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Oilers’ ‘Cup or Bust’ Failure Means Finish of Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl Period

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images Rest easy, Oil Country. It’ll never happen again. This is the last time the sun will rise above Edmonton on the morning after the city’s beloved NHL team—fueled by the helmeted version of Batman and Robin, aka Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl—has been eliminated from the playoffs. The latest springtime disappointment was

Oilers’ ‘Cup or Bust’ Failure Means Finish of Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl Period

EDMONTON, CANADA - APRIL 22: Leon Draisaitl #29 and Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers strategize against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in Game One of the First Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on April 22, 2024, in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Codie McLachlan/Getty Photos

Relaxation straightforward, Oil Nation. It will by no means occur once more.

That is the final time the solar will rise above Edmonton on the morning after the town’s beloved NHL workforce—fueled by the helmeted model of Batman and Robin, aka Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl—has been eradicated from the playoffs.

The newest springtime disappointment was made official Monday night time, when the Florida Panthers beat the Oilers, 2-1, in Sport 7 of their first Stanley Cup Last look since 2006, which additionally led to a seven-game loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

It is the sixth time the Dynamic Duo has fallen in need of a parade limo’s leap seat, following first-round losses to Chicago and Winnipeg, earlier second-rounders in opposition to Anaheim and Vegas, and a blissful albeit fruitless journey to the third spherical in opposition to Colorado that led to a sweep two springs in the past.

We will definitively say right here, although, that there will not be a seventh.

There is no likelihood.

However in all probability not for a purpose that’ll make the “Metropolis of (Lengthy-In the past) Champions” smile.

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As a result of moderately than the fits within the nook workplaces lastly quelling angst and delivering rings by addressing continual points with depth scoring, inconsistent protection and porous goaltending, it is extra possible that the “Why cannot we win with 97 and 29?” query shall be put out of its distress by one of many principals himself.

“Boy Marvel” will not be there.

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - MAY 14: Leon Draisaitl #29 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates with teammates after a goal during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on May 14, 2024 in Edmonton, Alberta.  (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Codie McLachlan/Getty Photos

For these unaware, this playoff exit ended the penultimate season on an eight-year deal the prolific German, now 28, signed as a precocious 21-year-old.

And given the 5 100-point and three 50-goal seasons Draisaitl’s produced since inking the extension—to not point out the scoring title and MVP he is gained—he’ll be searching for a gargantuan bump from the common $8.5 million wage he is been bringing house since.

It is not an unfair expectation.

Contemplating that of the six NHL gamers with greater than 106 factors in 2023-24, none had a smaller cap hit. And just one participant league-wide, his crusading teammate within the blue-and-orange cape, has extra factors because the contract took impact in 2017.

Draisaitl is second, once more to McDavid, in factors per playoff recreation (1.80 to 1.53 by way of Sport 6) over that very same stretch, nicely forward of Nathan MacKinnon (1.28) in third and even additional forward of Mikko Rantanen (1.25) and Nikita Kucherov (1.23) in fourth and fifth.

And his profession playoff level complete (108) is nice for third total since 2016-17, although it is are available far fewer postseason video games (73) than the one non-teammate forward of him—Kucherov—who’s performed 102, whereas Rantanen and MacKinnon have performed 81 apiece.

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The distinction?

These different three guys, with 4 Cups amongst them, averaged $12 million in 2023-24.

TAMPA, FL - JUNE 26: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) hoisting the Stanley Cup during the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals Game six between Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche on June 26th, 2022 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida (Photo by Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire)

Andrew Bershaw /Icon_Sportswire

So, to label Draisaitl—the sixth-highest-paid participant within the sequence with the Panthers—as the most effective famous person cut price in sports activities is hardly hyperbolic.

It is a truth.

It is one other truth, or a sequence of them, that’ll make it untenable for him to remain put.

Although the wage cap figures to swell at typical charges, there merely aren’t sufficient {dollars} to cowl what Draisaitl would warrant at the same time as a “hometown low cost,” contemplating the Oilers are nonetheless smarting from the $9.25 million dents Darnell Nurse will go away by way of 2030 and the $5 million outlays to AHL starter Jack Campbell till June 2027.

Ten gamers of various import are due free of charge company to come back this July alone, that means any vital elevate for Draisaitl would come on the expense of the components that helped finish the newest “Cup or bust” run. And that is not even contemplating the stash of money that’ll be wanted to even entice McDavid to stay round when his deal’s finished in 2026.

However let’s face it, there’s an excellent likelihood Draisaitl will not wish to keep anyway.

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Although he and McDavid do not publicly appear lower than contented kittens and have not strayed removed from the “we wish to win right here” firm line, the identical can’t be mentioned of Draisaitl’s relationship with the rabid Edmonton media. He was famously branded “pissy” in a snit with Corridor of Fame author Jim Matheson two years in the past and sometimes presents as impatient and disinterested along with his function as a workforce spokesman.

Whereas writers in New York, Boston, Philly and elsewhere would pose a day by day problem with aggressive questioning, the mix of a change of surroundings, an enormous contract windfall and the possibility to make an actual run as a C-1 moderately than 1-A nonetheless make a farewell press convention at Rogers Place appear extra a cinch than a protracted shot.

That is why it will really feel extra like rebranding than retooling for the Oilers subsequent winter (or sooner) once they come to grips along with his imminent exit and attempt to recoup pennies on the greenback in return, successfully ending essentially the most maddening period in franchise historical past.

2000 Season: Ranger captain Mark Messier keeps a close watch on Wayne Gretzky.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Bruce Bennett Studios by way of Getty Photos Studios/Getty Photos

Although remembering legends Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier leaving city on one-sided exchanges stays troublesome for these of a sure age, their jerseys have been in the end raised to the rafters alongside the 5 championship banners they helped procure.

Within the case of Draisaitl and McDavid, whereas the stats are equally heady and the Corridor of Fame plaques assured, the long-term sentiments shall be far much less satisfying.

Bamboozling by the likes of Darcy Kuemper and Adin Hill to allow expert however much less dynamic Nazem Kadri and Mark Stone varieties a jewellery becoming was troublesome sufficient. However realizing there’s a great opportunity a preeminent pairing like 97 and 29 won’t ever discover its technique to northern Alberta once more makes this Final Dance reboot way more angsty.

Evan Rodrigues. Sasha Barkov. Thanks, Oilers followers. Drive house safely.

In the meantime, the most effective one-two punch in hockey—actually currently and possibly ever—shakes fingers, gives cliches and makes plans for a midweek locker-cleaning.

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No Cup.

Simply busted.

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