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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3) Stuart Skinner

It may seem awkward to find Stuart Skinner’s name on this list. After all, the sophomore goalie has done everything he can to keep the Oilers afloat and within striking distance of the playoffs this season, despite the team’s early struggles. After backstopping the Oilers into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year, Skinner was looking to build upon his success this season to firmly secure his starting status on the team.

However, with backup Jack Campbell struggling mightily early in the season and subsequently demoted to the minors, along with the Oilers’ lack of confidence in starting call-up Calvin Pickard in more games ever since, Skinner has been forced to carry the load for much of the season. After playing 50 regular season games last season and looking somewhat burnt out as the year progressed, he has already appeared in 23 games for the Oilers this season with still another 10 games to go before it is even the halfway mark of the season.

Skinner may have a solid 12-9-1 record to date, but his numbers for both his GAA (3.04) and save percentage (.886) have been far worse compared to his stellar rookie season. Basically, the Oilers have been forced to outscore their opponents on many nights to win, as opposed to Skinner stealing them some games for victories. Eventually, the Oilers offence may occasionally dry up, at which time Skinner will need to start playing like he did last season and be a difference maker for any long-term sustained success.