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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Calvin Pickard looked like a completely different goaltender

Stuart Skinner may get most of the glory this season, but we can’t forget the effort Calvin Pickard put forth following what was supposed to be more of a timeshare between Skinner and Jack Campbell. But after five starts, it was clear Campbell had to go, and go he did, all the way to the Bakersfield Condors. 

Meanwhile, Pickard took up the backup role in the net while Skinner started 56 contests as of April 15th, alongside 58 appearances. Skinner played well for the most part, but he also had ups and downs, while Pickard looked more like Laurent Brossoit in the net, posting a 0.912 save percentage, a 2.41 GAA, plus a shutout. 

Pickard is an older journeyman, but he also has a lot of experience in the NHL, as shown with 116 games played and 93 career starts, but a modest 35 wins between 2014-15 and 2021-22, the latter of which saw him barely seeing ice time with the Detroit Red Wings. 

But he showed flashes while in Bakersfield last season, and it parlayed into an incredible season as a backup in Edmonton. Overall, Pickard looked like a goaltender destined for the AHL with the occasional NHL call-up, but that changed thanks to his performance in Edmonton this season. 


(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)