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Oilers’ Depth Forwards Need To Start Finishing Chances

Depth forwards for the Edmonton Oilers are getting their chances, but they need to start cashing in on them.

Of the 10 goals scored by the Edmonton Oilers this season, half of them have come from one of Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. Three of the 10 have come from defensemen, and only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan McLeod have the other two. While there’s of the Oilers are getting their chances to score, such a limited share of the production is not going to be enough to win hockey games against a slate of strong opponents. It’s certainly not good enough if Edmonton wants to change the narrative that this team doesn’t click if McDavid and Draisailt aren’t running the show.

Evander Kane scored in bunches in the latter half of last season (22 in 46 games). Zach Hyman had 27 goals in his first season with the team. Kailer Yamamoto reached 20 and others stepped up. It’s early, and there’s no reason to panic, but contributions from the rest of the lineup are going to need to start happening again, and sooner than later.

Evander Kane Zach Hyman Oilers
Evander Kane Zach Hyman Oilers

It’s not as though players like Hyman and Kane aren’t getting their chances. In fact, they’re getting quite a few of them. But, finishing is what matters and pucks need to start going in, especially if defensive lapses like the Oilers are prone to having keep occurring. Head coach Jay Woodcroft said the team has yet to play a full 60 minutes in any of their first three games. What he probably meant was that the Oilers have let teams come in and control parts of each contest, flooding their two starting goalies with shots and putting themselves in a position where the team is forced to play catch-up hockey.

Woodcroft knows Thursday’s game is a big one for the Oilers. He expects the team to respond accordingly against a Carolina Hurricanes team that comes as advertised. Things don’t get easier as the Oilers play the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins after that. Essentially, give some run support to Jack Campbell, who the team is hoping has a bounceback game in the net.

Oilers Should Feel Confident They Can Turn It On

The good news is that Edmonton is extremely deep and despite running with fewer forwards than they might like and having to push the minutes of their top guys, this team does have the depth ready and willing to step up and start lightening the load on the top lines.

The Oilers are never out of a game; no lead is insurmountable. It’s simply a matter of not feeling as though they need to turn on the jets because they’ve been outplayed and fallen behind. It’s time the Oilers open the game with aggression and push the matter, getting an early lead and never giving it back. That will take contributions from everyone and it means potting the opportunities when they come.

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