Oilersnation Roundtable: Other than Connor McDavid, who’s been the Edmonton Oilers’ MVP this season?
Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis7 months ago
Connor McDavid is going to clean up at the NHL Awards this summer.
With a week left to go in the 2022-23 season, McDavid has a five-goal lead over David Pastrnak in the Rocket Richard Trophy race and he’s 25 points clear of teammate Leon Draisaitl in the Art Ross Trophy race. Now at 62 goals and 148 points and counting, McDavid will surely win the third Hart Trophy of his career.
Everybody knows that McDavid is the most valuable player on the Edmonton Oilers and in the league, but who else deserves love for team MVP this season?
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This is a really tough question because the Oilers have had so many players pulling their weight this season. Leon Draisaitl would be an easy choice simply because he’s 17 points clear of the third-highest-scoring player in the league and could potentially set a record for the most powerplay points in a season. Not picking him seems borderline insane, but I’m going to do it and give my vote to Stuart Skinner.
Earlier this week, I said that the Oilers might not have been a playoff team without Skinner and I stand by that. Yes, Jack Campbell has racked up some wins but Skinner got the Oilers through a very important stretch early in the season and he’s stayed remarkably consistent throughout the year. For years, we talked about how the Oilers just needed someone to consistently be between a .905-.910 save percentage and Skinner has been exactly that. Goaltending is the most important position in the sport and Skinner has given them some much-needed stability. He’s my non-McDavid MVP.
This has been an excellent season and there are multiple players on the Oilers who have had very impressive performances. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is arguably the league’s best power-play weapon and he cracked the 100-point plateau for the first time, Leon Draisaitl has quietly broken the 50-goal and 120-point plateau, and Stuart Skinner has himself in the Calder Trophy conversation with a .911 save percentage through 47 starts.
I’d hand Skinner the non-McDavid MVP for keeping the Oilers above water while Jack Campbell was struggling mightily during the first half of the season, but now my vote is for Mattias Ekholm, who’s completely changed the complexion of Edmonton’s blueline. The Oilers are 15-2-1 since Ekholm’s arrival and the team has a 24-to-10 goal differential while he’s on the ice. He’s the best player the Oilers have had on their blueline since Chris Pronger.
This is a fun question because there are a few different angles you can take with this question. If we’re eliminating Connor McDavid from MVP contention for the purposes of this exercise, the obvious next answer would be Leon Draisaitl. With 123 points on the season and a third 50-goal campaign under his belt, Leon has been everything the Oilers could have hoped for him to be, and I don’t think he gets enough love around the NHL for just how good he is. But as we all know, Draisaitl is one of the best hockey players on earth in his own right and I’d bet all of Jason Gregor’s money that there are 31 other teams that would love to have him on their roster.
The other approach you can take here would be to give Stuart Skinner the nod. Without him, this 2022-23 season could have been a complete disaster for the Edmonton Oilers, but thanks to Stu’s steady play from start to finish, they’re in a position to earn home-ice advantage in the playoffs. For me, Skinner’s year is one of the most impressive rookie seasons that we’ve ever seen, and while I know he wouldn’t get any MVP love outside of this metaphorical situation, it’s hard to ignore all of the incredible work he’s done for his hometown club over the past six months.
The obvious answer here for non-McDavid-MVP here is Stuart Skinner, and I love Cam giving love to Mattias Ekholm, who has been everything and more for the Oilers this season. But for me, I’m going to go with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This guy, in his 12th year in the league, just broke 100 points for the first time in his career. He’s provided tremendous secondary scoring for the Oilers and his $5.125-million contract looks sweeter and sweeter every day.
What say you, Nation? Who’s your non-McDavid MVP this season?
THE YEAR OF NUGE TEE!
You knew we would have a t-shirt dialed in an ready to go as soon as RNH hit 100 points, and here it is!
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