4 Edmonton Oilers players who surprised us the most in 2023-24

The Edmonton Oilers got it together in 2023-24 and are set for a deep playoff run, but it took more than just Connor McDavid to make it happen.
Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers
Vancouver Canucks v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages
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Evan Bouchard went on a scoring quest in 2023-24

Between 2021-22 and 2022-23, Evan Bouchard foreshadowed a breakout season, registering 43 and 40 points, respectively. He was also a physical presence on both sides of the ice, which granted him two-way player status. But as with Hyman’s 50-plus goal season, few would have predicted such a Norris-worthy season from Bouchard. 

In his first 80 games, the blueliner averaged over a point per game, and he may not be finished just yet, as the time that this article was written came before the team’s final two games. But, 81 points and 18 goals in 80 contests, plus a solid 8.3 shooting percentage, will at least put him in the top 10 for the Norris, more likely the top five. 

Bouchard’s defense was still in the upper echelon of the league, even if he isn’t setting career-highs in takeaways, hits, and blocks. His possession quality at even strength was a whopping plus-34.1, and his actual plus-minus has been a healthy plus-35. 

We don’t know what Bouchard will do for an encore performance, but he won’t catch anyone off-guard next season if he repeats. Doing so is unlikely, but if Bouchard gets anywhere near what he accomplished this season, it’s nonetheless a victory.