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Oilers to Make “Boring” Change That Could Leave Fans Torn

The Edmonton Oilers know their thrilling, run-and-gun style is what makes them so unique. So, why change it?

As the Edmonton Oilers gear up for the upcoming NHL season, they face a pivotal challenge – striking the right balance between their exhilarating, run-and-gun style of play and the need for more disciplined and defensively sound hockey.

The Oilers are set to return with a roster nearly identical to last season, a team renowned for its thrilling and high-scoring brand of hockey. While this style has made them one of the most captivating teams to watch in the NHL, it comes with its own set of drawbacks.

Veteran defenseman Mattias Ekholm, acquired from the Nashville Predators at last season’s Trade Deadline, has emphasized the importance of adopting a more structured and defensively responsible approach. Still happy to be on a team that can score like the Oilers do, and at the risk of limiting some of that offense, Ekholm recognizes that the Oilers need to incorporate elements of “boring” hockey into their game, characterized by solid defensive play and patience.

Reflecting on last season’s heartbreaking playoff loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, Ekholm noted during an interview on the Got Yer’ Back podcast that the series was evenly matched until a turning point. He emphasized the need for the Oilers to exhibit patience, grind out low-scoring games, and resist the temptation to constantly pursue high-scoring affairs.

Leon Draisaitl echoed the sentiment, recognizing the team’s exceptional capability to secure clear victories but acknowledging the need to improve their ability to avoid losses. He emphasizes the importance of learning “how not to lose the game” instead of solely focusing on “how to win it,” pointing out that the Oilers excel at decisively winning games but must enhance their resilience when facing adversity.

The Oilers intend to integrate this strategy into their gameplay for the upcoming season while maintaining their reputation as the most dynamic team in the league, led by two of the most exciting players in Connor McDavid and Draisaitl. Ekholm emphasized the need to do what makes them successful, but for the team to understand that not every game should be a goal-scoring spectacle and that sometimes, it’s about defending, maintaining possession, and controlling the tempo.

Can the Oilers Do This And Keep What Makes Them So Fun To Watch?

McDavid, acknowledging the Oilers’ reputation as the NHL’s most exciting team, remains confident in their ability to deliver thrilling performances. He said, “I really feel like we are the most exciting team in the NHL. I watch a lot of hockey. There’s some really special players out there, and some really good teams that are fun to watch, but I just think our team is on another level.” However, Ekholm rightly points out that the unpredictable nature of their style can lead to inconsistency, making them both the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals in a single season.

The challenge for the Edmonton Oilers lies in finding the equilibrium between their electrifying offensive prowess and the structured, disciplined approach that Ekholm and Draisaitl advocate. As they embark on the new season, they aim to merge the thrilling and the pragmatic to bolster their quest for success in the NHL.

At the end of the day, the change in cutting back on their free-wheeling style might leave fans frustrated, but if it leads to more wins, everyone will be the winner as a result.

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  1. Pingback: Holland Hints at Big Trade With Oilers' "Cup or Bust" Mentality

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