Can Edmonton finally end the drought?
Oilers fans have not seen playoff hockey in nearly a decade. Edmonton currently owns the longest playoff drought in the entire National Hockey League at ten years. Since the team competed for the Stanley Cup in June of 2006 the Oilers have yet to make it back to the postseason.
Since that time the Oilers have selected the first pick in the NHL entry draft four times traded two of those picks away in the last two seasons and disappointed their fans finishing near the bottom of the league for most of the decade-long drought. All of that might become a distant memory soon because the team is looking more and more like a playoff contender as the season progresses.
Edmonton has been meshing well under Head Coach Todd McLellan and Captain Connor McDavid. The Oilers currently sit third in the Pacific Division behind the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks. Edmonton is racking up points on a nightly basis behind an offensive machine powered by the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, two of Edmonton’s remaining number one draft picks.
McDavid is leading the way in plus-minus (11), points (45), and assists (31) for the club. He is also tied for the lead in goals (14) with teammates Leon Draisaitl, and Patrick Maroon. The duo of McDavid and Draisaitl has also helped create a potent power-play that is ranked eighth in the entire league. In addition, the club is ranked ninth in the NHL for goals scored this season with 109.
While McDavid and Draisaitl lead the offensive charge, Cam Talbot has been stellar between the pipes. He ranks sixth in the league in wins (18), fourteenth in save percentage (.919), and twelfth in goals allowed average (2.47) amongst goalies who have played at least twenty games.
The club has played well in the first half of the season, but they will face an uphill battle as the season progresses and begins to wind down. The Oilers are going to need every player to contribute on a nightly basis if they want to keep their heads above water and lock down a playoff spot. The Kings, Flames, and Canucks will be nipping at their heels looking for any chance to surpass them.
Connor McDavid might have to carry the load offensively, but the rest of the team cannot afford to take a night off. Cam Talbot must continue his outstanding play and the Oilers will need him to steal some points for the club against some of the top clubs in the league.
Up next for the Oilers are two games versus the Devils and Senators on the road before the team heads home for a five-game home stand.