Edmonton Oilers Stock Report: Oilers season hits its first bump in the road

Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

For the first time this season, the Edmonton Oilers did not have a dominant week. In fact, they had a very pedestrian one, adding two wins and two losses to their record.

It’s the first taste of adversity this team has faced so far. And if we are being honest, it’s not even that much adversity, it all comes down to one thing. But we will get into that in a bit.

This past week, the Oilers won in Boston last Thursday by a score of 5-3. Lost in Buffalo the next night 3-2. Then they traveled to St. Louis and won 5-4, before falling to the Jets 5-2.

A very up-and-down week for Edmonton, which was bound to happen eventually. I’m more curious to see how they will respond to this stretch. However, this is about looking back at the week that was, so let’s do that.

Trending up: Leon Draisaitl

I almost feel bad putting one of the Oilers superstars in the trending up section every week. But, their play has been so otherworldly that it is impossible not to talk about it.

In the four games the Oilers played this past week, Draisaitl scored seven goals and 10 points. He now sits five goals ahead of Alex Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race. That is quite simply absurd.

Obviously, we know Draisaitl can score at will like few players can, but he is still over a goal per game 15 games into the season.

I’ve mentioned 50 goals as a realistic possibility for both Oilers’ superstars, can Draisaitl hit 60? No Oiler has hit that total since Gretzky did in the 1986-87 season.

Trending down: Mikko Koskinen

Koskinen started three of four games this past week. And he did not top a .900 save percentage in any of those games. And against the Jets, he played his worst game of the year thus far.

Goals like that cannot go in, under any circumstance. Obviously, every goalie gives up bad goals every once in a while, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still bad goals.

Bad games happen, especially when a goaltender is overworked. Edmonton desperately needs Mike Smith to get healthy quickly. Because Koskinen is already starting to look fatigued, and Stuart Skinner hasn’t proven he is capable of much in limited NHL action.

Trending up: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

I have not given Nugent-Hopkins enough credit this season. The man is currently second in the league in assists only trailing McDavid by one.

That is incredible, he is on pace to shatter his previous career-high of 41 assists in a season. He did that back in the 2018-19 season, where he also set a career-high with 69 points (nice).

It can’t be easy constantly being juggled between playing the wing and centre depending on what line Draisaitl plays on. But Nugent-Hopkins has been very adaptable so far this season, and he has been very good.

Trending down: Team record

Okay, I’ll admit this is a reach, but the Oilers have now lost three of their last five games. Every team in the league has their stretches of mediocre play, and this is one of those stretches for Edmonton.

Ultimately, most hockey games are won by the team that had the better goaltending performance. In the four games the Edmonton Oilers played this past week, not once did their goaltenders have a save percentage higher than .900. And they allowed at least three goals in all four games as well.

Draisaitl and McDavid can’t do everything. As great as they are at putting pucks in the net, you can’t always out-score your problems. That is something I have tried to emphasize all season so far and will continue to do so. Edmonton needs to become a better defensive team, the question becomes can they do that without sacrificing offence?

This upcoming week the Oilers will start off with a rematch against the Jets, this time in Edmonton. They will then host the Blackhawks on Saturday night, before traveling to Dallas to start a quick three-game road trip.