Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Sunday Census: What is the Oilers’ biggest area of concern this season?

For the most part, Ken Holland kept the old gang together over the offseason, re-signing key players: Evander Kane, Ryan McLeod and Brett Kulak. He also made a few key acquisitions, most notably Jack Campbell from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Holland brought in a few depth players in Mattias Janmark and Ryan Murray to address the areas he felt needed to be improved on.

Now that the roster is set, it’s your turn. What areas do you think the Oilers should be concerned about?

We asked, you answered.

Want to take part in Sunday Census polls? We send them out every week on our Twitter at @oilrigEDM. Follow along or send in ideas for the next poll!

Centre depth is definitely not a concern

As voted by our followers, center depth as a concern for the Oilers came in at 1% of poll voting.

With the Edmonton Oilers’ regular season underway, they got their first win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday with Connor McDavid recording the NHL’s first hat trick of 2022–23. Leon Draisaitl recorded a three point night with a powerplay goal and two assists. With these two beasts upfront, centre depth on any team would be good but add in players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, an up-and-coming Ryan McLeod and Derek Ryan; it’s clear this is not an area of concern for the Oilers.

Oilers’ winger depth is a nonissue

As voted by our followers, winger depth as a concern for the Oilers came in at 10% of poll voting.

Winger depth has certainly improved for the Oilers in recent years. Although the addition of Evander Kane was questionable, it has proven to pay off on the ice and it seems the edgy scoring winger has become the player we have been trying to find for McDavid for many years. Another player who has added to the winger depth is Zach Hyman; his incredible work ethic, puck-protection skills, and versatility has helped give the team a reliable player no matter who he plays with or where he plays in the lineup.

The rookie, Dylan Holloway, is currently playing left wing on the third pairing with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and could be a factor for the Oilers this season if his AHL and NHL preseason game can translate to the regular season. Although things were not off to a great start in the first regular season game, he played well in his sheltered minutes afterward.

There are still question marks within the Oilers’ winger depth and it will be interesting to see whether or not they stay with the team heading into next season. Among these players are Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele; both seem to be struggling to put the puck in the net.

The biggest concern for the Oilers is defence

As voted by our followers, defensive depth as a concern for the Oilers came in at 87% of poll voting.

The addition of Cody Ceci has been a pleasant surprise on the top pairing for the Oilers and has filled the loss of Adam Larsson during the Seattle Kraken expansion quite well. The addition of Brett Kulak at the trade deadline last year has panned out well and he has thrived in a second-pairing role alongside Tyson Barrie. There seems to be a hole in the third pair spot with Evan Bouchard. It looks like Philip Broberg is not ready to jump to the NHL after an underwhelming preseason. Holland is hoping the newly signed Ryan Murray can fill the hole until one of Broberg or Markus Niemelainen is ready for the call-up.

The Oilers seem to lack more depth on the right side than the left, as the left side has more prominent prospects like Broberg and Niemelainen. After Tyson Barrie, the next in line for the call-up would be one of Vincent Desharnais, who is currently on IR, Michael Kesselring or Philip Kemp.

Too soon to tell if the Oilers should be worried about goaltending

Ken Holland made drastic changes between the pipes this offseason, acquiring Jack Campbell to replace Mike Smith as the starter for this year’s roster. Holland also decided to promote Stuart Skinner from the Bakersfield Condor and have him replace Mikko Koskinen for the backup position. These two moves are certainly upgrades when comparing last year’s goalie stats for the four netminders.

Calvin Pickard was brought in from the Detroit Red Wings as a third-string backup and a starting goalie to replace Skinner in Bakersfield. Pickard showed very well during the preseason and should be a reliable call-up option for the Oilers if one of Campbell or Skinner were to get injured.

Where do you think the Oilers’ biggest area of concern is? Comment below!

Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

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