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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4) Leon Draisaitl

Finally, an even more surprising name finds himself on this list in former Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner Draisaitl. One may think “are you out of your mind?”, putting perhaps the second-best player in the league in the category of needing to step up big time in 2024. However, given what he has accomplished for the Oilers the past few years, what he has done to this point in time in the current season has been rather somewhat disappointing to say the least.

First of all, Draisaitl didn’t elevate his game when the team needed him most during the brief stint when McDavid was on the sidelines. Secondly, with many others starting to find their game and increasing their output in the past few weeks, he has been uncharacteristically stagnant in terms of his production throughout the season. Even with McDavid finding another gear and having made up big time from his early slump, Draisaitl has continued his consistent, yet pedestrian output. More worrisome is the fact in his last five games, he has only two goals to show for, contributing towards three losses in the process.

On the season, Draisaitl has put up 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in 31 games, scoring at just a little over a point-a-game pace. For anyone else, this probably represents strong production overall. However, after averaging close to 1.5 points per game for most of the previous three seasons, this is quite the regression for Draisaitl.

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Perhaps some of the rotation in linemates has affected his play, or maybe he just works best with McDavid when it comes to being most effective with his performance. Nevertheless, Draisaitl will need to step up his play before teams starting focusing on just shutting down McDavid to stymie the Oilers’ offence.