“It hurts”: Draisaitl gutted after Oilers' playoff exit

May 15 2023, 2:57 pm

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl looked like he could’ve been on the edge of a once-in-a-lifetime playoff performance.

And while his overall stat line throughout the postseason was nothing to sniff at, the days of Draisaitl chasing NHL playoff records seems like a lifetime ago based on how his season ended.

A 5-2 Game 6 loss on Sunday night on home ice to the Vegas Golden Knights ended Edmonton’s playoff run, and Draisaitl was among the most visually upset members of the team when speaking to the media postgame.

Draisaitl finished the regular season with 52 goals and 76 assists for a total of 128 points in 80 games, while adding 13 goals and five assists in just 12 playoff contests. But over the final four games of the Oilers’ series against the Golden Knights, he put up just a lone assist while being unable to find the back of the net.

Once about as steady a source of offence as could be expected in the NHL, Draisaitl’s magic touch suddenly wore off as Edmonton was run out of the postseason by their divisional rivals.

“It hurts,” Draisaitl told reporters following the loss. “Tough, tough to find words right now. Obviously, when you start a season, you’re in it to win it, and we’re at that stage. If you don’t complete that, just feels like a failure or a wasted year almost. It hurts.”

For Draisaitl, now in his ninth NHL season, it marks the eighth time his Oilers have failed to advance to the Conference Finals.

“Just the feeling of how much it hurts. I don’t think anyone in here wants to feel like that again,” he added about the feeling behind the postseason experience. “You gotta do whatever you have to do personally to make sure you don’t feel like that anymore. Obviously very fresh. Hurts right now.”

With three years left on his contract worth $8.5 million per season, Draisaitl and the Oilers should have a few more playoff runs in store. But for the 27-year-old forward in a drastically younger NHL, every missed opportunity seems like it’ll sting just a little bit more.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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