Despite getting knocked out in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual Cup winning Vegas Golden Knights, the Edmonton Oilers are poised to be one of the NHL’s best teams in the 2023–24 season.
With several players coming off career seasons, there is no surprise that the Oilers feature prominently in the NHL’s fantasy hockey rankings heading into next season. Currently, the Oilers have 10 players on the list. Here’s their fantasy outlook for 2023–24.
1. Connor McDavid (C)
No brainer on this one. Connor McDavid is the clear cut number one player in the world and in fantasy hockey. Normal logic would say that he probably can’t replicate his historic 153-point season, but McDavid defies normal logic. He could set career highs in every category once again and it wouldn’t even be remotely surprising.
2. Leon Draisaitl (C/LW)
The Oilers have the top two fantasy players and likely the top two overall players in the world right now. With Leon Draisaitl able to dominate all on his own, his floor is extremely high. He doesn’t need McDavid to be an elite player anymore and any minutes spent alongside McDavid just further increases Draisaitl’s value. No brainier number two pick.
34. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C/LW)
This is where it gets interesting. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a phenomenal year surpassing 100 points, and with the Oilers bringing back essentially the same lineup, there isn’t much reason to suggest he can’t replicate it. But, Nugent-Hopkins did shoot at 18% which is 6% higher than his career average. Regression is likely to occur there. As well, 39 of his assists were secondary as opposed to 28 primary assists, which generally points to a luckier stat line. I would be wary taking Nuge in the top-30, especially with weak supporting stats and positional flexibility.
43. Zach Hyman (LW/RW)
Another player with a career year, Zach Hyman’s season is much more likely to be replicated. He only shot at 13% which is in line with his career average, and had 27 primary assists. With solid supporting stats, Hyman is a great complementary player that provides access to the Oilers power play. He should be good for 80 points again next season.
46. Evander Kane (LW)
Limited to just 41 games last season and most of them at much less than full health, Evander Kane is a prime bounce back candidate for 2023–24. He should be back to full health and a fixture on a line with either McDavid and Draisaitl. Add in Kane’s exceptional peripheral category coverage and you’ve got a player who could easily jump into the top-30 by season’s end, a bargain to draft at 46.
63. Evan Bouchard (D)
With the departure of Tyson Barrie, Evan Bouchard proved he can be an elite offensive defenceman in the NHL and should be drafted as such. He’s ranked way too low at 63 in my opinion, and could challenge to be a top-five fantasy d-man by the end of the season. I’d reach for Bouchard and be extremely happy wit him as my number one D in fantasy next season. There is always a risk of Darnell Nurse taking his spot on PP1, but after what Bouchard did in the playoffs that seems unlikely to happen.
155. Stuart Skinner (G)
Stuart Skinner may not have been able to beat the Golden Knights in the playoffs, but we really shouldn’t be holding that against him. No other goalie was able to do it either, and if you look at his full body of work you see a bona fide starting netminder in the NHL. The Oilers will no doubt want Jack Campbell to get more reps next season, but Skinner has no reason to give into that pressure. It’s his net to lose and at the end of the day, his career is going one way and Campbell’s the other. I’d bet high on Skinner, maybe not as my number one goalie, but easily as my number two.
158. Darnell Nurse (D)
Over the years, Darnell Nurse has caught criticism for being a defensive liability and a poor overall defender. However, nobody cares about that in fantasy hockey, and Nurse has proven he has the offensive upside to do damage from the blueline. Being the second option behind Bouchard will help Nurse exploit weaker competition and allow for his offense to shine through a bit more. Nurse is never going to hurt your fantasy team with the category coverage he provides, and is a steal at 158th in my eyes.
161. Mattias Ekholm (D)
Last year’s stats are split between Nashville and Edmonton, but what’s important to note is how his production soared after the trade. Mattias Ekholm put up 14 points in 21 games for the Oilers which translates to a 55-point pace. It’s not likely that he hits that number next season, but Ekholm is such a smart player that he opens up a lot of offense for his teammates. With a run and gun style of offense, this allows Ekholm to rack up assists and he could still be extremely fantasy relevant next season. He probably won’t get PP time, but at even strength he can definitely provide value.
190. Connor Brown (RW)
He played just four games last season due to injury, but Connor Brown is a low risk high reward player for next season. He likely won’t be ranked very high which means he should be available very late in drafts or even afterwards on the waiver wire, but the potential to play with McDavid is enough on its own to justify taking a flyer on Brown. If he can rekindle any kind of chemistry he had with McDavid back in the OHL, he could easily have a career year. This is the type of player that can make elevate a team to fantasy championship level.
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