The Edmonton Oilers ended 2022 on a sour note losing 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets last night. They are currently 4th in the Pacific Division. This is a far cry from where we all expected them to be at this point in this season.
The main issue for the struggles is the number of injuries the Edmonton Oilers have had so far this season. The main loss of Evander Kane has put a dent in the Oilers scoring depth and toughness.
Other players who have missed significant time with injuries are Yamamoto, Foegele and McLeod. Missing all these players affect the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers. When players are hurt this means players move into roles not meant for them.
Once this lineup gets back to 100% health I think the Edmonton Oilers will start to climb up the standings. The fact they are still in the hunt shows that this team has depth and solid depth at that.
With flipping the calendar over the year 2023 there are a few things that need to be on the Edmonton Oilers resolution list. Some are more important than others, but they will help this team win more games.
Jack Campbell Needs to Prove He Can Be a Number One Goalie For The Edmonton Oilers
This season so far for Jack Campbell has one he would like to forget. In 15 games played he has a record of 8-6-1 with a save percentage of 0.867 and a goals-against average of 4.02.
These are numbers that even Jack Campbell would say he needs to improve on. With these numbers, there is no wonder that Campbell has lost the net to Stuart Skinner. The worry for me is if Skinner gets too many starts he will start to get tired and start to falter.
This is why Campbell needs to find his game. I don’t care if he takes back the number 1 role or not, but I would like him to get starts more frequently down the stretch. This will give Skinner a chance to get rest and improve the Edmonton Oilers goaltending overall.
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Penalty Kill Needs to Improve/ Stop Taking Needless Penalties
So far this season the Edmonton Oilers penalty kill has been a real weak spot. Right now their penalty kill percentage sits at 72.99%. This puts them 26th in the league. They have allowed 37 powerplay goals against. That is just under one goal against a game.
If the Edmonton Oilers could improve this their overall game would improve significantly. The goals they are giving up are virtually cancelling out the powerplay goals they get. It is a sad thought that the league’s best powerplay can’t help their team win cause the penalty kill gives up almost as much against them.
I think the issue with the penalty kill is mostly mental. When you get scored on that often on the kill you almost assume that you are going to get scored on. You are playing with an attitude of when will you get scored on, not if.
As I mentioned earlier in this article the Edmonton Oilers have had a gaggle of injuries. To me, this is the most important thing the Oilers need to do. Availability is the best ability. If you aren’t on the ice you can’t help the team.
Right now there are two players from the Edmonton Oilers top six missing games. Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane. Draisaitl’s injury appears to be short-term, but Kane is still several weeks from returning.
Once the Edmonton Oilers get a healthy top six they will look like a completely different team.