Edmonton Oilers Players and Their Up Coming Milestones

Edmonton Oilers Players and Their Up Coming Milestones
Edmonton Oilers v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Two
Edmonton Oilers v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Two / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Hi folks, I'm back after a long absence. Sorry for that, but after going through some stuff in life and a technical issue on the site that seemed to affect me much more so than the other writers I've been away from the site for a long time. For my regular readers, I'm back and hopefully, you will be too.

Anyway, let's get on with the content.

At the time of this writing, the Oilers stand firmly in second place in the division and firmly in the hands of a playoff spot, five points behind the Canucks and five points ahead of Vegas for second place in the division. There are nine games left in the regular season, so the Oilers will have to chalk up some wins if they hope to catch the Canucks for the division lead. The Oilers do have one game in hand on the Canucks, but of course that will only chalk up two points. They do have one game left in the season vs. the Canucks - and at home, no less - so we can essentially look at that as a four-point game. If they can keep pace the rest of the way, win that game vs. the Canucks plus the game in hand, then mathematically at least they have a chance to catch the Canucks for the division lead.

But that's just the team in general. There are some important milestones that have already been met for the season and some for players to continue to shoot for. Let's see what those are right now

Connor McDavid

The man in the picture has officially racked up 100+ points for seven of his last nine seasons in the NHL - and the only reasons he missed in the two he didn't make it were because of a severe injury in his rookie season and the lockout shortening the season in the other one. Also, it's worth noting that unless McDavid implodes defensively during the rest of the season, he's on his way to a new career high in +/- as well, with a whopping +32 at the time of this writing.

Leon Draisaitl

Draisaitl is now seventh in scoring in the NHL, meaning for the umpteenth time the Oilers have the McDrai duo in the top 10 in league scoring. Amazing to think just a month ago Draisaitl was hovering around the 20th in the league scoring mark.

Evan Bouchard

Bouchard is killing it this season. Although he's on a goal-scoring drought right now, having scored only two goals since the end of February, he's set new career highs in all his boxcar categories, going 16-60-76 with a +30 to boot, all career highs. He's also set a new career best in average ice time, going 23:04 on average per game, which ranks as a new career high for him and also the first time he's cracked the 20 min/game mark on average.

This probably has a lot to do with the fact that he and Mattias Ekholm make such a good pair and that they've spent time as the top pairing when Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci were both slumping somewhat. He's also set a new career high in PP points (34) which is not surprising considering that he's now learned how and when to best unleash his cannon of a shot, and has taken over the point position on the first PP unit from Tyson Barrie when he was traded for Ekholm. The only bummer about this is if he does it again next season he'll be much more expensive to re-sign from his current bridge deal of $3.9 million a season.

Zach Hyman

It was well publicized earlier in the year when Hyman cracked the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career recently. If only the Leafs had known the type of player they didn't try to re-sign three offseasons ago, lol!!!! He's also set a new career high in +/- as well, with +33.

Adam Henrique

Henrique already had 18 goals when he was acquired from Anaheim at the trade deadline, so it was only a matter of time before he got comfortable in an Oilers uniform and cracked the 20-goal mark, seeing as how the Oilers have a lot more firepower up front to feed him the puck than the Ducks did. The fact that he could score 18 goals on such a lousy Anaheim team is a testament to the player, and as such at the time of this writing between the two teams he has 22 goals this season, cracking the 20-goal mark for the seventh time in his career. He's riding a 26.7 shooting %, though, way above his career average of 15.5, so this is likely a statistical anomaly and we can expect him to go back to the 15-20 goals he usually scores next season.

Mattias Ekholm

Not only is Ekholm sporting a beard that makes him look like a Viking, but he's in the process of setting a new career high in +/- with a crazy high of +41, which is not only tops on the team but is second in the NHL - only Florida's Gustav Forsling with +46. Although not career highs, it's worth noting that Ekholm has a crazy awesome 41 points in boxcars this year. As soon as we traded for him at last season's deadline, I told you his puck-moving skills were underrated and so far he's proving me right in that regard. Also worth noting is that Zach Hyman (fifth, +33), Connor Mcdavid (eighth, +32) and Evan Bouchard (11th, +30) are in the top 11 in the same metric, and that means that the Oilers are the only team in the league with that many players that high in +/- in the NHL. Vancouver is the only other team that has multiple guys in the top 11, and they've only got two players there.

Evander Kane

Evander Kane might be slumping now, but he's got 21 goals on the season, which means he's cracked the 20-goal mark for the second time in three seasons since the Oilers signed him - $$ in the bank. The one season he didn't he was out for half the season with the major injury.

Warren Foegele

Mclovin gets more spot duty in the top six than anyone else on the roster, and rightfully so since he has already set new career highs in all boxcar categories, with a 17-20-37. He's also not afraid to play physically, setting a new career high in PIMs as well with 45. He's a free agent after this season and the Oilers may have to let him go, but Ken Holland (assuming he's still GM beyond this season) is an absolute cap wizard, and if he determines that Foegele belongs in the top six full time he'll find a way to bring him back. The beauty part of that would be unless a bidding way breaks out because he doesn't have a track record as a full-time top-six forward, perhaps Holland gives him more term so he can stretch out the cap hit over a longer period, giving him more money in total. Unless of course, the Oilers see Adam Henrique as a better fit for 2nd line RW long term in which case they may just let Foegele walk. In any regard, part of the reason for Foegele's success is he has also set a new career high in shots with 166 shot attempts. More shots, more goals, it makes sense.

Ryan McLeod

Ryan McLeod is quietly having a great season as well since he is usually playing with pretty quality linemates on the third line. His boxcars so far are 12-14-26, all career highs, as is his +/- at +11, and like Mclovin, he has new career shot totals of 93, also game-winning goals with three and ice time gets a slight bump at 14:13 per game as well. This is the third-line center we've been missing in the lineup who also doesn't look out of place in the top six. A future top-six winger when we have to dump other salaries out of the top six? Hmm.....

Vinnie Desharnais

Desharnais is in his first full season as an NHL regular, so he's surpassed a lot of milestones. In the loss to Ottawa just over a week ago, he played his 100th NHL game. He publicly said he wanted to add more offence to his game and has done so, scoring his first NHL goal at the beginning of the season vs. Calgary and going 1-10-11 with 52 PIMs and 15:27/game average TOI so far. Naturally, his 39 shots on goal are also a career-best at this time. He'll surpass the 200-game mark at the beginning of the 2025-26 season assuming he stays healthy for the rest of this season and next, so if he re-signs - which I don't see why he wouldn't at this point - then we'll know more of what we have in him as a player at that point.

Connor Brown

Brown is here more an honourable mention than anything else, since at the beginning of the season he seemed to be the most snakebitten player in the league, right up until March 13 against the Capitals when he got his first goal as an Oiler (which the fans gave him a standing ovation for) - and has potted two more since. At this point, I don't see why Holland wouldn't re-up Brown at a slight raise and get a player who should be healthy from day one next season.

Stache man

Goalie Stuart Skinner, between getting out of his funk sooner and the struggles of Jack Campbell, has become the de facto starter in Edmonton, shown by the fact that he has started 52 of the 54 games he's played in. He also has two shutouts this season, a new career high for him.

Calvin Pickard

Calvin Pickard has seen a career resurrection with the Oilers, starting the year as the third-string goalie and then coming up after Jack Campbell went down. Since then, Pickard has quietly set a new career high in GAA with 2.24, which is impressive albeit likely with a little bit of a statistical anomaly as this is in only 18 games played. Still, impressive nonetheless.