Edmonton Oilers on Twitter: "#SportsnetStat📊 The #Oilers start 5-0-0 for the fourth time in franchise history & the second time in the last three seasons. @Sportsnet | #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/4nVRAIhn64 / Twitter"
SportsnetStat📊 The #Oilers start 5-0-0 for the fourth time in franchise history & the second time in the last three seasons. @Sportsnet | #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/4nVRAIhn64
Edmonton surprisingly lately is no stranger to hot starts. However, this year feels "different". During the offseason Ken Holland added the services of Zach Hyman, Cody Ceci, Warren Foegele, Derek Ryan and Duncan Keith during the offseason. Overhauling the Oilers depth. Although a lot of question marks from the fans regarding the Duncan Keith trade surfaced in the offseason. It has been very beneficial for the Oilers as he has solidified himself as a locker room leader on the team.
The Oilers have started the season with a blistering powerplay, already one of the best powerplays in the league. Zach Hyman has stepped in as the net front presence and elevated this powerplay even more. Through 5 games the Oilers have a 47.06% powerplay percentage. It would not be surprising if they finished the season with one of the highest powerplay percentages in history, they simply have that much talent on it.
Are they contenders though? Edmonton is consistently pushing playoff spots every season now, a pleasurable change for fans who went through the "Decade of Darkness". Superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have yet to make it out of the second round since joining the league. They got all the tools to do it this season, likely will be the Pacific Division winner by the end of the season, giving them an easy road into the third round.
My only concern with the Oilers is the goaltending. Mike Smith isn't getting any younger, although he really is trying to push back father time with his performances over the last season and the beginning of this one. Albeit he is on the injured reserve for the Oilers right now. Concerning is the depth at goaltending. I'm not nearly as critical of Mikko Koskinen as most fans are, he's a solid backup in the NHL, his contract just doesn't match it. I'm concerned about the Oilers third string goaltender, in the event that Mike Smith goes down like he has at the start of the season. Stuart Skinner is the first call up for Edmonton, a goaltender with only 1 game played in the NHL. Currently with Smith injured, Stuart is called up but Koskinen is playing every game, even back to backs. Not ideal for a team with deep playoff aspirations.
At the end of the day, the Oilers are going to make the playoffs. It's how far they go in those playoffs that will be the question. Will they issues like the Maple Leafs and gain a reputation for early exits? Or will they finally bring a Stanley Cup back to Canada? Something that hasn't been done since 1993.
(Photo Cred: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)