Oilers approval ratings: Which players are fans happy and unhappy with?

The Oilers have yet to reach the mountaintop in the Connor McDavid era, but there are plenty of players doing their part.

This is Part 2 of a series examining how fans feel about the most prominent players on their favourite Canadian NHL teams.

To qualify, a player must be top-nine forward, top-four defenceman, or top-two goaltender according to the team's CapFriendly depth chart who appeared in at least 10 regular-season games with the club in 2022-23.

Other articles in the series: Maple Leafs, Senators, Canadiens, Flames, Jets, Canucks

The Edmonton Oilers just produced their best regular season in the Connor McDavid era, but there are multiple ways to interpret their full 2022-23 campaign.

You could say that there's no shame in bowing out to the future Stanley Cup champions in a series where Edmonton tended to control the play and McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continued to prove they're big-game performers.

Looking at just the bottom line, it'd also be fair to characterize a second-round exit as a disappointment for a team with legitimate championship aspirations.

The Oilers are a team characterized by individual talent — and role players' inability to provide enough support to stars. That makes them a fascinating squad to dissect when it comes to fan sentiment on a player-by-player basis.

Let's get started:

Connor McDavid

Oilers captain Connor McDavid is coming off the most prolific season of his career. (Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oilers captain Connor McDavid is coming off the most prolific season of his career. (Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Position: C

2022-23 regular-season stats: 82 GP, 64 G, 89 A, 153 P — 57.67 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 8 G, 12 A, 20 P — 56.23 xGF% (5v5)

It's not an exaggeration to say McDavid just put together one of the best seasons ever. The 26-year-old's point total was staggering, he topped his previous career-high goal total by 20, and the Oilers scored 190 times when he was on the ice.

He even set a career-high in penalty-killing minutes (104:43), and the Oilers scored almost as many goals (8) as they allowed (9) down a man with McDavid on the ice. He continued his momentum in the playoffs, with 10 points in each of Edmonton's two series and filled up his trophy case at the NHL Awards in June.

Leon Draisaitl

Position: C/LW

2022-23 regular-season stats: 80 GP, 50 G, 76 A, 128 P — 52.62 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 13 G, 5 A, 18 P — 55.04 xGF% (5v5)

Draisaitl couldn't match McDavid's production, but he towered over the rest of the NHL, producing 15 more points than any player other than his teammate. The German also served as the trigger man for the most efficient power play in NHL history (32.4%), scoring 11 more power-play goals than any other player (32).

In the postseason he was nothing short of electric, leading the NHL in goals despite participating in just two rounds. It was Draisaitl's second consecutive playoff fireworks show and he now has 55 points in his last 30 postseason contests.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Position: C/LW

2022-23 regular-season stats: 82 GP, 37 G, 67 A, 104 P — 52.86 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 1 G, 10 A, 11 P — 45.93 xGF% (5v5)

With McDavid and Draisaitl putting up staggering numbers, the 104-point campaign Nugent-Hopkins managed flew under the radar — partly due to the fact he had more points on the power play (53) than at even strength (47).

Although Nugent-Hopkins undoubtedly benefitted from playing alongside the Oilers' stars with the man advantage, he deserves credit for more than doubling his point total from 2021-22. The veteran was less impactful during the playoffs than the regular season, as he scored just once and posted some of the worst possession numbers on the team.

Zach Hyman

Position: LW/RW

2022-23 regular-season stats: 79 GP, 36 G, 47 A, 83 P — 56.22 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 3 G, 8 A, 11 P — 54.45 xGF% (5v5)

Like Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman shattered his previous career-highs in goals, assists, and points. Throughout his career he has proven adept at fitting in alongside star players, and he did so again last season — but it would be unfair to call him a passenger.

From his puck retrieval abilities to his top-notch backhand, Hyman had plenty to offer the Oilers' offence in his second season with the club. His playoff contributions didn't quite match his regular-season work, but they were solid nonetheless.

Evander Kane

Position: LW

2022-23 regular-season stats: 41 GP, 16 G, 12 A, 28 P — 48.08 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 3 G, 2 A, 5 P — 49.61 xGF% (5v5)

Kane's second season with the Oilers was derailed by a severe wrist injury in November that cost him more than two months of action. His scoring slowed down following his return, as he managed 15 points in 27 games after producing 13 in the first 14 contests of 2022-23.

The 32-year-old's impact was muted in the postseason as he got off to a hot start, but was held scoreless in the Oilers' final seven playoff games with one assist to his name.

Mattias Janmark

Position: LW

2022-23 regular-season stats: 66 GP, 10 G, 15 A, 25 P — 48.91 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 5 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P — 56.32 xGF% (5v5)

Janmark entered 2022-23 as a 30-year-old coming off four seasons with between 21 and 25 points, so the Oilers got approximately what they bargained for with the Swede.

The seven-year NHL vet played a bottom-six role for Edmonton, logging plenty of penalty-killing minutes and starting most of his shifts in the defensive zone. He was unable to make much of an impact in the playoffs due to injury.

Ryan McLeod

Position: C

2022-23 regular-season stats: 57 GP, 11 G, 12 A, 23 P — 55.35 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 0 G, 5 A, 5 P — 62.38 xGF% (5v5)

McLeod's second NHL season didn't include a massive uptick in points, but he did log more minutes and earn solid possession metrics despite playing a defensive role.

The young centre was similarly effective — if not wildly productive — during the postseason, helping the Oilers spend his minutes on the ice in the offensive zone, while absorbing some tough matchups so McDavid and Draisaitl didn't have to.

Warren Foegele

Position: RW

2022-23 regular-season stats: 67 GP, 13 G, 15 A, 28 P — 57.27 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P — 66.19 xGF% (5v5)

Foegele has never been an offensive force at the NHL level, but in 2022-23 he produced a double-digit goal total for the fifth consecutive year. He also posted stellar possession metrics through the regular season and playoffs.

The 27-year-old got very little special teams time, but his 5v5 work was enough to make him a useful bottom-six contributor.

Evan Bouchard

Position: D

2022-23 regular-season stats: 82 GP, 8 G, 32 A, 40 P — 57.68 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 4 G, 13 A, 17 P — 54.45 xGF% (5v5)

Bouchard's 2022-23 looked much like his 2021-22 until the playoffs hit. If anything, there was an argument to be made that he was worse, as his point total fell slightly and he was taken off the penalty kill, reducing his total ice time.

His excellent possession numbers provide a rebuttal for that line of thinking, but he didn't take a star turn until the postseason. In the playoffs, he produced more points than any other defender despite playing just 12 games, and he scored twice as many power-play goals (4) as he did in 82 regular-season games (2).

Like many of the players on this list, playing alongside McDavid and Draisaitl — particularly on the power play — has given Bouchard a boost, but he's also capable of making plays for himself.

Mattias Ekholm

Position: D

2022-23 regular-season stats (w/EDM): 21 GP, 4 G, 10 A, 14 P — 61.67 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 P — 52.64 xGF% (5v5)

Ekholm seemed to be an excellent fit the moment he arrived in Edmonton. His offensive numbers spiked, the Oilers dominated his 5v5 minutes, and the team won 18 of the 21 regular-season games he participated in.

During the postseason his impact wasn't as quite as significant, but he gave Edmonton nearly 22 minutes of quality ice time per night.

Darnell Nurse

Position: D

2022-23 regular-season stats: 82 GP, 12 G, 31 A, 43 P — 52.46 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 11 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 P — 54.10 xGF% (5v5)

Nurse's role shrank slightly in 2022-23 as his total ice time fell and he received his fewest power-play minutes since 2017-18. He still set a career-high in points and his possession metrics were solid for a player who was often buried in his own zone.

In the playoffs, Nurse didn't do much offensively, got himself suspended for instigating a fight with Nicolas Hague, and didn't receive rave reviews. That said, the Oilers were only outscored by a single goal at 5v5 with Nurse on the ice during the playoffs — a palatable number for a player taking hard assignments — and most of his advanced metrics were at least solid.

Cody Ceci

Position: D

2022-23 regular-season stats: 80 GP, 1 G, 14 A, 15 P — 51.06 xGF% (5v5)

2022-23 postseason stats: 12 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P — 42.79 xGF% (5v5)

Ceci has been a polarizing player wherever he's gone, and the stay-at-home defenceman continued to be just that last season. He made a characteristically small offensive contribution, but logged difficult minutes and a significant penalty-killing load.

He did not acquit himself well in the playoffs, as the Oilers got consistently filled in when he was on the ice. Ceci's game has very little margin for error because any defensive gaffes he makes are almost never made up for by any kind of offence.

Stuart Skinner

Position: G

2022-23 regular-season stats: 29-14-5 with a 2.75 GAA, .913 SV% and +14.1 GSAA

2022-23 postseason stats: 5-6 with a 3.68 GAA, .883 SV% and -6.9 GSAA

Skinner was a pleasant surprise for the Oilers — and one that they desperately needed after Jack Campbell faltered in the starting role. The rookie took control of the crease and never let go, putting together a season that would earn him second place in Calder Trophy voting.

While the 24-year-old didn't immediately arrive as an elite NHL goaltender, he more than held his own, earning a three-year contract extension. Unfortunately for the Edmonton native, the wheels fell off in his first taste of postseason action.

Jack Campbell

Position: G

2022-23 regular-season stats: 21-9-4 with a 3.41 GAA, .888 SV% and -16.7 GSAA

2022-23 postseason stats: 1-0 with a 1.01 GAA, .9.61 SV% and +3.5 GSAA

Campbell signed a long-term deal with the Oilers prior to the season and it appeared he would be the team's starter, but a run of poor play cost him his job. Campbell never got his footing and allowed four or more goals in more games (15) than he conceded two or fewer in (12).

The 31-year-old was stellar in his brief playoff cameo, but he wasn't given an extended opportunity to start.