June 24, 2024

The Edmonton Oilers had great expectations going into their 2023–24 season and wanted to take home the Stanley Cup. The notion that this season would be a “Cup or bust” campaign for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl heightened the significance of that objective. Regretfully, they began the season with a 3-9-1 record, and no one knew why everything was going wrong on or off the rink. In an unexpected move intended to shake things up and ignite something, the team opted to terminate Jay Woodcroft and Dave Manson, replacing them with Kris Knoblauch and Paul Coffey. After a horrific start from Jack Campbell, they also decided to call up Calvin Pickard and send Campbell down.

Elvis Merzlikins - Columbus Blue Jackets Goaltender - ESPN

The team’s inconsistent goaltending was harshly criticized in the beginning, with many fans having differing ideas about what might be wrong in Edmonton. Although he didn’t get off to the best start, Stuart Skinner outperformed Campbell and deservedly regained the starting job for the remainder of the campaign, while Pickard has performed admirably in his new role as a backup goalie. One name kept popping up in talks about possible trades, even though supporters were pressuring the Oilers to acquire a goaltender because they thought it would solve all of their issues.

This season, the Columbus Blue Jackets are fully committed to rebuilding, and before they can compete once more, they probably have a few more seasons of mediocrity ahead of them. It looks like this will be another season where they finish last in the standings, even though Johnny Gaudreau and Adam Fantilli are in charge and have a strong support system in Boone Jenner and Zach Werenski, among others. They haven’t been able to find anything that works to make them contenders. They haven’t demonstrated any true strengths, and it looks like they will be offloading this season at the trade deadline.

The Oilers have improved their season after going on a 10-game winning streak, while the Blue Jackets have been struggling lately. Despite their recent victory over the blazing Vancouver Canucks, which was their first in the previous four games, they now hold the bottom spot in the Metropolitan Division with a 14-21-9 record. Following the victory over the Canucks, Elvis Merzlikins made news when he revealed that, following months of being benched by the Blue Jackets, he had asked to be traded.

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