Three weeks into the 82-game slog, it’s the question everyone wants answered: Is my team’s start real or fake? Is it the genuine article or just a mirage?

Everyone loves to separate the contenders from the pretenders, even when the St. Louis Blues proved last year that January might still be too early to do so.

Nonetheless, let’s dissect five starts that have generated buzz for the right (or wrong) reasons early this season:

 

Edmonton Oilers

Record: 6-1-0 (12 points)

Key Stat: 45.5 per cent power play efficiency (1st)

Scoop: Edmonton’s start has been the talk of the early season. Connor McDavid (17 points) and Leon Draisaitl (15 points) are on another level. The ‘Real Deal’ James Neal is well on the way to redeeming himself with an incredible eight goals in seven games. But those three account for 19 of the Oilers’ 28 goals. Edmonton’s nine other forwards have scored just five.