Loss to Avs Should Not Moisten Optimism for Connor McDavid and the Oilers in the Future

Loss to Avs Should Not Moisten Optimism for Connor McDavid and the Oilers in the Future

Derek Leung/Getty Images

It’s a sad day in Alberta’s capital city.

Flags are boiling down. Wagers are being paid. Beards are being shaved.

Due To The Fact That the Edmonton Oilers didn’t win the Stanley Cup.

After a gut-wrenching 6-5 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Video Game 4 of the Western Conference Final finished an inglorious weeklong sweep, the franchise in the NHL’s northern most city won’t be having a parade.

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

IT’S OVER. LEHKONEN SENDS THE AVS TO THE #STANLEYCUP FINAL pic.twitter.com/dreQ4bNZWD

It’s been 31 successive seasons considering that the franchise last raised the Stanley Cup when the group won its fifth title in seven years.

So for fans of a particular age, it’s simply another unfulfilling spring in the “City of (Ex-) Champions.”

Still, it appears a little various this time around.

Instead of putting together post-mortems with more shopping list of factors the group can’t win as presently constructed, those closest to the group are actually suggesting (gasp!) optimism.

Not surprisingly, the most significant factors use uniform Nos. 97 and 29.

Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images

Though the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl captured 4 scoring titles, three MVPs and 4 Ted Lindsay Awards, they managed to win just eight championship game– and one playoff series– across their first six seasons of playing together given that McDavid was selected No. 1 general in 2015.

Certainly shy of the 4 banners that Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier hung prior to their partnership ended in 1988.

But stirring series wins over the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames this spring created the momentum to recommend it can happen again– at least once due to the fact that they’re still a pretty good pair.

Even after a four-game erasure by the Avalanche, both McDavid (33) and Draisaitl (32) are still well ahead in the league’s playoff scoring race thanks to the cartoonish rate at which they ‘d produced versus the Kings and Flames.

StatsCentre @StatsCentre

A lot of points in a playoff year without making it to the #StanleyCup Last:
35- Doug Gilmour (TOR, 1993)
33- Connor McDavid ( @EdmontonOilers in 2022 through 10 objectives & & 23 assists)
33- Rick Middleton (BOS, 1983)
32- Leon Draisaitl (EDM in 2022 via 7G-25 A)
32- Barry Pederson (BOS, 1983) pic.twitter.com/su1HvP2zTn

That clip was on the heels of an equally unreasonable season in which they ‘d ended up initially and fourth in the league with a combined 233 overall points.

And the very best news? They’re no longer alone.

Individual accolades notwithstanding, the uptick in Edmontonian positivity has more than a little to do with the stronger supporting cast assembled by embattled basic supervisor Ken Holland.

Winger Zach Hyman was brought in on a seven-year, $385 million deal last summer and paid off with career-highs in goals (27) and points (54).

Evander Kane was plucked from the NHL deal bin in late January and scored 35 goals in 58 routine and postseason video games.

Minor-league coach Jay Woodcroft arrived after Dave Tippett was fired on February 10, and the Oilers responded with a 26 -9 -3 record down the stretch. It included a 14 -0 -1 run across the last 15 home video games, as the Oilers set a new franchise record for consecutive games with a point in your home.

In truth, Woodcroft’s eight playoff wins are currently connected for 5th in Edmonton’s training history.

” A little bit of a more youthful voice,” McDavid said of his head coach to the Canadian Press(h/t TheStar.com).

” He’s brought a great deal of energy and a great deal of passion to the job. We fed off that. The message he preaches is something that I think we all agree with. Something that all of us can buy into.”

Woodcroft’s bond with children Ryan McLeod (two objectives against Colorado) and Dylan Holloway (NHL debut in Game 4 of the WCF) was created in the AHL and makes them essential to Edmonton as it heads into an important offseason. The Oilers have a difficult wage cap circumstance ($ 7.1 million) and unpredictability in goal and on defense.

Defensemen Evan Bouchard, 22, and Philip Broberg, 20, could be promoted to full-time, too, possibly providing the group 9 of its own first-round picks in the daily lineup.

The prolific Kane warrants a big boost from the prorated $1.38 million he made with the Oilers through season’s end. On the other hand, McLeod, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto are due for raises as restricted free representatives alongside choices to be made on another 8 with unrestricted status.

A deep, proficient Colorado team exposed Edmonton’s soft blue line, with approximately 43.0 shots allowed– following a season with a rate of 32.3 shots (12 th-most in the NHL) and general playoffs with approximately 38.9 shots (fourth-most)– that concurrently magnified concerns in the net.

Forty-year-old starter Mike Smith was statistically sound– 2.81 goals-against average and.915 save percentage– for a second straight regular season.

But his disparity was never ever more obvious than in a series-defining Video game 3 when a variety of amazing saves were followed by a game-winning goal by third-line center J.T. Compher that trickled through his legs with 7: 18 staying.

He enabled six objectives on 42 shots in the ending– consisting of 4 in the third duration– and ended up with a pedestrian.872 save percentage and a downright unsightly 5.57 goals-against average. On the other hand, Avalanche backup Pavel Francouz published a.908 and a 2.81 GAA.

Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Smith is signed for another season at $2.2 million, while backup Mikko Koskinen’s three-year, $135 million deal is ending. Holland will either need to stand pat and provide AHL stalwart Stuart Skinner a chance at the full-time job after a 14- video game audition or swing a deal to generate a developed product.

It’s a lot for a GM, particularly one who’s 66, to compete with.

And if he doesn’t make the ideal options, it won’t be long prior to familiar fan angst returns.

But while the season’s useful result was similar– no Cup, once again– a surprise go to the league’s last 4 and the continued prolific presence of the world’s finest player go a long way towards exorcising a generation of devils.

It likewise provided Holland with some extra time to keep the great vibes going.

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