4 Oilers Looking to Replicate Success in 2022-23

The Edmonton Oilers had a fantastic season in 2021-22. There was a stretch where they struggled, but before and after that they were dominant. There were many contributing factors, but a number of players had career years offensively.

Most notably were a couple of newcomers and the top line in general. We’re going to take a look at the career years that were put together and the upward trajectory of each player, analyzing why they can have repeat performances for the Oilers in 2022-23.

Zach Hyman

Zach Hyman took the long road in his career to progressing into the great player he is today. He works extremely hard every shift, has goal-scoring and offensive abilities, and is a great two-way player. From 2016-17 when he broke into the NHL until last season, the steps of improvement were small but consistent. However, his first season with the Oilers was his healthiest and best season to date.

Hyman set career highs in goals (27), assists (27), points (54), power-play goals (five), power-play points (10), shots (213), average ice time per game (19:28), and tied his career high in shorthanded points (four). He bounced around the top-six and even spent some time on the third line when the Oilers were really trying to create a three-line threat. He is without a doubt a top-six player and is projected to play alongside Connor McDavid on the top line this season.

Zach Hyman Edmonton Oilers
Zach Hyman, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Since Hyman is a puck-retriever, fast, and tenacious in front of the net, he will work very well this season on that top line. With a full season alongside an elite centreman and more power-play time, he will not only replicate last season’s success, but he could also score 30 goals and push to be a point-per-game player. He proved in the postseason that he could really score at will when he put one in the back of the net six games in a row.

Evander Kane

Evander Kane may have only played half a season with the Oilers, but by the end he looked like an elite talent. He is fast, physical, and can shoot the puck very well. He is the goal-scoring winger that the best player in the world, McDavid, needed on his line, and that won’t change anytime soon.

Kane scored 22 goals and 39 points in 43 regular season games and 13 goals and 17 points in 15 playoff games. His goal-scoring put him on pace to score 40 goals over a full season and was scoring at a very elite level in the playoffs which included hat tricks and many multi-goal games.

The most impressive thing about Kane’s production with the Oilers is that the high majority of his points came at even strength. The Oilers already have a dominant power play, so it emphasizes just how dangerous he is at five-on-five. As a lock to be McDavid’s winger on the top line and McDavid only getting better, they have a full season together to do a massive amount of damage to the league and potentially push for 50 goals. I have no doubt Kane will be a point-per-game player and smash his career highs offensively in 2022-23.

Connor McDavid

McDavid is just 25 years old and not even at the peak of his career yet. Last season he set career highs in goals (44), assists (79), points (123), power-play points (44), and shots (314), and improved his faceoff percentage by a crazy amount of 4.2 percent. If that wasn’t his prime, the league won’t be able to handle him playing at an even higher level in the coming years.

Connor McDavid Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid and Evander Kane of the Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

McDavid kicked it into another gear last postseason when he led the playoffs in points playing just three rounds, as he scored 10 goals, and 33 points, and was a plus-15 in 16 games while picking up his physical intensity. If he can play at a rate of over two points per game in the playoffs where it is tougher hockey and harder to score, he can undoubtedly do it during the regular season against non-playoff teams.

Related: 5 Reasons the Oilers Will Win the Stanley Cup in 2022-23

McDavid won his fourth Art Ross Trophy of his career and seeing as his shots increased by a wide margin, he is well on his way to scoring 50 goals at one point in his career. He looks to have legitimate wingers to play alongside for the entire season and will produce a ton on the power play as he and the Oilers do every season. He continues to push to be better and continues to succeed as a result of it.

Evan Bouchard

Evan Bouchard was the biggest surprise last season for the Oilers and a pleasant one at that. With little expectations entering his first full season in the NHL, he exceeded those quickly and showed the team that he was a top-four defenceman from the start.

Bouchard may not have figured out his complete game just yet, but he is young and should have Brett Kulak to help him progress even more this season. Offensively, we should expect even more from him as the 22-year-old scored 12 goals and 43 points last season. He is going to get much better than that and finish many campaigns in the double digits in goals. This season he should see his role expand and likely get even more power-play time with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Bouchard has the ability to get a ton of shots through to the net, resulting in goals and rebounds. His shot is strong and he can also walk the line effectively. All of these weapons in his arsenal will only get better with time and a big step forward should come this season with Jay Woodcroft as head coach and a better team surrounding him.

There is going to be a lot expected of the Oilers’ top line this season and they can deliver. All three can very realistically put together career years together while the team’s most promising young defenceman looks to join the group of elite defenceman in the NHL (from “Lowetide: Oilers’ Evan Bouchard is on the edge of stardom”, The Athletic, July 20, 2022). Many members of the team should help this group replicate their success from last season, and even improve upon it in 2022-23.