4 Edmonton Oilers that need to step up in 2024 for playoff push

Looking at four players that need to turn it up a notch at the turn of the calendar year, for the Edmonton Oilers to have greater success this season.

Nov 28, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen Darnell Nurse (25)and Vegas Golden
Nov 28, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen Darnell Nurse (25)and Vegas Golden / Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Edmonton Oilers appear headed towards a strong finish this year, after putting together a solid month so far in December with a 6-3-0 record. The entire team seems to have turned their fortunes around since late November. That was when they staggered into Washington on a three-game losing streak, only to shut out the Capitals 5-0 in commanding fashion to begin their resurgence.

Many of the players have also picked up their play in their recent surge during the past month, making strong contributions in leading to the team’s success. However, there have still been a select few that have yet to perform up to expectations. Here, we take a look at four Oilers that will need to step up their game heading into 2024, for the team to be successful in their pursuit for the playoffs.

1) Connor Brown

Among one of the Oilers’ key offseason signings, Connor Brown was expected to be an ideal, complementary top-six winger alongside either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. His grinding game enables him to heavily forecheck, battle in the corners, and support his star linemates in producing unstoppable, ruthless forechecking and scoring chances as a result. On top of that, Brown had previously proven himself to be a player that could constantly put up double-digit goals and 30-40 points per season, showing that he can be an offensive force as well.

However, it has been an utterly disastrous season so far for the 29-year-old, as he has managed to put up only one measly assist in 24 games played to date. Not only has he lost his spot in the top-six for now, but he has even been healthy-scratched recently to give him a chance to refocus on his game.

In doing so however, it has also disrupted the Oilers’ usual bottom-six, with certain players being moved up to fill the void. How long such a setup will work is anyone’s guess, but Brown will need to turn his game around in the new year quickly and start making some significant contributions soon, or he may lose his spot on the roster entirely before season’s end.