Edmonton Oilers in a very healthy position in more ways than one

The Edmonton Oilers are looking well-placed as the playoffs approach, including being extremely fortunate when it comes to their injuries, or lack thereof.

Edmonton Oilers v Arizona Coyotes
Edmonton Oilers v Arizona Coyotes / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Ahead of Saturday evening's clash with the Leafs in Toronto, the Edmonton Oilers are looking in good shape with 15 games remaining in the 2023-24 regular season. They are still in with an opportunity to win both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference, with at least three games in hand on all the teams above them in the standings.

After the worst start in franchise history through 12 games and the fourth worst through 18, the Oilers have since compiled a barely believable 37-9-3 record. They are ranked fourth in goals per game, eighth in average goals allowed, fourth in goal difference and second in power play percentage. (They are also 12th in penalty kill percentage.)

On an individual basis, Connor McDavid is 10 points behind Nikita Kucherov for most in the league, and with 86 assists, is on course to become just the fourth player in NHL history to record 100 helpers in a season. Meanwhile, Zach Hyman is tied for second most goals in the NHL with a career-high 48 goals and -- for what it's worth -- nine behind Auston Matthews.

Staples is onto something

Overall, this is a very long-winded way of explaining why the Oilers are in an extremely healthy position at this moment in time. However, as per David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, this health extends to the literal sense of the word.

Referencing NHLinjuryvix.com, Staples notes that the Oilers have only lost 52 man games to injury so far this season. Dylan Holloway was the longest absence, at 21 games with a lower body injury.

The other injury absences include 10 by Mattias Janmark (shoulder), six by Connor Brown (groin), five by Sam Gagner (concussion) and two by McDavid (upper body), with the rest consisting of eight one-game absences. Of most significance, the 52 total man games lost to injury are the lowest in the NHL.

This is remarkable. As much as the Oilers have done amazing things to recover from their poor start to the 2023-24 campaign, there's no denying that being relatively healthy has played an important role.

By comparison to other Pacific Division teams

For some context, if you want to look at why the Vegas Golden Knights have struggled for consistency this season, consider their own injury situation. By comparison to the Oilers, the Golden Knights have lost a staggering 395 man games to injury.

Another example comes in Seattle, where the Kraken last season made the playoffs for the first time, with 100 points, but this season will more than likely miss out. Not helping them is the 220 man games so far lost to injury which, while not as severe as the Golden Knights, are still more than four times what the Oilers have suffered to date.

Of course we appreciate that the Oilers' luck could change at any time, and they could suffer a catastrophic injury; you just never know. Fans will undoubtedly remember the initial panic when McDavid was ruled out through injury early on this season but it subsequently turned out to only be a two-game absence, much to the relief of everyone connected to the organisation.

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Ultimately, no matter how talented and hard-working a team is, a significant dose of good fortune is also required to win the Stanley Cup. If the Oilers can continue to remain as durable as they have done up to this point, it only increases their chances of finally reaching the Holy Grail for the first time since 1990.

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