on his face, his right wrist was wrapped up for Sunday’s practice and there was a bandage stretched across his right hand. Those were just the obvious marks he was sporting.

Not only is Gordon winning the better share of the draws he takes, he’s blocking shots regularly, too. Only defenceman Jeff Petry, with 51, has blocked more shots than the centre’s 38 blocks going into Monday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:30 p.m. at Rexall Place.

Signed to a three-year, $9-million deal in the off-season, Gordon arrived in Edmonton destined for a more prominent role than what he had with the Phoenix Coyotes. He was moved up the lineup earlier in the season and now centres Ryan Smyth and David Perron, a line which has been producing points despite being tasked with shutdown duties against the opposition’s big guns.

In the last three games, Perron has four goals and two assists, Smyth has a goal and three assists, and Gordon has a goal and two assists while losing just two of 17 faceoffs against the Florida Panthers in Thursday’s 4-1 win.

Gordon blocked 44 shots in 48 games with the Coyotes last season and had a 57.3 winning percentage on faceoffs.

“(Head coach Dallas Eakins) talked to me at camp and told me I’d be taking a lot of draws. I don’t think I’ve been taking as many lately, but there was a stretch of eight to 10 games where I was in the mid-20s every game,” said Gordon.

“That’s the thing with faceoffs. Some days go your way, some days you can’t get a bounce. It’s either or.”