Edmonton Oilers Need More Speed on Forward Lines

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 24: Cam Talbot. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 24: Cam Talbot. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers have been off to a rather unimpressive start to the 2017-18 season, with just a 2-5-1 record through their first eight games.

Looking at their performance, the entire team appears to be struggling. While Cam Talbot is carrying the team between the pipes, the defence cannot outwork the opposition. However, no one is struggling more than the offence.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton’s output so far this year sits at just 1.9 goals per game on average which is the worst record in the league. It seems that the first line, led by Connor McDavid, has had the biggest influence on the forecheck and that many of the Oilers forwards beyond that top trio are somewhat along for the ride.

Players like Ryan Strome and Jussi Jokinen are lacking and can’t seem to produce much on offence, and not everyone is bringing their best to the table. And this shows in the team’s performance so far.

Moving forward, there is one factor that will help the team improve as a whole, and will add more to the offence. It is also the reason that McDavid is nearly unstoppable on the ice: speed.

Getting Faster

First off, speed is what ultimately lost the game to Pittsburgh. Edmonton’s forwards beyond the first line found themselves chasing after the puck and unable to catch up. In fact, the lack of speed from Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in overtime led to Phil Kessel’s OT winner.

However, it is not just the backcheck where they must be faster; many of the Oilers forwards cannot outskate their opponents and this often takes away quality scoring chances and limits Edmonton’s time on the attack.

If the Oilers start to move their feet and give more effort skating forward, they will find more production, and in turn, get more time with the puck. This should also limit how many penalties they take, and should also limit the time they spend catching up or chasing after the play.

Next: Edmonton Oilers: Takeaways from Loss to Penguins

In the end, something has to give on offence, and the Oilers need to produce. But that all starts with having a bit more jump and speed on the forecheck.