Why One Forward May Hold The Oilers Playoff Fate

May 7, 2023  (8:30)

If one were to analyze the Oilers scoring in the 2022-23 postseason, there are some obvious statistics. Leon Draisaitl has 13 goals, four assists, and Connor McDavid has five goals, 10 assists.

A player who excelled in the playoffs last season with six goals, eight assists in 16 games was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Not so much this postseason so far. He has only six assists in eight games and has yet to turn on the red light.
In comparison, even Mattias Ekholm has six assists playing on the blueline. RNH has five assists on the power play and one on 5-on-5. His contribution of secondary scoring is essential to the Oilers success.
Head coach Jay Woodcroft stated, "Ryan is working and endeavouring to be an important piece of our lineup on a night-in and night-out basis, Woodcroft said. I don't fault his effort, his attention to detail, or anything like that.
It hasn't gone in for him in these playoffs through seven games at the rate it went in for him during the regular season. But you would be remiss if you just measured his contribution solely in offensive production."
At some point, RNH will need to start scoring. When you have two superstars like McDavid and Draisaitl doing the job, they can't be expected to carry the entire load. He has the capabilities as evidenced by his 37 goals, 67 assists during the regular season. The playoffs are a whole different animal and RNH know it.
If his offensive game is suffering, he needs to step up defensively. No forward received more short-handed ice time than Nugent-Hopkins during the regular season.
"When things are slowing down offensively, you've got to be able to take care of things on the defensive side» Nugent-Hopkins said.
Thus far that hasn't worked out too well for him either, as he has been on the ice for three opposition goals against.
In the Oilers 5-1 romp over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2, RNH had two assists, both on the power play. He's staying involved and it's only a matter of time before he scores his first goal of the postseason.
And, that is good news for the Oilers if they wish to get past a tough Vegas team and head to the next round.
7 MAI   |   329 ANSWERS
Why One Forward May Hold The Oilers Playoff Fate

Will RNH break out of his playoffs scoring slump?

Yes, it will happen17252.3 %
He has the skills to do it10030.4 %
Not sure yet3510.6 %
He better226.7 %
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