The 2021-22 NHL season has passed its quarter-mark, and the Edmonton Oilers are one of the league’s highest-scoring teams, averaging 3.77 goals through their first 22 games.
Edmonton features several players putting up numbers at a career-best pace, led by the top two leaders in the NHL points race, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.
It won’t be easy for these Oilers to maintain such a rate for another 60 games, but the sample size is large enough now that their production can’t be dismissed as a hot streak that ends after a couple of weeks. Here are five Oilers that are on their way to establishing statistical highs this season.
Current stats: 21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points in 22 games
The man that some call “The Germany Gretzky” is on an 82-game pace to hit 78 goals and 82 assists and 160 points, all of which are numbers no Oilers player has come close to since Wayne Gretzky in the 1980s.
Should he keep this up, Draisaitl would join Gretzky and Mario Lemieux as the only players to record 160 points in a season. If Draisaitl scores 78 times, he would have the fifth-most goals in an NHL season.
Draisaitl’s current personal bests were 50 goals in 2018-19, 67 assists, and 110 points in 2019-20, when he swept the NHL awards, winning the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy. and Ted Lindsay Award.
Current stats: 16 goals, 26 assists, 42 points in 22 games
For all his greatness over the first several seasons of his NHL career, McDavid has never scored more than 41 goals in a season. At his current 82-game rate of 60 goals, he’ll surpass his current best with around 25 games left in the season.
Additionally, McDavid’s current stats project to 97 assists and 157 points in 82 games, far exceeding his presents career highs of 75 and 116, respectively, which were both established in 2018-19. If Edmonton’s captain gets 97 helpers, he will tie Adam Oates for the 15th most in NHL history and the most in the last 30 years.
Current stats: 2 goals 20 assists, 22 points in 22 games
This has been a fascinating season for Nugent-Hopkins statistically. The 11-year veteran is averaging the fewest goals per game of his career while producing assists at his highest rate since being drafted first overall by the Oilers in 2011.
Over 82 games, Nugent Hopkins’ current numbers equate to seven goals, 75 assists, and 82 points. That would be the second-fewest goals in his career (his current low is four, in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season when he played just 40 games) but almost twice his best-ever assists total (41 in 2018-19). He would also join a select group of Oilers with 75 assists in a season, including Gretzky, McDavid, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, and Doug Weight.
Based on his current production rate, Nugent-Hopkins would also surpass his current personal best of 69 points that he recorded in 2018-19.
Current stats: 7 goals, 11 assists, 18 points in 22 games
Puljujarvi has picked up where he left off last season when the 23-year-old winger set career highs with 15 goals, 10 assists, and 25 points while suiting up for 55 games.
He already has a new high for assists when he picked up his 11th helper in Edmonton’s 4-3 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Friday (Dec. 3), and at his current rate – which projects to 26 goals and 67 points over 82 games – he’ll do the same for points sometime before Christmas, and for goals early in the New Year.
Current stats: 11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points in 22 games
The first-year Oilers forward, who signed in Edmonton as a free agent during the offseason, is continuing the impressive trend of his previous five years with the Toronto Maple Leafs, in which he increased his points per game average each season.
Hyman’s 82-game projections are 41 goals, 22 assists, and 63 points. That would give him nearly double his current career-high for goals (21, reached in both 2018-19 and 2019-20) and be more than one and a half times his personal best for points (41 in 2018-19).
If Hyman, Draisaitl, and McDavid all hit their 82-game projections, it would mark the first time the Oilers have had three players score 40 goals since 1987-88, when Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Craig Simpson hit that benchmark.
Piling Up the Points and Racking Up the Wins
Ask any member of the Oilers, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you it’s not about their personal numbers; all that matters is the team’s record, which, at 16-6-0, is equally as impressive as the individual stats. But Oilers fans are having fun every night tracking the players’ goals and assists, just as they are cheering for an Edmonton win. And everyone will be happy if the Oilers keep up the individual and team success when they next hit the ice tonight (Dec. 5) against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.