Edmonton Oilers can’t let current success act as lipstick on a pig

Edmonton Oilers celebrate forward Connor McDavid (97). Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers celebrate forward Connor McDavid (97). Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Edmonton Oilers are red hot but there’s still work to do.

It is fair to say that the Edmonton Oilers are rolling right now having won four straight and they are also 8-2-0 in their last 10 games, sitting second in the North Division behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, although they can’t get too carried away just yet and rest on their laurels.

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This Oilers team are also 10-2-0 in their last 12 games and not only are they winning, and winning consistently, but they are finding different ways to win too which is the most impressive factor about this recent run.

They crushed the Calgary Flames 7-1 in a lopsided Battle of Alberta meeting on Saturday, they gutted out a close 2-1 win against the same opponent the night before, they stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Tuesday night and they’ve also got it done in the Shootout on a couple of occasions too.

The hallmark of any good hockey team is to overcome adversity and find different ways to win, and the Edmonton Oilers are doing that right now as they attempt to keep pace with the Maple Leafs in the North Division and put an inconsistent start to the 2020-21 season behind them.

Edmonton Oilers need to ensure this current hot streak isn’t just a mirage

Now, granted, the Oilers boast a stellar .833 winning percentage since Jan. 30, and, while that probably isn’t sustainable, they should be one of the top teams in the North Division given the fact that they can lay claim to having two of the most uber-talented players on the planet on their roster in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

McDavid is just doing insane McDavid things with 38 points (13 G, 25 A) in 21 games, which leads the NHL, while Draisaitl isn’t too far behind with 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 21 games. Edmonton is also getting contributions from up and down the lineup, however, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recording 18 points (9 G, 9 A) in 21 games and the likes of defensemen Tyson Barrie and Darnell Nurse having big offensive seasons.

Forward Kailer Yamamoto is having a nice year with 10 points (5 G, 5 A), while Jesse Puljujarvi is enjoying a solid bounce-back season with five goals and three assists for eight points in 20 games as this team continues to learn that McDavid and Draisaitl, as brilliant as they are, can’t do it all on their own.

Currently ranked 1st in Goals For Per Game in the NHL, averaging a godly 3.62 goals per game, the Oilers are an offensive juggernaut right now and they always will be given their two-headed monster at the top of the lineup. They are even getting solid goaltending from veteran Mike Smith, who is 5-0-0 this season with a 2.05 Goals Against Average and a .934 Save Percentage.

The blueline, led by the likes of Nurse, Barrie and Ethan Bear, boasts tremendous depth and that backend is a real strong point for Edmonton and that group’s versatility and high-level of play has been a real factor in the Oilers getting hot recently.

Connor McDavid (97)
Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97). Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

However, as good as the Edmonton Oilers are right now, they shouldn’t let this hot streak distract them from the fact that there is work to be done when it comes to the Trade Deadline and ensuring this roster is built for a long postseason run.

Hockey is different come playoff time and McDavid and Draisaitl are going to need some real substance around them if they are able to do their thing and get past the First Round, and you need players who can provide that little bit of jam and sandpaper finish.

If President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland can add a couple of depth scorers to this team to help ease some of the pressure on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl down the stretch and come Playoff time, then that could help massively as would upgrading the goaltending because, as good as Mike Smith has been, I just don’t think he’s going to get it done for you when it really counts.

Granted, Holland is going to have to move some pieces out if he is to acquire one or two new faces at the Trade Deadline, but if he can swing some deals and bolster the supporting cast and address some key needs, then this team can maybe cause some damage in the postseason.

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Look, I’m not taking anything away from what the Edmonton Oilers are doing now because they are rolling and there is no doubt that they are one of the most dangerous teams in the entire National Hockey League but, if they can bolster this roster with one or two key role players, then that should ensure that this current hot streak isn’t just putting lipstick on a pig and this team can actually help Connor McDavid to enjoy some success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.