For hockey fans, it is the most wonderful time of the year as the Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner. And as always, there are a handful of contenders, pretenders, and the potential for an upset or two. We'll start by taking a closer look at the Edmonton Oilers, who feature some of the most exciting and dynamically gifted offensive players in the National Hockey League. But will their fatal flaw prove to be between the pipes?

The Oilers made a key personnel change early in the season

They started this season in stunning free-fall mode, getting blown out regularly and stumbling to a 3-9-1 record through the first 13 games. Their abysmal start would cost head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson their jobs, and stepping into the head coaching role was Kris Knoblauch along with franchise legend Paul Coffey as an assistant.

Since then, the Oilers far more closely resembled the team many had picked to be the last squad standing, boasting an impressive 46-17-5 record after he took over. And superstar Connor McDavid continued to show why he's arguably the NHL's best player, posting 32 goals and an astounding 100 assists.

The Oilers are regarded as one of the NHL's most dangerous offensive teams. But as they continue preparations to face a yet-t0-be-determined opponent in Round 1, there is one flaw that could eventually prove to be their undoing.

The Oilers' fatal flaw

Goaltender Stuart Skinner posted an impressive record of 36-15-5 with a goals-against average of 2.57, a save percentage of .907, and a pair of shutouts. This ascent can be attributed in part to the challenges faced by Jack Campbell, who has not met the expectations set by his five-year, $25 million deal signed before last season. Campbell's struggles led to his relegation to the American Hockey League this season with the Bakersfield Condors.

Meanwhile, the team promoted journeyman Calvin Pickard to the backup role and posted a respectable record of 12-7-1.

When Oilers general manager Ken Holland was asked whether or not he was considering shoring up Edmonton's goaltending depth at last month's NHL Trade Deadline, the answer was concise.

“No. I'm not exploring the market at all,” he said. “We feel really good about our goaltending.”

But did the Oilers miss an opportunity to improve the valuable position? The numbers that Skinner has posted in the regular season may be all well and good, but as hockey fans know, the postseason is a completely different set of circumstances.

Stuart Skinner's postseason record doesn't inspire confidence

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) before the game against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In the 12 postseason games that he's played in during his career, Skinner has a pedestrian record of 5-6-0  with a goals-against average of 3.68 and a .883 save percentage. Meanwhile, Pickard has yet to make a postseason appearance of his own.

The Edmonton Oilers have a storied history of playoff success, with legendary goaltenders like Grant Fuhr, Andy Moog, and Curtis Joseph etched in fans' memories. Dwayne Roloson's remarkable performance in 2006 remains particularly unforgettable. While Stuart Skinner has only participated in the postseason once, he still has much ground to cover before reaching the esteemed status of the aforementioned names.

They have no shortage of offensive firepower with the likes of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and new 50-goal scorer Zach Hyman. But their goaltending once the regular season ends and the postseason starts remains a question mark at best.

There were even times earlier this season that Skinner found himself being booed by the home faithful at Rogers Place, something that he would admit was “a dream”.

“No, this is a dream… and sometimes being heckled is an incredible honor,” said Skinner.

“When I was young I read a quote about goalies, and it said it was the best job in the world. Hearing all the fans when you let in a goal. It’s the best job I’ll ever have. I’m very fortunate to be booed. If people say I suck, that’s great.”

Skinner has the chance to turn those boos into loud cheers here in the next few weeks and potentially months. But his albeit short track record in the postseason doesn't exactly inspire confidence, and the Oilers would be in major trouble if he were to falter or even suffer injury.

Will Ken Holland regret not making a move for a goaltender who has a more established postseason record? Only time will tell.