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Edmonton Oilers 2020-21 Season In Review: the offence

Welcome to the season in review! In this, and other articles, I’ll be, well, reviewing the Edmonton Oilers 2020-21 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.

The Edmonton Oilers offence was one of the most potent in the NHL. They scored the seventh most goals for per hour with 3.26 with a dip to 2.52 (10th) at 5×5.

Edmonton was led offensively by the prowess of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who finished first and second in the league in scoring. Their 105 and 84 points, respectively, were massive parts of the Oilers season.

But beyond that pair, the Oilers struggled. With them both of them off the ice, the Oilers only scored 1.27 GF/60 and posted a gut-wrenching 29.36 GF% — a number far and away from where it needs to be.

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Offensively, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tried to pick up the slack as the third-highest scoring forward, but his 35 points in 52 games weren’t able to turn the tide all that much. His scoring rate this season was only down .05 points per game from his career average, but his 5×5 production plummetted. He scored only 1.15 points per hour, a significant drop from the 2.23 he scored in 2019-20, or the 1.57 he scored in 2018-19.

As much as he’s a valuable part of the team, Nugent-Hopkins has struggled to drive a line on his own throughout his NHL career and Edmonton, if they choose to play him away from Draisaitl or McDavid, need to find him someone who can help drive play.

Jesse Puljujarvi’s return to Edmonton was huge and he was a solid complementary piece on the Oilers top line. He showed his ability to be a strong play driver not only offensively, but defensively, too.

Kailer Yamamoto came back down to earth after a solid 27 game stint in his first season. He scored 21 points in 52 games, decent production for a sophomore player. Dogged away from the puck, he’s a player whose game needs to take a step forward next year as someone who should be a top-six player for a long time in Edmonton.

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Avert your eyes for anything beyond that as Edmonton struggled to get production out of nearly any other player. Sure, Josh Archibald chipped in seven goals and both Alex Chiasson and Dominik Kahun found the net nine times each, but there was a consistent lack of production from what became a docile group consistently getting outscored.

In fact, the only Oilers not named Draisaitl, McDavid, Yamamoto or Puljujarvi to not be outscored was Tyler Ennis.

All in all, the Oilers offence was potent, but that largely came from top of the best players in the NHL. Righly so, but if Ken Holland and the Oilers want to win a Stanley Cup anytime soon, they need to find players who not only can be productive in bottom-six roles, but players who don’t consistently get outscored the way the Oilers did this year.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]