Edmonton Oilers: Five Players That Need To Rise To The Occasion

Jesse Puljujarvi #13, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Puljujarvi #13, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mike Smith #41, Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith #41, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

Leon Draisaitl 

Leon Draisaitl probably does not get the credit he deserves. Playing on the same team as Connor McDavid, no one really is talking about the fact that he put up 84 points in 56 games. He is regarded as one of the best in the league, but that is in the same way people talk about Malkin behind Crosby.

Draisaitl and McDavid shouldn’t be on the same line this postseason. Letting the two beat down opposing teams and making sure one of them is on the ice for the majority of the night will really make Winnipeg pick their poison.

Draisaitl is a goal-scoring machine and is one of the best NHL players without McDavid and now it is time for him to really show that this postseason. The Jets are not going to have an answer to McDavid, opposing teams just have to find a way to make up the difference in goals when McDavid is not on the ice. Draisaitl will have to be just as good.

Mike Smith

It is kind of incredible that we are talking about a playoff run for Mike Smith when the longtime NHL goalie is 39 years old. Smith has been to the playoffs just four times in his entire NHL career. He went once with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011 playing three games, once with the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2012, playing in 16 games.

He also played in 2019 with Calgary and last season with Edmonton playing in one game against Chicago in the qualifiers. Smith hasn’t won that elusive Stanley Cup despite a great NHL career and now is his opportunity to really win it all.

In 32 games this season Smtih had a team-best .923 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average. The Oilers are obviously going to start with him in net as he is the best option. Smith went 4-0-0 against Winnipeg this season and if he plays well he could do that again in the postseason.