Oilers receive almost too much love in TSN's NHL power rankings

Although it's always good to be viewed favourably, TSN were still arguably too generous with their latest ranking for the Oilers in their weekly power rankings.

Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins
Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages

There's plenty to like about the Edmonton Oilers right now, with them well-placed to secure second place in the Pacific Division. This would mean crucial home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, where they would figure to meet either the Vegas Golden Knights or Los Angeles Kings.

Further, it's not outside the realms of possibility that the Oilers could catch the Vancouver Canucks in the standings. Yes the Canucks hold a 10-point advantage at the time of posting -- with their 91 points the most in the Western Conference -- but the Oilers have three games in hand and still have to face their Vancouver rivals one more time this regular season, at home.

Despite this, there is still an uneasy feeling about TSN ranking the Oilers fourth in their latest weekly power rankings, which came out on Monday. In fact last week it was even more generous, with Kris Knoblauch's team being ranked second on that occasion.

This just seems to high for a team which is fifth in the Western Conference in points entering Wednesday night's slate of games, and 10th in the NHL as a whole. And yet TSN still have the Oilers as the highest ranked Canadian team, ahead of the likes of the Leafs, Jets and Canucks.

Intentionally provocative

In fairness though, we appreciate power rankings in professional sports are often created with a view to causing conversation. Further, they are subjective to an extent, with different outlets and individuals having various criteria to justify where they place teams.

Along these lines, a clue to TSN's approach comes in the fact the Oilers are ranked one place ahead of the Canucks despite being the aforementioned 10 points behind them in the standings. Effectively, it's a case of recency bias, i.e. what have you done for me lately?

Consider that in their last 11 games, the Oilers have gone 6-3-2, while the Canucks have gone 5-5-1. It isn't that much of a difference, with 14 and 11 points respectively, but it does provide some explanation.

An untimely injury

Further, you have to wonder if there's an element of projection from TSN. On Saturday night versus the Jets, Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko suffered a lower-body injury which is anticipated to keep him out between two-to-four weeks.

Demko's injury couldn't have happened at worse time, as the Canucks come to the business end of the regular season. He's been outstanding in 2023-24, and is a leading contender for the Vezina Trophy.

Another factor which likely has come into play is the talent on the Oilers roster, which includes the best player in the game and another who is arguably in the top five, but definitely in the top 10. This is a team capable of going on a tear unlike few others, as evidenced by the 16-game winning streak which fell one short of the Penguins' NHL record 17.

Next. Holland balanced going all-in and maintaining team chemistry at trade deadline. Holland balanced going all-in and maintaining team chemistry at trade deadline. dark

Despite all of this, it still feels as if ranking the Oilers fourth is just too high. This is a team which has been extremely erratic this season, albeit this could equally prove to be a positive or a negative come playoff time.

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