My 2023-24 Oilers Wishlist
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
It’s the early stages of the 2023-24 Oilers season and optimism is high in Edmonton, just like it is in pretty much 31 other markets around the NHL.
Most fan bases are excited about the possibility of their teams having a strong season that ends with a successful playoff run. Others are just itching to get a look at the next wave of young talent coming to their organization.
Everyone is itching to get the season started.
Earlier in the month, I went through the ten biggest storylines heading into the season for the Oilers and today, I want to make a similar list and this one is all about vibes.
Today, I want to give you the five things that are on my Oilers wishlist this season.
These are not milestones that I believe must happen for the team to have a good season and these are not official predictions either. These are just a handful of things that I would like to see happen over the course of the next 82 games for the Edmonton Oilers. They would increase my enjoyment of watching the 2023-24 season
Let’s get into it.
1 – More McDavid Dominance
C’mon, is there anything more fun than watching the Oilers Captain just do ridiculous things to the opposition? I don’t think so.
This season, I want more four-point games (he had ten last season), more highlight reel goals, and more electric 3v3 overtime winners.
For other fan bases, an 82-game regular season can really drag on and there are definitely some stretches that can feel boring, but when Connor McDavid is in the lineup, every game feels like must-watch TV because the last thing you want to do is miss the goal of the year, which is surely going to come off the stick of #97.
Watching McDavid once again rip apart the league is without a doubt number one on my list. I want to see him score 70 goals. I want to see him him the 160-point mark this season. Just make the rest of the league look stupid Connor, that’s all I ask.
2 – Holloway & Broberg Breakouts
Jan 7, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Dylan Holloway (55) protects the puck from Colorado Avalanche forward Darren Helm (43) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Dylan Holloway fits the profile of a player who would work perfectly with one of the Oiler’s two superstar centremen. I love his speed and tenacity plus I think he has more scoring touch than he’s shown through his first 51 career NHL games. On top of that, he’s a good Alberta boy and I have a soft spot for players who’ve gone through the AJHL.
Now, having him become a top-six forward seems unlikely, but he can have a breakout season on the third line. If Holloway could get close to 20 goals this season while playing a third-line role, that would be a massive success. He and Ryan McLeod could be a really strong duo.
I would love to see him take a big step forward this season, even if that doesn’t mean he becomes a fixture in the top six.
This is also a massive season for Philip Broberg. I really can’t stand the bust label and I think anyone who’s throwing that around is just being flat-out impatient.
At the same time, this is a big year for him and I’d love to see him silence his critics and take some steps toward being a strong, all-around, top-four defenseman.
It would be massive for the Oilers if he and Mattias Ekholm could become a strong pairing.
3 – A Darnell Nurse Bounceback
Speaking of silencing critics, I would love nothing more than for Darnell Nurse to have a career year.
I know his contract is frustrating, but the amount of hate he gets considering he consistently chews up massive minutes against strong competition is insane. He’s still a very good NHL defenseman, even though he had some really tough stretches last season.
Having Ekholm on the blueline from game one this year should help him a lot. Ekholm can take some of those tough minutes off his plate.
Nurse’s numbers got better once Ekholm arrived last season and there’s no denying that having him for a full season will help Nurse. Combine that with hopefully some improved play from Nurse and I think there’s a chance we see him have a really strong year.
4 – Another Historic Powerplay
Last week on Oilersnation Everyday, my co-host Liam Horrobin and I ranked the five things we miss the most about hockey season and at number three on our list was the feeling you get when the Oiler’s top powerplay unit comes on the ice. It is absolutely electric.
Baggedmilk has a good line about watching other team’s powerplays and always thinking “Really? This is the best you have?”.
Oilers fans certainly are spoiled and it’s such a treat getting to watch this five-man unit just straight-up dominate the opposition on a consistent basis.
Last season we got to see the best powerplay in NHL history and this year, I want to see them beat their own record. Why not?
5 – Skinner Solidified as #1
It’s been a long, long time since the Oilers had a homegrown number-one goaltender and last season, rookie Stuart Skinner looked like exactly that. An Edmonton product, who was drafted by the organization, and was named an all-star in his rookie season.
His first full season in the league was very promising, but there are plenty of examples of young NHL goalies who look amazing in their first season and never quite reach that level of success again.
I would hate for that to happen to Skinner.
If he takes a step forward this season, then we could be talking about Skinner as one of the best goalies in the Western Conference, and that would be huge for the Oilers.
It would also be great to see a local kid, who is by all accounts just an awesome person and teammate, have even more success.
Again, this is a list of things that I personally want to see. I could totally understand some fans having things like a Jack Campbell bounceback, an elite season from Connor Brown, or another 100-point season from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. There’s a lot to love about this year’s Oilers team so drop your wish lists below and let me know what you want to see over the course of the next 82 games.
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