Are the Oilers defense (already) better than last season?

Mike Smith and Darnell Nurse Defending Oilers' Goal (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Mike Smith and Darnell Nurse Defending Oilers' Goal (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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This is the second of a three-part article analyzing the differences between the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers. The first part is just about the goalie position, with all the changes from last year, and you can read it clicking on the link below.

In this article we will be focused on the Edmonton Oilers’ defense and if it is already better compared to last season.

Let’s be honest, the defensive side of the team is complicated, we can just wonder what could have happened last season if the defense was better. Such as the goalie position, it does not have to be the best on NHL, it just has to be good, it just has to deliver on the big stages. And it’s hard to compare the defense with the powerful offense the Oilers has. Try to compare any defensemen lines on the NHL with a Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl Top 6

For example, let’s get the game 1 of the Oilers vs. Flames series (yes, the “we want ten” game). With the 9-6 score against Edmonton, it was a bad Oilers game overall and left all the Oilers’ supporters really worried about the next games, and got the Flames’ all hyped.

And it was needed just 51 seconds to the biggest fears to appear, when the Flames were already 2 goals ahead and seemed to dominate with a four-goal lead in the middle of the game. But when the offense came to the ice, the Oilers managed to tie the game but eventually took the first (and only) hit on the series.

In a game considered bad for the team, the Oilers managed to score 6 goals and erase a four-goal deficit. That’s how powerful this team can be, and it doesn’t need the best NHL defense, just need one who doesn’t take 9 goals when the team scores 6.

Other example is the game 4 of the same Battle of Alberta series. Oilers leading 3-0 in the first period, opening 3-1 in the series and the Flames tied in the most unexpected way possible. And still, the Oilers managed to beat the Flames 5-3 and close it all next game.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the possible defensive lines we can see in this season