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Emotional Leon Draisaitl Takes Ownership For Oilers Playoff Loss

The Oilers failure to beat the Vegas Golden Knights isn’t on Leon Draisaitl, but the forward is taking it on the chin anyways.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where anyone would blame Leon Draisaitl for a lack of production in a 2022-23 playoff run where he scored 18 points in 13 games, but the forward was visibly upset by the way the season ended on Sunday, saying “I have to take a lot of ownership, I wasn’t good tonight.”

The Game 6 loss was still fresh in Draisaitl’s mind when the media started asking questions about the season and what went wrong in the series versus the Vegas Golden Knights. The reality was that Vegas was just better than Edmonton and the Oilers didn’t produce enough when they need to, nor did they get the necessary stops when they had the lead in games. But, Draisaitl being the leader he is took a lot of focus off of his teammates and put it onto himself, having produced no points and going a plus/minus – 4 on the night in an elimination game the Oilers needed to win on home ice to stay alive.

Draisaitl said the Oilers are a team that is in it to win it. Where they are at as an organization means that anything short of going all the way and winning the Stanely Cup is deemed a failure and “almost feels like a wasted year.” For Draisaitl, it was a record-breaking campaign as he scored 128 points and had 52 goals. None of that matters on Monday as the Oilers wake up and have to come to terms with the fact their season — one in which they were among the favorites to win it all — is now over. “It feels like a failure or a wasted year almost. It hurts,” he said.

Does This Hurt Motivate Or Lead to Changes?

Some are saying the energy Leon showed in this media avail is similar to the type of energy Nathan MacKinnon showed in a media scrum right before the Colorado Avalanche went on to win the Cup in 2022. During that media avail, MacKinnon was mad because he said he hasn’t won s— since he’d been there and he was tired of coming up short. Draisaitl appears to be sending off the same vibes.

The question now is if this leads to even more motivation for the same group of players to be better than this past season. Or, do the Oilers look at making roster changes that will put the team in a better spot to win? It’s hard to imagine the team having a better chance, but there are questions about goaltending and defense, including some possible solutions on right-wing that the team could address.

It was an emotional day for Leon. Not only was he out of the playoffs, but he had to shake the hand of the defenseman who tried to take him out of a game with a two-handed slash that could have been extremely disastrous if an inch or two the other way. It was clear Leon didn’t want anything to do with Alex Pietrangelo, even if he did stay professional and shake his hand to end the series.

Next: Could the Avalanche and Maple Leafs Talk Trade for William Nylander?

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