Why the Edmonton Oilers are different this season — or are they?


The Edmonton Oilers have your attention.

Superstar captain Connor McDavid has created a season’s worth of highlights in a span of a few weeks, starting the campaign with a 17-game points streak. Leon Draisaitl leads the league in points (35 in 17 games, for a 2.06 per-game average). Here’s the list of players in NHL history who have posted a single-season average above two points per game: Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

The two Oilers stars fuel a power play that’s been the best in the NHL for two straight seasons and only recently dipped under a 40% conversion rate (39.6%). With the man advantage, Edmonton is the greatest show on ice.

But what is really commanding attention is its place in the standings. The Oilers have the highest points percentage (.765) in the Western Conference, and the third-highest in the NHL behind the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers.

McDavid and Draisaitl have dragged the Oilers to the playoffs three times, but the team has failed to seriously contend once there, including a first-round sweep last season. This iteration feels different — like a team that won’t just make a cameo appearance in the postseason but will challenge for a championship.

Have the Oilers leveled up? Here’s a look at the numbers, what the Oilers themselves are saying, and what the league is saying about them.



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