This Year’s Edmonton Oilers Will Be Different, But Will They Be Better?

How will the 2023-24 NHL season be different for the Oilers?

2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers
2023 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers / Derek Leung/GettyImages
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Last season, it felt like the Edmonton Oilers had more or less a year in which they cruised along right into the playoffs. Never falling below a .500 record after the sixth game of the 2022-23 season, the Oilers went on to post a stellar 50-23-9 to finish second in the Pacific Division. Everything seemed to be going right as their stars were shining, scoring was at an unstoppable pace as they led the league with 325 goals, along with a record-breaking power play.

Nothing would be able to stop them unless they were named the Vegas Golden Knights, as they ultimately dispatched the Oilers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite everything appearing to be clicking, it felt the Oilers were missing something, important enough that it led to their early playoff exit.

That brings us to this 2023-24 NHL season. This year, it has been a totally different story for the Oilers right from the get-go. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong for them did and more. The Oilers got off to a horrendous start to the season, so bad that they were almost in the basement of the entire league. Captain Connor McDavid uncharacteristically wasn’t producing like he normally does and to add insult to injury, he would end up injured and was even out a few games. Secondary scoring suddenly was totally absent as once the top two lines were shut down, the team became easy pickings for the opposition. Jack Campbell would lose the net and even get demoted, leaving Stuart Skinner all by himself to save the season. On top of that, the Oilers even had to change head coaches in the process with hopes that it would prevent the team from spiralling into oblivion.

But as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill them will make them that much stronger. Apparently, we have witnessed that exact phenomenon for the current surging Oilers team. After meeting such intense adversities so early in the season, they have stood up to the challenge and have made an unbelievable turnaround of epic proportions in-season. McDavid has bounced back in a big way with 10 goals and 41 points in his last 20 games. The depth lines have picked up the pace in recent weeks to supplement the offence. Skinner has been able to shoulder the load as the team’s official number-one goaltender without burning out. More importantly, whatever system new coach Kris Knoblauch has been implementing, it sure has been working wonders as the Oilers have gone an astounding 17-6-0 under his watch.

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As a result, you just know this year will be different for the Oilers. They have learned from delving into the trenches to dig themselves out of a deep hole and have miraculously overcome any obstacles that were impeding their path. They have learned to not take anything for granted and are now putting in their 100% effort night in and night out to climb back up in the standings. It is this never-say-die attitude they have now developed in their mentality that will enable them to meet any challenges that may be ahead of them. And unlike any of the seasons in the past, don’t be surprised that they will be able to go far beyond expectations by the end of the 2023-24 NHL season and potentially even lift the Holy Grail in the end.